The sixteenth century sought gold as the treasure of exotic cultures — we are now searching for spiritual gold. If the twentieth century was the century of physics in the mainstream, the margins were already looking ahead to the next great unknown: the mystery of the mind and the mind-body problem. The twentieth century unraveled the mysteries of consciousness but barely touched the non-conscious or unconscious despite Freud. That is precisely the area that has been more openly cultivated by nonwestern cultures. We admire it and we wish to acquire it. Gold may be valuable, but self-knowledge and mind control are invaluable. Wouldn’t you want to read nature like a Noble Savage, manipulate the minds of others, and control your body and illnesses? If there hadn’t been shamans we would have had to invent them, and in many cases we have.
—Esther Pasztory, “Nostalgia for Mud”