THE idea of a knowledge which surpasses all ordinary human knowledge, and is inaccessible to ordinary people, but which exists somewhere and belongs to somebody, permeates the whole history of the thought of mankind from the most remote periods. And according to certain memorials of the past, a knowledge quite different from ours formed the essence and content of human thought at those times when, according to other opinions, man differed very little, or did not differ at all, from animals.
"Hidden knowledge" is therefore sometimes called "ancient knowledge". But of course this does not explain anything. It must, however, be noted that all religions, all myths, all beliefs, all popular heroic legends of all peoples and all countries are based on the recognition of the existence sometime and somewhere of a knowledge far superior to the knowledge which we possess or can possess. And to a considerable degree the content of all religions and myths consists of symbolic forms which represent attempts to transmit the idea of this hidden knowledge.
On the other hand, nothing demonstrates so clearly the weakness of human thought or human imagination as existing ideas as to the content of hidden knowledge. The word, the concept, the idea, the expectation, exist, but there are no definite concrete forms of percept connected with this idea. And the idea itself has very often to be dug out with great difficulty from beneath mountains of lies, both intentional and unintentional, from deception and self-deception and from naive attempts to present in intelligible forms adopted from ordinary life that which in its very nature can have no resemblance to them.
The work of finding traces of ancient or hidden knowledge, or even hints of its existence, resembles the work of archaeologists looking for traces of some ancient forgotten civilisation, and finding them buried beneath several strata of cemeteries left by peoples who have since lived in that place, separated possibly by thousands of years and unaware of one another's existence.
But on every occasion that an investigator comes upon the attempts to