Certain schools of medieval writers on mystical subjects leave most readers the impression that the subject is too unintelligible and too mysterious to be worth troubling about. They were overly fond of writing in riddles, leaving their unfortunate readers to decipher toilsomely much that could have been stated plainly. The tortuous expressions and mystery-mongering phrases for which the alchemists, especially, acquired a reputation irritate rather than inspire the modern mentality when it takes up their belauded work--weighty with a dark jargon and mazed by a plethora of cryptic metaphors. This applies to the interpretative side, while on the material side one looks in vain for authentic evidence of successful results. How many of the whole crew of medieval alchemists who wrote elaborate treatises on the art of turning lead into gold, themselves died as paupers! The consequence is that those moderns who do not investigate more deeply form the natural but hasty conclusion that to adopt mystical practices is to turn back the clock and to revert to worn-out superstition. But this conclusion is unfair and mistaken. First, because amid all the ponderous gibberish and inflated imaginations of the medieval stews of pure mysticism and adulterating magic, there was an important residue of genuine irrefragable truth. Second, because the price of religious heresy in those times was often persecution, imprisonment, or even death and consequently mystical writers had to express themselves guardedly, brokenly, symbolically, and vaguely. Today they are under no such necessity. Today, on the contrary, it is their duty to try to leave no opposite impression in their writings. The highest meanings can now be expressed in the plainest possible manner. All mystical teachers are now free to put their thought into direct and understandable language. And if they do not do so, it is because they fail to remember that this is the twentieth and not the fifteenth century, because they are mesmerized by the past, and because their enlightenment is a borrowed and not a directly personal one. The wise student will waste no time with them but rather will study the work of those whose thoughts leave their pens not in dark symbol but in direct clear-cut statement. For only those who know what they are thinking about are likely to know what they are writing about. And only those readers who know what they are reading about are likely to derive any profit from it.
-- Notebooks Category 16: The Sensitives > Chapter 1: Mystical Life in The Modern World > # 24