I remember a story from the POV of a British man; one of his teachers is an archaeologist, whose lifelong dream is to find something called the Tablet of the Gods or something along those lines, a sort of ancient record holding the absolute truth of reality, and leaves for an expedition to find it. He returns a changed, miserable man with the original stone and the translation, and hands them over to his student, who's curious about the contents and the change in his teacher. The man goes crazy almost immediately after reading the translation and goes into a minirampage across his house. He stumbles to a hypnotist friend and begs him to erase his memory of reading the tablet's contents, and returns home in a haze, ordering his servant to dump the tablet and the sheets.
This is "The Man Who Found Out", by Algernon Blackwood, POSSIBLY the origin of the trope.
- ✓ Tablets of the Gods
- ✓ Absolute truth of the nature of the universe
- ✓ The guy is miserable after he finds it
- ✓ Other guy flips out
- ✓ Uses hypnosis to erase his memory
- ✓ Orders servant to discard the tablets and some burnt papers
Then he did a curious thing. Taking a heavy stick from the rack in the corner he approached the mantlepiece, and with a heavy shattering blow he smashed the clock to pieces. The glass fell in shivering atoms. “Cease your lying voice for ever,” he said, in a curiously still, even tone. “There is no such thing as time!”
I think you remembered EVERYTHING but the title and author.
The story's in the public domain, here's a pdf: The Man Who Found Out