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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Healing Hypotheses  

APPENDIX K

THE MARCH OF METAPHYSICS

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that seeks to understand the most basic nature of all reality, to discover what anything must be like in order to be at all. Religion is a way in which people combine their beliefs, attitudes, and actions in relation to whatever they consider to be most important (generally including a belief about the existence and nature of a God or gods).

VARIOUS OUTLOOKS

l.   The mythological prelude: the attempt to come to terms with the universe through the use of imaginative, storytelling insight.

2. The Milesian curtain raiser: rational thought, rather than poetic storytelling, produces the conclusion that everything comes from one thing, generally conceived to be a physical something, such as water or air.

3.   The Heraclitean essential insight: process and Logos: balanced becoming.

4.   The Eleatic denial of change: static being.

5.   The atomistic compromise of changeless material atoms with change through rearrangement: materialism, mechanism.

6.   The Socratic recognition of oneself as immortal soul.

7. The Platonic embrace of Eleatic changelessness for full reality, but mind as self-moving, soul of the world, non-material Forms.

8.   Aristotelian side track with a God of isolated aloofness.

9.   Epicurean application of atomism in a pain-

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avoiding search for sheltered contentment.

10.   Stoic practical psychology of mind control for virtue, (alignment with Nature, Reason, God), combined with freedom-denying pantheism.

11   Jesus' apotheosis of love and practical, direct application of awareness of presence of God to remedy human problems, especially of health.

12. Neoplatonic blend of mysticism and emanation, an uneasy balance of monism and dualism. 13. The Medieval muddle of flip-flopping between Plato and Aristotle.

14.   Protestant Reformation provided no clear resolution of problems.

MATERIALISM or NATURALISM (Only matter or lifeless energy is real) and MECHANISM (Everything acts in a machine-like way, non-teleological [non-purposive]):

15. Hobbes (1588-1679) and La Mettrie (1709-51) advanced materialism.

16. Newton (1642-1727) united scientific discoveries into the "Newtonian world machine."

DUALISM (Mind and matter are equally real.):

17.   Descartes (1596-1650) and Locke(1632-1704) presented a dualism of mind and matter.

IDEALISM (Everything is mental or spiritual.):
Theoretical:

18.   Leibniz (1644-1716) converted atoms from matter to mind, but considered them "windowless" and called them monads (units) in a panpsychism, an idealism of many minds.

19.   Berkeley (1685-1753) discarded material substance, and Hume (1711-1776) dropped spiritual substance, leaving only phenomena. Kant (1724-1804, responding to skepticism Hume, saw mind as orderer of experience, but denied possibility of knowing things in themselves. Fichte (1762-1814), Schelling (1775-1854), and

Healing Hypotheses

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Hegel (1770-1831) (followed by such thinkers as Bradley [1846-1924] and Royce [1855-1916]) sought the thing itself and produced an idealism of one mind (absolute idealism).

20.   Einstein (1879-1955), Planck (1858-1947), and other scientists demolished earlier materialistic science (but its assumptions continue to prevail in commonsensical view of reality), and replaced substance with essentially lifeless process (activity, change) as basic.

21.   Bowne (1847-1910) (followed by Brightman [1884-1953] and Bertocci [1910-1989]) formulated Personalism (personal idealism), emphasizing the indispensability of personhood for a sound metaphysics.

22.   Whitehead (1861-1947) (combining Plato, Leibniz, and 20th century physics) formulated his "philosophy of organism" or process philosophy, recognizing the quanta (momentarily-existing bursts of energy) of physics as living, interrelated units that he called occasions of experience, the building blocks, the "concrete" actualities in terms of which everything must be explained (the ontological principle). Avoiding the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, material things are recognized as collections or aggregates (abstractions or constructions) of occasions. God selects from possibilities (eternal objects, like Plato's Forms or Ideas) and provides them to occasions of experience as they start to develop; the occasions blend these potentialities with the influences of the past in order to produce new creations, which immediately are converted from subjectivity to objectivity, and (in objective immortality) forever influence all laterdeveloping occasions of experience. Persons are successions of highly complex occasions that preside over the successions of vast collections of less complex occasions constituting their bodies. Hartshorne (born 1897) independently developed his similar views and advanced a panentheism that recognizes all as in God and the universe as God's body.

Applied (directly by mind, as well as indirectly in mental control of muscles to do work):

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23.   Traditional (Substance) New Thought drew on the insights and practices of Quimby (1802-66), Evans, Hopkins, C. Fillmore, Cramer, Troward, E. Holmes, and others, and accepted substance idealism.

24.   Process New Thought builds on the same foundations, but goes beyond them to substitute a process idealistic view of reality, including a growing, fully personal God, serial selfhood, evolving natural laws (recognized as abstract formulations of habitual interactions), and personal immortality, as well as objective immortality. God is morally unchanging as perfect good, acting in such ways as to promote the maximum satisfaction of every bit of existence. God is perfect love-intelligence, understood as involving a recycling process of (l) offering to each occasion of experience the best, individually tailor-made possibilities, (2) allowing freedom of choice in co-creation with God, (3) appreciatively, perfectly preserving all effort-accomplishment as the completed occasion, and (4) presenting it to upcoming occasions as part of the past, in relation to which newly-offered perfect possibilities are to be blended by the new occasion.

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