Healing Hypotheses  



It is appropriate to let the last words of this book be from Quimby. Without Quimby, Julius Dresser and Annetta Seabury might have died young, perhaps without meeting, and there would have been no Horatio W. Dresser. Evans probably would have promoted Swedenborgianism without seeing its implications for healing, for as long as his health allowed; and that might have been a short period. Mary Baker Eddy probably would have had no system of spiritual healing. Most likely, we should know nothing of Emma Curtis Hopkins or any of those who were touched by her life and teaching. Myrtle Fillmore might have succumbed to her illness, and Charles Fillmore might have continued as a businessman. William James probably would have produced The Varieties of Religious Experience without its lectures on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness." Possibly the degree and forms of acceptance of Eastern views popularized at The World's Parliament of Religions would have been different, with more (or less) direct acceptance, or with less acceptance apart from the avenues provided by New Thought groups. Ernest Holmes might have become a popular inspirational speaker, but probably without direct practical applications. Norman Vincent Peale might have labored in the ministry without ever attaining fame. Maybe somebody would have seen that Emerson's insights could be applied practically, but who? Perhaps Malinda Cramer would have come up with something out of Quaker and theosophical roots, but one scarcely can be sure that it would have been very much like what New Thought has become.

Possibly views such as those of Dods would have



Healing Hypotheses

produced a materialistic healing movement. Psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine presumably would have developed irrespective of Quimby's work. Perhaps the power of mind was enough "in the air" so that somebody else would have done something like the job that Quimby did in producing a blend of philosophy, science, religion, and healing. But the fact remains that it was Quimby who laid the foundation for the core of what has followed in New Thought, and in related areas.

Quimby's words (in Seale, ed., The Complete Writings, II, 303) quoted below reflect frustration, but I think that they imply hope, and that there is a broad--and possible--task of healing the world's outlook. They end with a question, which can be taken to suggest the need for continuing to explore, to reformulate, to remain, as Ernest Holmes put it, "open at the top." Quimby speaks for all who toil and soar in the project of providing the explanation--the healing hypothesis--that most effectively can cure the world.

Introducing these ideas to the world is not an easy task, for the world like the sick cannot understand. For if they could, then there would not be any call for some other mode of reasoning. But the world, like a sick man, is in trouble and does not know how to free itself from the fetters that bind it. It is easy to take one individual case and apply the theory, but to take the world and give the causes and symptoms is not so easy a task. The world, like the sick, have no idea that what is said and believed has anything to do with their sickness, when all our troubles or nearly so are from our belief, directly or indirectly. Therefore, I have to take the world as a patient and show that the causes of man's trouble arise from his beliefs and these make him sick. Now the sickness is not the belief, but the belief is the cause directly or indirectly. So to cure, I have to destroy the belief

Healing Hypotheses


and then the sickness will cease. Then the question will be asked what is a belief?

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