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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Conservatism

Conservatism is the body or disease to be corrected. Error is its opponent and so is science. Conservatism is opposed to both. Error is like a stream set in motion, governed by no theory, only chance. Science is the wisdom that directs error. Conservatism is the body to move. Now put language into these elements and you will hear how they reason. Now as I said, conservatism is a disease. Error is progression without wisdom. Wisdom gives direction to error and conservatism is a dead weight or the thing to destroy. To illustrate it, take the application of steam. Error would set steam in motion without any regard to science. Science would instruct error. Conservatism would oppose both and reason in this way. You can't make steam propel anything. Error says, I can propel everything. Science asks how? Error can't tell.

Science explains. Error does not understand. Conservatism says, You both are too fast; let steam alone and I will come out right but you are both wrong. But as error keeps up the fire, the steam holds back till science makes the engine and the steam forms and tries to escape from the _ _ _ _ _ _ yet it won't start. But when science unites the steam to the piston, then the body conservatism moves off in triumph.

Then conservatism says, Now this is just what I said. I told you to wait, the time had not arrived. But now it has come. So the water is made into steam by the force of error controlled by the wisdom of science. The steam never dreamed that it had gone through any change, for steam is water, hot or cold. So conservatism is matter or weight at rest or in motion and it never had the element of wisdom in it. It is the element to destroy and it destroys itself as fast as it moves. So with all progression. Take governments. All governments are like individuals. They either hold their identity, body or government or they dissolve and take new identities. The principles or science live. Take this government. Its life is its principles. Its principles are progression and freedom. So it contains, like individuals, the trinity or element of the Godhead, progression, without any definite idea of any kind. This element contains also freedom. Therefore as it has the element of freedom, it will not be bound if it can help itself. But as it has in this element no wisdom, it acts against its own reason, for when it wants freedom, it will enslave its opponent. Now as freedom is the principle to be obtained, science has to direct error. So science is the only element that can exist. All the other elements are always changing. This is death.

1864-65

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