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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Do We See That Which We Are Afraid Of?

Do we see that which we are afraid of? Never, I answer. We see the medium of our own fears through the medium of our own belief and call it danger. We connect ourselves with some idea which we think or know exists and we attach our fears to it. We then express fear, thinking the danger is in the thing we see or think we see. Suppose you are on a railroad track and you see the engine coming. Now what are you afraid of? Is the fear in the engine or in you? I say it is in you. Now suppose that you do not see the engine till you are crushed under the wheels. Is the fear crushed or that to which the fear is attached? The fear cannot be seen or touched; therefore it cannot be run over. But the body is not that which is afraid; it is the senses.

Again, suppose you see a bear lying down. As you approach him he rises and you do not know but that he is loose. You are afraid. If your senses are frightened, the fear must contain reason, for matter never reasons. A superior wisdom acts upon what we call animal matter or life, and if wisdom directs the action, then nothing is seen but the matter acting. Here is the error. We associate intelligence with matter and call both one, just as we put fear in the bear and call him dangerous. Now separate the fear from the thing feared and then it contains no life or danger but is simply matter.

Our beliefs have made us fear death, which is the king of terrors. To destroy this is to destroy the foundation of man's misery. The wise man has said the fear of death is the beginning of wisdom. Let us examine his existence and discover his habitation, if he is in this world or the world to come. It cannot be in this world, for it cannot be seen, although we say men are killed, are shot dead. Now is death in the bullet or in you? Of course it is in you. Then the word death must apply to something we admit has life.

Man has admitted that the body has life; consequently it has death also. Can the death be seen? It cannot. Therefore we are afraid of that which cannot be seen. Perfect wisdom casteth out fear, for fear hath torment. And as we learn wisdom we destroy death and the fear of death; then we live in wisdom, for science hath plucked the sting from death and robbed the grave of victory. Death, like darkness, is the absence of light or wisdom. So everyone who is in the dark is dead. Fear dispels the darkness and introduces ideas which are as terrible as anything in nature and affect man's senses. Disease is one of these, and this is a danger which we never see but through the medium. Through the fear of some invisible danger we create our own troubles. The fear takes form and it is called disease. Death is the real danger or disease, and the belief that it is coming, or has come, creates the fear. The senses being in the fear which is attached to the matter, the matter is so acted upon that a phenomenon is produced. This is called disease or death. If the fear is separated from the phenomenon, it would then be like a wild animal that you are afraid of. The real danger is not in the phenomenon that can be seen but in the invisible idea that you have of it, and in such lies all danger.

Everything connected with death we are afraid of. Man is made up of life and death. If life is destroyed, then all is dead, but if death is destroyed, there is no more death. Jesus came to destroy death and to bring life and immortality to light. The Christians teach that man must die. Life and death make the man. One is destroyed by man and the other Jesus destroys. Then where is man? Jesus illustrates man by various figures. To him life was a reality and death a condition. The natural man makes himself a combination of life and death, and when his life gives out, he is dead. Jesus makes man of light and darkness; his light is his wisdom, and his darkness is death; and as he destroys darkness, his light shines. He puts no life in error and his resurrection is from death, while the Christian's is of death. In all his teaching, he always strove to destroy sin, and he separated it from the truth by giving them various names as righteous and unrighteous, etc. These two characters are included in one man as night and day are included in one day. The word man likewise includes light and darkness, or science and ignorance. Error is like twilight. It excites the darkness and the light bursts in. For when the light of truth burst in upon the Jews through the preaching of Jesus, those who were in darkness or dead in ignorance could not see the light, but it was seen by those in error or agitated by doubts and fears. In this twilight of error, man becomes superstitious. This is the condition in which he creates all the evils which a nervous state of mind can conceive. He must pass through it before he can shake off the body of death or ignorance. This is death.

Jesus entered this state and preached to those confined herein before the flood of light. Here were many sleeping in the dust of ignorance who should awake to the truth and come forth. In the Old Testament, the people believed then as they do now that man as you speak of him means all there is of him, what he knows or what he thinks he knows, and that he dies wholly, and at the last day, his flesh and bones and all there is of him will rise. Jesus divided man into two individuals: one was in life and the other was in death, and in the end death was to be swallowed up in truth. These identities were kept as separate as night and day. Both were spoken of but they never meant one. Man's ignorance has compounded the two together and he now tries to convert error into a truth and therefore he calls on error to repent. Here is a kingdom divided against itself, for error is life and health is also life, and by destroying error, life is destroyed. Jesus had no sympathy with this character of error. He came to destroy it, for it is the prison or grave of man. Man cannot see these two characters because he has never known himself, and he never will see them till he learns that wisdom which is developed through the medium of science is the true man, and that the diseased or sick man is error.

What we wish to destroy is the man who torments our senses, and he is the man of error-the man who tells what he believes but can explain nothing, one who can give the opinions of others but can prove nothing. This character cannot be seen except by science. If you felt a pain in the region of the hip joint, error would say that you had the hip disease. Suppose you believe this; you are then affected by your belief.

The idea that cures are made misleads the mind. A mathematician cannot say that he has cured a very sick person whose disease was that he believed water would run up hill and he had been studying how to do it.

Every person in error is sick, if there is such a thing as sickness. But if disease is an error, the misery that follows is the effect of that error. This is a basis of operation for establishing a science based upon philosophical principles of reasoning. Then man can be reasoned out of his error which the world calls disease, the same as he can be reasoned out of any other error. Religion is the basis of man's false reasoning and it produces disease. The doctors undertake to cure the effect by admitting the cause. This will never destroy the evil, for while the causes exist, the evil will follow. Now correct the evil and the cause will cease. Here I admit an evil before a cause. I will explain. A lie is nothing, neither is the belief, but the belief produces action which, being seen and felt, sets man to reasoning. The lie is not seen; that is in the dark. The evil therefore is not admitted in the making up of cause and effect. A physician in giving a diagnosis of disease never goes back of living matter. He never puts the first cause in an evil that he admits is truth. He admits the idea disease, while I deny it. He does not admit the evil he is trying to cure, otherwise his kingdom would be divided against itself. He believes the lie to be a truth, and when the fruits of his belief are shown, he takes the fruit as a disease, never knowing that his own belief is the cause. This is why man is kept in ignorance of himself.

A philosophy that will correct the first evil being established will destroy the opinions of the priest and physician and place man on a better basis of reasoning where he will look out for causes instead of remedies, for the true remedy is in knowing the cause. Suppose you believe you have the hip disease. Now to admit the cause anything but a disease is wrong, for if you do, you make a belief something; then something will follow, and that which follows you call disease. If this first admission were corrected the effect would never be. Man is not developed enough to produce the idea that words have an effect on mind just in proportion to their definition. Ideas are made of words and words to the one who understands them are something. True they cannot be seen, yet everyone will admit they will affect the mind, and if they can affect, how do they do it? First the mind is not the intellect. It is the medium. Then words being sounds must contain something or nothing. If the person who speaks a word knows what it means, it contains his knowledge; but if he does not know how to impress it upon the person he addresses, to that person it is an empty sound and it produces no effect. The truth when it is known will develop this fact that the causes of the phenomenon exist in words.

Here I differ from the world. I put the cause in words that convey fear to the senses or in some sensation, never in the phenomenon. The world puts disease in the phenomenon and guesses at the cause. They have never been taught that words are the basis of man's trouble. Words affect every person, yet you will hear people say, “it makes no difference to me what a person says, it does not affect me.” But this is not the case. It is just as impossible for words to fall harmless on man's senses and not injure him as it is for stones to fall on his body without hurting him. Yet the world, ignorant of this fact, are constantly stoning the sick with their opinions and advice. Every word affects us as much as the one we speak to, even our thoughts affect us, and we are responsible for them as well as our acts. If this truth were known, man would conduct himself so that his thoughts would take a right direction. Then he will cease to do evil and learn to do good. Consider the influence that the physician has over his patient. Weigh his words by the standard of truth and see the misery he creates; then the mystery of disease will be explained. Look at the effect his own words have. If any virtue is attributed to his wisdom, it is attributed to his medicine and is accompanied by words of sympathy or fear.

I will explain how words affect people. There is nothing so annoying to a doctor as to have somebody give their opinion of his treatment, expressing a preference for some other physician. If opinions have no effect on people, why find fault, and if they have an effect, how do they affect and what do they affect? Is that which they affect so imaginary that it has an existence outside of the senses? Certainly not. The medical men want a monopoly of man's senses to impose their ideas upon them, and if they are interfered with by another, they accuse him of working upon the imagination of the sick. They never deceive the sick! It is their neighbors! They are blind guides and hypocrites and have imposed on the people's senses their false ideas, till the world has received them as true. And now these imposters with a brazen face accuse others of deceiving the people through their imagination. This shows that they believe it can be done, but at the same time, they know that the people think that education is necessary to cure the sick. So they institute diplomas, and if one appears without a diploma, they call him a deceiver, operating on the imagination. To me, each acts in the same medium, call it what you please. The deceived is honest but the deceiver feels that he can impose on the subject and take the advantage. He tells the patient a lie and if he believes it, this is acting upon the imagination. Of this word more hereafter.

1864

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