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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Effect of Mind upon Mind, The

It is an undisputed fact which philosophy has never explained that persons affect each other when neither is conscious of it. According to the principle by which I cure the sick, such incidents can be accounted for, and it can be proved beyond a doubt that man is perfectly ignorant of the influences that act upon him and, being ignorant of the cause, is constantly liable to the effect.

To illustrate this I will relate a case that came under my observation. A woman brought her little son of about five years to be treated by me. When I sat with the child, I found his symptoms were similar to those which persons have in spinal or rheumatic troubles. But the child, being ignorant of names and having no fear of disease, could only describe his feelings in this way: he complained of being tired. Sometimes he said his legs were sore and sometimes his head was tired. To me his feelings were as intelligent as the odor of a rose or any odor with which I was familiar. I described his feelings to his mother, telling how he could appear at times. This she said was correct and feeling impressed with the truth that I had told her about her child, she said she would sit with me and see if I was equally correct in describing her case. I found that the mother had precisely the same feelings as the child. Yet she complained of diseases which the child never thought of and furthermore she never had the least idea of the child having such feelings. To prove to her that I was right about the child, I told her to ask him if he did not feel so and so when he would lay his head down, and she found I was correct. These were the mother's symptoms: a heavy feeling over the eyes, a numbness in the hands, weakness in the back and a pain going from foot to the hip, all accompanied by a feeling of general prostration, etc. To her, every sensation she had the child had also, but he had not attached names to them. After playing, his leg would pain him and he would be restless at night, while his mother reasoned from the same feelings that she had spinal disease, trouble of the heart and was liable to paralysis. If she had been as ignorant as the child of names, she would not have had the fear of these false ideas and the child would have been well. For all its troubles came from its mother and her trouble was from the invention of the medical faculty.

It may be asked how could the child be affected by its mother? In the same way as I was affected. To have the sense of smell or any other sense requires no language. An odor can be perceived by a child as well as a grown person. To every disease there is an odor and everyone is affected by it when it comes within his knowledge. Everyone knows that he can produce in himself heat or cold by excitement; so likewise he can produce the odor of any disease so that he is affected by it. I have proved that I can create the odor of any kind of fruit and make a mesmerized person taste and smell it.

The ignorance of this principle prevents man from investigating into the operation of the human mind. Such course would change the whole mode of our reasoning. It would destroy society as it is now and replace it on another basis. In the place of hypocrisy, aristocracy and democracy, the three original elements of society, science, progress and freedom would be introduced. In his ignorant state, man belongs to the lowest of the aristocracy, but as he becomes scientific, he subdues this element and then the others are not needed to sustain it. His science works out patience, his patience perseverance and perseverance wisdom and the fruits are religion. Now the religion of today contains the elements of society and they run through all its roots and branches and poison its fruit. Science makes war upon this trinity and the war will continue until it is crushed. Then democracy will be subject to science and hypocrisy will not appear in the leaders. Then will come a new heaven or dispensation based on eternal truths and man will be rewarded for what he knows, not for what he thinks he knows. The popular teachers will then publicly correct the democracy or the errors which make them sick as well as a political error. Now political doctors in addressing the masses bind burdens on them which they, kneeling like camels, receive and kiss the hands that bind them. This slavery is the will of aristocracy and consequently it is not popular to oppose it. Therefore no appeal must be made to the higher feelings but these base passions must be addressed. Aristocracy never complains of oppression except when it cannot oppress. Its motto is “rule or ruin” and where it rules, slavery is considered a divine institution. Science is mocked at in its religion and the mockery is echoed by hypocrisy and it sits in the hearts of the rulers and delivers the law. But science like an undercurrent is deep and strong, and as its tide advances, it will sweep away the foundation of aristocracy. Revolutions must come and no man can tell what will be the end of this generation, but science will work out the problem of universal freedom to the oppressed in body and mind.

I prophesy that the time will come when men and women shall heal all manner of diseases by the words of their mouth. They will show the democracy that they have been deceived by their blind leaders who flattered them that they ruled when they have had no more to do with ruling the nation than the dog who is set onto the swine has to do with his master's affairs. No slave either black or white ever did or ever can rule. They both will fight for their master till they are intelligent enough to know their own rights. Of all slavery, democracy is the worst, for it is so indoctrinated into the hearts of man that it is popular and it is not safe to oppose it. Aristocracy, its master, has given it a name which is superior to every other, namely, the intelligence of the people, and to oppose this is to oppose its master. It tells the people that they rule, while in truth, aristocracy itself is the only ruler and it is the same with North and South, and the democracy in both sections do their master's bidding. African slavery is kept in check by the laws and democracy by the hypocrisy of the leaders. To appeal to truth with sound logic is as unpopular at the North as to preach emancipation and abolition at the South. The leaders would set the hounds on a person who would be rash enough to attempt it.

Such evils arise from man's ignorance of himself. If man knew himself, his first object would be to become acquainted with sensations that affect him. He would then learn that a corrupt fountain cannot bring forth pure water and that from aristocracy nothing but the blackest corruption can issue which, however, is popular because of the fountain. From the dens of iniquity comes an atmosphere as pleasant to aristocracy as tobacco to one who has been poisoned almost to paralysis by it. Tell him it hurts him; the answer is, I know it, but I cannot help using it. Such abject servitude is the medium of aristocracy, for democracy would never have taken the weed had not the former set the example. All drugs when taken stupefy the intellect so that science cannot reign. Error is a tyrant and democracy his agent to destroy the progress and happiness of man. Show a man who smokes or chews just how the habit affects him and he will part company with tobacco as quickly as a democrat will leave his leaders when he sees the corruption of their motives. A democrat is like a disease. He believes in everything popular and opposes everything unpopular and does not regard the welfare of his government. Let a man from this state in time of peace go South, and if he is popular, he will be in favor of slavery; but if he honors the principles of the constitution more than he loves this party, he will not be popular and neither will he be in favor of slavery. Therefore, if he wishes to place himself under the influence of slavery so that he will become a disease in the nation, let him abide by the so-called democratic principles and denounce everything differing from them as political quackery. Then he will be exceedingly popular. To be popular in religion, praise the institutions of the Sabbath and the church. Say what you please in the street about priestcraft and fear of man, only mention that your family go to church and you will be considered sound. To be unpopular, be honest in every act, treat others with respect, mind your own affairs and permit others to do the same. Then like an old fashioned person you are out of society and no one cares for you.

To be independent, speak the truth on all subjects without fear or vanity; condemn error wherever it is popular; treat others as you wish to be treated and let your religion be shown in your acts. Such a man will be envied by aristocracy, respected by the wise, hated by hypocrites and listened to by the thinking classes. He is at the same time popular and not popular. His style pleases the people; therefore the aristocracy will be forced to admire him in order that they may retain their power over him, for their rule is “keep as near a kicking horse as possible.” They will extol such a man in some things and condemn him in others and thereby neutralize his effect on democracy.

Physicians will admit what the people believe. They will acknowledge I cure but limit my power to a few nervous cases and appeal to the vanity of intelligence by saying that it is not possible that an uneducated person can really cure actual disease, etc. A political leader at the North appeals to the democracy in this way. It is not expected that we at the North can equal those gentlemen at the South who have devoted their lives to the study of politics. This is swallowed, for the pronoun “we” makes it palatable, putting the leader and the democracy on a level. Is this the way the Southern leader addresses the Southern democracy? Not at all. He says to them, Those miserable Yankees want to rule over you when you can each whip a dozen of them. Thus the demagogue makes politicians of soldiers. This is the error of democracy which is really the mouthpiece of aristocracy to which it is believed to be opposed. It is a stream rising from a corrupt fountain. It trickles over the pebbles of ignorance and flows down into the ashes of eternal monarchy. Politics, religion and disease are the offspring of the trinity I have named and are the same combination of error. They will exist so long as error exists, for they live on ignorance.

February 1863

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