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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Liberty and Equality

The idea that man is the result of a higher organization of matter and that there is a gradual progression from the mineral to the animal kingdom is true in one sense. But to suppose that man as we see him is superior to the brute or any other living creature is not the case. Man is matter; so are the brutes and all living creatures, and to say that one kind of matter has any superiority over any other matter is false. You might as well say that the soil of California is more intelligent than the soil of Maine. There is no wisdom in the soil of the globe or the soil of man. Man is the soil and wisdom is the husbandman. Now there is a gradual change from the mineral to the animal matter, for all are acted upon by wisdom and as matter is always going through this change, wisdom uses it to develop a truth.

As the earth is developed by man's wisdom for its own happiness, so the matter that contains animal life is also developed. All minerals are sown in dross or error, so truth being in matter, wisdom through itself in the form of science develops the mind or matter of man. Not that the truth is a part of the man or matter, but like the dross, is with it. Gold is not dross, nor matter wisdom. So when we say we purify the gold, it is not strictly true, but we get rid of the dross and leave the gold pure from the dross. So man is the dross and as we purify the wisdom, we destroy the natural man and that leaves the true gold, or man of science. Now the difference of opinions is this. In the development of matter, error puts intelligence in matter. Wisdom does not. So one reasons from the basis of matter, the other from science. Now every man contains these two characters: one matter or opinions, the other science. So science and opinions run along together like gold and dross or any metal and its dross. So wisdom in every development has its dross and the dross of wisdom reasons like the dross of every pure matter. These two principles are known in various characters as freedom and liberty. Freedom is the development of matter, not of wisdom, but the soil error or slavery is to stifle development. But as error is the character to be destroyed, it forges its own weapons to destroy itself. Therefore all progression begins in the element called matter or man.

To the natural man, its own act is not known and it fights itself like an insane person thinking he is saving his friend. I will relate one instance to show how error destroys itself. I was called to see a person that was sick. This person tried to hang herself. She took a rope and ran for the woods, and just as she made the rope fast around the limb of a tree, her husband caught her. Now she told me that she thought her husband was going to hang himself and she was trying to prevent him. Here you see through her own error she was trying to destroy herself. So error in every instance is the first aggressor of its own destruction. All slavery is black, the error is black, the truth is white and pure. Truth is not matter but wisdom. Error is darkness. Darkness is not matter but a state of matter. Matter like soil may be black or white. The color is one thing and the idea is another. Now as I have said in some of my articles, a nation is like an individual, so it seems that our country is a fair representative of the development of wisdom. Now everyone knows the controversy going on in regard to slavery, yet no one has as yet put the idea of freedom on the basis of wisdom, but on the basis of equality. Now equality is not freedom nor slavery but a mere matter of taste. To put wisdom on an equality with error is to admit an opinion as good or as wise as a scientific truth. The question is not whether the black man is as good as the white or whether the white man is better than the black. With error that is the question, and this false idea makes the trouble. Wisdom knows no color; error knows nothing but color and as error has made war with itself, it has bound itself. Now as the United States is the wisdom of the error, it has bound itself and made war with its own house. So slavery is the result of a family quarrel that wisdom has no part in. The children of Uncle Sam are fighting about the soil that gave them life. The soil that has been cultivated is considered the most intelligent, so as intelligence is called white, the white earth or matter is the most intelligent. So the dark earth is only fit for the lower element of brutes. Now these elements are warring against each other to see which shall rule over the other. Out of the two comes another element that contends that one error is right and the other wrong, that is, the black soil is just as good as the white, while the white error contends the white is the most intelligent. Now wisdom stands outside and speaks in this wise. There is no wisdom in either white or black for both are of the earth. Now destroy the idea that man or matter contains any wisdom, then you will make all men equal like the brutes. Now the brutes have their kind, and the birds theirs, and so the Indians. Every race has its identity and are equal to another race, but wisdom is not any part of their matter. Every race of man is like a civilization, just as far as they have progressed from barbarism. The African and Anglo-Saxon are mediums for wisdom to work through. So as you cultivate the soil, it becomes more fruitful, and as the white soil is more fruitful, it is not the soil but the wisdom that takes the praise; but the soil being the error it puts wisdom in itself.

Now the black or wild matter not being cultivated is held by the white error as a sort of soil for the brutal element, but as error never can keep still, it will always make war with itself when it cannot injure wisdom. Now these elements have their identity in individuals, so I shall bring them before you as persons reasoning about the institution of slavery. I will introduce the two extreme ideas. Neither reasons from wisdom but both reason from opinions that are the result of their ignorance of the true issue. Both put intelligence in matter. Here is one reason. He believes that God is the father of all mankind, that he made no distinction of color. The black and white are equal and to enslave the black is a sin, so he goes for liberty and equality. This is the preaching of one set of men. Now as mind is matter, reason and opinions are also matter. And our senses being attached to matter or opinions, a reformation starts up, and the mind like the religious element is excited and persons become fanatical and embrace false ideas and their ideas excite other men and, like the false ideas of religion, break up families and make a great deal of trouble to get rid of an error that is not embraced in any idea they advocate. Then this has its opposite. There are other elements or men that hold that the white man is superior by nature, and that God made the black with a lower intellect or a link between the brutes and the white man. Their intellect is inferior and their natural place is slavery. This is the other extreme. Now out of this error comes a conservative element. This element can't see anything but the destruction of the country; therefore they go for peace that is to heal up the wound full of proud flesh that will at any time break out again. This element in man is all based in matter and contains no wisdom.

Wisdom stands outside of all this and addresses that matter or mind that has been purified by the error, till it is capable of becoming a medium for a higher wisdom than man. I will assume this mediumship and speak as I am acted upon. I see the first person full of sympathy for the poor depressed slave. Their sympathy is guided by their opinions, like the person who sees the drunkard in the gutter and feeling his trouble wishes to convince the world that he feels as though he (the drunkard) was a man, not a beast. So instead of taking him into a house and leaving him till he gets sober, he commences talking to him and helping the drunkard out of the gutter, or entering the shop and lecturing to the dissipated, telling them it is wrong to get drunk, etc. Or he feels a sympathy for such. So in order to show that he is on a level with them, instead of putting them on a level with him, he sits down and drinks and takes part with them. This has an effect to lower him in the estimation of those whom he wishes to influence, and it makes the drunkard more dissipated.

Now I will show how I stand in regard to the black. Opinions of the world is the enemy to the black. Now these opinions are matter and are liable to change by a power or wisdom. Now if wisdom mingles with opinions, it loses its identity and is swallowed up by opinions. So to be respected by opinions and to have your wisdom respected, keep yourself from the error of the world. Then opinions will listen to your wisdom. Instead of letting your body or opinions mingle with error or the slave, keep your wisdom uppermost and address yourself to the wisdom of the wise. Remember that what we see is matter, black or white. Wisdom being out of matter is not seen, and if our senses are in wisdom then we are governed by wisdom. But if our errors are in matter we are governed by matter and are judged by our own works. Now to let your wisdom mingle with the lower animal or lower element is like casting pearls before swine.

Address the higher element of conservatism. That is the purer part of the other two. Then you will receive the reward of your labor. The extremes will listen, and conservatism will be silent and the element of error will melt with the fire of truth. The shackles of the slave will be dissolved, and the error of slavery will be laid low and truth will tear up the roots of superstition. And the blacks will stand as an independent race, like the Irish or Germans, with all their rights as American citizens. Then the superstition against slavery will die and men and women will be left calm and reposed and look upon the dead evil as a thing that once was, but now is not. Then as men and women have their peculiar taste for equality, those that have a taste for the blacks may find someone that will sympathize with them. So the mingling of the colors is not the mingling of wisdom but of opinions. The mingling of wisdom, being outside of matter, it has no part in this wedding. Now that one person is as good as another is not true; if it was, then there could be no improvement. We misunderstand the idea. We mix two opposite ideas together when we say one man is as good as another. That depends on the man we speak of. Paul did not believe that one man was as good as another, and yet they are just as good as far as flesh and blood go. And so one scientific man is as good as another scientific man. The difference is not in the color but in the science.

Science and ignorance are not on a level, but error has made a difference in itself. It is at war with its own, and science has nothing to do with it. Now every person is composed of the two, and the scientific set the error at war, so progression is reformation. All religion is revolution. The truth is not seen but the error is. The error gets into an excitement, like two rogues, and it is an old saying that when rogues fall out, honest men get their due. The scientific man is the honest one, while the Christian is the rogue. When I say Christian I mean all society that is based on opinions. Opinions are the mortar or medium to excite; so as all have opinions, the leaders of all sects or developments act against the democracy or masses and the excitement becomes hot and sharp. Now the slavery question like political or religious excitement springs up and men and women go into it with all the zeal they are capable of. The true issue is not fairly stated. The enemies of Freedom misrepresent the friends of Freedom and the friends of Freedom in their zeal lose sight of the object they wish to obtain.

Wisdom is not known, but there is a quarrel. So after the fight is over, the object or progression obtains the victory. Then the wind of the storm abates and reason takes its stand. The laurels are gathered up and the dead are buried. And those that are wounded in battle go round as objects of the effect of an excitement by which they are the losers and the slave no better. It might be said, if there were none to excite the people to Freedom, there would be nothing done. This is true. Offenses must come, but woe to the one that suffers, that is capable of feeling their suffering. It would have been better if he never had been born or got interested. For when the object is obtained, like a reformation, there are some that are honest but excited who see nothing but the suffering of the slave, that say and do what they would not do in their more sober senses. Now you might say if all were like me there never would be a slave made free. I go for the perfect freedom of the slave to all the rights that the law allows me, or that the law has to do with me. The law does not compel me to associate with any man, black or white, neither does it say I shall not. This is my own right. To have every person free is let the slave free like the whites and turn them into the great field of liberty like all of God's race, and let them mingle according to their taste without any religious excitement, the same as the French or Germans or Irish or any human beings. Then every person will find their level.

If I am inclined to respect one person over another, it must be from some taste of my own, but I want no excitement about it. Then every person will mind their own affairs and will be likely to mingle in society where they feel the most at home. But in political or religious excitements there is no certainty of a man's position. Excitement or opinions take control of wisdom and his opinion leads his wisdom into trouble that he never gets rid of. There are four classes of persons who are affected in this rebellion. One set wants to have their own way, and their way is to compel the ignorant and all others to abandon their opposition to slavery and turn round and mingle with the blacks on a platform of equality. These are few, and if there was no slavery today, the whites and blacks of their own accord would seek their own level and be as independent of each other as ever they were in any community where slavery does not exist. The excess of excitement is disease that Freedom will cure. It will leave the blacks independent and also the whites the same.

Then there is another class that wishes to have their way. This is a political party. They have no principles but a desire for party. They have no sympathy for black or white. They would as soon enslave the whites as the blacks if they had the power and the whites stood in their way. Then there is another class that wishes to see slavery abolished because it is used for political purposes. And although their prejudice is not so strong in favor of freedom for the slave, freedom is the best way of keeping the slave power out of power. Now there are a few, and I am one of this class, that take this view of slavery. I put black and white slavery all on the same platform. Both are opposed to science. Science looks at slavery as an evil that must be destroyed. Now as every party but the party that goes for slavery is a combination of truth and error, the slave party is of that class of mind that has not been worked upon by the wisdom of science. They are of that brutal matter that the light has never penetrated.

Now as the light is lit in men's minds, the minds become excited and the war is in each individual person. Now if their sympathy is with the slave, they are liable to be excited beyond a healthy state. To such, freedom to the slave is heaven and they take the same grounds with the world. If they are deceived into a religious belief, they have a heaven like a world of liberty, and they use all the means to convert the sinner to be saved or to get his liberty, from the sinners of this world. So they make war with everything and every opinion that interferes with man's salvation. So their enthusiasm is the same in both; their motive is good but it is guided by error. Freedom is a prize and those who do not understand what it is would not know it if they had it. It is not freedom to a horse to turn him out of the barn in winter and tell him to shirk for himself. So it is with all kinds of slavery. To say to a man that is bound by the priests, You are a slave, and make him leave the church without enlightening him is as wrong as to hold him in slavery. So it is with disease. To tell the sick man that is kept in slavery by his doctor to break loose and be free, without teaching him wisdom and how to take care of himself, is wrong.

So with African slavery. To mingle with the slave and get him mad with his master without the ideas of liberty is as wrong as the other system. Now the true way to bring liberty to the oppressed is to appeal to the highest tribunal and that is the people. The slaves have no voice in the matter, white or black. Now there have been men and women that think the best way to get rid of slavery is to mingle with the slave, but I do not. The voice of the people is the medium, but there are persons that are like balloons that are full of gas. They rise in the atmosphere long before the great balloon of liberty ascends. These small ones that are filled from the great reservoir go up and burst in the air and keep the people in commotion, looking for the ascension of the great balloon. The question of black and white will be a question of self, not a party question, but an individual idea and this will regulate itself. So I make war with slavery as a very bad and dangerous institution, opposed to the principles of progression and science. I do not go to liberate a disease or free a slave and let the cause remain. Destroy the cause and the effect will cease. So put down the rebellion at all hazards and if any of the institution remains, tie it about so that it can never get its head above ground.

Let every state come back free from the accursed evil or formed so that it will die a natural death. Destroy the party so that no man will ever come up before the people and say anything in favor of the institution. Then slavery is dead. But to mingle on equal ground is to admit to the disease that you exist and I pity you and will try every kind of wisdom to cure you. I say nothing to the disease. The slave is the matter diseased. Now to catch the disease is to mingle with the matter. Stand aloof and destroy the cause. The whites have as much belief in slavery as the disease or slave. Now talk to the belief or whites. Mingle with them and destroy their belief in slavery and then you cure the disease. But to mingle with the slave or black, you catch the disease and you become more offensive than the black disease. So shake off the disease and then attack the cause.

This was Jesus' mission and he says, For this cause came I into the world, to lead those that were sitting in darkness into the light and those that sit in darkness or slavery will see the light spring up. So the only way to kill slavery effectively is by public opinion, through the voice of the people by their votes. There are so many demagogues that want office that they will advocate anything whether they understand it or not. And it would not be strange if the very party at the North will be the party that will go in for the amalgamation of the blacks and whites as soon as they find their days are numbered. But Liberty will be always silently at work to bring about the design that science will destroy every false theory, every superstitious breeze, and will sail over the whole continent of America with the flag of the Union and Liberty forever.

Now the political gas is made from the enemies of liberty who have set fire to the combustibles of their own institution. This creates the gas that is in their own constitutions and is now rising and has caught fire by the fire of Liberty. It will blow up their institution and destroy their laws. It will burn their fences and lay waste their fields and their great men and small men will lament and run from their enemy, for the day of their trouble draweth nigh. Now it is the idea that is to be destroyed, not the color. Therefore to mingle with the black or advocate this is not to change the idea, but to change the idea is to change the constitution of the slave. When I make war with the priests or doctors, I do not attack their character but their platform. Neither do I make the people disbelieve in medicine and acknowledge disease. I strike at disease first that is the institution. So with religion. I make war with the priest, not with the meetings nor with the worship. I go to the cause. I do not make war with slavery or disease but with the institution or principle.

The principle of religion leads to slavery and disease and death. So to destroy disease and slavery is to destroy the cause. Now to talk with the slave is to talk to disease, but to talk to the intelligence of the free is to change the mind and this destroys the principle of slavery. To do this is the work of time. But sometimes the devil makes war in its own kingdom. So when a house becomes divided against itself, it cannot stand. Slavery has been divided against itself and its destruction is sure. So all that the people of the Free States have to do is to take the advantage of their own quarrel and put down the rebellion and the rebellion will destroy itself, for its own fire is slavery and it will burn till it destroys itself, but it cannot destroy the Union. Therefore, to become excited and undertake to mix colors is not the question at all. That would be like destroying all the medicines and leaving the people diseased in mind. Liberating the slave is not the destruction of the idea. The people must be educated up to the standard of Liberty.

1863

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