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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Man's Identity

We often speak of man's identity as though there were but one identity attributed to him. This is not the case. Man has as many identities as he has opinions, and the one his senses are attached to last is the one that governs him. This may seem strange but it is true. Our senses are not our identity, because they cannot change; they are principles. But our belief, thoughts and opinions can change, for they are matter. So when we say a person never changes it is as much as to say he is nothing but a brute, for he really denies the principle of progression because he does not admit such a thing as change. Now we hear of our tastes changing. Does the principle change or our belief? The fact that we are aware of the change shows the change must be in that which can change and this must be matter.

Then what is it that does not change? It is that principle in matter that never moves, or the foundation of all things. It is that which says when we have found out something new, as we think, “Why did you not find it out before?” It says to us when we are investigating certain mathematical truths, “This truth has always existed,” and we believe it. This is the something that is wisdom. It does not come nor go, but is like light. You cannot shut your eyes but you see it. You cannot keep it out of sight; in fact, you acknowledge it in every act. But that which acknowledges it is not the something acknowledged. For instance, if you work out a problem and the answer comes out right, you acknowledge a wisdom that existed before you knew it; so you may change but you won't admit the something you speak of, can change. The trouble is to get our senses attached to this something so that we shall not change.

The beast is not aware of this something, for they never acknowledge it in their acts, for they revolve in the same shape their fathers did. But the matter called man has a higher element called dynamics which the brutal man and beast know not of. They know no higher law than the common law of statics. Now the inventive man that changes from statics to dynamics wants to increase his speed, so he invents motions by gearing into the old idea of statics and increases the speed, called dynamics. This develops some new idea and then he says, “Why did I not find this out before?” So here is the beginning of the man of wisdom. His birth is conceived in matter or statics and brought forth in dynamics. This is the new birth. This was the life that God breathed into statics and he became a living or progressive, dynamic being or soul. Each of the two has its senses; one in statics and the other in dynamics and the fruits show their identity. So the senses are the wisdom of each. The senses of the natural man change, for his senses are matter or belief, but the senses of dynamics are his wisdom and this never changes, only develops. So the darkness of statics disappears and leaves the man of dynamics in full possession of all his senses.

1864

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