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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Mind Is Not Intelligence

I told you that mind is not intelligence. Intelligence contains no thought, no opinion or reason. Mind contains them all. Disease is the off-spring of the mind, not of intelligence. All the above is the result of a chemical change, to bring about or develop some scientific law that will put man in possession of a knowledge of himself so that he will avoid the evils which man is subject to.

Thoughts are like electric sparks. Knowledge classifies and arranges them to a language nearer to itself so as to use them for a medium to communicate an idea to another. This is the state of all men. Under this state of mind all the laws of science have been developed. Every day brings to light some new idea, not yet developed, but bursting forth to the natural world. During this process, the mind undergoes some very powerful effects which affect the body, even to the destruction of the same. But this destruction contains no knowledge; it is only the destruction of the mind. The knowledge still agitates the mind till its end is accomplished. Then the mind returns to its quiet state, and the law is understood.

While all this is going on, as in all sciences, ideas come forth and the minds are affected and try for the prize; for instance, the idea of navigating the air. All minds are excited. Experiments are tried; accidents, as they are called, happen and lives are lost to this world of error. But that which governs the life cannot be lost but must mingle in with the idea of progression—not losing his identity, but what he loses in weight or matter, he makes up in science or knowledge. Therefore, accidents as they are called must happen, and we say, woe to them that are affected; it would have been better, as we think, if they had never been born. This would be true if it were the end of their existence. Now as these laws develop themselves, is the trouble in the laws or in themselves? The accidents, as they are called, are the errors or diseases and correcting those errors and establishing the truth or science is curing the disease or establishing the law.

I have said that when any new idea comes up, a class of persons enter into the investigation of it, but very few are ever able to put their ideas into practice or get the prize, though most all can understand something of the theory. There is a vast deal of difference between talking a theory and talking about a theory. Talking about a theory is like talking about a science we do not understand; it contains no knowledge. Talking a science is knowledge; therefore when a person speaks the truth, it is knowledge, but when he speaks an opinion, there is no knowledge in it. Knowledge contains no opinion, nor language, nor selfishness; and, like charity, has no ill will towards its neighbor, but like the rays of the sun, is always ready to impart heat to all who will come to the light.

Disease is one of the evil results of coming to the truth or knowledge. You will understand that to cure a disease is to understand the law by which that disease was produced. To make it more plain, I will suppose a case. In supposing a case, the person you address must suppose himself perfectly well. Now as thoughts contain a substance that is set in motion by error to form an idea, this substance acts upon another, like a galvanic battery, and keeps up a deposit of thought till the idea is formed in the mind. These thoughts may arise from different causes. I will select one. Suppose you become acquainted with a person. The first impression is a shock from his mind; this shock is kept up until an idea is formed in your mind. The motive or disease is in the idea of the person from whom you receive the shock. To you it contains no knowledge. You receive it as a sweet morsel that you can roll under your tongue. You nurse and foster it in your breast until it becomes a part of yourself. You form a strong attachment for it, and as it contains the character of its father, you become attached to the author. When the idea becomes developed and you find what it contains, you see you have been fostering a viper that will sting you to the heart. Grief, passion, fear and love take possession of your mind; reason enters into the combination, and a warfare commences. Hatred takes the place of love, truth the place of ignorance, firmness takes the place of weakness and a battle ensues. As truth works through this error or disease, knowledge and happiness take its place; the evil is cast out, the author or idea is despised and the mind is changed. You see the deception. Your knowledge is the emancipation of the error and all that follows it; the truth sets you free and happy, which is the cure.

Now sensations can be learned before they affect the body or produce disease so that they fall harmless at your feet. It is necessary that all persons have a teacher till they can teach themselves. The question then arises, How can a person believe in one whom he has never heard, and how can he learn without a teacher, and how can one teach without he be sent?

November 1859

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