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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Natural Man, The

All mankind have respect for wisdom or something superior to themselves that they cannot understand. Man of himself is naturally indolent, brutish and willful, content to live like the brute. He is pleased at any bauble or trifling thing. He has imitation and tries to copy whatever pleases him. In this he shows his reverence for his superiors. As he does not possess wisdom or science, he is often deceived. Thus he is made timid and willing to be led. His courage is the courage of ignorance, and when he sees superior numbers, he curls down like a dog when whipped by his master. Easily led and easily deceived, no confidence is to be placed on his word, for his word is always like the wag of a dog's tail to show his submission. But when his ends are answered, his next act might be to injure the very one that had just saved him from some trouble. He is easy in his manners if all goes well, but if needed for anything he, like the dog, is ready at the whistle of his master or anyone that will pat him, to bite his own master or anyone else.

Now because the brutes can be taught something, it does not follow that they can be taught science. They have their bounds which they cannot pass. So the natural man has his bounds which he cannot pass. But when I speak of the natural man, I speak of that wisdom that is based on an opinion. The brute is undergoing a change by the introduction of the wisdom of man; so the natural man in the same way is undergoing a change by the introduction of the scientific man. The brute is developed as far as the wisdom of man is capable of instructing him; so science takes the man of opinions and instructs him in the wisdom of God or science. Now as every man has more of the wisdom of opinions than of science, he is ignorant of himself, and being ignorant, he can only see one character; for all the wisdom he has is public opinion. He is up today and down tomorrow and knows not the cause of his rise or fall; so he is but one identity that is acknowledged by him. His change is so gradual that he never knows he has changed but supposes that all changes go to prove that he has remained the same. These minds are often found in politics. You will hear a person say, “I was always a Democrat or Federalist and my father and grandfather were before me.” Now this is a man of one idea. He is like the old gray-headed veteran who stands on Mount Joy and looks around on Portland and then turns to his young friend and says, “My lad, I remember when I helped cut the wood where the city now stands some eighty or ninety years ago.” His young friend says, “You must have changed very much.” “Oh! I am older but I am the same man I was then.” In reality there is not a single idea about him the same except his five senses. So it is with the political man. His senses are attached to the word “Democrat” and as long as that word lives in the wisdom of opinions, he is a Democrat; and so long as this identity lives in him, he never changes, for his senses never were attached to any principle. So the changes of principle are nothing to him as he never had any. But with the other party it is not the same. The senses of the masses are attached to the word as the Democrats are, but as there is a progressive wisdom that works in man, it finds more affinity in the Federal Party than in the Democrat, for the leaders of the party are selfish and appeal to the one idea Democrat or Federal. This makes up the great parties in all the progress of opinions and science. Now the science, being a stranger to both, cannot work like the demagogues by appealing to the one idea, for the senses are attached to the progression or wisdom that governs both. So as progression is the order of the day the senses of the masses become attached to new ideas and detached from old ones and thus parties are all the time changing, and minds are changing to suit the times. This gives the demagogues a chance to appeal to the masses, and as long as they can lead the masses by one idea, they use any sort of cunning that comes up to suit their convenience.

March 1861

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