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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Nothing and Something I

I have spoken of nothing producing nothing. I will now show that what is nothing to me is something to the one that believes it. Take a person that believes in ghosts. Now to that person a ghost is something and if the ghost troubles him by tormenting his body with pain, the pain to him is as real as the other pain, and one is as real as the other. Now for me to say that both are nothing is to those who believe, an absurdity, for they think that their feeling to me is all imagination. But this is not the case. I will illustrate it another way. The dark makes some persons nervous, so they want a light; now that light expels the darkness, so when the light is present the fear is gone. Now there is no such thing as darkness to those that have light, so the darkness is in those that have no light. So darkness produces darkness and light produces light. Now to call a belief darkness and call it something and say that nothing produced it, is to light, an absurdity. But to darkness it can't see it, for there is no light in their substance called darkness.

Disease is darkness and all sorts of ghosts exist in this darkness and as the things are real to the ones that live in darkness, the effect on them is real. Now as truth expels their darkness by introducing the light of reason, they will then see that all their troubles are in their minds. For their minds being dark in regard to truth or light, they choose darkness or belief in their error because it looks to them as truth. So they had rather acknowledge a lie than investigate the truth which will condemn themselves. Now these absurdities run all through man's reason, for all his reason is based on this flimsy foundation of darkness; and as there is no light about it, all that ever is seen is the effect on their bodies. And these show themselves to their dark minds in the form of substances and take the name of disease. Now wisdom sees through these shadows and knows the author that makes them.

How often I hear these words. Just take away the pain I have in my head or limb so that it won't come back again and that is all I ask. Now here they virtually admit the pain as some living thing that I may have the power to rid them of; therefore it must have an existence separate from them and then it has an identity. Now where does this belief differ from the belief in Salem witchcraft? The people then believed that these spirits or witches would come and pinch them, leaving the marks of their fingers on the flesh. They also believed that all their pains were from some evil spirit or from God. How often do you hear persons say that God often afflicts people for their good.

Now all these false ideas and thousands more of the same kind are the cause of the evils that man suffers and they are all fruits of the old tree of superstition. So as they begin to trim it up and engraft new ideas into the old stock, it still partook of the old tree. Once it bore all kinds of fruit of misery and good. It first was good and evil. It bore this kind of fruit, but the good became extinct by engrafting all kinds of evil. Now necessity being the mother of invention, man wishes to account for everything he hears or sees. If he feels a pain, he wants to know the cause and being ignorant, he attaches it to something. So he has a name for it, the same as if he saw an animal he would give it a name or he would enquire of someone till he found a name right or wrong. So the doctors being admitted to be teachers of health to warn the sick of their danger, it is supposed they are posted up. So when any of these living things called disease get hold of us, we send for the doctor to tell us what it is and how to get rid of it.

Now if we did not believe disease was a living thing, why do we want to kill it and if it had life, where was it before we got it? So all goes to show that we believe disease is just as much of a living thing as a ghost and witches of Salem times. When the doctor calls, as he is as ignorant as his patient but wants to appear wise, his wisdom looks in the dark. If the patient feels a little disturbed about the chest and tells the doctor, he, that is the doctor, looks very wise into the dark and says your liver is diseased. Now where was this disease or living thing that has gotten hold of you before you knew it? In the doctor and the world. So when you received his opinion you received a lie and this lie brought forth a child, called liver complaint. Now to you the child is really a living being without a father, but to wisdom it has a father, for wisdom knows that nothing cannot produce liver complaint, yet the patient has no idea of its father. But it has a father and he is the belief in a diseased liver. So to wisdom, it is the child of the devil, or one lie begets another lie, or one nothing begets another nothing. But you can only see the effect. This is as far as the natural man can see, but he will always admit that there is a cause. The true cause he never admits as such, yet in his acts he admits it.

Now I find the father and make him own the child or disease and then I destroy both father and child or the devil and his works, for his kingdom is in darkness and his works are brought to light by wisdom. So as mind is matter according to man's belief, belief is matter and so is the effect of belief in disease. But as mind to wisdom is nothing but darkness, the effect on man called disease is the reflection of his belief, and until the light of science lights up his darkness, the shadow to him will be seen. So what to the sick is real, to me is mind.

So when I say that disease is in the mind, I mean that it does not exist anywhere else. For if you feel pain, you know it is you and no one else; if you feel pleasure, does not everyone that is capable of feeling pleasure, feel it? Is it not so with grief? Did you ever hear of a man's liver complaining and the owner feel well? Does a white swelling feel pain? Now if the pain were not in the owner, why does he try to get rid of it? I have seen a great many sick persons and have found that all their troubles they lay to something they want to get rid of. Sometimes they even find fault with their actions and want to act better, and sometimes with their food and they say it hurts them. Yet if they should have their minds acted upon by some excitement, the distress is gone for the time. Now convince them that it is their belief and that their belief is the living thing which has gotten into the stomach and is gnawing them, and ask them where the living thing is outside of their belief. For the thing that gnaws is not the thing that complains, it is the one that gets gnawed, and as they think that they and their stomachs are one, they want to get rid of their enemy.

Now I propose to convince them that they are gnawing themselves, for when I change the mind and allay their fears, the ghost or belief lets go. Now to show the foregoing to be mind, and that although mind with wisdom is nothing, yet to error it is something and wisdom has to admit it as such, and then destroy it, is my object. This sort of reasoning is called the Platonic mode of reasoning. Admit what you know to be a lie and then show your superior wisdom by opposing it. Socrates denied everything and made his opponent prove what they affirmed and his pupil, Plato, took both grounds. So I am obliged to admit what I know is false for the sake of proving it a lie. So with disease. I have to admit the phenomenon when I know the cause is all in the mind and this the sick deny. So to prove it I have to analyze mind in every way that can be conceived of, to show that mind is something that can be changed. When I have proved this, I find facts that will be admitted to prove that minds can act upon another mind. Then comes in this truth that nothing cannot produce any one thing.

So if mind produces any one thing, mind must be something. I then show that mind or thoughts disturb our sleep and strange things arise to disturb us. Now if all this is nothing, how does it frighten man into fits and other diseases as they are called? Now to deny that thoughts are anything and admit that we are affected and that we become sick and lose our sleep and the whole body becomes perfectly paralyzed by a word from another is to admit that nothing produces something. Now assuming that mind or thoughts and reason are something, the way is clear to see and understand how all things come into being and how these strange things like spirits and ghosts and diseases are formed. Again if mind is not something, how can it be changed? Grief is a state of mind and when gayety comes, grief is gone, as when light appears the darkness is gone. Now no one will say that when a person is in the dark and knows it that his mind is not in the knowledge of that fact.

Now dissipate the darkness by the introduction of light and will anyone say that his mind is not changed? His senses are now attached to the light where before they were in the dark. Suppose he was frightened by the dark; when the light comes his fright disappears. Is not his mind changed, and if so what has changed it? If the mind is not something that is capable of impression, how does the darkness impress it? Can there be an effect without a cause? If all men say no, then what is the cause? Give it a name that will represent something that you call nothing. Again if mind is not admitted to be something why do persons take medicine to quiet the mind? Again why are we afraid of things that we cannot see if we do not believe they exist? And if they do exist, they must be something. Again if they are something, they must have life, for if dead they wouldn't be troubling us. Besides if disease was not something that has life, why do we try to get rid of it and believe that it may be killed or destroyed? All man's acts show that he believes in all that I have stated and here is the foundation of man's reason.

Now as I said, wisdom knows that all of this is false, the cause and the effect. The mind is nothing and the effect the same. So to prove that what I have showed is something to the natural man but nothing to the scientific man, is to show that there is something that cannot change; this is a solid or wisdom. So I will try to give some idea of what it can do, and what its properties are and how it acts on this something that man calls matter. So I must suppose a principle or something that exists outside of man or that part called mind. For I take the ground that a principle cannot change so mind cannot be a principle. Therefore there must be a principle that exists outside of mind. Besides, if there is not, why does anything act according to certain principles? Laws are not principles, they are the invention of mind and therefore can be changed to suit any emergency that arises. But you cannot make a pound of lead rise from the ground into the air without some power independent of the principle that keeps it still. It may dissolve and then its weight becomes lighter than the atmosphere. And then it will rise, not of itself, but it is governed by a principle that air is heavier than the rarefied lead, and the principle is, of course, that the lighter must give way to the heavier.

1864

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