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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Nothing and Something II

In investigating the subject of health, I start with the idea that nothing never produced any one thing; therefore every effect must have a cause. Now reasoning from the principle that nothing cannot produce any one thing, it is plain that nothing will produce nothing. If this were not so, everything might produce anything and there could be no such principle as action and reaction, for all things would be springing from anything: animals coming out of the ground, trees bearing fruit in the winter, sleighs running in the summer, flowers springing out of snow banks.

Now we know that all this is not so, so we say that everything has its cause. Call the cause what you will, it must be something. As we see seeds produce vegetation, we may reason that everything has its seed or something that attracts it to its kind. Assuming this ground, I shall try to show that these seeds grow and form bodies and these bodies also produce seeds which form other bodies and all these bodies grow and fill the earth without the aid of man. All this will be admitted by every person. Now all these things must have their origin in something. What shall we call it? I will call it Wisdom. I assume that wisdom is the first cause. We all see harmony in the mineral and vegetable world. All kinds of matter dissolve and pass into the air or earth and out of the decomposition springs life in another form, so that matter of one kind produces other matter of the same kind, and when the matter is dissolved by old age, other kinds spring up.

Take the forest. When the old growth of trees is destroyed, a new growth takes its place, but usually of a different combination. Everything in nature is subject to this law of decomposition, acted upon by some unknown power. We call it old age or decomposition. In this great garden of creation, created by this wisdom, comes another kind of matter called animal which may include any kind of living thing, animals, the finny tribes, the feathered creation, reptiles and every creeping thing. They are another kind of matter more rarefied than the first, yet they are composed of seeds or life, and each seed produces other bodies after its kind. But when old age or time destroys the body, the life that springs out of the dead body is not like the other. So you see that all matter can produce other results of a similar kind, till the idea is destroyed, when the matter assumes another form or identity. Now all I have said is continually going on and yet there is no higher matter developed than the animal.

Now in this garden, wisdom has seen fit to plant another being of matter, not differing so much from that kind that was formed before, yet it is different in this respect. It seems to contain something of the likeness of its father, wisdom. Not a likeness of matter in a form but of wisdom. It seems to have power over the matter of other kingdoms. Now I assume that this superior wisdom is from or a part of the first cause that is to act as an agent to establish a scientific mode of regulating and keeping and preserving the original stock and improving the condition of its race. This agent I call the scientific man or God, acting on matter of all kinds. Now, as I said, matter or seeds produced matter of the same kind, but when destroyed by a natural decay, other combinations spring up. So with the animal creation.

So each kind of matter mingles with other matter and thus the species are kept alive or retain their own identity. Now this matter is devoured by some other matter. The earth and air devours all kinds of minerals and vegetable matter and out of itself comes other forms. So the animals live on animal matter or life, and as this life is seeds or matter, it goes to make the body of the animal that eats it and his character partakes of the food he eats. This either improves the species or destroys it. It generally destroys the original combination. This is called the running out of certain breeds of animals because they are not crossed, as it is said, but it is the natural result of matter. It, and another species, is brought out or another development.

So man lives on all the matter of the kingdom and his matter being a part of every kind, his life is in the combination that governs him. Now as I said before, new developments in matter are always taking place. So man like all other animals goes through this change and would run out were it not for a higher principle that is independent of the seeds or matter for its existence. This is the scientific man that is not seen by the eye of matter, yet he is acknowledged. So as matter has its different kinds of seeds and man being a combination of these seeds, it is not strange that he should express them in his acts. We all know that beasts express certain feelings we call fear and also desire for food and sometimes a sort of tenderness not surpassed by even the higher order of beings. Now in this kind of matter, being separate from the scientific man, you discover superstition or fear. So as language is the invention of this more rarefied matter, it gives the matter or life of that kind, that has arrived at that state to learn a language, to express their feelings by words or language. So then we see by the expression where they stand or the combination of matter they are composed of.

This develops this class of matter called superstition, so as that, like all the other matter, mingles and produces other combinations, it tries to account for that change that is always acting on all kinds of matter called by the name of decay or death. So language gives this matter a chance to throw off its seeds into the world of matter in the form of opinion. These seeds are caught up by the lower class of matter and go to change the composition of their own matter. Now as this class of matter, like the brute, has their identity attached to the matter of which they are a part, the change is not perceptible to them and they think they are the same person they always were, when their combination has changed as much as an apple tree that has had all kinds of fruit engrafted on it. And yet the old stump or body is ignorant of the fruit it produces and holds on to the old identity of the original fruit.

Like the man who calls himself a democrat and claims to be of the old school that every limb and branch has been cut off long ago and nothing remains of the old stock, only the name rubbed into the minds of the people. Now as I said all this kind of matter is the natural result of progression to prepare matter for a higher development of wisdom or science. For as matter contains motion, from the fact that heat is to expand, as matter is dissolved by this heat, it finds itself separated in a large space. Now there must be outside of this matter a sort of foundation for some higher or more rarefied something that can exist out of matter.

So here is where the scientific man resides. After pressing forward by the earnest desire to reach the point from which wisdom flies, he presses on, driven by the pressure of matter. He, like that, rises, till he finds himself beyond the narrow limits of this world of matter. So he passes through this into space, and here he finds what wisdom has created. He then returns to the world of matter and there becomes a teacher of that class of minds or matter that has passed through the fire of superstition and is ready to listen to the voice of reason. Now what is man's mission? To show to the man of matter that his senses are not matter but his life is, and his happiness is, and his happiness is in his wisdom and not in his error. His error is the thing to destroy, so he leaves a teacher to the inhabitants of this world of matter. Now as all things of wisdom's make are in common, man being one of the things created by wisdom, being subject to all the changes of matter, his first creation is fear. So that fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Fear begets action and as from being the result of sensation, it creates heat. This heat is the natural result of fear. Now as this fear rarefies the matter, it becomes a medium for seeds of error and superstition; so where there is fear there must be action. Now language being confined to that class of matter called man, he uses it instead of signs and gestures to convince his friend of danger. So the language is full of the fear. This is the seed called fear that is sown in the soil of man. Now fear like all other seeds is composed of different combinations. So if a man should be bitten by an animal, the language by which he would express himself would be filled with his own fear, not the animal, for the animal has perhaps no fear, but the seeds come from the person's fright. Now as these seeds of fear of the bite spring up in the person, it disturbs the soil of the mind and the animal is seen in the fright, so the person is always afraid of the animal. So his fear with some additions is by language communicated to others till the world becomes a world of fear.

Thus you see that every person's body is continually throwing off from itself these seeds of fear, in all kinds of belief and opinions. Now to wisdom all this is from fear. So as fear is the name of every condition of matter from the brute creation to science, it shows itself in every composition of animal life. But wisdom knows no fear, so perfect wisdom casteth out fear, for fear hath torment. So a man, as we see him, is a man of fear. Now the fear of man differs from the fear of the brutes in this respect. The brutes' fear is confined to such things as wisdom has made but man's fear is confined to such dangers as man has made or invented. Now these things that trouble our sleepless nights and haunt our imagination are among the things of man's invention. Now convince man that at death this is the end of him, then frightful dreams of endless misery after death will fall harmless at his feet. Then the fear of dying will be confined to his natural life. Now the fear of what will be his state after death haunts his imagination or disturbs his mind and strange things appear before his senses that he can't account for by any power of his, and so he thinks they come from the same power that created the things that can be seen.

Thus you see that man by his combination becomes a being of fear. This is the beginning of his wisdom. Then comes the necessity of protecting himself, so necessity is the mother of invention, so he becomes a superstitious man of invention. So in his fright he invents all sorts of ideas and gives them names and talks about them as though they really existed outside of his fears, till at last these ideas are received and believed as much as the things that Wisdom has created. Now among those things are creeds that are invented for man. He believes, so that he may keep clear of some other evil that he is made to believe. Now as I said these beliefs contain the seed or substance and the man of fear eats them, the same as the earth opens to receive the seed, and when the time comes for the seed to come forth, it will come and its growth depends upon the soil. If you sow the seed of witchcraft in the soil of a man of wisdom it will perish, but if in a man of fear, it will grow and come forth and show itself by language or opinion in a belief in witches. So all belief has its seeds, and if the seed does not grow, the fault is not in the seed but in the soil.

The soil is like salt. It will take up just as much as it can receive, but if it has lost its fear, it is not capable of receiving the seeds of error. Then the man of fear looks upon the man of science as an infidel or skeptic and as ignorant as a dog. So when the fear is lost by wisdom, it is cast out, to be eaten by the dogs. So this happens to both. The man that has lost his fear by receiving the truth is free from error, and the man of fear is in his error, and looks upon the other as much beneath him as a dog. So both are satisfied with their conditions. Now the difference between the man and the beast is their belief. The scientific man is not to be included. Now make man as ignorant as the beast and the length of his days would gradually depend on his safety from surrounding objects. Disease could not kill him for it is the invention of a higher development of matter. The natural destruction of matter would apply to him as to the beast but this is not disease in the sense I speak of. Now introduce the man of science from the world of wisdom where fear never comes and he will explain all the workings of matter and how to till the mind or soil so that superstition and all sorts of visionary ideas of disease, etc., cannot grow. Then man becomes upright in wisdom and also in person. He learns that his existence is not in his fear but in his wisdom and all the sacrifice that he offers to this unknown science is lost, for wisdom asks no sacrifices, only that of a pure and contrite heart, free from all fears.

I will take a case to show where fear prevents a man from arriving at a truth, although it is the first step towards it, for if there was no fear there would be no progression. The man of fear reasons in this wise. I will state a case. A lady called on me for examination. I sat down and after a short time I felt a sensation in my side accompanied with a feeling of a tumor. This contained the idea of cancer. So I said to the lady, You have the feeling I have described and she said she had. I then said, You think you have a cancer. She said, I suppose I have. I said, No, you have no cancer only as it exists in the mind. You are afraid of one. She said, No, she had just as lief die as not. I said, Suppose you had, that does not prevent you from having a fear. But she said it came without her knowing anything about it. Now here came in this peculiar mode of reasoning that nothing can produce something, for she believed that her belief had nothing to do with the effect and yet the effect was there and she could not say where it was till she saw it and felt it in the side. So of course she could not find it outside of herself. And as her body contained animal life or living matter and the tumor being a part of her body, it became a part of herself; so of course the cancer had as much life as any other part of her body, and it was eating up the body and yet she said or believed it had no existence that could be seen outside of the body and of course it must have been in her when she was born.

Now this is the way error reasons. Now truth would show that mind being matter and the phenomenon being matter, it must take matter to make matter. And as our beliefs to me are matter, the seed of cancer was in the belief and when her system was excited, the matter or mind was ready to receive the seed; she having it in the soil or belief, it sprang up like seed cast on the snow. When the sun comes out and the snow melts and the earth becomes ready to bring forth, the seed will spring up unless the fowls come and pick it up. So if there was no science to explain away the seed, it will spring up when the mind is ready to bring it forth.

When a man once acknowledges that a belief contains the seeds of disease or poison, then he will learn to analyze beliefs and see what they contain, taking for a standard that nothing cannot produce any one thing. So as a belief to the one that believes it is something and will produce the very thing contained in the belief; to the one that knows a belief is nothing, it produces nothing. So I had to destroy her belief that to her was something, for she believed in cancers, but to me it was nothing. So the belief to me was nothing but what she had made and man can make anything and put life in it and call it his. So it contained neither life nor anything only her belief. To make her understand was the work of a science which is to cure the sick of their fears. This science casts out all their fears and teaches that man is the author of his own troubles.

1864

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