A Quimby or teacher
Is there a proof of any communication from the spirit world? This question involves two ideas: first, what is spiritual knowledge, and second, is all knowledge, which cannot be accounted for on natural principles? To the last question I will answer, “Yes.”
Question: Do you mean to say there are two spiritual states.
I. Do you believe in a spiritual state?
A. Yes, I believe there are two spiritual states.
I. Do I understand you to say there are two spiritual states?
I. Can man pass into both while the body is living?
I. Do not these communications purporting to come from the spirit world, come from it?
I. Is there any other spiritual world that does not communicate with this?
I. Where is the difference between the two?
A Between the dead and the living.
I. I don’t understand you.
A. The spirits of the dead pass through the spiritual world that is occupied by the living, and thence into the higher state, which is a link to connect the two together, like the animal and spiritual kingdoms.
I. I do not understand your answer.
A. To make you understand me it will be necessary to give an illustration.
I. Explain the difference between the two spiritual states so that I can understand where the difference lies.
A. Do you admit there is such a state as is called a spiritual state?
I. Well, I don’t know that we have any proof of such a state.
A. What will you admit?
I. I will admit one mind can act upon another mind.
A. Very well, what is mind?
I. It is our thoughts.
A. Can they be seen by our natural eyes?
A. Are not our thoughts spiritual?
I. Well, I suppose they may be called spiritual.
A. Do you admit them to be spiritual?
A. Well, then we agree on one thing, that is that our minds are spiritual.
I. I said nothing about mind, I said thought.
A. Are not our thoughts called mind?
I. Well I will admit that our thoughts and our mind are the same.
A. Well, is it spiritual?
I. In one sense it is because it cannot be seen by the natural eye.
A. Therefore that which cannot be seen by the natural eye must be spiritual.
A. Then we are agreed in regard to one spiritual state.
I. Yes, so long as we are living bodies, but destroy the body, and where is the mind or spirit?
A. This is not the question in dispute as I understand it. The question is not whether the spiritual state ceases at death or continues after the body ceases to exist, but whether there is a spiritual state or not. This is the question. What is your answer to this question? Do you admit a spirit state?
I. Yes, I admit a spirit state.
A. Well, as you have admitted a spiritual state, I will try to answer your question in regard to the two spiritual states. Shall I explain the first spiritual state?
I. If you please.
A. As there may be some difference of opinion in regard to what constitutes this state, it will be necessary to ask some questions. Therefore I will ask if you believe thoughts have forms?
I. I do not know as I understand your question.
A. Well I will try to put it in such a form as there can be no mistake about it. Can there be an impression without something to impress?
A. If you think of a person, do you not form him in the mind?
I. I think of the person and that is all.
A. Is thinking an act of nothing?
A. Will you please to define what it is if anything?
I. I will give it up and hear your ideas of it.
A. Well as you wish to, I will try to give an explanation. The trouble lies in ourselves. We admit what we don’t believe, and then deny that which we profess to believe, thereby showing that we have no belief at all.
I. Explain your meaning.
A. The infidel admits that mind is the result of an organized brain. He also admits that thought is the reflection of the mind. Now he denies that reflection is anything.
I. Well, let the infidel alone and try the spiritualist, and see if his belief is founded on anything that can stand the test. I will assume the character of the spiritualist.
A. You believe that our minds can pass into the spirit world and get knowledge of what the natural man knows nothing?
A. Do you believe there is more than one spiritual state?
A. What do you include in the state you call spiritual? Are the dead and living all together or are they separate?
S. I believe that man while alive cannot pass into the state of the dead, but that the spirits of the dead can come from the spirit world and enter our mortal bodies, and communicate to the living about the dead.
A. Have you any proof of this, and if so please give it.
S. Yes we have positive proof of it.
A. What is it?
S. Communications through mediums. Do you deny that they are spiritual?
A. No. I do not deny that they are spiritual, but I deny that they come from the dead.
S Where do they come from if not from the dead?
A. They don't come at all.
S. What is it that communicates to us through these mediums if it is not spirits?
A. I have not denied that it was spirits, but that does not follow it is from the dead.
S. Please explain where these communications come from that purport to come from the dead.
A. I see you are laboring under the same difficulty that others are who have not investigated the subject.
S. Give your own interpretation of spirits.
A. My interpretation is this. Our bodies are composed of animal life which is called matter, which is a medium for our souls to communicate one fact to another. It is like an instrument to communicate the idea of music. The power can be independent of the body or connected with it.
S. What is the soul? Is it anything independent of an organized brain, or is it the result of an organized being?
A. I believe it is something independent of matter.
S. Can you bring any proof of its acting independent of the brain?
A. Do you admit that the brain is composed of matter?
A. If the brain is composed of matter does it not occupy space?
S. Yes, but it may be so dissolved as not to seem to occupy space.
A. Well, when in that state is it matter or does it cease to be anything?
S. It is still matter.
A. Can it be seen by the natural eye?
S. No, but yet it is matter.
A. Can it go to another place independent of the body and there take form so as to be seen or felt?
S. Yes, I suppose it must, or I must deny all the proof of the mind acting on the body.
A. This something that sees or feels it, is it a part of it, or is it something else?
S. I cannot say it is the same.
A. Then what is it that feels or sees it?
S. I must give up and hear your explanation.
A. The soul is neither matter nor mind, but is that power that acts upon both.
S. In what way is it connected with matter?
A. The soul fills all space and is in possession of all knowledge.
S. Why is man so ignorant?
A. When we speak of man we speak of something independent of the soul.
S. What is man?
A. Man is a chemical compound of the four kingdoms, and contains in his body all the elements of the same. These elements are under the control of the soul, that power called God, therefore the result of reason is a chemical action like the action of steam to machinery.
S. Is man nothing but a machine?
A. In one sense he is, for he is as dependent on another power to direct his act, as a steam engine is dependent on the engineer. Each is governed by a power independent of itself.
S. Can this power be seen by man?
A. No, from the fact that it does not contain any of the elements of man and therefore is that that is, and is not, and yet is.
S. What is that that cannot be seen and yet is? Please give some illustration so I can understand.
A. You can see yourself in the glass, can you not?
A. Do you see that that sees you?
A. Then there is something that sees and is not seen and yet is. Again, you move your hand—is the power seen that moves it? and yet there is a power admitted. Is it not so?
S. Yes, but that does not prove to me that this power is independent of matter.
A. Is not there a power that can move your body?
A. Is not your body, matter?
A. Is that that is moved the same as the power that moved it?
A. Then you admit a power that is, that cannot be seen and yet is.
S. Well, what does this power embrace that you call soul?
A. It embraces that power that directs the movements of the mind and body. It also embraces the power that directs all things.
S. What has it to do with our minds and thoughts?
A. A great deal. It is the power that develops all actions.
S. What is the use of a power that makes man unhappy?
A. If properly understood it makes man happy.
S. I thought you said that man was nothing but a machine.
A. In one sense it is so, but in another he is more than a machine. He, that is, his body, embraces what is called mind and spirit. This mind and spirit is the result of power called soul which is independent of the body and uses the body to communicate knowledge, like a lever to communicate power to move weight.
S. Why is man so much troubled with disease if he is nothing but a machine?
A. I see you do not understand what man is.
S. Well, do you understand?
A. I think that I do.
S. Please explain man so I can understand what man is.
A. In explaining man I wish you to distinctly understand that I make no allusion to his bodily form, but his soul. Will you remember that?
S. I will try to.
A. When I speak of man I speak of him as two persons from the fact that they are exactly opposed to each other.
S. I don’t know what you mean by two characters in one and yet say that they are directly opposite to each other.
A. I will try to make you understand what I mean. You admit such a thing as happiness?
A. You also admit such a thing as misery?
A. Well these are the two characters that I am to speak of.
S. All people will admit such a thing as good and bad, and happiness and misery.
A. I do not admit such a thing as bad of itself.
S. You admit such a thing as good?
A. Yes, but I do not admit bad of itself.
S. Well, what is it that is bad?
A. Bad is the result of ignorance. Of itself there is neither good nor bad.
S. Explain it so that I can understand.
A. Is there anything in fire of itself either good or bad?
A. What is it?
S. You can use it to make you comfortable etc.
A. I will admit all that. Is it conscious of being good or bad?
A. Then good or bad must be the result of a power higher than itself.
A. Well, then you see that you admit these two powers are in one person good and bad.
S. Yes, and will you explain where they differ?
A. They are both matter and are the result of association. To make it clear to you I will illustrate the two characters. Suppose you should see an object, and you should take it for something very beautiful. This would be good, would it not?
A. Suppose you should be convinced that it was bad, would not your mind change from good to bad?
A. Suppose you walked up to the object and see that it was nothing but a statue made of wood, would not the good and bad change or be modified?
S. Yes, but what does this prove?
A. It proves that there is a chemical action in the body, and that it is governed by impressions made on the soul.
S. I thought you said the soul contained all knowledge.
A. So I did.
S. You said that there was an impression made on the soul. Now if the soul knows all things why is it disturbed?
A. Error is not knowledge, neither is impression knowledge, therefore when an impression is made on the soul it is made through the body. This disturbs the fluids of the body and these fluids contain all the elements that make up reason.
S. Do you say the fluids of the body contain intelligence?
A. A sort of animal intelligence which is necessary to keep up a chemical action to develop the laws of the soul or God.
S. I do not know as I understand your reasoning why the soul should be disturbed if it is in possession of all knowledge.
A. The soul is not disturbed of itself, but the body is disturbed by impressions and this produces a sort of chemical action. This action decomposes the nervous system and brings a portion of it into a fluid state which is under the control of this inferior intellect. This creates objects and all sorts of beings that fancy can imagine.
S. Will you illustrate this last idea so that I can understand it more clearly?
A. I will try to. Suppose a person living in the country, happy and at ease, and to all appearance well. Now his nervous system would be quiet, and every thing goes on well and he is happy. This would be called good, would it not?
A. Well, suppose a person should come in from town and call on this person and ask him how he enjoyed himself. He should first say “I am perfectly happy,” and then the man should look at him very knowingly and reply “Men sometimes feel the best when they are in the greatest danger.” Would this not be likely to give the man a shock?
A. Well, then the disturbed man received the first shock to his system and it shows itself in this mind just in that degree that the system is disturbed. The disturber then goes on to relate all the evil stories his mind can invent. The disturbed man keeps up this chemical action under these impressions till he is able to create any that his fancy can imagine. His system changes, his identity also changes, and he becomes a most wretched being. Now this would be called bad, would it not?
A. Well are these impressions a part of the man's feelings or are they something which was independent of the man?