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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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On the Circulation of the Blood [I]

A great fault in the medical faculty is that they admit certain opinions in regard to the circulation of the blood, as how the air affects it and how the food is carried in it to all parts of the system, etc., all of which is nothing but opinions which cannot stand the test of science. According to them, the blood is composed of certain gases combined together and which are of themselves pure. Therefore to affirm that the blood gets impure is to affirm what is false. It is true it may be loaded with impurities, but the blood or gases are not and cannot be made impure. Now where do these impurities come from? It is supposed from the food. This cannot be the case for some children are born with these impurities, as they are called, who had never eaten anything. That is accounted for by saying the parents eat food and the children are affected by it. If there was not a more sensible way of accounting for it, that theory would answer very well, but I shall try to show that there is a better and more reasonable method.

In all theories of the circulation of the blood, there is not one word said of any intelligence or influence outside of the blood itself, or of man. He is regarded as though he came into existence without a cause, and was then governed by laws that are not admitted as having the least intelligence, and yet the doctors explain what makes strength, etc. They assert that some food has certain chemical qualities which make strength in man, while other kinds of food weaken him. The intelligence is all in what they have admitted contains none. For instance, we say the air makes us feel strong. Where now is the strength, in the air or something else? We also say the same in regard to the blood, though I am not aware that the blood contains any strength of itself. The same can be said of the muscles, thus placing the power in the muscles. All our intelligence is therefore in some organ that the surgeon can hold in his hand, while he discourses at large upon it as though the organ contained the intelligence and power he was talking of. But never does he hint about an outside universal wisdom. This false theory places us in the dark in regard to wisdom and lets opinions rule the destinies of man. I shall endeavor to show that man as we see him is not the real or true man, but merely the shadow.

The medical faculty informs us of all the gases, etc., of which man is composed, yet I never heard of these gases being endowed with the least atom of intelligence. Their theory represents man as a being having wisdom, yet at the same time it deprives him of any by denying that there is any wisdom in the materials of which he is composed, and still calling the materials all there is of him and then giving him a wisdom superior to the brute. Here they virtually admit that nothing can produce something that is wisdom. In all the theory of the circulation of the blood, there is not one word said of anything which makes man except his food, etc. Now if you will follow my reasoning, you will see a different construction put upon the circulation of the blood from that of the medical faculty. All ideas contain a substance as much as the food we eat, and these very ideas are what make us sick. They enter the system and help to make up the body which is itself merely an idea. According to my belief, ideas are imparted to the child before it is born who thus has to suffer for the sins or beliefs of its parents. Not that this was the design of the first cause, but man has wandered away from truth, has invented lies and deceived himself by false ideas till his body has become as corrupt as his ideas that feed it.

All of this the medical faculty pass over as though it has nothing to do with man. The blood is the medium and not the material required to produce strength. The babe has blood but no strength. The man can be so far intoxicated that he has no strength, yet he has blood. The criminal when he hears his death sentence pronounced often loses his strength, yet he has blood. A sick person raising a teaspoon of blood from his lungs, as he supposes, will lose all his strength, while the same person when well may lose half a pint of blood from his nose in a fight; yet if he comes off conqueror, he never minds it in the least. Strength must be in something besides the blood. The same rule will apply to the food, as some persons who eat the heartiest are by no means the strongest. Hearty persons often lie down after eating to rest themselves, being weaker than before eating. It is the same with drink. Persons drink strong liquor to give strength which is absurd, as the weak man will drink one glass of spirits and feel strong while the strong man after drinking one or two glasses will become so intoxicated as to lose all his strength. A glass of water will give a man strength, but is the strength in the water? No, for I have seen sick persons who dare not drink water and a small quantity will take away all their strength. A person complaining of weakness in the knees will be advised by the doctor to apply strengthening plasters, liniments, etc. All these things are believed by the masses and medical faculty, while I look upon them all as deceptions. The strength is not in the remedies but in the belief in them, as the weakness is not in the knees but in the belief.

Strength is outside of medicine, food or drink. Really, what is that which we call strength? It is something outside of the thing acting. For instance, in a lever, the strength must be outside the lever. Just so with the muscles, or they must have something to act on them or they could not act. What this something is, we wish to ascertain. The child must have some intelligence to guide it before it is capable of taking care of itself. If strength is in the food or in anything visible to the natural eye, we could then find the First Cause. But strength is not in what is called matter but it is the effect of something that exists outside of matter. It is wisdom or a consciousness of itself. This wisdom or consciousness is the First Cause of all things. Its identity is itself. It is that principle by which every act is weighed. It gives the specific or relative difference of all matter or acts. It is a body of itself which answers man's every inquiry. It is the source of man's wisdom and man is as one ray of light from the great fountain of light. Darkness is matter and as light or wisdom enters the darkness, it receives its life from the fountain of light till it has grown to a state where it assumes its own identity. Then it stands to the fountain as the child to the parent.

The child receives his strength or will through his mother till he is acted upon by the wisdom of the world, when he assumes a false character and embraces the ideas or opinions of the world instead of wisdom. So his growth is of error and the belief of the world. He becomes as it were a double being and is treated as such, yet considered as but one. A false theory takes possession of the light, and false lights spring up and opinions take the place of science. All the philosophy in regard to the circulation of the blood only tends to mislead man and causes him to embrace errors that he otherwise would not, such as sickness, etc. I shall shortly give the medical faculty's theory of the circulation and then give my own and show that neither has any reference to the real scientific man of wisdom. Their method is not intelligently understood as they do not embrace any wisdom in their explanation of the circulation of the blood but make man a mere machine and a poor one at that, whose machinery runs of its own accord and is under no direction whatever. At the time of the discovery of the circulation of the blood by Harvey, man was far behind the philosophers of our day in regard to the science of hydraulics which was then in its infancy. Of course his explanation was derived from his knowledge of hydraulics, but later discoveries have shown the absurdities of his opinions. The circulation must either be caused by man's own knowledge or by an overruling wisdom which can do all things. If by the latter it must be a perfect scientific system and entirely independent of the aid of man's knowledge.

I will now give the theory of the medical faculty which will show that they do not attribute any wisdom to the circulation either of man or God but make man a mere machine like a pump and breathing upon the principle of a pair of bellows. Their theory is as follows.

“From the right ventricle of the heart the dark blood is thrown into the pulmonary artery and its branches carry it to both lungs. In the capillary vessels the blood comes in contact with the air and it becomes red and vitalized. Thence it is returned to the left auricle of the heart by the veins. Thence it passes into the left auricle. A forcible contraction of this sends it forward into the aorta. Its branches distribute it to all parts of the body. The arteries terminate in the capillaries. Here the blood loses its redness and goes back to the right auricle by the vena cava descendens and the vena cava ascendens. The tricuspid valves prevent the reflow of the blood from the right ventricle to the right auricle. The semilunar valves prevent the blood from pressing back from the pulmonary artery to the right ventricle. The mitral valves prevent its being forced back from the left ventricle to the left auricle. The semilunar valves prevent the backward flow from the aorta to the left ventricle.”

This is the explanation of the circulation and not one word is said of any intelligence; therefore it is fair to presume the author understood the power to come from the heart. This cannot be. So far no man can make a machine upon that principle and have it operate well. He tells us of the valves that prevent the reflow of blood to the heart. According to the description it could not reflow if it wished as it is thrown to the extremities and then the power is lost.

I will now give my ideas. I commence at the brain and shall show that man is a perfect machine and so constructed that he is acted upon by a wisdom superior to the blood, and the circulation can go on just as well though the man be asleep and ignorant of the fact. There is a wisdom that keeps the machine in running order and which is not disturbed by false impressions or stumbling blocks. These stumbling blocks the medical faculty do not name, but I shall speak of them in the course of my remarks.

I will now give the modus operandi of the circulation as I understand it. I shall not give the name of the valves and auricles as I do not wish to lead the reader into the dark by using Latin phrases which he cannot understand. But I shall try and carry him along merely showing him the method where the blood takes its rise, where it flows, and how it returns, etc.

The oxygen in the air is imparted to the blood by passing in at the nose where it is received by the capillary vessels and conveyed into small veins and thence into larger ones, and is carried with the blood through them to the upper right chamber of the heart. The heart is divided into two parts which we will call the right and left side and each side is divided into two chambers, the upper and lower. The upper right chamber receives the blood from all parts of the system, from the upper portion of the body through two large veins which unite in one, called the jugular. The lower portions of the body are supplied with small veins which collect the blood and all the impurities which become mixed with it, and empty it into larger ones, which convey it to the upper right side of the heart where it is mixed with that from the upper portions of the body.

The food, after passing into the stomach and undergoing certain changes which I will not describe, becomes what is called chyle and is taken to a reservoir in the lower part of the body called the thoracic duct. The chyle is then carried by the thoracic duct and emptied into the jugular vein where it is mixed with the blood and also taken to the upper right chamber of the heart. This chamber has now reserved the chyle, oxygen, blood and impurities from all parts of the system. The oxygen heating the blood causes it to expand which opens a valve and lets the blood pass into the lower right chamber. As the valve only opens downward the blood cannot return. It then passes through a large vein which branches off and is carried to both lobes of the lungs where the impurities from the blood are deposited and carried off through the windpipe and out of the mouth in the form of carbonic acid gas.

The blood now being free from all impurities is conveyed to the upper left chamber of the heart and then forced into the lower left chamber which acts as a reservoir and holds the blood till it is taken by the aorta and carried to all parts of the system, depositing the necessary quantity to form flesh and receiving fresh supplies of impurities till what remains is carried by the small veins again to the heart to undergo a similar process and be cleansed of its impurities with the new blood which is all the time being manufactured.

I now propose to introduce the agent who although invisible to the natural man yet governs his destinies. I will take the child before it is born. No one will deny but what there must be a circulation of the blood, but the lungs are not needed as there are no impurities to deposit or carried off. The mother supplies the food or intelligence from herself and they contribute to form the machine and get the cars or child ready to receive the freight or ideas of the world. According to my theory intelligence is not one of the elements of mind, but mind is the medium of intelligence. As wisdom speaks mind into existence, its identity is a process of progression. And as wisdom acts through the parent, the child receives its life from the parent as the fruit from the tree till it becomes ripe when its seeds will produce trees which will bear fruit after its kind.

The life of the child is its mother and its body is nourished by the same spiritual or material food of which its mother partakes. But when it is born, its mother ceases to supply its wants by nature or ideas. For now the child receives its food from its mother's breast. This requires a new combination of motions to carry the food to the whole system. Therefore to start the machine, there must be a power. The nose is so constructed that the air can penetrate into it till it comes in contact with the fluids of the head or capillary vessels. Here heat is produced by the oxygen coming in contact with the hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon and this heat is the power that sets the machine in motion.

Now the blood loads up with oxygen and winds its way along through the small veins forced on by the heat in the brain like the steam from a boiler. It then enters larger veins and is still pressed on till it meets the food or chyle, where all is emptied into the upper right chamber of the heart which is called the right auricle. The food, which has undergone certain chemical changes, assumes a milky appearance called chyle and is sucked up by the little capillary vessels and carried by the thoracic duct to the jugular where, as I have said, it meets the blood and is emptied into the right auricle.

Now the air is all the time supplying oxygen to the blood through the nose and mouth. And the brain acts like a boiler; the oxygen, the fuel; and the hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon, the steam or blood. This constant heat which is kept up in the brain is all the time pressing the blood into the right auricle. The blood is prevented from passing down the thoracic duct by a contraction of the upper end which acts as a valve which can only be opened upward by the chyle pressing up through the duct to empty into the jugular. At the end of every vein or artery and everywhere that you find a valve or contraction, there is an air cell and it is there we get the power which keeps continually forcing on the blood. The heat pressing the blood into the right auricle causes it to expand and this is called the pulsation. When it expands, it opens a valve and the air in the cells forces the blood into the right ventricle or lower right chamber.

The blood which is in the right ventricle is now forced out into a large vein by the pressure from above and carried into both lobes of the lungs by two branches of this vein, where it comes in contact with another air cell which separates the gases and impurities from the blood and forces the blood now freed from all impurities into the left auricle or upper left chamber, while the gases escape out of the windpipe or chimney.

As the blood from the lungs is being continually forced into the left auricle, it forces the blood already there into the left ventricle or lower left chamber and there it is still forced on into the aorta and sent to all parts of the body. When it reaches the extremities, it meets with little air cells there which give it a turn and force it back through other little veins. And it is there sucked up by the little capillary vessels which are continually at work, and it is then conveyed to the jugular which is the great thoroughfare for the blood from the brain and upper portions of the body and also for the chyle that is brought through the thoracic duct. This is the proper course of the blood as it circulates through the body.

I now propose to speak of that invisible wisdom which sees and guides all the foregoing changes. According to my theory, mind is something which I call matter. Our belief is also matter. But the world calls both intelligence. If I believe what I say is true, I make it so to myself whether I wish it to be so or not. For instance, if a mother believes in scrofula, her belief is carried to her child and deposited just where it is directed before the child is born. Now after it is born and becomes old enough to receive ideas from others, it feeds upon them till its mind becomes so much diseased that its body is a mass of corruption or false ideas. Now as it is being fed by the world's ideas, it loses the food its mother supplied before its birth and it becomes like a domesticated animal.

All animals receive impressions from an invisible something. But man being of a higher development is acted upon by two principles: one of wisdom and science and the other of mind and matter. Science is to correct every false direction and point out the true one, and wisdom runs through every act of our lives and through mind or matter. Wisdom is like the nerves of sensation. All these nerves that are mentioned are merely representatives of the scientific man.

To suppose that food is thrown into the stomach and there left to be governed by chance is like supposing that after the coal is thrown into the steamboat furnace it creates steam in the boiler which propels the boat to the place of destination without the aid of any intelligence outside of the engine. Yet we are told that the food enters the stomach where the gases eat or dissolve it and from thence it passes into another reservoir where it receives the addition of a substance called gall. It then enters the small intestines in which there are multitudes of small mouths ready to suck it up and convey it to a fountain that receives it, and then it is sent in a conductor to a large vein which carries it to the heart.

Now here is as perfect a system of regulation as ever governed a railroad, where goods are received at one place and transported to another. And it is as absurd for a person to lecture or write of the circulation, without associating intelligence with it, as to give a lecture on the subject of the railroads out of New York and convey to his hearers the idea that the locomotive starts off with a train of cars and lands and receives freight at the different stations without any intelligence outside of the engine.

Man is like a nation. He is governed by laws but is subject to a higher principle that, unlike laws, cannot be changed. This principle is science, the child of wisdom. The natural laws of a nation are the invention of man. Now science and the laws of man, like the veins and arteries, run side by side, and like the nerves of sensation, one set belongs to the laws of matter and the other to the science of wisdom. The office of the former is to be dishonest and carry out selfish acts, while that of the latter is to keep beside it and hold it accountable for its acts. Thus the two go together. One is wisdom or the guardian spirit who sees every act of the natural man, approving or condemning them as is proper. The other is opinions or evil spirits who act without science, doing as they choose and perfectly indifferent to the principles of science.

The guardian spirit or agent is the invisible man and is called by various names but is harmless, as all principles are. Yet it cannot be annihilated, but the medium matter may be dissolved and destroyed. As I have said before, man is like a nation and governed by his own laws.

Now the great first cause, Wisdom, holds his government responsible for its acts, and it furnished agents to take cognizance of their doings. Every idea is like an individual, clothed with some responsibility. For instance, if I wish to do a certain act, the wish or idea starts off with my authority to do it and wisdom sends an agent to accompany it. Both go together, but my idea is not responsible to the agent for its acts. But the agent is furnished by wisdom to suggest or check the idea if it goes wrong. For I am held responsible to wisdom for my acts, but the agent merely keeps the record which, like the mariner's logbook, tells the tale at the end of the voyage. This agent of wisdom whose name is science is not seen by the natural man, though he often hears him say, “Beware how you act for you are held accountable for your every act.”

The natural man is full of deceit and hypocrisy and is only held in check by fear of this invisible agent. And when he hears his voice, it often makes him nervous, for he supposes it is some disease or spiritual influence which is tormenting him when it is but himself. That is the scientific man, prompting the natural man.

I wish to speak of a fact here which is this: that the flesh and blood or the natural man thinks he embraces all there is of him, but he is to the man of wisdom as the child to the father. He wishes his child to grow up good and honest so he permits the child to act as it were on its own account and so he does. Yet he is responsible for his acts. To illustrate. The parent gives the child some money to lay out in something that he may barter and trade. The child invests his capital in something that takes his all, but before closing the bargain he asks his parent's advice, who says to him, The money is yours, lay it out as you please but take care you are not deceived.

The money is invested and it turns out the child has lost by the operation. Now comes his torment. He says to his parent, You should have told me the truth when I asked, but the parent will reply, You must look out the next time; I have no respect for persons. I am not partial to my children and he with whom you traded was your brother.

When you learn that to injure another is to injure yourself, you will learn of yourself to do good and you will break off from your selfishness of your own accord.

Every idea contains two characters: science and error; and the father or agent is in the blood or food. Now as the idea enters the system to establish its claim or deposit its treasure, the agent goes with it to take note of its action.

If you will examine the structure of man, you will see a complete government with all the improvements attendant upon civilization. Each man has his laws which differ according to the ideas introduced. Science's kingdom is in the wisdom of the people but error's is in the laws of the natural man. Nations in their natural state are governed by the law that might makes right. Yet the agent of wisdom is in their acts and prompts them, but the power is not acknowledged till it obtains such a hold on the minds of the masses that they feel its influence. This is a civilization.

All sick people are as much under the law as a savage nation and more so, for as science develops, error also develops. And this ignorance is governed by error and science is not a thing to be feared as its still small voice is heard only to be regarded as an echo to which no attention is paid. Yet it steadily works its way through all the veins and arteries of society and goes with the blood to all parts of the nation called man even to its farthest corner. As a nation develops, it has a seat of government and also avenues of communication. As it becomes more advanced in civilization it has greater facilities for distributing intelligence to all portions of its vast country. It also has its head or leader who transports all of its orders on the thoroughfare over which all other business is transported. Man's hand is the capitol or seat of government for the president, and here sits the natural man and directs the course of events.

The president is elected by the people and he who governs man is directed in the same manner. He who rules his body today may be enthroned tomorrow. Suppose a man is governed by the idea that he can go out into the cold without injury to himself or nation. If he ventures out all the opinions rise and clamor against him and their influence has the tendency to make him unpopular. So he is removed and another idea appointed. When he begins his administration, he acts as though there were no laws but that of might. He is affected by the invisible agent at his elbow who is always checking him by caution. This has a tendency to make him nervous and he becomes despotic and then wars of ideas commence. The ideas form themselves into societies or parties and by controversy create competition which increases the population or makes new ideas.

The ideas of a man are like the population of a nation and being a progressive being, he invites foreign importations of ideas and the ideas, like individuals, come from other nations. Man is a fair specimen of the United States in this nineteenth century. The President of today is the head of the nation but the people are as divided in their opinions as to what will be the result of the war as the ideas in an individual nation. The country is sick and how to cure it is the question. Slavery was forced onto the people and how to rid ourselves of the evil they cannot tell and it is left in the hands of the political faculty or doctors of the law.

So with man, disease is fastened onto the people as slavery is on the nation and the people are groaning under the weight of the evils of their own creation. The body is the battlefield on which the encounters take place, and the circulation of the blood is the means of transportation, and the railroad or canals, and the head the seat of government to which the people rush, causing a rush of ideas or heat to the head, or as erroneously called a rush of blood to the head. The cars are all the time conveying the government stores to all parts of the country at war and they also carry this agent to see that the business is properly executed.

President Lincoln is the medium or embodiment of the ideas of the nation and these ideas are shadowed through him. Now as the ideas or minds of the people change, the medium changes. The President's name is Abraham and he is the medium of the people, but his body is the people or ideas themselves. The majority of the people say through him one day the negroes shall not fight; the next day the majority says the negroes shall fight and Abraham echoes their minds, so that the President is the will of the majority of the people, whether right or wrong. But wisdom all the while sits in the hearts of the people and prompts them to do unto another as they would that he should do unto them. Now the natural man, like the President, is at the head of his body or nation and the doctors, like political demagogues, have stirred up strife among the ideas of man and introduced strangers or new ideas among the ignorant classes till they have got man at war with himself.

Disease is considered an enemy to the scientific man who tries to keep out the false ideas. But these demagogues have made enough proselytes to establish a footing. For the majority rule, and if more evidence can be brought in favor of a lie than of truth, the lie is received by the masses and the truth thrown into the minority.

The medical men, like politicians, have sown the seeds of disease or discord in the minds of the people who kneel down and receive the evil as the camel does to receive the burden. Science checks the progress of error and error checks that of science. Both act against each other, but when error is destroyed, science is saved as by fire, for it passes through the fire of excitement and rises out of its ashes unharmed. Man is in rebellion all the time, that is some portion of his intelligence. The warfare only ceases when truth or mathematics is cultivated, while in other parts of the intelligence of man there is slavery as black as that which blots the face of the South. This slavery is disease and is the blackest part of man's whole being and it has become the enemy of man.

Truth knows that disease is a lie, invented by error while trying to account for some phenomenon of which man was ignorant. Error, to show its wisdom, invented this lie and endeavored to sustain himself by building up a party of ideas. This lie has got man into his present diseased state, so that now every little excitement rouses the thoughts, as the cry that the enemy is advancing rouses the people who rush to headquarters to learn what is the trouble. The ideas arrive from the extremities in the trains and are carried to the heart to await orders. The ideas arrive from the head with orders to receive all the stores and deposit them in the various depots. Now suppose the story is circulated that the heart is to be attacked by heart disease. This is the great storehouse of the nation or body where everything centers. It is to man what Jerusalem was to the Jews, the seat or dwelling place of God's wisdom.

The blood is filled with ideas and they all go to the heart, there to wait until the trains arrive with the products of the nation with which the masses are fed. Here is one city or depot called the right auricle where all congregate, and this vast assemblage produces a stagnation of business or circulation. It is here that you will find all the importers or couriers from other nations, having in charge their ideas on which they keep an eye to see that each of their subjects is respected. At last the trains arrange their business out of this tumult and then prepare to move to the next station, called the right ventricle, in order to clear the depot for other trains which are constantly arriving. The gate of this next city is always closed except when it opens to let in a train. Passing through the city and out a gate at the opposite side, the trains pass on till they arrive at a junction of the road. Here they separate and half the train goes to the right lung and half to the left lung. Here they leave the impurities of opinions or freights and receive orders to pass to the left auricle. Passing through a gate at the entrance of this city, it stops but a moment and then passing a gate at the opposite side it enters another city called the left ventricle.

After all the trains or blood have assembled here, each takes its proper train, all passing out for some distance on the main track or road called the aorta and the different cars switching off onto other roads at every station and going their proper routes and depositing their cargoes at the station all around the road till they reach the extreme limits. When the agent or conductor has got all the freight distributed, they enter the return cars on the back track. Those from the lower extremities start their trains for the right auricle, gathering up freight as they proceed. Those from the upper extremities and head run their trains and deposit their freight into the jugular where they take on board the cargo which arrives over the thoracic duct and then all proceed to the right auricle again.

Now this is as regular a system of intelligence as ever rules a nation and the wisdom which governs all this is as real as that which governs a nation, only it cannot be seen, yet it acts and we perceive the effect. When man shall learn that thoughts and opinions have an effect and that what he says to his neighbor he is responsible for, just as a person is who speaks against the government, he then is responsible to the laws.

When man learns this, he will be careful what he says and how he sows the seeds of disease in healthy minds, as those persons who have sown the seeds of secession in the minds of the loyal. These ideas or seeds are embraced by the people who are alarmed and shaken to their center by every false alarm that is started by the demagogues. Now as traitors and disturbers of the public peace are arrested and carried to prison for saying and doing unlawful things, it behooves us to know what to say before we speak, or what to do before we act.

With disease it is the same. It is a traitor and tyrant, and all who harbor it are liable to be punished. It pretends to be a friend, but there never was a person who acknowledged he wanted to be a traitor to health. But you may see many who are in full communication with these traitors, hugging them up, yet acting as though they were ashamed of their company. You see a man hugging his coat around him in order to hide the traitor called consumption who has got him in his service, soul and body. If questioned hard, he will acknowledge that he has him concealed in his lungs. Now this man is a victim to this traitor and liable to have his whole estate confiscated and be turned out-of-doors, poor and forsaken by this very serpent he is nursing in his bosom.

To believe a thing is a truth merely because someone says it is, is wrong, for you are held accountable for your belief. And if it is wrong you suffer the penalty. Disease is secession and all the evils one can imagine, and its path leads to destruction; while on the other hand, science is the truest friend to man and he who follows its path will find it leads to health and happiness. Truly her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.

Dec. 3, 1863

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