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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Standard of Law, The

In my article of the standard of men's acts, I showed the political standard but did not give the true standard, from the fact that it is not recognized as such. It is known as judgment; therefore, any man's judgment is a standard. If his judgment happens to be popular with the masses, then his standard is true, so it returns to the first idea that each man is his own standard. Yet everyone knows and acknowledges that there is a difference in deciding any problem, whether it is decided by a mathematical standard or an opinion. All will say that the people are not wise in regard to the standard of law. Law is one thing and the judges another and their duty is to decide any troubles that parties get into which they cannot decide themselves. The people make the laws and agree to sustain them, so the judges listen to their stories and decide the case according to their own laws.

Now as troubles often come up where the law is not defined, the judge makes a decision, which is an opinion, not law, and the people are not bound by it, as for instance, the Dred Scott case. The people are not bound by that decision, for it is the opinion of a majority of judges and they are not supreme law. The people are the law and the judges its expounders. The expounding of the law is like the expounding of any other problem. It is as necessary to have an expert for a judge as it is to have an expert in a bank to detect the spurious coin. These persons must be selected by the banks, not by the people. And as it is for their happiness to have the law properly executed, the court, like the bank, ought to have the right to select their own judges. The people must not have the power, for in selecting a judge, they do not stand in the same relation to themselves as in making a law. In making a judge they make him by a party without regard to his merits as an expert in law; while the law is made for the whole people, the judge is made for the party. This defect makes trouble and is felt in the whole country. It makes man act upon a political standard and is the basis of men's reasoning. The same error runs through all the troubles in government and party opinions have been the ruin of nations and statesmen.

As I have said, man is a nation and is his own judge and juror. A man, ignorant, is like a nation in a savage state. As error enters a man, his error commences, and the first law is self-preservation. Then arise opinions as to how to preserve the peace and health. This brings up parties and man, being a nation, governed by the same law of opinions, truth has never been acknowledged by them. Opinions spring up in man, bringing everyone into the field and each man is a government of himself, governed by the opinions of his friends. Now political friends are one thing and friends to the government or health are another. And when a person is in trouble, it is hard to tell who is the cause of it. The sick or president makes his grievances known to his friends, as he thinks. And if they are the friends of the government or health, then no harm is done by their acts or opinions. It is well to know the officers of man's health, so we shall know them in nations. The military are known by their dress. The priests were formerly and so on down to the police. And the officers of man's health are under as good discipline as those of the nation, the one being as corrupt as the other. I will analyze man as I have nations, for he as a nation, is of all corrupt beings the worst. There is no good in him that can be heard. His officers are deceptive, hypocrisy and all kinds of evil, and they are prowling round seeking whom they may devour.

This makes up that element in man, corresponding to the lowest passions of the masses in a nation. This party has their leaders and they are as easily detected by their wisdom as they are in a nation. I will give the foundation of each man as a nation and men's acts as combined into a government, as a nation. The child's mind is a new territory not explored. An adult is like an old world. The child's mind or soil in a natural state brings forth the fruits of its mother's mind. As it is naturally rich but uncultivated, it holds out great inducements for strangers. So strange ideas are sown in the mind. And as its mind is under none but the first law of nature, might is right and all kinds of ideas spring up in anarchy and confusion. Each stranger wants to cultivate the mind according to the prejudices of his father. This makes confusion and as in all governments, a convention is called and a constitution is formed. Some concession is made to suit the rabble and some to suit the more sober classes. But science is not taken into the treaty at all, nor ever hinted at in the constitution of child's mind.

Now health and happiness are the first articles in the constitution of both the government of man as man and nation as a nation and of course there must be leaders and teachers for each. So a certain set of men come up as teachers for this young nation and a controversy springs up as to what kind of laws are best to keep this child in subjection till it shall get large enough to take care of itself. Meetings are called, arguments are brought forth and parties are formed. At last a set of laws are agreed to by the majority but opposed by the minority. These laws are placed in the hands of certain party leaders and the nation or child is to be governed accordingly. And the first act is to bring the child into subjection to these laws. These laws are based upon opinions that happen to arise in the minds of the old world or people who wish to govern the young child or nation according to the wisdom of their fathers. And to carry out the design, men are appointed to instruct the young in all the religion of their fathers. Here is almost the first false move, implanting in the mind of the child our religious opinions. As they spring up, other opinions also come forth and a discord ensues. This fills the mind or soil with foul seed or opinions and the mind becomes disturbed and someone is selected to settle the difficulty. Another set of political guides is selected to make peace with the religious or diseased opinions. This set are office holders to the priests. For if they opposed the priests' opinions, they would be unpopular. So it is for their advantage to acknowledge the priests' right and not lay the trouble to their opinions, but to disobeying their laws.

This class is called doctors, who make their living as I have just said. And thus the people are kept under by these blind guides. Their minds are kept disturbed and the doctors call it disease. Their diseases or troubles increase; their burdens are multiplied till rebellion springs up. Then a war is started by the unbelievers of the two classes. A suspension of hostilities takes place; judges are appointed through the influence of these blind guides and they decide according to the party that is in power. This makes more trouble, so it goes on from one generation to another coming up and flourishing for a time, then followed by wars and rebellion and death. This is the case with disease and nations are only the whole people's mind concentrated into one body called nation, having its feature and growth like a man. The health or disease of the people shows the health of the nation, not the intelligence but the health. Wisdom is not health, for if it was, the beast would be wiser than the human species and this is not the case. So there must be some defect in our bringing up, for if man's life is limited to seventy or one-hundred years, then it may be compared to a bubble. This is the world's reasoning. But science is a kingdom not of this world of opinions. It has no dealing with the opinions of man but tests all things by a standard, not of man but of science, which does not say, Believe this or that but shows its opinions by its works. It does not ask you to believe what your fathers believed if it is false, but proves all things so that the natural man will believe. This kingdom has its government, its law and teachers. I will give you its form of government and describe how it is establishing its power or wisdom on earth unobserved, yet rising like the flood.

While the people of this world are eating and drinking, giving opinions and marrying in parties, the kingdom of science will come to sweep them all away into the death of eternal oblivion. You may ask for a sign, that you may tell when these things will be. I will give you the signs of the times. Take one individual as a fair specimen of a nation. A diseased individual is like a diseased nation, each is under false leaders. The sick are under the hands of the priests and doctors, just as the government is in the hands of the politicians. Public opinion in politics is the opinion of the leaders of the parties. And national disease is the effect of error as is the disease of an individual. The masses, in each case, are under a silent influence that is not organized. So they think they are their own judges and you will often hear this remark from them, “I have an opinion of myself,” as though they were the authors of their opinions. When questioned for proof, they refer you to someone's opinion. To understand the signs of the times so you may not be deceived by specious appearances, you must test each opinion by the standard of science. Ask how they know and you will see them squirm and gnash their teeth. Then in a fit of rage they will leave you and enter the swine or their old superstition and are lost to the world.

As I have said, I will give you the foundation of the spiritual or scientific kingdom. It is not built by man's opinions, but it is a kingdom of science to test all the kingdoms of the earth. Unlike all other kingdoms, it never commences war, nor meddles with men's opinions. It is the scale or higher court to which all other kingdoms refer their troubles. The court sits in the hearts of all the people and just whatever parties agree to it, it obliges them to perform. It has no parties or sects and no religious worship; it judges of all and measures out to everyone just as they measure out to another. It has no laws but judges man by his own laws. Its reasoning is to show the parties the folly of their own reasoning. It asks questions to see if opinions can sustain themselves. It never argues but always listens to hear the arguments of opinions. It shows no matter. It is unchangeable. It is the same, today and forever. You may ask how we shall know it when it comes by its wisdom. It judges no man but leaves all judgment to the reasoning of opinions. Thus man judges himself and he must be punished according to his own laws. For the punishment is in the law; the law is the will of the people and the judge administers the law. I will give you one or two cases showing how the judge decides in this kingdom. This kingdom is not matter. But the kingdom of opinions is matter. So when a subject of the spiritual kingdom sets up his kingdom in the earthly man, he is liable to be overpowered by the children of darkness or this world; and if he is overpowered, his kingdom is let out to the kings of this world.

When a person is sick, he is in the hands of the children of darkness, and his mind, like a nation, is taken possession of by the enemies of health. He is in the same state as Job. His enemies are compassed about him and he is denied assistance. Thus beaten and bruised till a reaction takes place, he is left to die of his own accord. I will take such a one and bring him before the tribunal that renders to everyone his due. This tribunal is invisible to the natural man and cannot be seen by the natural sight. But the other senses are awake to its power and it uses the natural organs to influence the natural world. As you may not be acquainted with the inhabitants of this other world, I will try to compare them to two persons conversing about these two worlds and their beliefs respecting them. I will show that the natural man is ignorant of the spiritual or scientific world and to be born again is to get out of the world of opinions into the world of science. Imagine yourself listening to two persons conversing about religion. The natural man is religious, not scientific. The scientific is not religious. The conversation is from the world of opinions or religion to the scientific world; this is no easy thing. Both have their identity: one in the world of opinions, the other in science, and to separate them more plainly, I will call one matter and the other wisdom. The world of matter is governed by opinion; that of science, by wisdom. So the thing talked about must first start in the world of opinion, for wisdom never starts anything. Every sensation is made on the senses and if they are attached to wisdom, a scientific answer comes. But if a sensation is made on the senses attached to opinions, then disease and misery come.

These are the two worlds. The man of opinion asks the question, Do you believe in death? The man of wisdom says, No. (Opinion) What do you believe? (Wisdom) I have no belief. To bring these more clearly to your belief, I will assume the character of the man of wisdom and you the reader, the man of opinions. (O) Do you not believe that the soul leaves the body at death? ( W) I have not said that I believe in death. (O) Of course you believe that the body dies. (W) You say I do but I do not say so. (O) Well, what do you believe? (W) I have no belief about the other world; I know it. (O) Then if you know it, do not men die before they get into the other world? (W) Why do you wish me to admit death when I have told you that I do not believe in it? (O) You do not believe that your body can go to the other world? (W) Yes, I do, but not in the sense that you do. Each world has the same ideas. The only difference between us is that your world is made by superstition and your ignorance is the matter. My wisdom is in your matter or ignorance, and your error cannot see it. You being blind cannot see the light of wisdom or science, so that my world is to your world a mystery. (O) I do not see any sense in what you say. (W) I shall not quarrel with you on that score; it looks to me as though you do not understand yourself. (O) I can make nothing out of your ideas. (W) Can you make anything out of your own? (O) I think I can explain it better than you have done. (W) I have not tried to explain at all; I cannot explain what never had an existence. (O) You do not deny that man dies. (W) I do not admit it, do you? (O) Yes. (W) Will you tell me how you know that a dead thing has life? (O) I do not mean the soul, I mean the body. (W) Has your soul senses? (O) Yes. (W) Do you mean that your senses die? (O) No. (W) Then the body only dies, as you say? (O) I do not know. (W) I agree with you in the last statement. (O) Have you any proof that you will have any senses without a body? (W) Yes. (O) What is it? (W) If you wish me to tell you what I know of myself, I can do so, but if you believe in death, why do you not show it so that I may have some idea of it? (O) I suppose that you do not deny that man dies? (W) You have asked that question a number of times. It seems as though you never would know what I do believe, so I will ask you to explain your belief about death. Do not tell me what I believe or disbelieve, but tell me what you believe yourself. (O) Well I believe that this body dies and that the soul or life or something lives independently in another world, or this world or somewhere. I cannot tell exactly where, but I do not believe that when man dies that is the end of him. (W) All this is a belief, is it not? (O) Yes, I admit that I have no positive proof of it. (W) How can a man have proof that he is dead? (O) The living have the proof that he is dead. (W) Then the living are the judges of the dead? (O) Yes. (W) Then because you say a man is dead, he is so? (O) Everyone will admit that he is dead. (W) I wish I could make you stick to one thing, that is, what you mean by dead and not dead. (O) All the Christian world believe in death. (W) Well, because all believe in death is that proof to any one that does not believe it? (O) No, but the Bible teaches it. (W) Then because the Bible, as you say, teaches it, it must be so, of course. I must take an opinion of someone who knows nothing at all, for a truth. Just look at the absurdity of your own belief; there is not one single idea of truth in all your opinions. If you will listen to me, I will tell you facts, demonstrable, that will explain all your error; for yours is an error, arising from heathen superstition and I will show you where they lie.

(O) Well, I will listen, if you will not fly off from the point. (W) I will try not to. (O) You are a clock-maker by profession? (W) Yes. (O) Do you understand how to calculate the train of wheels and the length of any pendulum to fit any case of a given length? (W) Yes, I do not care what length of pendulum you give me, I can calculate the number of vibrations in a minute and calculate a train of wheels to correspond to the beats so the clock will keep correct time. (O) Did you always have that power? (W) No, I do not call it a power. (O) Why not? I do not have that gift or power. (W) It is because you will not try to obtain it. (O) I have prayed and talked and used every means to get it and have finally concluded that it is a gift or power which derives from some higher power which you do not acknowledge. (W) How do you know? Can you calculate a clock? (O) No, I have not the gift, but I know just as much about it as you do, in fact no one knows. We see clocks run and keep time and that is all we know about it. To talk about a science is all nonsense, for it is mystery. (W) Then because you cannot see there is a science by which a clock can be calculated, all these clocks are made and kept in order by a power or gift that a man knows nothing of? (O) I will admit your power, but to admit that you know more about it than all the rest of the world, I cannot. Because if it could be taught and learned, every person could teach it; this shows it to be a power.

(W) Do you admit that I can make a clock and repair old ones? (O) Yes, I know you can but I do not believe that you know anything more about how you do it than I do. (W) What is your business? (O) I am a musician, a violinist. (W) How long since you had the gift or power? (O) It is not a gift. (W) What is it? (O) It is a science. (W) You do not know any more then about the power than I do. (O) Can you play? (W) No. (O) Then how do you know that I do not know any more about it than you do? (W) I judge you by the same standard that you judge me. (O) I do not judge you at all. (W) You said you know as much about a clock as I did. So why should I not know as much about music as you do? (O) Perhaps you do, but we cannot agree and when doctors fall out, we must leave it to some person whom we agree has more knowledge than either of us. And as we are sick or out of tune, we will call a physician to get his advice, for we both acknowledge the medical skill.

A physician is called and, looking very wise, he listens attentively to each story and after a careful investigation makes the following report.

Man is like a machine or clock; his power is in the pendulum which makes so many vibrations in a minute. The clock will keep good time, but if it gets out of order, you must send for a scientific man to repair it, not a quack. You are both right. There is no correct rule to make a clock. Careful investigation by scientific men show that it is impossible to make any accurate calculation in regard to a science, from the fact that on examining clocks, all lengths of pendulums are found also, all sizes of wheels with a different number of teeth in each wheel, and very few are alike. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that a clock-maker cannot tell with accuracy about a clock any more than a physician can about a man; they are both mysteries in the world.

It is true the world has given the medical faculty the credit of wisdom or power superior to the clock-maker or musician. But I am free to admit that the medical men labor under the same trouble with the rest of the world, that is: that there is no such thing as science. It is true that men can play on musical instruments, but it is folly to say that there is a science by which it can be taught and learned. Listen to the bird that sings; there is no science about that. One bird learns from another by sympathy. To set up a standard of science shows an amount of general information that the common people lack.

Here is the trouble. The masses, like the brutes, have the power of imitation. See the beavers, how perfectly they arrange their houses and their young have the same imitation and so on. The clock-maker does and the medical men too; only, medical men have been selected as teachers to the masses. This gives them more power, for the power of the profession is in the confidence of the people. If there had been any such thing as science, the medical faculty could not have stood one year, from the fact that all their power is in the position that the world has given them. It does not come from wisdom in their profession but from their opinions being acknowledged as superior to such men as you. You have given them the charge of your lives and they are bound to preserve them to the best of their ability. But so far as my wisdom is concerned in calculating any theory to cure diseases by a science, it is just as erroneous as to undertake to say that there is a science in music or in clock-making. In conclusion, I will say to you both that all the science in our three cases lies in making the masses believe that we have a science. But here is where we, as medical men, have the advantage of you, as the common class. We do not recognize anyone without a diploma. This all cannot get, from the fact that the deception must be kept from the people, or the faculty is ruined. No one has any respect for your mechanical power; it is too much among the masses and your musical power is in the same category. But we, when a man undertakes to step in, cry out, Humbug, Quack, and the people are so loyal that they put down all opposition so that all we have to do is not to appear to notice them.

(O) Do you not think there is some science in it? (PHY) Oh, yes. Or that some men have more sagacity than others. This you see is the profession. To be a good professional man is to keep aloof from the masses, for otherwise he loses his dignity, and his wisdom will not sustain him. So popularity and not wisdom is the medical science. Wisdom never was popular, for it had no identity. So hoping I have settled your troubles I leave. (Clock-maker and Musician alone)

(Clock-maker) What do you think of the doctor's opinion? (Musician) He has shown that he knows nothing of music; what do you think of his opinion in regard to your science? (CM) I have come to the conclusion that he knows nothing about clock-making and we are in the same predicament that we were before. If a man could be found who is a clock-maker, musician and doctor, then I think we could get at the right answer. (M) I think I know just the one, so if you please we will have his opinion.

Here is introduced a third person. (CM) Have you read the doctor's report on our cases? (Wisdom) Yes, but I saw nothing in what he said, showing that he knew anything about his own business or yours, for I happen to be acquainted with all these powers as he calls them and he showed entire ignorance in regard to them all. (O) Can you explain where the truth is? (W) Yes. The word science has never had life attached to it but has always been looked upon as a power that never had life. So that when we speak of science, we never have attached any of the senses to it. Therefore, science is not known by the natural man, yet he has science but knows it not and it has no place of respect in his heart or senses. I will try to give it a foundation that you both will admit. Before you knew how to calculate a clock, the calculation was a mystery; but as soon as you learned it, the mystery was gone. Your senses left the mystery and attached themselves to the wisdom you obtained. And the mystery to you was like an opinion that never was true. So when the musician called it a mystery, you could see where his senses were attached, also that he was in the dark. But your senses being attached to the light or wisdom, you could see through his darkness or error. The difference between you was this: his senses were in his error, and error's light is a false light. Your senses, being attached to the true light that lighteth everyone who is scientific, it was a mystery to his light, his senses not knowing the true light.

You both are right and neither knows it, from the fact that science has never been acknowledged by opinion to have any wisdom, while science is wisdom. And as fast as a person finds wisdom, he finds science, for the word science is the name of the wisdom that sees through the opinions of man. As far as the doctor's science went in his explanation, you could both see that his science was ignorance in regard to your cases. And as far as the sick, his wisdom is just the same. Here is the mystery. Science, as it is called, is something that the natural man worships. He looks upon it as coming from some superior power, independent of himself, when his own wisdom is all the science he knows of. For to the fool who knows nothing, there is no science.

Your wisdom in regard to making a clock is one thing, but if you can calculate it and know by what principle you do it, that wisdom is not of this world but of God or Science. It has never entered man's senses that his senses are his wisdom and his body is an idea that his senses are attached to. He admits it himself, when the very senses are not recognized by itself, but speaks of itself as a third person. This is the case in sickness; the senses often speak of themselves as another person. I will try to illustrate. Suppose we should differ in opinion on some subject, for instance, about a certain man's complexion. Suppose I said he had black eyes, and you insisted that his eyes were hazel and we argued to convince each other. We are both certain we are right, but ours is the wisdom of opinion. We cannot agree, so we refer our differences to a person who decides that his eyes are black, so the one in error gives it up. In all this, no science or wisdom is displayed. Now suppose I am called to decide their controversy. They do not tell me the thing in dispute, but ask me to tell them what they are disputing about. I tell them they are disputing about Mr. A. How do you know, they ask. Because I see him here and the thing in question is his eyes. Turning to Mr. B, I say, You think he has black eyes and Mr. C thinks they are hazel, but I know you both are mistaken, for his eyes are blue. They are not bound to take my opinion as such because I say so; but if I tell them what they think, and they know that I have no knowledge of it through my natural senses, they believe. This belief was founded on my telling them what they thought. This to them was stronger proof than they could give me, so they admitted it was a truth although it was still to them a mystery.

I will try to give a stronger proof that I knew more than they did and show that my power was wisdom. Their minds excited mine till I could see the man in question. His eyes were blue. I also saw another man with hazel eyes. The man with blue eyes was in harmony with me, but the one with hazel eyes was not; neither was the man with black. As I convinced them of their wisdom, their error disappeared and at last there stood a man with blue eyes. Now to the world of opinion, this is a mystery or power, but to me it is wisdom, just as much as it is to the clock-maker or musician. Let science be looked upon as a character and opinion as a character, and every man may be as these two principles. Then man can measure himself by his own wisdom, but now he is weighed by the scale of public opinion which is not science. Every science that is acknowledged is wisdom to those who understand it. Why should it be an impossibility that a person might see and feel another's feelings? Is not this the case in every branch of wisdom? Does not the musician feel the discord of his pupil, and does not his wisdom correct it? If the mind is not something that can be corrected, then there is no wisdom or science to be applied. Now man is a machine, acted upon by one of the powers, opinion or wisdom. The discord is made by a sensation on the mind. If the sensation is rightly directed, then the effect is harmless, but if not, then it embraces an opinion. For instance, take two persons. One knows the cry of murder; the sensation following it depends on the wisdom or error of those who hear it, for otherwise all would be affected alike by every sensation, for it contains the basis of wisdom or error. Now if error is aroused, discord and disease follow, but if wisdom feels or sees it, it amounts to nothing.

May 1861

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