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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Two Principles Acting on Man, The

You know that I have said that in every desire or thought, there is an answer either harmonious and scientific or false and erroneous. For instance, the ox wants to drink. The intelligence or harmony and error is in the desire, not in the water. For the word or idea water is not known to the ox. If the truth gives direction, the desire is gratified and peace and harmony follow. If error gives direction, reason, opinions, calculation and every element error is capable of inventing is set to work to gratify the desire or produce harmony. For when the science or answer is discovered so that the desire can be gratified, opinion is gone and truth takes its place and mind becomes the subject to soul or science.

Suppose a lady wants to sew two pieces of cloth together so they won't pucker. Now the true answer and the false one is in the desire to do it right, but it may not come to the light; therefore it is in the dark. The true answer or science is in the desire but the desire knows it not, as God was in the world and the world knew it not. The world of darkness is error and disease and its light is darkness. The light of science is health and happiness and its light is its truth and the length of its days. These two lights are truth and error and science is the knowledge to harmonize the discord in error. I will try to illustrate science.

All kinds of belief are error, for truth has no belief. You are taught to believe that the earth is flat and try to convince me of the reasonableness of this belief. I admit your belief and also that the earth rested on a shaft which lets it turn around horizontally and that the shaft is stuck in the ground perpendicularly. Now, we believed these ideas to be true and so they are to us and therefore founded on a science to us. So that the knowledge of our science was in our belief and not in the earth. Suppose someone should come and dispute our belief. Are we bound to believe them because they contradict us, giving no reasons only that it is not in harmony with their ideas? All will say, no. Now, minds are excited and the whole thing is agitated, and it is found that there is not one single particle of harmony in our beliefs; and in the chaos of mind, a new idea springs up that it is round and our theories are knocked all to pieces. Like political parties, we all fall in and embrace the new idea as truth. Now it becomes our duty to prove it and the science is the knowledge of the old idea and the belief is the new. To put the new science or belief into practice so as to change the belief is to establish harmony and to do that is to reason away all the opinions of the old theory. And this is done by seeing the answer to all the questions and desires of the people so as to satisfy them.

Now as disease is admitted as a truth which is matter, it has form and is as much in existence as the earth is. Now to introduce a science that will destroy the earth is not much harder than to destroy disease. You see it is not an easy task to destroy this earth or disease, but when I tell you that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and that man is nothing but an idea that can be changed and that the process is a science or knowledge of what matter is—when I tell you this, it is much easier said than proved. This science I prove on the sick when I correct their errors.

A patient consults me who has a sick body and whose sensations are accompanied with certain ideas which “wise” authority has established. They are her knowledge but they do not satisfy her or she would not seek other advice. Now to cure her would be to destroy her ideas and introduce others which are in harmony with her desires. If I succeed in doing this, then she is happy and disease and the matter which formed it is annihilated. This is not very easily done, for to give an answer which will destroy ideas the most reasonable and obvious possible and which we have all been brought up to believe and do believe is something that carries one into an unexplored region of truth. In the first place one must feel that the reality which everybody sees is not right and that he has an intelligence which can destroy it. In the next place he must argue out his knowledge against the patient's and this places him in opposition to all the wisdom of the world, for of such wisdom is disease.

Here is the phenomenon in the natural world in the form of heart disease or tumor and here I stand with my knowledge which tells me that the disease is a lie. Then I prove that matter disturbed is mind and that the material of which disease is made is superstition, opinions and a complete ignorance of God. If man did not reason, he would never be sick any more than the brutes, but it is the design of God that knowledge should be developed through man. Now when man asks a question about himself, there come two answers; one is in matter and sets up its standard in the natural world; it condemns man to be the result or emanation of matter and subject to its laws. This, apply it as you may, is discordant with our highest desires. The other answer comes in harmony with the desire and makes man an intelligence which can control matter and create his condition. It satisfies the desire and destroys his trouble and the whole thing is done intelligently so that the same question will not come up again and he is ready for another and new question. This makes man progressive and places his happiness in his knowledge. But in elevating the spiritual man, the standard of the natural man is destroyed and his wisdom is good for nothing. This is not flattering to man's pride.

So with ignorance and vanity it would not work. But a man with true knowledge would give not only the benefit of his knowledge, but the knowledge itself to the world and become a teacher to mankind. Now his works are his proof that he is what he pretends to be, and they in their appearance are the same as the works of men who have no such motive as his but who labor to create their own fame. Their judgment of him, of course, is the reflection of their own policy and their believers follow their opinions. So when I undertake a sick person's case and tell them that their trouble is in their mind and my explanation helps them, these doctors and wise men think I am telling them a lie and curing by a trick which I conceal for my own benefit. And my patients, many of them, come to me with the idea that I shall insult them by telling them that they have no trouble and it is all imagination. These men think the only way in which the mind can affect the body is through the imagination and that I affect my patients through that faculty. Now, I show that man is spiritual or scientific and if he does not receive a satisfactory answer to every thought or desire, he is troubled; and the wisdom of the world, making man the result of organized matter, locates every trouble he may have in the body, thus creating the very trouble he wants cured. This gets him farther into trouble and he wanders in darkness through the troubles of the body to get an answer to his first unsatisfied desire.

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