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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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What Is God? Part IV The Process of Sickness

I will illustrate the manner in which the sick express themselves. Ideas or thoughts are matter or opinions. These opinions are in the world of matter and our senses or life are attached to our belief or opinions. As opinions are something believed and admitted, they become matter according to the wisdom of this world and are subject to all the laws of the wisdom of this world. Thus the priests invent creeds with penalties attached to their disobedience and the doctors invent diseases with other penalties. The teachers of the young are instructed to establish the sayings of the priests and doctors in the children's minds. Now everyone knows if he will stop and think that if a child when it is first born is given to the savages it will grow up one and with all the peculiarities of one or nearly so; this proves that the life or senses of the child is attached to the belief of the savage and the child has become subject to its teachers.

In the same way religion or a belief in another world is binding on the child and the penalties of the doctor's beliefs are also binding. Suppose you bring the same child into this country at the age of a man, will anyone say or believe that he is bound in his conscience to obey the laws of our priests and doctors? I think not. This then shows that the child's mind or wisdom can be molded into a savage and if this can be done it will not require a great stretch of imagination to make a disease. Just admit this child's mind is matter. According to common belief every form of matter can make a shadow under certain conditions of light. Disease having a form makes a shadow according to its identity or description. For instance consumption is a belief; this belief is matter and throws off a shadow; this shadow is the atmosphere of a belief and life is attached to the shadow. As life is the senses and the senses are in the mind or matter, they are all associated together; here is where the mistake lies.

I will make an illustration to show where the mind affects the senses or life and yet you will see they are different. Suppose you are ignorant of the effect of a charcoal fire. You sit down in a room, the heat affects the mind or body or matter; all this contains no intelligence. At last the life is disturbed, just as the cold would be and would wish to rid itself of the sensation of heat. The senses, being attached to life, will become disturbed. Opinions enter which are like more coal and fan the heat or excitement. Reason, which is another element of fire, fans the flames till life and the senses are so affected that they will not remain. This is disease.

Suppose I come in. The instant the heat affects my mind my wisdom communicates to my senses the cause and the remedy. My senses become composed, my wisdom directs my senses, and they act on the body; the door is opened, the trouble is explained, the patient is saved from his torment, his mind or opinion is destroyed, but his life is saved and his trouble is at an end. Opinions are the elements used to torment life or senses. They contain no wisdom above the brute but are matter and can be destroyed. All the opinions of the priests are condensed into a solid according to their belief, and although they cannot be seen by the natural eye, the eye of opinion can see them and lead the senses that are attached to the opinions to the locality where these beliefs are.

For instance the priests tell their hearers that there is another world separate and apart from this. They give such a glowing account of it that their opinions like fuel set fire to the audience and a chemical change takes place. Their minds are disturbed like mortar and their senses are affected by the opinions of the priests and a plan or expedition is fitted out to go to this world, which is actually created by the priests' opinions. The minds are so disturbed that the life, losing its relish for this world, is persuaded to embark for the world of the priests' opinions, to which their lives and senses are attached. Their senses are held between two opinions, not knowing what to do; this is called by the doctors “disease of the mind.” They, not knowing the cause of the trouble, take the story of the patient who, also being ignorant, is ready to be deceived by the ignorance of the doctor. So the doctor, like the priest, gets up a false idea or disease and engrafts into the patient's belief a new idea of some disease that affects the body. Then he reasons till it takes root in the mind and comes forth in the image of its father. The life or senses are then attached and the thing is brought to the doctor to receive a name. So after he examines it he gives it the name of cancer. The patient now wants to know what is to be done. The doctor gives the punishment of such a disease; this troubles the life or senses so that life wants to leave the opinions of the doctor or cancer and escape to the priest's world where they are told that diseases never come. Here they are halting between two opinions; this last stand is called a real disease of the body. Now these two blind guides quarrel with each other. The doctor accuses the priest of frightening the patient and the priest accuses the doctor of the same. Between the two a war is made and the whole world is affected by their opinions. Parties spring up, reason is brought to inflame the minds and the weaker portion of the people are disturbed till the whole world of man's mind is overrun with false theories.

Aug. 9, 1861

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