Chapter 16 DISEASE AND HEALING
[Dr. Quimby is so greatly interested in calling attention to the power of human beliefs in relation to all man's troubles that he does not give much space to a description of the natural world, does not state his idea of matter very definitely, and often leaves the reader wondering how he distinguishes between matter and "spiritual matter" or the mind of opinions. He is especially interested to point out that matter can be "condensed into a solid by mind action," that it undergoes a "chemical change" as a result of mental changes. He sometimes speaks of it as an "error" or shadow, as "an idea seen or not, just as it is called out." Whatever its objective reality in the Divine purpose, matter in itself is inanimate, there is no intelligence in it. His view of matter is idealistic, therefore, and in considering his theory of disease and its cure we need to bear in mind that matter for him is plastic to thought. The ordinary or external mind which is "spiritual matter" is the intermediate term. Above this mind is the real man with his spiritual senses, his clairvoyant and intuitive powers. The final term is Wisdom, making known its truths in so far as there is responsiveness and intelligence on man's part. This is said to possess a real "identity." To find himself as an "identity" in every truth, man should know himself as the "scientific man," able through Wisdom's help to banish all errors from the world.]
THE RECEPTION OF THIS GREAT TRUTH
I BELIEVE now that the time has nearly arrived when the people will be prepared to receive a great truth that will give an impulse and set. them investigating a subject which will open to their minds new and enlarged ideas of themselves and show man what he is and how he makes himself what he is. It has been said that to know himself is the greatest study of man, but I say that for man to know his error is greater than to know himself; for every person is to himself just what he think he is, but to know his error (1) is what ought to be his greatest study. For the last twenty-five years (2) I have been trying to find out what man is and at last have come to know what he is not. To know that you exist is nothing, but to know what disturbs you is of great value to every person. The world has been developing itself, and we look on and never think it is ourselves. Through ignorance of Wisdom we have made a man of straw and given him life, intellect and a head in the image of our own creation. To this image we have given the idea "man" with certain capacities such as life and death, and have made him subject to evils such as disease. To the man of straw the words I have quoted are applied. This man of straw has been trying to find himself out and in doing this has nearly destroyed or blotted out his real existence. So in looking for man I found it was like the old lady looking for her comb and finding it in her hair. I found I was the very idea I was looking for. Then I knew myself and found that what we call man is not man but a shadow of error.
(1) That is, his bondage to opinion, his mistaken view of his body, and its supposed tendencies to disease.
(2) This was written in 1865,
Wisdom is the true man and error the counterfeit. When Wisdom governs matter all goes well, but when error directs all goes wrong. So I shall assume the old mode of calling man as he is called and. make myself a principle outside of man, just as man makes all "laws of God," as he calls them outside of himself. So man admits he is not with God or a part of Him. Therefore he belongs to this world and expects to die and go to his God. So he lives all his life in bondage through fear of death. Now, this keeps him sick and to avoid all these fears and troubles that disturb his mind and make him sick he invents all sorts of false ideas and never thinks they are the cause of his misery. He invents all sorts of disease to torment himself. Standing outside of these ideas I know that they are the works of man; that God or wisdom has never made anything to torment mankind. Error has created its own misery.
Having had twenty-five years of practice I have seen the working of this evil on mankind, how it has grown till it is increasing and at the present time there is more misery from disease than all other evils put together, and every effort to arrest this evil only makes it worse. Within the last seven years I have sat with more than twelve thousand different persons and have taken their feelings and know what they believe their diseases were and how each person was affected, but I knew the causes. Therefore I know what I say is true that if there had never been a physician in the world there would not have been one-tenth of the suffering. It is also true that religious creeds have made a very large class of persons miserable, but religion like all creeds based on superstition must give way to Science. So superstition in regard to religion will die out as men grow wise, for wisdom is all the religion that can stand and this is to know ourselves not as man but as a part of Wisdom. But disease is making havoc among all classes, and it seems as though there would never be an end of it unless some one should step in and check this greatest of evils.
I have been in the habit of sitting with patients separately and explaining the disease and the cure till I have come to the conclusion that I can cure persons that are sick if I am in their company, and the number only helps to hasten the cure. I have no doubt that I can go to an audience of one thousand persons and cure more persons in one lecture than can be cured by all the doctors in the state of Maine in the same time, for I know that one-half my patients I do not see as long as to explain what I should make clear in one lecture of two hours. There are a great number of sick who are not able to be cured; for man's life and happiness in this enlightened world (made so by the profession) has made dollars and cents the test, so if a man has not these he must suffer. So my object is to relieve man of some of his sufferings. I am sent for to go to different parts of the country and have always found a large class of poor sick persons not ready to be cured. I want to relieve those who are not able to be cured, and also give directions to minds so that this wisdom shall govern man. It is necessary to say that I have no religious belief. My religion is my life, and my life is the light of any wisdom that I have. So that my light is my eye, and if my eye is the eye of Truth my body is light, but if my eye or wisdom is an opinion my body is full of darkness.
It may be necessary to explain what calls out my arguments. All that I write is intended to destroy some belief of the patient. A belief is what I call a disease, for that embraces the cause and it sets the people to reasoning until their systems are prepared like the earth to receive the idea, and when the phenomenon is brought forth the doctors call that disease. Belief in an idea that cannot be seen by the natural eye is as real as belief in the natural world. Everything that does not come within the natural senses is a belief. Disease is of this class. The phenomenon is admitted and to make man believe it involves a notion that it exists. It does not follow that he is diseased any more than it follows that a man is in the war because he believes there is one. Yet he may be liable to be caught. War like some diseases has its exempts. For instance, small-pox. A man can procure a certificate from a physician that he has had it or has been vaccinated. So the belief makes the thing to the person believing it and as the belief becomes general every person is affected more or less. Children are not exempts, they suffer if they are in the vicinity of the disease, for their parents' sins. Their diseases are the effect o f the community. These results come from the older inhabitants who embody the superstitions of the world, and they are as tenacious of their beliefs.
See how the South fights for slavery under the belief that it is a living institution. (1) The people believe the same of disease and each one will fight for his peculiar disease till truth exterminates both. One is as dangerous as the other and each has its sympathizers and traitors. Take a person sick under the law of disease which he knows will kill him if the law is put in force. People are as anxious to condemn themselves by insisting that they have a certain disease as a rebel is to swear that a Yankee is an abolitionist: each is working to have the victim condemned. Both may be summed up as the effect of man's belief.
(1) This was written, Dec. 1862.
Religious sects fight for their various beliefs which contain not a word of truth and the world has to suffer the consequences. The medical faculty, spiritualists, and every class who have wit enough to have a belief, keep up a warfare to keep their beliefs alive that they may obtain a living. But when these are cut by truth they wither and die out and from the ashes comes freedom or Science. War is always engendered by beliefs. Slavery is the only name for all evils that have affected man, of which disease is one. They all have to pass through a sea of blood before their heads can be crushed and they can be handled by reason. Religious opinions waded through blood before reason could control the mind, and then the warfare was carried on by words. Universal freedom has not yet gone through the sea of blood, but it is now in the storm and God only knows how it will come out. The belief which makes man bind his fellow man is very strong, for it appeals to religious prejudices, and these are really at the bottom of many evils. The natural man believes slavery is right and he is religious in this belief, although in everything else he is governed by party-interest. Every sick person is suffering either directly or indirectly from the effect of some belief, therefore my arguments are to show the absurdity of the beliefs whatever they are, for beliefs are catching. The child is affected by its parents' belief, which is as real an enemy to health as slavery is to freedom. Science is the true man, belief is the enemy of happiness, for every one knows that a man will die before he will give up his belief. So when a person has a belief in any particular disease, he will not give it up until it destroys the body, although he knows that fighting is his own destruction.
When I sit by the sick I find them either like a child or a person in a belief. If they have no ideas that come within their senses they are like one affected by surrounding circumstances, as a child whose parents are fighting is frightened and perhaps killed by the parents' evil acts. When I have a patient who is frightened by some feeling in the system which has not been named, the patient is like a spectator in a riot who finds himself attacked and violently abused when he has been quiet all the time. I have to reason with such persons and convince them of their error, and as they learn the truth they are safe. I take the same course with such as I should with a stranger who has been attacked by a mob. I enter the crowd, take the man by the shoulders lead him out and befriend him till he is safe.
A belief in a disease is like a belief in any other evil, but there are those who putting entire confidence in the leaders accept certain beliefs. Such are honest and are the hardest patients to cure, for they attach a religious respect to their beliefs which are their very life. They often say they would rather die than lose their belief.
A belief going to establish any religion is held on to as a child holds to its mother when afraid of strangers. I frequently have a hard battle with such where their beliefs make them sick before they will relax. They will sometimes weep and lament as though I were really going to take their life. As I have no belief to give them I try to show the absurdity of their errors. It will be seen that in all I write my reasoning is to destroy some belief that my patient has. Rheumatism or the state of mind affecting people in that way is caused by various beliefs. Their minds as I have said are deceived into bad company and they have to suffer the consequences of their acts, although their intentions may have been good.
I will state a case. A man uses tobacco freely, both chews and smokes. His wife being of a sympathetic nature enters into his error to try to reform him. This brings her into the same company that he is in. She is regarded as bad as her husband, she is beaten until blood starts out on her elbows, shoulders, and limbs, and her hands become swollen and sore so that she cannot work. Meantime her husband appears as well as ever. This is taking a disease from sympathy and it shows that such evils are catching in the world.
To such I stand in this way. I take the symptoms and know who is the devil. I expose him, and when I make the patient know him, the devil leaves, the error is cast out, the belief leaves and the patient is cured. This is a process of reasoning from cause to effect, not from effect to effect. The world reasons to make one disease in order to cure another. I destroy the disease by showing the error and showing how the error effects the patients. This was what Jesus tried to prove, so all His acts and talk went to prove the truth of what I have said. Make man responsible for his beliefs and he will be as cautious what he believes as he is in what he sees or does, for he will see that just as he measures out to another so it will be measured out to him. But does the clergy follow out this rule? Do they not dictate to their audience what to believe and what not to believe, without the least regard to their health? Now, to suppose a man can believe one thing and still have a contrary effect is not true. If you make a person believe that he is in danger of any trouble he will be affected according to his belief. So all beliefs are to be analyzed like food or drink to see what it contains and see how it acts upon the body, for the belief being in the mind it shows itself on the body. So when Jesus talked He had some object to obtain for the happiness of man. But to suppose Jesus came from heaven to destroy one error and establish another is to suppose that our beliefs alter the wisdom of God or make a man believe what he cannot understand to insure his happiness in a world that is based on belief. Now, I understand Jesus; I understand Him to condemn all beliefs and show that man is better off without a belief than with one.
What good is it to me whether I believe one thing or another if my belief does not affect my life? If my belief affects my life I get the benefit or misery of my belief, but it does not alter the wisdom of God or alter any of His plans. So if there is a world beyond this my belief cannot change it; my belief may change me. So if Jesus had no higher motive than merely introducing a belief He was like all others who wanted to establish peculiar views. But Jesus never meant to speak of what we call death. His death was the end of sin or error. To lose opinions and find His truth was life, not death. The Wisdom that taught this did not embrace the words "life" and "death."
WORKS THE FRUIT OF OUR BELIEF
What proof can be brought to show that a man is just what he thinks he is? My answer is: his works. Man is known by his works, for they are the fruit of belief and where there is no fruit there is no belief, in that case man is either perfectly ignorant or perfectly wise, and stops work because he is God and God has finished His work. Now man is not supposed to be either of the two, God or an idiot. So he must be a being between both. That makes him a man of opinions and beliefs. To show whether the works are of God or error is the great aim of man. Both cannot be of God, for one reasons from what he believes and the other from what he knows.
I will introduce a man of error who bases his knowledge on others' belief, still thinking he has an opinion of his own. The effect of his wisdom or belief is seen by its fruits. The younger son is he who listens to the wisdom of his brother and sees him contradict himself and shows him his absurdity. This is the scientific man and he is not known, for when the man of opinions is destroyed by the scientific man he is not seen at all. Take two persons talking about mesmerism; one never heard anything, the other is posted in all things pertaining to the law of mesmerism. Let A. he the wise man and B. the ignorant man. A. sits down and expounds the principles of mesmerism. He reads from those who have written on the subject, how a man sits down, takes hold of another's hand, looks him in the eye, and at length the man is affected; his eyes close and he goes to sleep. Then B. asks how this is done. Here comes the mystery or "Science" of A. Finally it enters the head of A. to go to the world of spirits. Here is a large field for operation. C. finds the dead and explains about them to A. and B. By this time they have become so wise that their light has lit up the whole world of spirits, so that everything is perfectly plain. This is as far as they can go. The whole world stops here and here ends mesmerism according to the world's belief. At last there comes a report that spirits made their appearance at Rochester, and raps and table tipping take place. Then B. asks A. how he explains these things. A. "It is by the presence of electricity." B. "I cannot believe that, I want to see something of it." So they go to a medium and everything goes to prove the belief of the medium that it is spirits. One rap means "yes" and two means "no," and these prove the spirits. B. asks A. what he thinks of that. A. says "It is a development of animal magnetism." B. says "No, I believe it must be spirits." Here is a difference of opinion. B. is as well posted as A. The medium agrees with C. B. believed A. till A. showed his ignorance, then B. embraced the opinion of the medium. So it goes on. One opinion is believed till some other opinion comes up that cannot be explained, then some one states an opinion and the multitude follow.
Like the rest of the world I began with no belief or opinion. Like a child I wanted to see. As B. did, I asked A's explanation and took it, then I went to work to prove it and did prove beyond a doubt according to my belief that it was governed by electricity. At last I ran against a stumbling block which upset all my theory and left me without anything but the bare experiments. I then went to work to prove my belief, and the experiments proved anything I believed, and I concluded that man is just what he thinks he is to himself. I have waded through the mire of ignorance, crossed the ruin of superstition, have walked on the water of my belief and at last landed on the shores of Wisdom, where I have found the other branch of truth that tells me that the water or error had dried up so that the dry land of reason is ready to receive the seed of Wisdom into the earth, or mind of man. As I have passed through the fire of superstition and been baptized in the water of error and belief, I have come up out of the water and the heavens or Wisdom are open to me and I see Wisdom in the form of a dove or sympathy saying to every one: "Behold, the truth hath prevailed to open the book of superstition; it hath broken the seal and introduced a new form of reasoning."
I have no belief in regard to religion of any kind, neither have I any belief in another world of any kind. (1) I have no belief in what is called death. In fact I am a total disbeliever in any wisdom that ever taught any religion outside of man's belief. Then you may ask what kind of a man are you without a belief ? I have a belief like all men but it does not apply to what I have been talking about. I have a belief on all subjects that are agitating the country.
(1) Quimby sincerely believed in the real spiritual world of the living, in contrast with "the other world" of the dead.
I believe there was one person who had these same ideas and to that person I give all the credit of introducing this truth into the world, and that was Jesus. I have no doubt of His being the only true prophet that ever lived who had ideas entirely superior to the rest of the world. Not that He as a man was any better, but He was the embodiment of a higher Wisdom, more so than any man who has ever lived.
Perhaps you do not understand my meaning. Take the discovery of electricity. There were men who had conceived some of the ideas of Franklin,-not that Franklin was of himself the discoverer or the person who reduced it to a science, but his mind was the medium that brought the wisdom of the wise into focus, so that an experiment might be made to prove the principle. The wisdom of the world is not confined to any person, but when it begins to condense into a truth it must exhibit itself through some medium. This great truth called Christ was exhibited through the man Jesus, the same as a great truth was exhibited through the man Franklin and called "electricity." There was a belief at the time of destruction or overthrow of this great truth at the crucifixion of Jesus that it should rise again. Since then there has been a constant development of facts showing that there was some wisdom or power superior to man and the superstition of the world has kept it down, as the superstition of slavery has kept Freedom in chains.
Now, I as a man claim no preeminence or superiority over other men, but admit my superiority to the learned and wise. . . . I have none of these sins to answer for. I am free from all that false religion. But I had to contend with the devil or error for more than twenty years before I was free. Now  I stand as one that has risen from the dead or error into the light of truth,-not that the dead or my error has risen with me: I have shaken off the old man or my religious garment, and put on the new man that is Christ or Science, and I fight these errors and show that they are all the makings of our own mind. As I stand outside of all religious belief, how do I stand alongside of my followers? I know that I, through this Wisdom, can go and impress a person at a distance. The world may not believe it, but to the world it is just such a belief as the belief in spirits. To me it is a fact and this is what I shall show.
THE RELATION OF THIS TRUTH TO THE SICK.
What course of argument must be used to make the masses understand this truth by which I correct the errors that make man sick? What relation has this truth to any one and how does it stand to the sick? It is the sick man's friend and those who can understand it are related to those who do not understand as a teacher who wishes to make his pupil understand the principles of mathematics. He is not to teach mathematics but to explain what the rules mean, so the pupil is not to copy a mathematical work because that gives him no wisdom in regard to the truth; the disciple is not to be above the science, nor the teacher above the truth. but the latter is to explain the science by the words of the truth. To illustrate: I stand to this Science as the teacher or expounder of it, not as the Truth itself. So when the truth says through me that all disease is in the mind you want me to explain what it means. You ask the question because you do not understand what is meant by the mind. It is this: all opinion, belief, reason, everything that can be changed. Thought is a seed or an effect of this great ocean of mind. The word mind covers all man's reasoning as the word wood covers all vegetable substances. A chair is made of wood but it is an idea made out of wood. In the same way mind is the material, and disease is manufactured out of the material, but the wisdom that forms the idea is called something else. Here you see that mind embraces every part of man but his wisdom and here is the distinction which the world makes only in a different sense. The world calls the parts mind and matter. I call them wisdom and matter. Therefore when I use "mind" I use it as matter containing no intelligence, but it is like sound connected with something to which we attach intelligence.
When sitting by a sick person who had a pain in the left side which I felt and described, I said, you think you have consumption. The patient acknowledged it, saying that her physician had examined her lungs and found the left one very much affected. This she believed and when I told her that her disease was in her mind, it was as much as to say she imagined what was not the case. I told her she did not understand what I meant by the word mind. Then taking up a glass of water I said, suppose you should be told that this water contained a poisonous substance that works in the system and sometimes produces consumption. If you really believe it, every time you drink the idea of poison enters your mind. Presently you begin to back and cough a little. Would your fears then grow less that the water was poison? I think not. Finally you are given over by your doctor or friends and call on me. I sit down by you and tell you that you are nervous and have been deceived by your doctor and friends. You ask how? You have been told what is false, that the water you drink contains a slow poison, and now your cure hangs on the testimony in the case. If I show that there is no poison in the water then the water did not poison you. What did ? It was the doctor's opinion put in the water by your mind. As the mind can receive an impression it can be changed, This change was wrought by the doctor's opinion; so calling mind something it is easy to show that it can be changed by a wisdom superior to an opinion. This wisdom that acts upon the mind is something that never has been described by language, but it is looked upon as a superior "power." This power gives rise to all religious opinions. Man has tried to condense it into a being called God, and he worships it. My theory is based on this something that man is ignorant of, and develops from it a language as comprehensible as any language. It contains no words but speaks from impressions which cannot be mistaken if man knows himself. This language is the feelings of the sick, and to convey these feelings to the well so so that they may have some idea of the misery of the sick and its causes has been my study for twenty years. (1) I feel now that my labors have not been in vain. Arranging words to convey this truth to the well is a task very few would like to go through. But I think now that I have succeeded so that any person of ordinary talent can see that it is the key to unlock the mysteries of the spiritual world.
(1) Written, 1861.
ANSWER TO A QUESTION
"Why do you not rub your head when sick?" Because I have nothing to rub out. Now here are the two modes of reasoning, the natural man does not see that the misery follows his acts, so the natural man is courageous at first, for he does not see his real enemy, or the natural result of his acts, which is reaction, the true wisdom that will always measure to action its own measure. The wise man sees the nature of thought before it takes effect and destroys it. When the patient asked the question he had the answer in the question, for his ignorance was what I was rubbing out, so if he had known that he would not want any rubbing.
I am often asked what I call my cures I answer, the effect of a Science because I know how I do them. If I did not know they would be a mystery to the world and myself. Science is Wisdom put into practice. To the natural man it is a power or mystery. All wisdom that has not been acknowledged by the natural man is called a "gift" or spiritual demonstration, not a science. The curing of disease has never been acknowledged to be under any wisdom superior to the medical faculty, so people have kept the world in darkness till now, and how much longer they will do so I cannot tell. If I succeed in changing the minds of men enough to investigate they will see that disease is what follows an opinion, and that wisdom that will destroy the opinion and make the cure. Then the cure will be attributed to a superior Wisdom, not a power.
I am accused of interfering with the religion of my patients. This is not the case, but if a particular passage in the Bible or some religious belief affects the patient I attack it. For instance, a person gets nervous from his belief that he has committed the unpardonable sin. His thought is then attached to the sin of his belief, and his belief is some one's opinion about a passage in the Bible that he believes applies to his case. I know this is all false, so of course I have to destroy his opinion, and this destroys the effect which is disease. His senses are attached to a disease, mine are attached to the Wisdom that shows the absurdity of the opinion. His wisdom is of man, mine is of God or Science. All disease is the punishment of our belief either directly or indirectly, and our senses are in our punishments. My senses are attached to the Wisdom that sees through the opinion, so that my love or Wisdom casteth out their disease or fear; for their fear hath torment, and perfect wisdom casteth out all opinions. . . .
I am often accused of opposing the medical faculty and the religious creeds. In answer to this I plead guilty, but you must not gather from this that I oppose goodness or virtue. I oppose all religion based on the opinions of men, and as God never gave an opinion I am not bound to believe that man's opinions are from God. The difference between man's opinions and God's wisdom is more than one would naturally suppose, but the former is taken for a truth. This makes the trouble with which the wise have to contend. If a man knew himself he would not be misled by the opinions of others, and as disease is the result of our opinions it is the duty of all to know themselves, that they may correct their own errors. Now if error is something to correct it must require more wisdom than the knowledge which invented it. When I find a person diseased I know his trouble must have a father or beginning. If it is ignorant of its father, it is not to be supposed that it is not without a father or mother. So to destroy your earthly father is to destroy your opinions, and to be with your heavenly Father is to be wise; so that every one that loses his opinions and arrives at the truth is dead to the natural world, but alive to Wisdom or Christ.
When I sit down by a sick person and he or she wants to tell me what the doctor says, to me it is nonsense for I have not the least regard for their knowledge. Their opinions are what I try to destroy and if I succeed their opinions have no power to create disease. Man's profession, not his wisdom, is the standard of his popularity. I stand in direct opposition to all others in this respect and here is the conflict, whether man's opinion is to rule or his wisdom. If the medical profession is based on wisdom, then it will stand the test, and disease must have its origin outside of the profession; either this must be true or the opposite. I assert that disease is the offspring of opinion. Ignorance produces the phenomenon or effect, as in the brute creation, but the wild animal differs from that of the domesticated animal. So it is with man; the perfect fool knows no aches or pains, where there is no fear there is no torment. Fear is error, Wisdom casts out fear, for it knows no fear. You often hear persons attempt to explain my cures by their own opinions. Thus they make themselves out wise by their own ignorance, since they deny the very power of wisdom which they acknowledge by admitting it as a mystery to them. So they admit a power outside of their knowledge and worship that of which they are completely ignorant. Now I know that this something which is a mystery to them is wisdom to me and that my wisdom sees through their opinions; and also that the explanation is the conversion from an opinion to truth or health. The two characters, wisdom and opinion, stand before each other and the people choose the one they will obey, just as they do in national affairs. . . .
Disease is the offspring of error and as long as the people worship men's opinions, just so long will they be sick. To me it is perfectly plain that if the people could see themselves they would discard all the priests' and doctors' opinions and become a law unto themselves. All I do is to put the world into possession of a wisdom that will keep them clear from these two classes of opinions. You may think I have some feeling against the character of the physicians but this is not so. Neither do I think that they who know me have anything against me as a man, but they scout the idea that I know any more about how I cure disease than any one else; they think they have the wisdom and I have the power. I stand to the medical faculty in the light of a harmless humbug perfectly ignorant of what I profess to know, and all my talk being to amuse the patients and make them believe that disease is in their imagination. If I succeed in doing this it is all well, but so far as wisdom goes, that is folly. I am aware that this is my position with the faculty and their opinions have such a strong hold on the people that most of them look upon me in the same light, and if by chance some one chooses to see that I am not the person these blind guides call me, they in time are looked upon in the same light. I acknowledge that all this is true with regard to my position in society, and how do I feel in regard to it? I know that it is all false, although my word does not prove it so, but I suppose I have the same right to give my opinion with regard to these two classes as they have to give their opinions about me and I will now give it and let the masses judge for themselves.
The principles which I am trying to establish are something new. All established theories purporting to help mankind are merely the effect of the effort which one set of demagogues make to gain the ascendency over another; the people are no better off, but worse. Disease of a person is like that of a nation, each is governed by arbitrary laws and the governing of both is alike. Disease is acknowledged to have an identity independent of man, and man makes laws to govern it, attaches penalties to their disobedience and calls these laws the "laws of God." . . .
I stand alone, as one arisen from the dead, or the old theories, having passed through all the old ideas and risen again, that I may lead you into this light that will open your eyes to the truth of Him who spake as never man spake, and who spake the truth. This truth condemns all man's opinions, it settles all creeds and priestcraft and upsets the medical profession and brings peace and good will to man. It teaches that man in order to break off from his wickedness or opinions and learn to speak the truth, must not try to deceive his fellow man by pretending to know what is merely an opinion.
Show me the doctor that really thinks his medicine has any curative qualities or any intelligence except as it is associated with his opinion and I will show you a fool, for no intelligent physician would dare risk his reputation on a homeopathic pill to cure a cough, supposing the patient took the medicine in his food and did not know it. This shows that they believe they work on the imagination of the patient. There are certain drugs that will act as an emetic or cathartic; but if the patient should take an emetic by accident, it would make him vomit. Now when the patient vomits, if a wrong direction is given, another effect might be produced; so it all goes to show that the mind must be guided by some wisdom superior to itself. If error directs, nothing certain is known of the effect. If wisdom is at the helm no medicine is wanted, for Wisdom can break opinions in pieces.
Ignorance not knowing how the mind can be affected by a direction outside of itself, identifies wisdom with error or matter, so that truth is a stranger, and it is all the time fighting against itself to get rid of an enemy of its own creation. Now teach men this simple fact, that in all action the wisdom of reaction is in the act though the act knows it not, and their happiness will be the result.
IS THERE ANY CURATIVE QUALITY IN MEDICINE?
Common opinion would answer that there is and according to my opinion there is but it is all owing to the patient's belief, and to perfect wisdom there is no curative virtue in medicine.
I will relate one case out of a hundred to show medicine proves itself according to the patient's belief or the direction of some other person. I was attending a gentleman who was sick and he thought he had consumption, but was not fully settled in his own mind, so of course he was very nervous. Under this nervousness the glands around the throat were excited and kept him hacking and raising, and also kept him heated, which heat would be thrown off in a perspiration. After I had told him the cause of his trouble, the explanation so far as he understood relieved him, he breathed more easily and was improving. One day he read in a paper an advertisement of a medicine which would cure the catarrh and prevent the discharges from the head; thinking it might cure him he bought a bottle and commenced taking it, but instead of lessening the secretion it grew worse and he ran down very rapidly.
My theory explains this fact in this way. His belief admitted that his head was diseased and in the condition of a sore and that the medicine would cure it. Under this belief the glands of the nose were excited and the medicine then proved his belief that the matter was in his head, for it was taken to make the head discharge. His belief did this by exciting the glands and the medicine was taken to throw it off, so when the matter and even blood commenced running it showed that the medicine was doing what it agreed to do. But another belief came up that I had given him, for I had exposed the absurdity of medicine and after he saw the effect he remembered what I had told him, and abandoning his medicine he returned to me again and in a few days recovered what he had lost. This is how the disease worked. His own belief produced the phenomenon; his knowledge gave the medicine the praise or blame, just as people give God the praise for their own acts while the devil has to take the blame for their troubles. I have observed the effect of medicine and have found that there is more virtue or misery in the advertisement than in the medicine.
Everyone knows how the mouth will water by a desire for something that the person wants, and low the mouth and throat will become parched by fear of detection in crime. This was known by the ancients and magicians, and from the fact that the mind could be changed by fear, so that criminals could be detected, those who understood it took advantage of it to detect a thief. The magicians made a paste that would dissolve when laid on the tongue of a person in a perfectly calm state of mind, but in case of unusual warmth or feverish thirst it would not dissolve, so when a theft was committed by the servants all the people were collected in one room and the magician was sent for. Believing in his power, their minds of course were controlled by their knowledge and if the thief were present he knew it and being sure of detection grew nervous, this would prevent the glands from acting and thus bring out his guilt. The others feeling innocent were safe, for if they were nervous it did not produce the state of mind to prevent the paste from dissolving. So the mind was the medium to detect the thief and out of his own mouth he was condemned. People put extravagant confidence in medicine supposing that it contains curative qualities. Frequently Indian doctors appear who have discovered an herb or root to cure some disease that man is afflicted with, as though God had made both the disease and the cure. The same class of people say that God has made a remedy for every disease, showing that their superstition is woven into a belief that God made all diseases and made medicines to cure them. This is the belief of mankind and it is not strange that man has gone out of the way. Now I disbelieve in diseases and remedies as understood by the world and as I once understood and believed. . . .
The opinion that God has provided a remedy for every disease gives rise to a belief that there are certain roots and herbs intended by the Creator to cure all diseases. Absurd as it seems it is the belief of ninety-nine out of a hundred, and this being the case a door is open to quackery, for new discoveries will come up every day. Dr. Herrick's pills, Ayers' sarsaparilla, and countless others are advertised as the cure-all. Then follow certificates of cures and of recommendations from some M. D., and these give the medicines a run. Next a man comes who exhibits the effect of laughing gas and also states that it will cure neuralgia and rheumatism, and the sick rush to him for a time. After he goes a learned M. D. arrives with flaring advertisements announcing free lectures on anatomy and the digestive organs. He explains the action of these organs and dwells upon the danger of getting sick by overeating and drinking, receives some fifty dollars from the poor sick and leaves. Among the throng of humbugs, where all seems dark and despairing, an announcement is whispered in the ear of the sick that God has opened a way for their recovery and sent an angel of mercy who has discovered a flower that will cure everything that can be cured. So here is introduced an imposter who will give Lobelia emetics till they cease to affect the patient, pretending that all diseases must yield to it. This has its day, and another comes up. All this goes to show that the mind of man is like an old fiddle played on by every kind of quackery relating to roots and herbs. With my wisdom I understand them all as Job said to Zophar, "What ye know the same do I also, I am not inferior unto you." I use nothing, yet I could easily use all kinds of drugs. . . .
I have seen the working of popular belief and know that diseases and remedies are the invention of man, and the very proof which is brought to establish their wisdom goes to substantiate what I say. For instance, an emetic . . . when people have eaten too much they can take a Lobelia emetic; also if they think their lungs are diseased take a Lobelia emetic, and if they have dropsy take the same. Now I will call your attention to what this belief amounts to carried out toward God. What kind of a God is it that made the earth to bring forth, trees herbs and everything that bath life? All this was before man was created, therefore did He make these medicines and the codfish with a liver to cure consumption before the disease was made? This belief would certainly suppose that God made the remedies before the disease, and if He made all the remedies these quacks say He did, He certainly is the greatest enemy to mankind. Absurd as this sounds we believe it and are affected by our beliefs and this makes man the most dependent of all God's creatures. He is merely a target to be fired at by every person's opinion. I can show by facts that every person will admit that no kind of medicine has any more effect of itself than almost any kind of food or drink that we use daily, but our ignorance places some kind of virtue in the medicines as we place wisdom in some one's opinion. The truth which places all disease in the mind can explain the operation of remedies. God is Wisdom and man is opinion, therefore man cannot live in Wisdom and be diseased. To show that there are diseases according to the belief of man is to show that they are made by circumstances which cannot be controlled except by correcting the error that brought them about, while ignorance would prescribe some medicine that God had made from the foundation of the world.
OUTLINES OF A NEW THEORY FOR CURING DISEASE
All medical practice claims that their mode of treatment is the best; yet no one has even hinted or dares to risk his reputation on the ground that disease is an invention of man and ought to be treated as an error or deception forced upon mankind by ignorance and superstition as slavery has been forced upon this country, and with all the attendant evils. My theory is that all phenomena called disease are the result of false beliefs originating in the darkness of Egyptian superstition. African slavery is a disease of ignorance and superstition and is the cause of the present misery in this country, but it is merely the figure of white slavery which has riveted its fetters on the minds of men, while the world of mind lies crushed and humbled by the tyranny of superstitious belief. Disease is what follows a belief and a belief is like an atmosphere so universal that every one is liable to be affected by it as by chilly winds. God never made the wind to injure any person, nor has He put any intelligence into it so man should be afraid of it, but man does not "see it in this light." How often we hear this remark, "Don't expose yourself to the damp, cold air." This belief that God made the air an enemy to man is a part of the clouds that rise in the mind of every person, and when this cloud is seen and felt all persons, old and young, are affected, for the fear is the punishment of the belief, and it is no excuse that the ignorant have no belief, as they must suffer for the sins of their parents. Science is the sun that burns up the clouds or changes the beliefs of man, and a little ray of intelligence springs up and the cloud of superstition vanishes, as the true God appears. The people will bail the truth, as the peak of Teneriffe hails the rising sun long before it is seen by the horizon of the common minds.
I will bring some cases to show that phenomena that once took place can never be produced again. This fact holds good in the vegetable as well as in the mental world. Take a primeval forest, cut down the old growth and another will spring up, not like the first, but a more solid, thicker growth. So it is with error; like an old growth, error is tall and porous with a great show. Science is denser and more substantial. Error is the natural growth of man; it is a wilderness filled with all kinds of superstition and every one is liable to be caught by a native of this land. It is inhabited by every variety of creature such as consumption and liver complaint. Science is the axe in the hands of Wisdom to hew down the wilderness and destroy its inhabitants and introduce a better state of society. Like all superstition error is very religious, religion and slavery always go hand in hand; freedom and science also go together and are the same. . . . Science in religion has not made much progress except as an indirect result of some other development. Astronomy has destroyed some of the hideous features of religion and introduced a happier state of society, but it was not the design of astronomy to destroy religion. Still it is the natural result of science to destroy error and prejudice. It sometimes comes in contact with the most enlightened state of intelligence, for that is cursed with the shackles of religion of dark ages. You will see religion in its purest state under the most despotic form of government, and you will always find disease under some despotic power of religion, and those who undertake to rid the world of this evil are like demagogues in a despotism. Such is the essence of hypocrisy intended to keep the masses weak so they can be ruled. Starve the masses and you destroy their energy and make them desperate, then the more enlightened will submit to the leaders for their own safety. This keeps in power those demagogues. So it is with disease. Religion is despotism and in politics and disease the misery of the sick is the torment of their belief. Religion makes no compromise, it is rule or ruin. It sometimes takes to itself the name of reform, giving every man the liberty of speech, and then it subjects every one to its laws. Just so with the poor slave, or sick, for the sick are merely slaves of superstition, made so by the sins of our parents.
What is disease? It is false reasoning. True scientific wisdom is health and happiness. False reasoning is sickness and death; and on these two modes of reasoning hang all of our happiness and misery. The question is, how can we know how to separate the one from the other? The truth cannot be changed; the false is always changing. The one is science, and the other is error, and our senses are attached to the one or the other. One is the natural development of matter or mind, and disease is one of the natural inventions of error. To show how disease is not what it is supposed to be, by those who use the word, I must show the absurdity of error's reasoning, for error is the father of disease.
(1) Published in part in "The Philosophy of P. P. Quimby," 1895.
We are all taught by this error to call disease something that is independent of man. To make it more plain and show where the two modes of reasoning act, I will suppose a case and take that of a young man who feeling a little disturbed calls on a physician. The physician sounds his lungs, examines his heart, and tells the patient he is very liable to have the heart-disease. The patient asks him how he got it, and is told that he is liable to catch disease and have it and to catch it is to admit that it exists independent of himself. Though the patient were dead it would exist the same and others would be liable to get it. At last the patient really has the heart-disease, which his physician described to him.
And has he created it himself, or has the doctor created it for him? Now I propose to show that he has made what the world calls heart-disease without any one's help. To show how a building is raised is to frame one and then take it down again, so I will take down this building heart-disease which this man has raised, and then you can see how ideas are made or raised. I will say to the patient, "You have built the disease yourself, in your sleep of ignorance." This he cannot understand. So I will tell him how he has worked in his sleep and made this very edifice, heart-disease. So I begin to tell his dream by telling bow he feels, in which he admits I am correct. Now when he was asleep, or ignorant of the feelings that disturbed him, behold a spirit in the form of a doctor sat by him. And to and behold, be called up from the dead a person with the heart-disease, as he calls it. "And he handled you, and your sleep departed from you, and your limbs became cold and clammy, and your pulse quickened. This excited your brain, and at last a figure of a person arose like unto the one you saw in your dream, and then you were afraid, and you awoke in a fright. At last the image became more terrible, till at length it overshadowed you and became a part of yourself, so that when you awoke you looked, and lo! and behold the dream had become a reality, and you had the heart-disease. Now whose dream was it, the doctor's or yours? Did you catch the doctor's or did you create it yourself, by your own reasoning in your sleep or ignorance, according to the pattern set you by the doctor?
"I say you made it yourself. Now to cure you, or take down the building, is to show you that all the feeling you had at the commencement arose from a trifling cause, and that when I can make you understand it I have performed the cure." Instead of giving medicines or going to work by guess to destroy the building, I commence by showing the patient how he framed it by his own hand. So I reason in this way: "You listened to the doctor to try and understand what caused heartdisease. He explained every variety of feeling or symptom, and you listened until you understood it. Now without knowing it you created in your mind the disease, as much as you would if an artist or mechanic had taught you how to draught a building, and you should carry in your mind the building and in your sleep create it. The only difference would be that one would please you, for it would contain wisdom, while the other would bind you, for it would contain fear and would threaten to destroy your life. Your trouble is the material with which to build the building. A chemical change in the fluids of your system takes place, governed by your belief, and you condense the changes into a phenomenon corresponding with your plan. Your ingenuity in manufacturing the disease has been the destruction of your happiness. To destroy the disease I convince you that what the doctor said was an idea gotten up by error, not knowing how to account for some little disturbance, which in itself amounted to nothing, but by the doctor's mode of reasoning about what he knew nothing, you were led astray into the darkness of heathen superstition where all kinds of evil spirits and disease dwell in the brain of man. Superstition always shows itself through the ignorance of man's reasoning, assuming as many names and forms as the father of all lies, the devil or the error of mankind."
DISEASE, LOVE, COURAGE
The question is often asked, what is disease? It could be very easily answered by a physician of the old school by simply pointing out a person coughing and saying that person has consumption. Now instead of calling that phenomenon by a name, explain how it came. This the doctor does not do, except by another phenomenon as much in the dark as the former. So you may chase him from one lie to another until you are tired and only find out at last that it is a mystery. Where do I stand as far as disease goes? I know that the bottom of these phenomena is a lie in the beginning and started by a liar till it was received as true; then the phenomenon is called disease.
Every idea is the embodiment of an opinion resolved into an idea. This idea has life or a chemical change, for it is the offspring of a man's wisdom and his senses are attached to it. For instance, you see something you would like. You attach your senses to the idea and then the value is in the idea in the shape of love or worth. If it is love, it is not in the idea but in the essence or author of the idea. I will try to make it plain. You see a person, at first sight you are affected, and you attach your senses to the idea in the form of love. You may, or may not be deceived. Passion or excitement is matter governed by error subject to love. Love is wisdom, passion is error acting upon ignorance. Science is to keep the two separate or in subjection to Wisdom. When two persons meet we think that the first impression comes from the idea or person, but this is not the case: the atmosphere around the idea is what is affected and this is not known to us, so we reason from a false basis, not knowing ourselves.
To give you a clearer idea of what I wish to convey, I must take myself as one person and my patient as another. When I sit down I am one person, that is, I am quiet, perfectly at ease, not afraid of any impression from my patient. My wisdom is my strength. My opponent's wisdom is in his error, for if he knew the truth he would not want me. So there are two persons in one body, or two mentalities acting through one medium, and as error is a coward it assumes a sort of courage. I do not know how to describe true courage, for wisdom needs no such word. I never knew that God showed any courage. It seems to be a sort of braggadocio element. If a dog shows courage it is based on the assumption that he is not afraid, for when overpowered his courage fails, so it shows that what is called courage in us is an element not perfectly understood. Take away the fear of danger, then man has courage. Some men see danger where others do not and so no two men reason alike, so no two men's courage is alike. I know no way of giving you a test of courage as well as to take myself.
When I first commenced my practice I thought I had courage as much as my neighbors, but as I found I was liable to be affected by another's feelings my courage failed. So I used some sort of strategem to get the advantage of my patients and being rather reckless I ran risks which the world would call courageous. For instance, I was not afraid of an insane man if I could get his eye. To the world this looked like courage, but to me it was wisdom. I had no fear for I saw no harm. I have been trying to get wisdom in regard to the disease of mankind, for disease is like all other evils that come within our senses. When I first took the feelings of patients, it took courage to keep from taking the disease. I knew this kind of courage, it was fear lest I should be called a coward, so I would assume courage. But if I had known what I know now I should not have been in any more danger than a person would be in a boat where the water was not over three feet deep. But my courage admitted water twenty feet deep, rough at that, and myself in a leaky craft. As I began to touch bottom or get wisdom, I found that the depth of the water or the danger was in my patient's mind and I believed his story without looking for myself, and the patient seemed two men to me. Thus I found out the trouble his fears were one man and his ignorance another. To make courage out of fear was to make him believe there was no danger; then his courage would come, and to destroy both was to let him know the truth.
I know that disease is the invention of man, therefore it requires no courage to say so, for there is no danger. Danger is that which calls out fear and courage is the element to face it; so just as a man loses fear he gains courage. Some men never see danger, so their courage is not courage, but a sort of artificial pride which makes them wish to be praised for what they know not, for their ignorance destroys their fear. This was the case with myself. My ignorance made me bold, for I knew no danger, but as soon as I found I was liable to be affected by the sick my fears came. Then just as I saw danger my fears increased and my courage failed; but I would feel the same reckless propensity to kill disease, so I would be more cautious and more careful till I found my enemy had the same fears that I had. At last it became a sort of warfare between myself and a patient. I found that my courage was my protection and that error was an element or odor, while ignorance and fear was what arose from that. So I came to the conclusion; that ignorance begets error, error begets fear, fear begets courage, and Wisdom destroys them all. So as man grows wise he grows strong and his wisdom makes him happy and good, for goodness is wisdom, and Wisdom is the religion of Jesus.
The [conventional] religion is the opposite of that. One is the invention of man, the other is the wisdom of God which Jesus illustrated by taking a little child. I will do the same, to show that goodness is a science and also that all religion based on man's opinions must fall. One can be proved, the other cannot. I will illustrate the two by the child. Every one will acknowledge that the child's character somewhat depends upon its bringing up. If this is admitted it shows that if the parents could see what was best for the child's happiness much of its misery might be avoided; this fact is evident to all. It is a fact like all others in science; sometimes it works well, sometimes ill, but when it works ill we see how it might be avoided, showing that if we had more knowledge we might do better. This shows that Science Wisdom reduced to practice, so as goodness is the result of our training, it is certain that to be good is a science, and as goodness is religion, that is a science. It is all summed up in this, that the world is made of ignorance, disease, religion and error, hyprocrisy and all sorts of evil; and to be a follower of Jesus and believe in the Christ is to separate yourself from the world and stand alone in your wisdom. Thus you will learn that man without wisdom is of all things the most miserable; he is liable to get into trouble by every act of his life.
WHAT DO I IMPART TO MY PATIENTS?
The question is often asked me, do you impart anything to your patients when you talk? I answer, I do, and I will try to make you understand how. To do this I must give you an illustration in language applied to something that you wish to know which gives you trouble. Suppose you are purchasing goods, and in your hurry you lose your wallet containing all your money. You do not miss it till you go to pay your bills, and then you find you have lost your cash. Now the shock excites your system or mind according to the amount you are disturbed. You become excited and very nervous. This is accompanied by a feverish state of mind or body, for the bodily condition is only the reflection of the state of the mind. At last you let your trouble be known to some person and begin to look for the money. You can't find it, and borrow money to pay the person for assisting you. This adds to the trouble, and at last you take your bed and send for a physician. He feels of the pulse, says your head is affected, and orders your head shaved and a blister applied. This only aggravates the nervous excitement. So you keep on till you finally give up and dismiss all the doctors, and come to the conclusion that your money is gone and you must make the best of it. The next day you feel more reconciled, and your doctor calls a friend and finds you better and says the medicine you took has had a good effect on you. Now the question arises, who gave the medicine? Not the doctor, but wisdom took possession of you and you began to reason and send for me. I know nothing of the trouble, but have found a pocketbook, containing $10,000 and am going to advertise it. At the sight of the pocket book you start and say, "that is mine." The shock changes the mind and the cure is made. Now who imparted the cure? The $10,000 I gave you. So this is the way I cure. The person has lost something that he cannot find or has got into some trouble he cannot get rid of. He wants something to satisfy his desires, and whatever that is it is the same as the money, and the one who can impart it gives him the remedy. Suppose a person receives a shock from falling into a river, and returns home excited with a state like a cold. This produces a cough. Now, as there are many ghosts in the form of disease, he fears some of them may get hold of him. So he goes to a doctor and lays his case before him. The doctor says you are very liable to have consumption. Now of course you are troubled, and are all the time like the man who was looking for his lost money. So he inquires of every person what is good for a cough; or if they can tell where his money is. So every person gives his opinion, and there is just as much in one opinion as another. At last in despair he gives it up, and I am sent for. I first tell him what he is afraid of by telling him how he is affected. Here is something he can't get from the doctor. This makes him feel more comfortable, and then I go on to show him how he has been living on husks or opinions about an idea that never had an existence only in the superstition of the people. As he is full of these opinions I have to give him something in the form of truth that will dissolve the error and satisfy him.
EXPERIENCE OF A PATIENT WITH DR. QUIMBY
For many years I was very sick and finding no benefit resulting from the various modes of cure that I had employed, I thought of visiting Dr. Quimby. So I inquired of some friends in regard to his treatment. Some said he was a spiritualist and others that he was a mesmeriser, and others said he made war on all religious beliefs, and as I could not see what my belief had to do with my disease I gave up the idea of going to see him, but finally I was brought to the subject again through utter hopelessness and despair of recovery, so I went to see him. In my first interview I asked him if he could cure the spinal disease. He answered that he never wished a patient to tell him his feelings. "Very well" said I, "what do you want me to do?" "Nothing," said he, "but listen to what I say." I then asked him if he gave medicine. "No." "Do you employ any agent from the world of spirits?" "No" said he. "Then," said I, "it must be mesmerism." He replied "that may be your opinion but it is not the truth." "Then will you please tell me what you call your way of curing?" He said he had no name. (1) "Well," said I, "is it original with you?" He said he never knew anyone who cured as he did. "Can you give me some idea how you cure?" He said, "it would be very hard to convince a person how he felt unless I feel myself." "Yes," I said, "it would be hard for you to tell my feelings." "Well," said he, "if I tell you how you feel will you admit it?" "Certainly, but how do you cure?" He answered, "I will illustrate one thing. Do you believe the Bible?" "Certainly," I said. "When Jesus said to His disdiples `a little while I am with you, then I go my way and you shall seek me. Where I go you cannot come,' What did He mean by the passage?" "I suppose He spoke of the crucifixion." "Then you think," said he, "that Jesus alluded to another world when He said `If you loved me you would rejoice that I go to the Father.... In another place He says `if I do not go away the Comforter will not come, but if I go away I will send the Comforter who will guide you to all truth.' Now I suppose you think all this refers to another world?" I said, "Yes."
(1) This is the kind of statement a critic distorted into the notion that Dr. Quimby did not know how he cured.
"Well," said he, "now I will sit down and see if I can tell your feelings." He then sat down and took my hand and soon passed his hand on one of the vertebrae of my spine and said "You have a very sharp pain in this vertebra at this time." I said I had. Then he placed his hand on the left temple and said "you have a very bad pain here and it affects the sight of your left eye." I then told him he was right. "Now," said he, "I will explain how I cure. Will you admit that Jesus took upon Himself our infirmities?" I said yes. "Have I not taken your pain in the spine, also in the temples and eyes?" "Yes," I said. "I will now explain those passages which I have mentioned. My theory is that disease is the invention of man, a burden bound on the people, laid on their shoulders, grievous to be borne; that man has been deceived and led away and is unable to get back to health and happiness; that Jesus' mission was to break the bands that bound the sick and restore them to health and happiness. In order to do this He had to find them, for they had wandered away like sheep without a shepherd. So He took their aches and pains to show them He was with them and knew how they felt and said, `Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest."' I said, "You seem to talk a great deal about the Bible. I came here to be cured and not to have my religion destroyed." He answered, "Have I said anything about religion?" "No, but I cannot see why you quote the Bible." "I will tell you" said he, "you admit I took your feelings?" "Yes." "Well, I want to give you to understand that when I take your feelings I am with you, not myself as a man but this great truth which I call Christ or God." "What do you mean by that? That you are equal with Christ?" "What do you mean by Christ?" he asked. "I mean Jesus." "Then Jesus and Christ are one?" "Yes." "Then" said he, "how is Jesus God?" "God manifest in the flesh," I replied. "He asked "What do you mean by God manifest in the flesh?" "That God took upon Himself flesh and blood to convince man of His power and save man from an endless eternity of misery." "Can God exist outside of matter?" he asked. I answered "Yes." "Is there anything of man that exists when God is out of him?" "Yes," said I, "flesh and blood." "Then flesh and blood is something of itself?" "Yes." "What do you call that, the natural man?" "Yes," "This Jesus would be the natural man of flesh and blood and Christ the God manifested in the man Jesus?" I said, "Yes, I think so." "Well," said be, "that is just what I want to prove to you, that the Christ is the God in us all. Do you deny that you have a particle of God in you?" "No. I believe it" I said. "Then we do not disagree in this. I want to make you understand that this Christ or God in us is the same that is in Jesus, only in a greater degree in Him-,like this: You teach music?" "Yes," I said. "Do your pupils know as much about the science of music as you do?" "No, if they did I could not teach them." "Then you have the science more than they?" "Yes." "They have some?" "Yes." "What they know is science? Is it not equal to the same amount in you?" "Yes," I said. "Then if one of your pupils should say I understand the science of music, it is to be understood that he is equal to you?" "No." "Well, so it is with me" said he; "when I say that by this great truth I cast out error, or in other words correct your opinion and free you from that curse of all evils, disease, I do not mean to say that P. P. Quimby is equal to the man Jesus or equal to His wisdom or Christ, but merely admit that I recognize the great principle in man, of God as a distinct Being.
"While I am explaining this Christ I will give you the trinity that I believe in, that is P. P. Quimby's trinity, not that P. P. Q. is the trinity but that P. P. Q. believes it. He believes in one living and true wisdom called God, in Jesus (flesh and blood) a medium of this truth, and in the Holy Ghost or explanation of God to man. Here is my trinity and the Holy Ghost is the Science that will lead you into all truth: it will break the band of error and triumph over the opinion of the world. 'This Holy Ghost is what is with your Christ that your fleshly man knows not of; this is the Christ in you that has been cast into prison since you were first sick; it is the Christ that Jesus speaks of that preached to the prisoners long before the flood. This same Christ was crucified at the death of Jesus and laid in the tomb of Joseph's new doctrines, not with the body of Jesus. The Jews crucified Christ by their false religion and the masses crucified the man Jesus, so Christ in the tomb of every true disciple had the Christ lying in his breast crucified by the world of opinions. This Christ is the one that Jesus Christ spake of, not of the flesh and blood that the people saw by their natural eyes. So all the truth that came through the man Jesus was Christ and it was the garment of Jesus. So Jesus was clothed with the gospel or wisdom of God. When the error murdered the man, they stole the body of Christ and parted His garments or wisdom among them, while the people believed that the flesh and blood that was laid in the tomb was the one that they heard, when it was nothing but the medium of the one whom they never saw, only in a mystery. This same Christ rose again and is still in the world of matter reconciling the world of error to the science of God.
"I will now commence anew to preach Christ to you to cure you of your errors or disease and bring you into this living Truth that will set you free from the evils of man's opinions that binds burdens upon you in the form of a disease. So when I say I am with you I mean this Christ or truth, not P. P. Quimby as a man. I have acknowledged it as my leader and master. So when I speak of it I speak of it as a wisdom superior to P. P. Q's, and you have the same Christ in you confined by the errors of this world. So I will now sit down by you again and listen to your groans, for I feel the pain of the bands that bind you across the chest. Now this that feels is not P. P. Quimby, but the Christ and that which complains is not Mrs. P. but the Christ in Mrs. P. struggling to roll the stone from the sepulchre of her tomb, to rise from the dead or error, into the living God or Wisdom. You see that, I, that is, this Wisdom, makes a sick man two,-a man beside himself and the servant above his master. When the master is acknowledged the servant is not known, no more than an error is known when the truth comes. I will show my meaning by an illustration: If you believe your lungs are diseased, the servant or belief is the master, and Wisdom the true master becomes the servant; but when the Lord of the vineyard comes, then the wicked servant is cast out and another is put in his place that will render to his Lord his dues. So when I, this truth, shall convince the error of its wrong, it cannot stand the fire of Truth, so it will submit to Wisdom, then truth will resume its sway and health and happiness will be the result. Your disease is the result of your belief and to change your belief is to convince you of an error that binds you and the pains and depleted state of mind are the natural results of your punishment. Truth never binds or separates one truth from another and all belief that has a tendency to separate us is error and makes unhappiness. Error always tries to separate one from another.
"I will illustrate: Suppose you are my child and you become sick as you are now; according to the religious belief we must separate and perhaps at some future time we shall meet again in that world whence no traveller ever returned. The chances according to your own and your friends' belief are that you are bound for that world of spirits. Suppose I believe as you and the rest of the religious world, what must be my feelings when I see you hastening to that world whence no traveller returns; how must you feel, knowing that you are about to be snatched from the bosom of your friends to enter that dark and dismal grave, with only the hope of a resurrection from the dead and that based on a belief? Is not that enough to rock the very foundation of your building and make the walls of your belief tremble even to the foundation? To me this is a horrid belief.
"Now this is your true state, standing trembling between hope and fear, holding back through fear and clinging to your friends, while the nearest and dearest of them are trying to drive you off through their blind faith. Suppose you are a parent and your only son should be pressed into the army and your neighbors who have sons should come round and console you by saying he would be better off for going even if he should die fighting for his country, would you feel happy to part with him? Must not the separation be almost enough to break your heart? Then your husband is called upon and now your cup is filled to overflowing. Can all this happen without a sunken eye, a pale and hollow cheek, with hectic flush, a purple lip, and nervous cough? In all this the chances are not one out of fifty that they will not both return to cheer you up in your last moments when your life is almost run out. In all this your spirits mingle as though you were only separated like other friends, but when they die, according to our belief, the thread that binds us is severed by the knife that cuts our life and our souls launch into the world of our belief. Which is worse? To go through either is bad enough, but I believe the religious belief is worse. The religious belief prepares the mind for the medical belief, one is based on old superstitions; this gets the mind worked up like mortar, then the potter or doctor moulds the mind into disease. I have no sympathy with either. Science knows no such beliefs; Science never separates, it is from everlasting to everlasting, it has no beginning nor end.
"I will now return to you again as my child to convince you that although your eyes are sunken and your cheek hectic your pains and trouble are all in your false ideas of yourself. We are all a part and parcel of each other, that is, in our wisdom or that life eternal which cannot be severed, but our beliefs may hold it in bondage. Now as you sit and listen, suppose you grow quiet and pass into that happy state of mind where you meet your husband and son, talk with them about the war and learn from them that they find it rather a hard life, but they will not return till the rebellion is crushed. On the whole you are satisfied that they are better off so far as their situation is concerned than you thought for. Would you not feel relieved? I know you would. While you are in this state suppose you believed you were dying and your friends were weeping around you for the last time and you could not speak. Which do you think would have the most reviving effect on you when you awoke? You need not answer. Now, my belief is this: Wisdom never separates you. from me but makes us a part of each other in Wisdom; for what I feel I know and what I do not know I cannot feel. To believe my child is separate and apart from me is a horrid belief to us both, but to know that God cannot be divided is to know that we cannot be separated from our Heavenly Father. The error is only held together by opinions that can deceive, but Science is eternal life. This is in all mankind and is progress, it knows no death or separation. To know this is more than the religious world ever had. This was the doctrine of Jesus; Christ is the child of this wisdom and this is what I am trying to get into your mind like the little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump. If this is infidel doctrine, then P. P. Quimby is an infidel; but I would rather part with everything on earth than part with this Truth which is my shepherd that leadeth me through the dark valley of the shadow of death, and lodges me where no belief or opinion can give me one drop of water to cool my tongue when tormented by religious belief."
THE SILENT METHOD
[It is noticeable that Quimby does not spend time analyzing the process of healing, does not write about concentration, meditation or "the silence." Possessing exceptional powers of concentration, he immediately turned to the patient to make his intuitive diagnosis, then gave his thought to the realization of the Divine ideal of health and happiness. The nearest he comes to a description of the process is in the following illustration, drawn from his experience as a daguerreotypist in his early years.]
A patient comes to see Dr. Q. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the patient's feelings. These are quickly daguerreotyped on him. They contain no intelligence, but shadow forth a reflection of themselves which he looks at: this contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it, but laughs at it. Then his feelings in regard to the disease, which are health and strength, are daguerreotyped on the receptive-plate of the patient, which also throws forth a shadow. The patient, seeing this shadow of the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change of feeling is daguerreotyped on the doctor again, and this [new impression] also throws forth a shadow, and he sees the change and continues to treat it in the same way. So the patient's feelings sympathize with his, the shadow grows dim, and finally the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease. [This description refers to the successive intuitions concerning the whole individual, the error to be banished, the fears to be overcome, the haunting mental pictures to be blotted out; and the picturing of the Divine image of health, made concrete by Quimby's great power of focussing the attention, as well as his insight into the causes on which he based the explanation following the silent treatment. The "receptive-plate" of the patient includes part of what we now call the subconscious. When actual changes were wrought the patient began to feel the benefit. Then the process of re-education could be begun. Quimby judged by the ideal or "scientific" man, in contrast with which the patient's own idea of himself as a sick person was a mere shadow.]
TREATMENT OF A CHILD
To show the effect of the will upon the mind of a child, I will state the case of one about two years old who was brought to me to be treated for lameness. The mother held the child in her lap and informed me that it was lame in its knee. This was the information I received from its mother; but when I sat by the child I experienced a queer feeling in the hip and groin, but no bad feelings in the knee. I told the mother that the lameness was in the hip, and that I would show her how the child walked, and how it would walk were it lame in the knee. I then imitated the walk of the child, and also showed how it would walk were the lameness in the knee. After I explained the difference to her the mother admitted I was right.
I then informed her that to cure the child's lameness I must cure her (the mother) of the disease which was in her senses [mind] while the phenomenon was exhibited in the child. She said the doctor told her the disease was in the knee, and ordered it splintered. To splinter up the knee and keep it from bending would be to encourage the evil in the hip, and make a cripple of the child. I was obliged to explain away the doctor's opinion. When I suceeded in doing that, it changed the mother's mind so much that when she put the child down she could see that her will guided its motion. This was so apparent to her that she could in some measure counteract the wrong motion of the child. With my own wisdom attached to the child's will I soon changed the mind so that the child walked much better.
THE HEALING PRINCIPLE
It is an undisputed fact that Dr. Quimby cures disease, and that without any medicine or outward applications. How does he do it? is the question that agitates and interests the people. If he has any new way different from the mysterious and superstitious mode acknowledged by others who have appeared to cure disease by personal virtue alone, what is it? Where does he get his power?
He denies that he has any power or gift superior to other men. He contends that he operates intelligently under the direction of a Principle which is always his guide while with the sick. He follows this Principle in practice and theory, and under it he learns facts of real life that he could never get in any other way. He has found the way by which all errors can be corrected. . . .
It might be called the Principle of Goodness. It is the highest intelligence that operates in the affairs of man, always producing harmony, and making man feel that he has more to learn and is a progressive being. . . . It has been his aim to develop this principle in relation to human misery and make life a science. The cause of all misery is in ignorance of ourselves, and in proportion as he develops this higher, happier portion of mankind, which he calls Science, he sees through the miseries and the ills, and just in proportion as he sees through them he can correct them. . . . With a knowledge that all trouble is a false alarm . . . he proceeds to undermine the foundations, and the structure gives way. However well established are the facts of any disease, he believes the basis all wrong, dependent on the opinions of men for an existence. . . . To destroy the belief identified with a. patient's feelings, changes the mind, and that is the cure. . . . The mind is something and embraces a much larger compass of our being than we are taught to consider it. It includes all opinions and [conventional] religion, and everything about us which can change; not that part which is seen by the natural eye, but that which acts upon the natural man. It embraces all excitement and agitation, and all the variations of humanity.... It is not matter that comes to our bodily senses. It is another kind which is just as sensible to him as that which he touches with his hands. Around every one is an atmosphere of intelligence which contains our whole identity, and he has become so sensitive to that atmosphere that its existence is a fact, and with that he operates. [If this seems to imply a sixth sense, the answer is that Dr. Quimby has not] found any one faculty that would answer to a "sense," but he has refined and spiritualized those faculties which mankind exercise toward each other till he has arrived at the true way of communicating with and influencing minds. For instance, his sympathy for his patients is pure from any feeling like blame or contempt, or discouragement, and is a transparency to reflect their feelings just as they come to him, with light from a higher source, to account for and explain them to the patient, and his explanation illumines the patient's mind.
How does he know he has got hold of a true method? How does be know he is not mistaken? There are many reasons which confirm his method as a science. One is that he constantly improves it. He finds he can cure more quickly, and harder cases. Then as he explains his method to others and they understand it confirms him. . . . Admitting that there is a First Cause or God, it is not so hard to demonstrate that Dr. Quimby knows more about His wisdom in regard to health . . . and unto Him he gives all the glory. He knows that while treating disease he is purely under the influence of the highest truth. . . . He knows that his peculiar belief is not an invention of his own, for it is contrary to what as a natural man he has been taught: it rests on the facts of his own experience with the sick. . .
HEALTH AND DISEASE
Disease is that part of the mind that can be compared to a wilderness. It is full of erroneous opinions and false ideas of all kinds, and it opens a field for speculators to explore. . . . When I sit by a sick person he tells me the story of his travels, and his experience of the evils that beset him in this wilderness. The scientific character is like the prodigal son, it desires to enter this land of mystery to see what it can gain. . . . As health is the thing most desired, to find out how to keep it and when lost how to restore it, is the object of our journey into this territory.
The question may be asked, What is health? I know of no better answer than this: it is perfect wisdom, and just as a man is wise is his health; but as no man is perfectly wise no man has perfect health. Ignorance is disease, although not accompanied by pain. Pain is not disease itself, but is what follows disease. According to my theory, disease is a belief, and where there is no fear there can be no pain; for pain is not the act but the reaction of something which creates pain.
But, says some one, I never thought of pain till it came. But if it came something must have started it. Therefore it must be an effect, whether it came from some place or from ourselves. I take the ground that it is generated in ourselves, and that it must have a cause. Every one knows that in his natural state a person is sensitive to what is called pain, and if his sensitiveness is destroyed he shows no signs of pain. But to suppose his senses are destroyed because he feels no pain is not correct: his senses [or consciousness] may be detached from his body and attached to another idea, so that he is not sensitive to any effect upon the body which in his natural state would give him pain. This shows that pain is in the mind, like all trouble, though the cause may be in the belief or body.
For instance, suppose a tumor appears on the body, the person feeling no sensation or trouble from it. He consults a physician who, after examining it, asks the man if he has shooting pains and hot flashes. The man says, "No, why do you ask the question?" The doctor replies that it looks like a cancer, and then explains the nature and symptoms of the disease. In the course of an hour the man feels shooting pains. Now where is the pain, in the tumor, or in the belief in a cancer? I answer, in the belief. . . . Error gives direction to the mind, and a cancer is formed just as far as the belief is received by the patient. Every thought is a part of a person's identity, and if it contains a belief he must suffer the penalty of his acts; for to believe is to act.
LEARNING TO HEAL
How can a person learn to cure the sick? As a pupil in mathematics learns to work out a problem. Every word is supposed to have a meaning. Now words are like nuts, some are full, some partially full, some are empty, the food or wisdom is in the word, and if the word contains no wisdom, then it is like husks or froth, it fails to satisfy the desire of the person who seeks the substance. Natural food is to satisfy the natural man and spiritual food or wisdom is to satisfy the inner or scientific man. The child before it begins to know is fed by natural food, while its spiritual food is opinions expressed in words. Therefore as I said, words contain more or less truth; all are not full and some are empty; but when a person speaks a word that contains the real substance and applies it to the thing spoken of, that is what is called the bread of life and he neither hungers nor thirsts for wisdom in regard to that. The sick have been deceived by false words and have fed on food that contains no wisdom. Hungry and thirsty they apply to strangers for food; they ask for health or the bread of life and the natural man taking bread as a natural substance, brings bread to them, but their state of mind does not hunger for natural food, therefore to them it is a stone.
There is a bread, which if a man eat, he is filled, and this bread is Christ or Science. It is the body of Christ. Jesus says, "whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." "For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink." The Jews of His days were like the scholars of the present day. Bread is bread, and blood is blood, and they say, "how can this man give us his flesh to eat?" They do not understand that Wisdom is a body and opinion a shadow. The natural man's belief is his body, and to eat and drink the world's wisdom is to eat condemnation or disease.
Now I will illustrate a cure. I sit down by a sick person and you also sit down, I feel her trouble and the state of her mind, and find her faint and weary for the want of wisdom. I tell her what she calls this feeling that troubles her, and knowing her trouble my words contain food that you know not of. My words are words of wisdom and they strengthen her, while if you should speak the same words and the sound should fall on the natural ear precisely as mine, they would be only empty sounds and the sick would derive no nourishment from them.
I will describe this food that you may taste it and be wiser for your meal. In order to prove that food satisfies a person's hunger, I must find a person who is hungry, and in order to prove that my words satisfy the sick, I must take one who hungers and thirsts for the bread of life or health. Being weak and faint from exhaustion she applied to a physician for food to satisfy her desire, for she was famished for the want of wisdom in regard to her trouble. Instead of giving her wisdom which would have satisfied her, he in his ignorance gave her these words full of poison. "Your trouble is a cancer in the breast." As she received these words she became more faint and exhausted till she became sick at her stomach. She ate of this poisonous food till seeds of misery began to agitate the matter, the idea began to form and a bunch appeared in the breast. As she attached the name cancer to the bunch the name and the bunch became one body. The physician's words contained the poison, the poison produced the bunch, their ignorance associated the name with the bunch and called it cancer.
I was called to see the lady and being perfectly ignorant of her trouble, I felt the faint and hungry feeling and as I felt the effect of the doctor's food or opinions on her, I said, The food you eat does not nourish you, it gives you a pain in the breast. This I said in reference to the way she reasoned in regard to her trouble.
"How do you know?" said she. I then told her that she thought her trouble was a cancer and she admitted that it was so. I then told her she had no cancer except what she made herself. I will admit the swelling, said I, but it is of your own make. You received the seed from the doctor, and he prepared the mind or matter for its growth, but the fruit is the work of the medical faculty.
Let us see how much the idea cancer exists in truth. The name exists before the bunch, then the bunch before it appeared must have been in the mind, for it was not in sight when the word was first applied to it, or when you were first told that you had one.
You know that you can be affected by another mind. Now I wish to show you that every phenomenon that takes form in the human body is first conceived in the mind. Some sensation is felt which we cannot account for, we then conjure up some idea which we create into a belief, and soon it is condensed into a. form and a name given to it. Then every phenomenon taking the name of disease, is a pattern of some false idea started without the least foundation in truth.
Now, this bunch I call a phenomenon, for I cannot call it a cancer, because if I do I admit a thing outside of the mind. The senses are the man independent of flesh, that is one thing, the word cancer is another. Now, I want to find the matter that the word is applied to. To say a thing exists and to prove its existence are two different things. If any doctor will tell where that cancer was before it was in sight, I will ask him how he knows. Let him say it was in the blood, that the state of the blood indicates the presence of cancerous humor.
Now, do you deny that I told your feelings? "Certainly not." Then have I a cancerous humor? "By no means." Then there is no wisdom in that argument. Again, he never knew you had an ill-feeling till you told him. Then where did he get his knowledge? Not from you for you never thought of a cancer. It must have been from what you said about your pain. Suppose I had said that I felt these same pains and you had kept your peace, then according to his theory I must have a cancerous humor. Now, I know that I have no humor nor had I an idea or pain till I sat by you, therefore his story of a cancer is a lie made out of whole cloth, without the least shadow of truth. It is like the stories of Sinbad the Sailor, or some witch fables that have no existence in truth. Then you will ask, what is this bunch? It is a bunch of solid matter, not a ghost or any invisible thing, but it was made by yourself, and no one else.
I will tell you how you made it. You remember I spoke of your having a heat. This heat contained no good or ill, but it was a mere decomposition of your body brought about by some little excitement. It troubled you, then your superstitious fear of disease began to haunt you in your sleep, creating an action in the part of your breast where the error had made a stand. You commenced then to foster the idea till at last you have excited the muscles to such an extent that the bunch has appeared. If now I have proved the cure I have affected it and the bunch will disappear.
Do you wish to know why? "Yes." Can the effect remain when the cause is removed? "I presume not." How do you feel ? "I feel easy." How do you feel in regard to your trouble, and in regard to what I have said? "I think you are right, and it looks more reasonable than the doctor's story." Then your senses have left his opinion and have come to my wisdom. This is the new birth, you have risen from the dead and you are free from the doctor's ideas. This truth has destroyed death, and brought life and health through Science. Now, I say unto you, Take up your bed or this Truth and go your way, and when the night of error comes spread out the garment of Wisdom that enfolded Jesus, and wrap yourself in its folds or Truth, till the sun of Life shall shine upon your body, and you rise free from the evils of the old belief. (1)
What is strength? This question sounds as though it might be easily answered, but on consideration it is not so easy. Words are so misused that it is impossible to get at the original meaning, feeling or state when the word was introduced. If you choose to apply the word strength to machinery, then I have no fault to find with the definition, but if it is applied to man also the definition is wrong; for man's strength is in his will, and that is independent of the thing you call "strong." If you say, "that is a strong lever," then it does not include the force that is applied to it. If the person who first used the word applied it to his wisdom as a powerful intellect, then it will only apply where there is intellect, the quality of which is taken into account. This confusion of meaning makes a great deal of trouble, for we put intelligence into everything that has resistance instead of in the intelligence having the strength. A man's legs are a combined lever, and if you mean that they have strength you might as well say that a lever has strength, for one is as much alive as the other and neither of itself can do anything.
The word strength does not convey the author's feelings when he made the expression. He either meant to apply it to wisdom or to matter. If the author meant to give a name to the phenomenon called will, then it makes a vast difference in reasoning about strength. For instance, a person is "weak" in the back or limbs. Now the medical faculty prescribe strengthening linaments, as though there were intelligence in the medicine and it imparted strength to the weak part. This absurd idea is carried out through all our lives, and it deprives man of the true wisdom that might make him happy and intelligent.
My theory disproves the assertion, for I have seen that the word strength is a mere word with no more meaning than to lead man astray.
The corner stone of the medical science is based on this word strength. This or that thing is said to give a person strength. In the case of a fever the whole invention of the medical faculty is brought to play to discover some medicine that will give strength. The chemist is employed to discover the chemical properties which such and such things contain, and numberless articles are said to contain strengthening virtue. The food is strengthening, the air is strengthening and you can find no end to the strengthening things given to the sick, and all the while they are growing weaker.
Every one knows that a horse is stronger than a man, it cannot be the food, for a man fed on grass would die according to our belief, while the animal will live, and so he will live on the same food as man and still grow no stronger. Man puts the construction on the word to suit himself. If the power applied to man's will is called strength; the thing that will is applied to is not called strong. You may ask what this has to do with the curing of disease. I will tell you, for it is the very thing to correct. There is such a term as resistance and this is opposed to strength. For instance, you wish to raise a stone, the wish that wants to raise a stone is one thing, and the stone is another. If wisdom chooses to apply its strength through the arms its motive or will is applied according to the idea of resistance. If a horse is attached to a dead weight it applies its will or strength and if it fails it makes another effort to overcome the resistance. Strength is intelligence; it embraces all man's wisdom, and if his wisdom is of God or Science his strength is not in himself, and to be wise is to be strong.
I will illustrate my idea of strength as I apply it to the sick. When I use the word I couple it with skill. These two are governed either by natural wisdom or scientific wisdom. I will state a case of my own experience. I treated a man who had lost the use of his lower limbs, he could not move them when he was sitting in his chair. The doctor called it spinal affection. When he attempted to rise he had not strength enough in his spine to keep his body erect, he would give out at the pit of the stomach, and this took all the power from his legs. This was the doctor's theory and the man believed it and applied his will or strength according to his wisdom. His hope was cut off. He believed the spine was diseased and so did all his friends and physicians. According to my theory his body was like the weight to be moved, his will or strength was applied to his body just as it would be to a lever which you believed would break if you applied too much power to it; his reason directed the power, and being deceived he could do nothing. To cure him, or make his legs strong and his spine well, was to first convince him that there never was any strength in the idea body, that strength came from some other source.
Every one knows that, the will being put into action, an effect is produced called strength. For instance, a person by the power of his will can hold another. What is the grasp? Strength, or is it the will applied to the hand? No one supposes that the hand would catch hold and grasp unless directed by another power. This power is the will governed by the wisdom and the effect is called strength. Strength is the name of the act, so will without an act or motive is no will or strength and availeth nothing. So to sit till his legs grew strong would be as absurd as to make a. steam engine and after it was ready to work sit and wait till the wood made its own fire, its steam, and let its steam on to the piston head. For a man that has lost his strength to sit still and wait for it to come is just as absurd as to prepare a clay bin and then wait for it to make a vessel. Such an idea of strength is so absurd that it takes away a man's reasoning faculties. Let man know that this darkness is the want of right direction to his ambition, then his strength is in putting his will into action, both are the result of his wisdom. Destroy a man's prospects and happiness, and you destroy his strength. So as you rouse his ambition and will, his strength comes. The course taken by the medical faculty in their mode of reasoning destroys man's natural powers and makes him. a mere tool in the hands of a quack. Every man who reasons that strength can be made by food, air, or rubbing, or any linament, is a fool, although he may be honest.
I have tried the experiment and know. I do not guess at it when I say that there is not one particle of virtue in any sort of medicine that people take to give them strength. Neither is there any kind of strength in one kind of food more than another, but it may be all summed up in this, the gratification of man's desires embraces all there is of him, and these vary according to circumstances. All men have a desire for happiness, and this desire creates an appetite, and the desire wants to be gratified. This brings up this feeling [activity] called will, and then it is forced on by wisdom to accomplish a desire. The wants of the animal are limited, therefore it is lively and happy, for it acts according to its will. It is often said that the beasts are sick. Granted, but man takes their freedom from them as well as from the human species. Let both be wild and you see a bold race.
Look at the uncultivated savage and you will not see him creeping around as though he had done some mean, dirty act, like the civilized man. Of all mean looking things a human being completely under the medical faculty is the lowest, he is as much a slave as the negro at the South, and in fact more so. Look at a sick woman suffering from some opinion that the doctors have made her believe, see the mind completely under the doctor, she is not allowed to eat or drink or even walk or think except as the family physician gives direction. The sick have given their souls to the priests and their bodies to the physicians. They then tell about the good doctor, how much he has done for them, showing that he has deprived them of all noble manly feelings, left them sick, feeble in mind and body, while the doctor struts around like a slave-driver, and the sick curl under the lash of their tongue, as the negroes under the lash of their masters. This may seem strange, but it is God's truth, that the sick are a mere tool in the hands of the medical faculty, to be treated just as they please. It never will be any better till the sick rise in their wisdom and declare their independence. You may say I am making war for my own gain, but I think I can convince any one who is out from under these slave drivers, that I could make ten dollars where I now make one. My object is to raise my fellow man to his original state. I am a white abolitionist. The blacks it is true are slaves, but their slavery is a blessing compared with that of the sick. I have seen many a white slave that would change places with the black. The only difference is that white slavery is sanctioned by public opinion. But make the slave know that he is one, and you will see a difference in the result. It is hard for me to keep myself in bounds when I think of the groans of the sick, knowing that it is all the effect of a superstitious ignorance. Does not the South quote the Bible to prove that slavery is of Divine origin? Do not the priests and doctors quote the old heathen superstition to bolster up a weak and feeble edifice just ready to crumble and crush the leaders? Is not Science raising her voice and crying aloud to the people saying how long shall it be till the old heathen idolatry shall come to an end and man shall learn wisdom and be his own master and not a slave? (1)
(1) Nov., 1861.
MIND AND DISEASE
Men create ideas which are matter. These ideas have a real existence in the spiritual world, and their power is according to the nature that is attributed to them, and the fear that men have of them. Fear of an idea thus created, on the part of its creator, condenses its matter so that it might be seen even by the natural eye, a creation composed of the loathsome characteristics conceived of by the person's own belief, an offspring of an excited and degraded mind. Such an idea is disease, the child of the devil. This disease was first one simple, uncompounded idea. But when that finally was pushed into an identity, when men were once afraid of it, then it grew rapidly, like a poisonous weed, and derived its sustenance from the very life-blood to which it owed its existence. All its horrible characteristics it draws from the mind of men, who, could they only understand what they are doing, would plant a good seed in their soil or mind, which could bear no fruit fit for disease to live on, and thus it would starve to death. . . . As mind is matter, its form can be annihilated.
The basis of Dr. Quimby's theory is that there is no intelligence, no power or action in matter of itself, that the spiritual world to which our eyes are closed by ignorance or unbelief is the real world, that in it lie all the causes for every effect visible in the natural world, and that if this spiritual life can be revealed to us, in other words if we can understand ourselves, we shall then have our happiness or misery in our own hands; and of course much of the suffering of the world will be done away with.
He does not deny that cures, as many and great as you please to claim, have taken place under the old belief, but that they were brought about by the inherent efficacy of the medicine itself he does deny.
He admits the possibility of a derangement of the bodily organs, but it is in regard to the cause of this effect that he differs from all others. Doctors consider the cause of disease to lie in the body, while he does not. The doctors have set up a standard of right and wrong with regard to health, and have made the people accept and believe it, and now disease comes from the belief in this.
When our belief embraces disease, we must be liable to it. Consumption will be in the world as long as people are under their present rulers. But when they come to understand that matter is nothing of itself except it be used by mind, and everything that is embraced in this, then consumption will no longer be in existence.
It is hard to talk about it before the science is admitted. . . . It is nothing more than or less than the Christian religion rendered intelligible by being revealed as a Science.
Happiness is not dependent on externals, but lies within us, and is the consciousness of keeping our loftier impulses free from contamination, and revealing in our acts a strength which arises from uncorrupted motives.
Disease is the effect of a wrong direction given to the mind. Unhappiness is its handmaid.
By "spiritual matter" Dr. Quimby does not mean the matter which is visible to the natural eye, but a matter which can be changed into any form which a person chooses. This mind or matter surrounds every person, and contains an expression of character. You know how often in sitting down by a person we have different impressions. For instance, we say such a person is disagreeable, another is gentle, a third selfish; and these impressions we have without being able to account for them in any way to ourselves or others. We should have had the same if we had been blind. Now that which we perceive without the aid of the natural senses is the mind or spiritual matter, or atmosphere or vapor, or whatever you choose to call it, that surrounds every one and is an index of character. This is what we come in contacts with in our intercourse with men, and through this medium we influence others and are influenced ourselves. It contains opinions, thoughts, and everything in us which can be changed.
What we know we have no opinion about. That is eternal and never can be changed. What we do not know, if we have ever been excited on the subject, we have some opinion or belief about, and that opinion or belief may be the cause of unhappiness.
In order that a disease shall be created, a shock must first be produced. You cannot move anything unless you first start it. There must be a shock, be it ever so slight, a little excitement, fright, pleasure, anything which would produce a disturbance in the system. When thus disturbed, the natural heat of the body always either increases or diminishes. Suppose you turn red. A stranger meets you and says you look flushed. That would not be likely to take down your color but would increase it. After two or three remarks of that kind you would begin to feel uncomfortable, your head would feel hot, and the heat might be so great that you would have pain, and presently you would be informed that you look feverish. That would keep up the excitement, and when you went out of doors you would be likely to cough from the irritation caused by, the upward tendency of the heat. That would frighten you a little, though you might not own it or know it. But the disturbance would keep up till some kind friend should inform you that you had taken cold, for your face was flushed and you coughed. That, mind you, is an opinion, for a person may flush and cough from excitement without any cold at all. Now you only need a little help from mistaken friends and a finishing touch from a doctor to put you into a lung, brain, or any other kind of fever they please. That, to use a very simple case, is the way a disease is made.
The countless opinions we are brought up with, and believe as much as we do in our existence, of course affect us, and we have a body according to our belief. The belief comes first, then the system changes accordingly.
Even before the child is born, it is affected by the mother, and receives its mental and physical constitution from her. After it has taken up existence on its own account, it is still affected by her, whether she speaks or not. The greater number of influences which act upon us do not come through the natural senses, and are all the more dangerous of course because unknown.
One object of Dr. Quimby's theory is to bring our spiritual existence to our senses, or rather to prove that our senses are not located in the body as we think they are. Thus we shall be able to protect ourselves.
By thoughts we are all affected, and even by the settled opinions of people, whether they trouble themselves to apply them to our case or not.
Dr. Quimby never accuses any one of imagining that they are sick. He admits every sensation that a person may claim. Indeed he takes their feelings himself, so he has positive proof that they exist independently of what the patient says.
You tell me I "look sick." I say I do not feel sick, in fact I don't know what you mean by the word, so you have to invent some story to tell me or explain by some intelligent sign. I lay my hand on my left side, you ask me what I feel. Now if I had never heard of sickness or disease, I should not know what to say, neither would I be frightened, so it would pass off without anything of any account. But you tell me that people. often die with just such a feeling as I have. This starts me, although I have no idea what you mean, my feelings not containing danger or trouble, but your opinions trouble me exceedingly. I begin now to twist and turn, not knowing what to do. This convinces you that I have disease of the heart and you try to explain to me what I have and how it affects a person. By mesmerizing me into your belief you disturb my mind and create the very idea you have invented, and at last I die just as you foretold. All this is disease and you made it. If I had never seen you nor any one wiser than myself I should not have died.