December 2, 2012

Is Language Always Applied to Science?—Part III—Same Subject Continued

    by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Was it the intention of the authors of language to enslave man or to elevate and instruct him? If those who first reduced words to a language intended to enslave man, then the end was equal to the means. But if it was their design to elevate man and make him superior to the savage, then they have failed to accomplish their object. All man's misery may be attributed to language, for if there had been no language, man would have been but little above the brute. Thus language has developed sciences and at the same time enslaved mankind. Language when used to instruct man in arts and sciences is in its proper province, but when used to deceive and mislead man, it is abused and perverted. All will admit that language is to express one's thoughts and feelings, for if a man had not these to be expressed, language would be of no use.

The beasts have a language for their wants which are selfish and within themselves, but man has feelings which he wishes to express and this desire makes him an inventor of language to communicate his ideas to another. Now language is like all other commodities got up by speculators of very little benefit to the masses. The speculators use it for their advantage to keep control of the market while the masses take it second-hand from the wise, as Lazarus fed from the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Such is the food of the masses.

Language that is used by the inventive classes is very simple and constructive, but when it is applied to an invisible world, it is all confined to the intellect of a wisdom that can be seen only by its effects. Look at the amount of language about some invisible something whose existence sprang from the brain of persons who, by their language, have brought into the world invisible evils in the form of diseases and have counterfeited everything that is for the benefit of man, and who have deceived the people into invisible errors from which they are suffering. Meanwhile, their language is to enslave the masses till they have made an invisible world corresponding to this with an army as large and formidable as that of the Potomac, which is marshalled and led forth to attack all scientific improvements in freedom from slavery and from disease. This all comes from the misuse of language. I use language to express the feelings produced on me while sitting by the sick and I find that all the evils that I encounter are from some belief in some invisible thing invented by a superstitious mind and described as true. The people hear the story and eat it, and it comes forth in a belief and their misery is the proof that the story is true. This kind of deception keeps this invisible world in ignorance of its existence in the minds of men.

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

To rid the world of this kind of imposition is to show man that when a person talks about what is in the dark, he is either deceived himself or is trying to deceive others. It is true that I am talking about things that the patient cannot see, but he can feel them; therefore my language is not confined to what I do not know but to what I do know by my own feelings. This is what I know: that language has been counterfeited. It is only words used to explain our ideas and if a person is made to believe a lie, he uses this medium to convey it to another. This is what makes disease of all kinds. The priests use language to make people believe in their ideas; the doctors and politicians do the same. All their beliefs are without the slightest foundation in wisdom. They are the inventions of error and represented as truth, requiring a language to explain them in order that the people can swallow them. This keeps the people in ignorance of disease and all their lives subject to the power of these wise men whose wisdom is of man and, as Job says, will die with them. These crafty persons use language as a weapon to subjugate the masses, for their proofs come after their predictions; this makes an appearance of knowledge greater than the masses. But if man knew himself he would know that to believe a lie is to create it, and the misery following is our own.

    December 1862

Source: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, beginning on page 340.


QUIMBY'S RESTORATION TO HEALTH

    by Horatio W. Dresser

IDEALLY speaking it is of secondary consequence where an original mind begins to investigate human life. What signifies is the searching thought which discloses real conditions, laws, the causes of our misery and the way to freedom. Such thinking is likely to be productive in high degree if it be concrete, adapted to the actual state of the world, without too much theorizing, with a view to direct benefits.

In Mr. Quimby's preliminary researches we find a capital instance. He began with a purely conventional point of view, defending in thought and attitude the prevailing medical practice of the day, and so he took the world as he found it. Moreover, he had a personal need. This is the way he states the situation be was in in an article already published in part in "The True History of Mental Science." (1)

    (1) By Julius A. Dresser, 1887.

"Can a theory be found, capable of practice, which can separate truth from error? I undertake to say there is a method of reasoning which, being understood, can separate one from the other. Men never dispute about a fact that can be demonstrated by scientific reasoning. Controversies arise from some idea that has been turned into a false direction, leading to a false position. The basis of my reasoning is this point: that whatever is true to a person, if he cannot prove it, is not necessarily true to another. Therefore, because a person says a thing is no reason that he says true. The greatest evil that follows taking an opinion for a truth is disease. Let medical and religious opinions, which produce so vast an amount of misery, be tested by the rule I have laid down, and it will be seen how much they are founded in truth. For twenty years I have been testing them, and I have failed to find one single principle of truth in either. This is not from any prejudice against the medical faculty, for, when I began to investigate the mind, I was entirely on that side. I was prejudiced in favor of the medical faculty; for I never employed any one outside of the regular faculty, nor took the least particle of quack medicine.

"Some thirty years ago I was very sick, and was considered fast wasting away with consumption.(1) At that time I became so low that it was with difficulty I could walk about. I was all the while under the allopathic practice, and I bad taken so much calomel that my system was said to be poisoned with it; and I lost many of my teeth from that effect. My symptoms were those of any consumptive; and I had been told that my liver was affected and my kidneys were diseased, and that my lungs were nearly consumed. I believed all this, from the fact that I had all the symptoms, and could not resist the opinions of the physician while having the proof with me. In this state I was compelled to abandon my business; and, losing all hope, I gave up to die,-not that I thought the medical faculty had no wisdom, but that my case was one that could not be cured.

    (1) This statement was written in 1863.

"Having an acquaintance who cured himself by riding horseback, I thought-I would try riding in a carriage, as I was too weak to ride horseback. My horse was contrary; and once, when about two miles from home, be stopped at the foot of a long hill, and would not start except as I went by his side. So I was obliged to run nearly the whole distance. Having reached the top of the hill I got into the carriage; and, as I was very much exhausted, I concluded to sit there the balance of the day, if the horse did not start. Like all sickly and nervous people, I could not re­main easy in that place; and, seeing a man ploughing, I waited till he had ploughed around a three-acre lot, and got within sound of my voice, when I asked him to start my horse. He did so, and at the time I was so weak I could scarcely lift my whip. But excitement took possession of my senses, and I drove the horse as fast as he could go, up hill and down, till I reached home; and, when I got into the stable, I felt as strong as I ever did."

Here, then, was a significant fact, this reaction produced by excitement, suggesting that medical diagnosis was wrong. No other experience seems to have followed this one, and when Quimby began to experiment with mesmerism he still accepted the prevailing medical theories. So, too, he began by taking devotees of mesmerism at their own word, since that appeared to be the best way to learn the truth concerning their phenomena.

There are two reasons for bearing these facts in mind, first that we may note how far he travelled to the point where he lost all faith in the medical faculty and proposed a theory of disease of his own; second, because we can hardly understand the interests of his intermediate period unless we realize that he was still in process and had not at first wholly rejected the physical theory of disease. Some other investigation might have been as profitable to him. The point is that he learned so much from his mesmeric experi­ments that he gave them up forever, and in giving them up came to himself and found a new truth of incalculable benefit to humanity.

There is no reason for apologizing as if it were discreditable that Quimby was once a mesmerist and was known through his ability to "magnetize" a patient or hypnotic subject. There was nothing to be ashamed of in this procedure. The only unpardonable thing that has been said about him is that he was "an ignorant mesmerist" and that he remained so. Ignorant he was not by any means, and he ceased to be a mesmerist because he was exceptionally skilful, so acute in exercising his powers that he learned the limit­ations of all such experiments.

We have his own statement to the effect that when he began to investigate mesmerism he was still an entire believer in the medical science and practice of the day. We also have his own exposition of the experiences which led to his change in point of view. We have contemporary testimony to his exceptional powers and the impression produced by his public experiments. Then too we have the testimony of his son, George, associated with his father as secretary when the mes­meric experiments were things of the past. Finally, we have the direct information coming to us from those who were most intimately acquainted with Quimby's practice in his later years, from 1859 to 1866 in Portland.

[This is the first installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter III. QUIMBY'S RESTORATION TO HEALTH, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]


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Editor's Corner

Beginning this week, we will be reviewing Phineas Quimby’s own restoration to health as detailed by Horatio W. Dresser in his 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts. Whether this is a review, or is the first time you are reading the account of Quimby’s marvelous healing, I would invite you to follow along with us in the coming weeks.

The original manuscripts and writings of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby are archived in the Library of Congress, Boston University, and Harvard University. Additional information about these collections may be found on our web site here.

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