December 22, 2013
THE WORLD OF THE SENSES
Chapter XV of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[These selections have been chosen from articles written between June, 1860, and July, 1865, and arranged, with condensations, according to topics. The omitted portions have been left out to avoid repetition. The sub–titles are usually the titles of the original articles.] (Horatio W. Dresser.)
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
In order to introduce my theory of curing disease it will be necessary to explain the use I make of a few words to which custom has given a meaning I am unable to use. For instance the word mind. All use the word applied to man’s intelligence. As the word mind has never been applied to any spiritual substance or any substance at all, it strikes the reader strangely to hear it as I have to use it, still I think I can show that the author must have a different meaning in his wisdom than is commonly attributed to it. It could not be that he had an idea of any world or existence beyond this life, for mind was considered man’s life and all his reasoning powers at death must end. Consequently the brain was considered the seat of the mind. Various beliefs show that this false reasoning still holds sway over mankind. The word mind as it is used and believed comprises all of man and beast that has life and instinct, which at death disappears or dies. As science progressed the weakness of the reasoning was seen, and the religious community invested the word with a new significance which the ancients never dreamed of; for, with their limitations, it could not explain the life of man; it could not contain the word wisdom, so a new word was needed and “soul” was introduced. But if you call the soul “science” you will have a higher development than is included in mind. Let “mind,” then embrace all matter of the human and brute creations, as the word “matter” embraces all inanimate substances. Then the “soul” will represent wisdom that creates from inanimate matter every manufactured article. . . . Ancient philosophers divided man into two elements, mind and matter, the body being matter and the soul mind, and one was the offspring of the other. The life of the soul was one thing and the life of the body another, but they both died together. So the word mind covered all of man’s life. The intellect of the brute was termed instinct, which was included in the meaning of mind. At death all were laid in the grave together: the wise man and the fool, the rich and the poor all found their level in the grave. . . . We have evidence enough to show that what is now called the soul in ancient times had no higher meaning than mind, for we read of good souls and wicked souls. So here is an end to the soul. Such teaching is the cause of man’s misery.
Every one will admit that all the qualities of “soul” which I have mentioned will apply to man’s intelligence, and that “mind” according to every definition can change; also admit that Wisdom cannot change, that it is the same today and forever. Now can any one tell me what there is that is not matter that can be changed? It cannot be Wisdom. It cannot be any form that can be seen, which of course must be matter. Then what is it that is not Wisdom, God, or spirit, and not matter and yet can be changed? It is matter held in solution called mind, which the power of Wisdom can condense into a solid so dense as to become the substance called “matter.” Assume this theory and then you can see how man can become sick and get well by a change of mind.
Disease is the natural result of ignorance and error governed by discords of the mind. For instance, friction produces heat, heat expansion, expansion motion, motion disturbs life, and life comes out of the motion. There are various kinds of life, vegetable, animal, etc.; for life is what comes from the decomposition of matter. Wisdom is not life, it is from everlasting to everlasting, the same today and forever. But as life ascends from the lower to the higher kingdoms, Wisdom attaches itself to it in order to develop in man itself. . . .
I will give you the process as it comes to me by this great truth that heals all who come into it. The elements of the mineral kingdom by their chemical change bring forth life, this mingles with its mother–minerals and an offspring is produced called a vegetable. The life of minerals enters this new kingdom and a new creation springs into being. This again mingles with its parent kingdom and there comes a low form of life called the animal kingdom; one generation begets another till matter is prepared to receive some of the life from the Wisdom which rules these lower lives. Man’s life comes from his peculiar development, so there is as much difference in the idea “man” as there is in the other kingdoms, for man is made of those kingdoms. He combines three parts in himself, animal, human, scientific, in different degrees in each person. Man partakes more of the animal, less of the scientific. Women have more of the scientific element, less of the animal; the latter kingdom makes them strong, the human benevolent, and the scientific spiritual and poetical.
From time immemorial the subject of mind has been a theme of ancient and modern philosophers. Now if the idea of mind did not embrace all our reason and philosophy man would not be all the time trying to investigate its nature.
Mind is always associated with something else. Moses used the word wisdom in the sense of mind when he said God created the heavens and the earth, which means mind and matter.
The philosophers of our day separate matter from mind and call matter material, and mind immaterial, so that matter is not [supposed to be] under the control of mind, and as mind is immaterial it is nothing. Now can nothing produce something? This the philosophers of our day may answer. Why all these different applications of the same term? If mind is matter, what is life? To show that mind is [spiritual] matter we must illustrate by something that men will admit. But some one may ask of what consequence is it to man whether mind is substance or not? I say it is of vast importance to the world, for if it can be shown that mind is [spiritual] matter, it will be seen that mind is under the control of a wisdom possessed by man, so that wisdom acting upon mind changes it and destroys the error and brings man to the truth. . .
Every person admits that mind has a great deal to do with the body, and each one makes a difference between them. The mind is said to be the intellectual part of man, and the body the servant. In one sense this is true, but to Wisdom it is false, for all admit that the mind can be changed, and if intelligence can change it cannot be wisdom. Jesus taught that the real man is of wisdom. Wisdom cannot change, but can arrange and classify ideas each in its proper place, and show where mind falls short of wisdom. To suppose mind is wisdom is as false as to suppose power is weight.
The natural man, whose intellect is linked with the brutes, and who cannot see beyond matter, reasons this way: He is in matter, but thinks he is outside of it. He cannot see his absurd mode of reasoning, but it is shown in disease. Physical man is composed of fluids and gases, and also mind. The mind is supposed to be the offspring of his body, or brain, although in his conversation he makes a distinction between them; and being in matter his intelligence cannot see beyond it. Therefore he only believes in a superior wisdom as a mystery. The fact that he admits it as a mysterious gift or power shows that he does not know it. To make man know himself is to convince him, that he, his wisdom, is as distinct from his belief as he is from anything that exists separate from him. Then he will give to mind an identity embracing everything having a beginning and ending. Sickness and disease are contained in it, but wisdom is no part of it.
If we see a dead person we have no idea of a wisdom that exists with all the faculties that were exhibited through the body. We try to believe but our belief is vague; we cannot describe it. Man is not developed enough to see outside of his idea “matter.” He is in the idea prophesying of what may come hereafter. I have developed this wisdom, which is the real man, till I have broken through the bars of death and can see beyond the world of opinions into the light of Science. I can see what things have being, and how we take our opinions for truth.
The moon is a figure of the natural man. Its light is borrowed, or the light of the opinions of the sun. It thinks it has light of itself, but the sun’s light knows that it is the reflection of the sun’s light. The wise man in like manner knows that the light of the body or natural man is but the reflection of the scientific man. Our misery lies in this darkness. This is the prison that holds the natural man, till the light of Wisdom bursts his bonds, and sets the captive free. Here is where Christ went to preach to the prisoners bound by error, before the reformation of Science.
[This is the second installment of an eleven–part series originally written and published as Chapter XV. THE WORLD OF THE SENSES, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are continuing an eleven–part serial review of Chapter 15, THE WORLD OF THE SENSES, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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