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"Blessed is he that cometh in the Science of Wisdom." ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

February 9, 2014


    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.]


This word means something or nothing. Now if it means everything it certainly means nothing, but if is applied to the power of invention or imitation it can be understood. It is wrong however to apply it to deception, for a person must first be acted upon before his imagination can produce a phenomenon, otherwise it would apply equally to all operators, but to apply it to one phenomenon and not to another of the same kind is not right. I tell you a lie and you believe it, immediately your inventive power or imagination commences to create that which I have said. I explain the operation of a machine to you and your inventive power immediately creates it according as you understand it. This is imagination. In the first instance the world says your imagination has deceived you and there is nothing in it, but in the latter case you are right. This is a misuse of the word and you suffer from it. This power of forming ideas called imagination is one of the highest elements in the human mind, and it is the foundation of all true discovery. Yet like all scientific facts it is abused and misrepresented.

To give you a clearer idea of the misuse of this word I will illustrate it by a religious belief. Church members never use the word imagination in speaking of their belief and their religion. Do they mean to say that they believe without creating the image of their belief? If so then what they call the power that understands is really the power of imagination. The fact is that religious beliefs are founded in deception and the leaders deceive the people into them. At the same time outsiders are sceptical and apply the words “imagination” and “superstition” in derision. Every person wishing to deceive the masses calls everything imagination that does not coincide with his belief. The medical faculty have assumed to themselves the power of creating by imagination every idea based on wisdom. All ideas opposed to them are said to be false, and they say that the imagination that creates these ideas is a disgrace, and belongs to ignorance and superstition.

A physician, for instance, may tell you the most absurd falsehood that his imagination can invent, but it is “true” because it has the sanction of the faculty. If you believe him you use the power which if rightly applied is one of the best of faculties for the purpose of creating a disease which you have taken for a truth. There is no dispute or controversy about that. But if some outsider should deceive you half as much and you should create an idea you would be accused of being superstitious, believing everything and imagining all sorts of humbugs.

The word imagination is so misapplied that it has lost all the value it ever had, and like religion it has a name without meaning covering numerous deceptions applied to weak–minded people. I never use the word as others do. When people think they have a disease which I know they have not, I do not ascribe it to their imagination, but to the fact that they have been deceived. A physician may tell you what is not true about yourself. If you believe it and he deceives you that is no disgrace to you, for it shows an honest heart and confidence in the physician. Then follows the creation and appearance of the thing he has told you. As far as you are concerned you are blameless, but the physician is a liar and hypocrite and has used your creative powers to deceive you for his own selfish ends. Now when their hypocrisy and deceit are exposed they cry out, “humbug, our craft is in danger: this quack works upon the imagination of the sick and makes them believe the medical faculty are not honest.”

Let me call your attention to one fact; the word imagination never applies to the first cause. There is a superior power that originates, and imagination does the work and produces. Science detects the direction that is given to imagination and corrects it if false. All men have gone out of the way, and no one reasons from Science. So Wisdom classes them all, that it may save the whole by introducing the light of a new mode of reasoning that will separate error from truth. This refers to the subject of health and happiness and not to arts and sciences. The evils that affect the body and mind are included.


No one knows the mischief or the misery that physicians of all kinds make by their opinions, and this never will be known till man learns that his belief makes his trouble. For instance, a person feels a slight disturbance at the pit of the stomach. Ignorant of its cause, he applies to a physician. Here comes the trouble. The physician assumes a false character. His practice makes him either a simpleton or a knave, for if honest he would know that he could not tell anything about the patient. If he were blind he could not even tell that the patient was sick, so that all his knowledge is gathered from observation and questioning. Therefore he is doctor only in name. He dare not risk his reputation by sitting down by the patient and telling his feelings as I do. Therefore he knows he is acting the part of a hypocrite. The patient is in the hands of a deceiver, whose business it is to deceive him into some belief that happens to occur to him. At this time the physician stands to the patient like a tailor ready to fit him a garment. If rich he will persuade him he has the spinal complaint, or bronchitis, or some other disease that fits the patient's fears. If very poor, and there is no chance for a speculation, he will fit an old pair of worn out lungs on to him, just enough to keep him breathing a short time. This is the way the regular faculty humbug the people. Now when the people are educated to understand that what they believe they will create, they will cease believing what the medical men say, and try to account for their feelings in some more rational way.

I know that a belief in any disease will create a chemical change1 in the mind, and that a person will create a phenomenon corresponding to the symptoms. This creation is named disease, according to the author. The idea disease has no effect on a person who has no fear of it. The idea small–pox, for instance, produces no effect on a person who has had it, or has had the varioloid, or has been vaccinated; but on another it is not so. The doctor can produce a chemical change by his talk. It makes no difference what he says. A phenomenon will follow to which he can give a name to suit his convenience.

1 This term includes bodily changes, as well.

For instance, a person gets into an excited, heated state and a doctor is called. He gives medicine which affects the patient and he feels better. That then is what the patient needed and the doctor has the credit. If the patient grows worse the medicine makes him sick; the doctor says he has the symptoms of a fever, while in reality he himself has been the cause of nine–tenths of the trouble. Give men the knowledge of one great truth, that man is constituted of two different principles: wisdom which is seen in Science, and error which is seen in matter or in opinions. The latter is governed by no principle known to man, but is simply the action of cause and effect; but man who sees only the phenomenon puts wisdom into it, for the cause is never seen. To the natural man this is a mystery.

I will illustrate it. Take the small–pox. The first sensation upon the patient contains neither opinion, happiness nor misery. The cause was one of the natural results of motion which might be traced back through many changes containing no more harm than any breeze that reaches man at any hour, but it gives a start to the mind like the fall of a weight. This shock although containing no intelligence, disturbed the spiritual senses (the real man). I will drop this illustration here and undertake to describe the real man and separate him from what seems to be the man.

The spiritual senses are all that there is of a man. Therefore when he changes his senses,1 it is necessary to know what he gains or loses by the change and also what he embraces. To suppose a man has but five or seven senses is as absurd as to suppose he has but a certain number of ideas. His senses are himself, what he knows and what he thinks he knows. Paul divides man into two identities: Wisdom or what could be proved by a science, and knowledge or what man believes to be true. So when a man says he thinks he knows or believes he knows it is sure that he does not know as he should. But if he can prove his knowledge by science then Science is known to him. Man’s senses embrace these two characters, which are natural opponents, to both of which life has been attached. The scientific man sees and knows himself, and he also sees and knows his opponent, but the man of opinion can only see the scientific man in a mystery. As Wisdom advances in man the effect is to destroy the senses [belief] which are attached to knowledge. When knowledge overbalances a man’s wisdom, his error reigns, but if wisdom is in the ascendancy his knowledge becomes subject to his wisdom. In mathematics, chemistry and all the arts and sciences that can be demonstrated knowledge submits to wisdom, but that part of man’s senses attached to knowledge that is not subject to science is in the ascendancy in religion, disease, and politics. These are false sciences based on opinions. They are the same that Jesus denounced as false prophets, evil and blind guides who deceived the people. These errors embrace that part of man that believes in sickness, death, another world, and all kinds of superstition. They beget tyranny and selfishness in man, and slavery and democracy in nations. It is the mission of Science to destroy these, and Science will be developed till they are destroyed.

1 That is, his consciousness or belief, the direction of his mind.

Therefore where man’s confidence in these opinions is at an end his senses will seem to be annihilated, but in reality he will be like the young eagle which has burst its shell and soars aloft on the wings of wisdom, where he looks down upon the earth and sees the natural man crawling like a reptile waiting to devour the child of science as soon as it is born. Every development of Wisdom whether applied to creeping things or to the element of freedom, is the child of God. Concealed in the egg of slavery wisdom is kept warm by the heat of discussion, but now it has broken its shell and assumed a character and the enemies of freedom, like those of Christ stand ready to devour it as soon as it is born. But the mother of freedom will receive the child to its bosom, and will flee into the wilderness till the time arrives, when the senses of man will be so changed that slavery will be chained to the lowest grade of brutality and then in the wilderness it will die and be forgotten. The error of disease will go through a similar revolution, for it has been hatched by the church, kept concealed by the medical faculty, while their opinions are the very food that has fed the child of science whose heel shall bruise the head of the serpent disease. These two characters, science and error are separate and yet they act together and always will till Truth reigns over all the dominions of opinion. They are embraced in every man and the separation was the Science that Jesus taught. To understand the separation is eternal life in Science.

Jesus came into the world of error, not into Science for he was there with Wisdom. All Science was with Wisdom, and when it comes to the world it comes as Jesus did. It first comes to the educated, but they having no light to distinguish between truth and error, and cannot receive it. So it turns to that class which have no prejudices, and here in the wilderness it develops itself until it has attained its growth and then it comes forth. Then commences the war between the educated who are ignorant of the truth and Science. While Science is growing in the minds of the people its opponents are eating and drinking, gloating over their spoils, till the tide of popular opinion sweeps way their foundation. They never seem to realize their danger till their house falls over their heads. This has been the case with the democratic house, while they still hold to the idea that slavery will be tolerated. The thunder of freedom is shaking the temple to its foundation, and they hide themselves in the crevice of their belief, exclaiming “I was always opposed to the extension of slavery but the constitution must, not be violated,” that is, you must not break the egg by the heat of discussion and let out the bird of liberty, for if you do democracy is dead.

The medical faculty reason in the same way. “Do not destroy the medical constitution,” they say, “for you will let in a swarm of quacks that will get the world in a horrid state. The regular physician will have no standing and sickness and death will triumph over the land.” The ministers also exclaim, “Do not touch the Divine institution, for religion is all that keeps the world from going to destruction.” Wisdom replies, “I will laugh at your fears, and I will pour out light like wrath and cut you off from the face of the earth and give the earth (or mind) to a more enlightened people, who will obey the laws of Science and teach others to do the same, and you shall be cast into everlasting misery.” This is progression and it is the religion of Jesus. It is the stone of science that the builders of religion rejected. It is the star that guided the wise men to the only true God. Its body is wisdom, its blood is its life and unless you eat it and drink it you have no life in you. Happy is he who when a cloud of disease comes (for the Lord is always in clouds of error) can say I fear not, fear hath torment and perfect love casteth out fear. He will rise from the clouds and meet Christ above the opinions of man, then when Science comes you will not be harmed.

I wish to make you understand these two characters, Science and opinions. Give to each an idenity like a man and separate one from the other, and then see which you follow; for you must follow one, you cannot serve both at the same time. If you serve Science, you are in your wisdom and know it. If you serve opinion, you have no wisdom but your life is in a belief that can be destroyed. So you will live all your life subject to bondage through fear of death. But if you have passed through death or opinion to the life of Science death will have no power over you. Disease is death and the belief is the fear, therefore if death is destroyed the fear is gone. It becomes us then to search into the causes of the phenomenon called disease and find if it is not an image of our own make. The Jewish people were making all sorts of false beliefs that tormented them. So God through Moses says, “Thou shalt make no graven images” to represent any false idea which they had been taught, nor worship any superstition, for truth was jealous of error. It always condemns our error and rewards our scientific acts. Disease was conceived in priestcraft and brought forth in the iniquity of the medical faculty. The priest prophesied falsely and the doctors flourished by their lies, and the people love to have it so. Then the question arises, what can you do to prevent it? I say, repent all, and be baptized in the Science that will wash away your sins and diseases with your belief. Come out from the world of opinion, and when a doctor says you have so and so, make him prove it.

[This is the ninth 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.]

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

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Editor’s Corner

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.

In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
Ron Hughes

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