March 23, 2014
DISEASE AND HEALING
Chapter XVI of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
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.” ~Horatio W. Dresser
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
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 hack 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 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.
[This is the fourth installment of a twelve–part series originally written and published as Chapter XVI. DISEASE AND HEALING, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are continuing a twelve–part serial review of Chapter 16, DISEASE AND HEALING, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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