"Blessed is he that cometh in the Science of Wisdom." ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
May 18, 2014
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.]
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.
[This is the twelfth and final 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.]
Dr. Herman Jan Aaftink
Founder — Director of Life Enrichment Centre
Calgary, Alberta. Canada
President of Quimby Foundation
Herman was born and raised in the Netherlands and as a child lived there during WWII under 5 years of Nazi occupation. He witnessed a great deal of human suffering. His life was spared when a large bomb fell in the family back yard but it did not explode. Under these horrendous conditions he began to search for answers to the great questions of life, such as: How can we reconcile the horrors of war with the will of God? He had a solid background in the Protestant faith and knowledge of the Bible, however, traditional answers were not satisfactory so he began researching existentialist authors such as Simone de Beauvoir, Jean–Paul Sartre and Karl Jaspers and also the great ancient philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus.
After the war he was one of the first exchange students to go to Germany to seek understanding and reconciliation. Along the way he finished school, started his higher education in accounting and got drafted into the Dutch military service, fortunately not being sent to the Korean War as the 1953 armistice was then signed. Herman was employed in the Dutch Army’s liaison office for NATO in the Hague. On completion of his military service he decided to immigrate to Canada because Canadians had liberated his country and he was looking for new opportunities in a land of freedom and greatness.
After coming to Canada he worked in accounting and foreign exchange at a bank and later as an office and credit manager in retail and wholesale as well as a cost accountant, purchasing agent and comptroller. These jobs took him from Victoria to Montreal and then to Calgary. While doing all this he took the Dale Carnegie course in public speaking and then became a director of the program. It was the Dale Carnegie training that led him to attend a New Thought lecture delivered by Dr. William M. Graham of Portland Oregon who was at the time executive director of the Churches of The Truth. This was a life altering experience. Herman was enrolled in the Ministerial education programs of the United Church of Canada, The Churches of the Truth and the International Association of Religious Science Churches and earned the degrees of Bachelor of Metaphysics and Doctor of Divinity. He served as United Church minister for four years in British Columbia and enjoyed a 50 year friendship with Dr. Max Warne a prominent leader in the United Church.
While in Montreal Herman taught New Thought, especially Thomas Troward courses under the mentorship of the great Dr. Raymond Charles Barker of New York City. Forty–Five years ago he arrived in Calgary to take over leadership of the Church of the Truth later named Centre for Positive Living. He also founded the Life Enrichment Centre and taught courses in the business community as Impact Seminars Ltd. Herman was also active in civic affairs and worked closely with the awesome Ralph Klein, then mayor of Calgary, later Premier of Alberta, on improving social conditions. In addition he worked with the eminent Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan on his project for universal health care in Canada. Herman initiated the honoring of Canadian Diplomat Ken Taylor for his efforts to release the American hostages in Iran. In 1969 he became active in International New Thought Alliance and started meeting many great people. He worked and lectured with Dr. Ervin & Elva Seale, Dr. Errol Collie, Dr. Stuart Grayson, Dr. Alan Anderson, Dr. Deb Whitehouse, Dr. Joseph Murphy, Dr. Larry Morris, Dr. Donald Curtis, Frank Goble, Dr. William Hornaday, Drs. Gene Emmet & Jeanie Clark, Dr. Carmelita Trowbridge, Dr. Jesse Longe, Dr. Carleton Whitehead, Dr. Laura Holman, Dr. Margaret Stevens, Betty–Jean House, Dr. Catherine Ponder, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, Dr. Robert Winterhalter, Dr. Jack Holland, Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Robert Bitzer, Paul Kikimoto, Roy–Eugene Davis, Sig Paulson, Rev. Dale Batesole, Dr. Emma Smiley, Dr. Jack & Connie Addington, Rev. Ike, Dr. Johnnie Colemon, Dr. Barbara King, Dr. Marcus Bach, Dr. Blaine Mays, Dr. Mimi Ronnie, Dr. Fred Vogt, Dr. Jackie & Rev. Robert Darby, Dr. Buckminster Fuller and many many more.
Although Herman never got to meet Emmet Fox, Ernest Holmes or Joel Goldsmith, as they had already passed away, he researched their lives by interviewing their closest associates which were Herman Wolhorn, Reginald Armor and Lorriane Sinkler, all of whom authored books on these great New Thought teachers. Herman lectured for the Emmet Fox students in New York at the Plaza Hotel and also lectured at Lincoln Centre & Steinway Hall in New York City several times and all across the United States while working with the Internatial New Thought Alliance as the Executive Treasurer and Vice President. While here in Calgary he delivered Sunday lectures and taught many courses eventually making the Fairmont Palliser Hotel his outstanding venue. He also spread his message speaking on radio CHQR Calgary, AM1140 High River and in Honolulu as well as television in Honolulu, Palm Springs — California and video in New York City. Herman introduced Calgarians to many of the great new thought authors and orators through the annual Banff and Lake Louise seminars which he chaired for over 25 years. He was also the founder of a retail book store in Calgary called New Age Books and Arts. The International New Thought Alliance was founded in 1914 by Thomas Troward in London, England. For 100 years it annual conventions were being held in the United States with one exception, in 1985 when the Congress was featured in Calgary at the Palliser Hotel presided over by Herman and co–chaired by Dr. Jackie Darby of Life Enrichment Centre, Edmonton. Herman is widely recognized for his educational and editorial efforts. He worked for many years with Dr. Ervin Seale, the Editor–in–chief of the publishing project of the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby manuscripts as a contributing editor. Quimby is considered the Father of New Thought. Herman is co–founder of the Quimby Foundations in Canada and the United States and directed The Quimby School of Metaphysics. He was also an executive director and lecturer for the academic Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion known as S.S.M.R. Because of these functions and his courses in Canada he was recognized as an educator in this field by the famed Templeton Foundation.
Herman has written many articles and book reviews for the New Thought quarterly. He is the author of two books – Brand New Me – The Art of Authentic Living (in print since 1995) and New Thought a Way of Life (which is out of print) and is working on several others.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is but a brief history and I think you will agree: as a result of all these years of activity we now have many New Thought centres across Canada and Herman has inspired many to become New Thought leaders in Canada. On a personal note, the best thing about Herman is he doesn’t tell you what to think, he shares with you the awareness to think for yourself and find your own philosophy of life, so you become enlightened and empowered. He covers many disciplines from metaphysics, world religions, the Bible and its symbolic interpretation, to the great philosophical ideas. Also: psychological insights of such great thinkers as Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow. In addition he introduces his audience to the latest scientific discoveries that confirm spiritual principles. Self–help is also important, because the message is practical. Herman teaches to believe what you have evidence for. He often says “Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and your life will improve.” The bottom line is: you’ve got to do your own thinking! In closing, the following quotation from the great philosopher Albert Camus, applies, in my view to Herman:
Don’t Follow me —
I may not lead
Don’t Lead me —
I may not follow
Walk beside me and
Be my friend
Author; Denise Galambos
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
May 4, 2014
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond is the ultimate reference source for historically accurate information of this nineteenth-century clockmaker turned metaphysical teacher and healer. Including the Missing Works of P. P. Quimby; based on new and independent research by the editor, the present volume surpasses all previously published “complete” compilations of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s writings in size, scope and historical accuracy. Published by the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
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Today we are concluding a twelve–part serial review of Chapter 16, DISEASE AND HEALING, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
Next week we will move forward to Chapter 17, GOD AND MAN.
I hope that you have taken the time to read the above article written by Denise Galambos, A Brief History of Herman.
Dr. Herman J. Aaftink and the Calgary Life Enrichment Centre of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, have reached the forty–five year milestone of serving Calgarians and beyond.
Along with Dr. Ervin Seale, Herman co–founded the Quimby Memorial Church and Foundation in the United States.
In his role as contributing editor to Seale’s 1988 publication, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings, Herman and his staff at the Calgary Life Enrichment Centre were responsible for much of the transcription work of converting the handwritten Quimby documents into typewritten texts.
Congratulations to Dr. Aaftink and the Calgary Life Enrichment Centre for forty–five years of service!
In Wisdom, Love, and Light,
P.S. Do you have your copy of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond as of yet? This is our flagship publication, and within its pages, you will find a great source of Quimby information that is published for the very first time!
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