November 25, 2012

Is Language Always Applied to Science?—Part II—Language Continued

    by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Does language contain any substance? Language is to convey some idea to an individual. The idea is mind combined into a form which holds the substance of the image. For instance, the idea horse is in the mind. This is like a nut or casket. When a person speaks the word horse, it does not follow that he forms the idea because a child may be taught to speak the word and to him the idea is merely a shadow so dim that to his senses it contains no substance. Now if he speaks the word to another child, it contains an empty sound or casket, but if it is spoken to a person who can understand, he will create the idea of himself for the word horse will produce a sensation, for sound is something that can act on the mind and the person becomes accordingly affected. Sound is sensation but not an idea; therefore it must be attached to something to give it an idea that contains a substance. To one person certain ideas may be filled with truth or error, for if they are not attached to a true sound, it is an error and here is where the trouble lies. We all suppose that when we speak anything the thing is conveyed to the person spoken to but this is not always the case, for to speak the truth is a science and every idea contains wisdom, but to speak error is to repeat words without applying them to the idea that brought out the word.

For example, I say Mr.________has the rheumatism. The idea I wish to convey is a perfect image of the rheumatism. Suppose that a dozen persons hear me speak. Each is affected just according to the impression I produce in his mind, and as the word embraces many ideas or forms, I convey as many ideas as there are persons. One has attached the word to a person drawn up and in a state in which he cannot move his limbs and another to a pain in the shoulder and so on, but everyone is affected. Suppose the word rheumatism contained one single idea. Then all will be affected alike so far as the word goes, but now each person is left to create just such an idea as he thinks proper, and if he tells the story, he conveys the word accompanied with his own idea. The world is full of these bogus ideas and they contain a substance that we spiritually eat and by which we are affected. They are as plenty as the locusts of Egypt.

This is true of every word that goes to represent disease. Consumption has as many ideas as there are persons who have heard the word and it is the same with all sorts of fevers and everything which man is liable to embrace. The sick have associated their senses to these ideas each of which, as I have said before, is a nut or casket that contains the wisdom or food of the idea. It is a storehouse to contain the food for the senses. Man lives on this food till it consumes his substance or gets all the life out of the body to feed the mind, so that the body is destroyed by its own friends or ideas. My theory is to analyze these ideas that man lives on which make him sick and show him their contents making him see that they are merely errors started by man without the slightest foundation in truth. And man has fostered and cultivated them into living ideas and given them names that they may go forth and prey upon the children of men. My practice is to apply this great truth to correct the errors of the sick. Therefore when with them, I take the ideas that affect them, analyze them, showing that they are the effect of superstition, and being matter, we make in the body the very image of our idea. This is the child of our own belief, and though it be ever so much deformed and cause us pain and misery, we foster and feed it with the crumbs of superstition to keep it alive.

Quotation by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Let man know that disease is his own make, as much as a mother knows her child is her own, and although the child is deformed, she cannot part with it, (and he will cease from making such children). The child is an idea of the father and mother; it is a child of circumstance, liable to all the evils of its parents. Correct the world of these evils called disease and you introduce a generation of children composed of elements as much superior to the generation of these times as man is superior to the brute. How does man show his intellectual superiority to the brutes? All will admit that brutes have a sort of language by which they communicate and so has man. Then wherein is man superior? So far as language goes, it is not there. A bird sings, each according to his race, but a bird is a bird and is like the first one; he shows that he is not one whit advanced beyond the birds of ages ago. This proves that his language is not to convey any new idea not before known; he lives and dies a bird. So with a monkey. He can talk, but his language is confined to himself and he lives and dies a monkey. His language is never applied to any improvement in science. Take a class of beings dressed like men and women. See what language has done for them, the same as for the brute to show off. Such language has never been applied to one single idea above the level of the brute. Then is language good for nothing? No, when applied to some error or some discovery by which man can advance beyond the world, then language is of some value.

    December 1862

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


HISTORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS

    by Horatio W. Dresser

[Continued from last week.]

Having all the material at hand, every page or line of it whatsoever, I am able not only to corroborate all statements made by George Quimby concerning the manuscripts, but to state facts which he did not mention in print. I have read carefully through all the original manuscripts, which were copied by George Quimby and the Misses Ware, and have taken note in conscientious detail to see if any revisions or changes were in the handwriting of Mrs. Eddy, then Mrs. Patterson: there is not a page, a sentence or word that bears evi­dence of any such thing, all revisions or changes having been made by the Misses Ware as already described. There is not anywhere a page or even a line of her own by Mrs. Patterson­Eddy, no "first scribblings." Her name is not written on the back of any page. Nor is there any evidence of any idea that might have been suggested by her, had she been in a state to make any suggestions of value. Instead, there is an assemblage of writings that would have filled her mind with chagrin had she realized how fully Quimby's ideas were developed, long before she ever saw him. (1) There is all the material any one could desire to make the argument irrefragible.

    (1) See, for example, Chap. XIV, containing Vol. I.

The writings were plainly the work of one mind, with continuity of thought from first to last. Even the unfinished fragments are of interest, for they indicate the state of mind of their author. Dr. Quimby tells us that he frequently wrote when "excited" by learning how greatly his patients had suffered from bondage to priestcraft. Consequently at times he did not even capitalize the first personal pronoun, but started in at once with the main idea. Quimby wrote as he thought. If his thought comprised several subjects at once, he wrote so, seldom pausing to indicate paragraphs. The copyists would then suggest changes here and there to bring out his meaning, not to interpose any view of their own; for they knew his thought exceedingly well, his peculiar use of words, and whatever was part of his style. The titles were suggested in conference with the author, although some of the articles remained unnamed till after Quimby's death, and a few bear more than one title in different stages of revision. The dates were entered in the book when the articles were copied.

With his characteristic humor, George Quimby sometimes wrote at the close of an article copied on detached pages, "Finished, thank the Lord; G. Q., scribe." If there were miscellaneous pages of notes or any other statement by herself or her sister, Miss Emma Ware was careful to write on the margin, "Not Dr. Quimby's." All these little matters are significant, for they show the fidelity of those who did their part to transmit these writings intact. A few of the articles were copied after Quimby's death, by Miss Emma Ware. In some of the copy-books a few alterations had been made, under Dr. Quimby's direction, with a view to preparing the articles for a book. Two pages from Vol. I as thus revised are reproduced in facsimile at the end of this volume.

The originals and first copies were kept in his safe by George Quimby, and the other copies referred to above were returned to Mr. Quimby after the death of their sometime owners. Visitors and correspondents would labor to persuade him that he was keeping the truth from the world. But he believed he was faithful to the greater good in withholding the writings until the last echo of the controversy had died away. After his death the writings were kept in storage in a bank, and there they remained secure until January 1921.(1)

(1) For a complete list of the pieces and articles, see Appendix. The package of articles and pieces on separate sheets mentioned above bears this inscription on the outside, "First copies from Father's original manuscripts, afterwards copied into blank books by Emma G. Ware, Sarah Ware, George A. Quimby." This is written in George Quimby's hand. The complete list of the articles is in the handwriting of Miss Emma Ware.

[This is the fourth and final installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter II. HISTORY OF THE MANUSCRIPTS, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]


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Editor's Corner

This week we finish our examination of the early history of the Quimby writings as detailed by Horatio W. Dresser in his 1921 publication of The Quimby Manuscripts. Today, we continue a three-part series written by Quimby in December, 1862, that is entitled, “Is Language Always Applied to Science?”

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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