Chapter XIV of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser
[The articles published under this head constitute Vol. I of the Quimby writings. They are published here in the order in which they were copied from the originals, as written, save for a few changes made under Quimby’s supervision, and slight condensations. They are printed in this order instead of being arranged in connection with other pieces on the same topics, because they were the first papers containing a statement of the general theory, and the copybook containing them was sometimes loaned to patient—students, including the one who made liberal use of their contents.
In these studies Quimby speaks of mind, in the ordinary sense of the term, as a “substance” which can be changed, in which thoughts are sown as seeds. Mind is put in contrast with intelligence or Wisdom. Thus intelligence is said to possess an “identity” or reality which mind does not have. The next step is to show that the human soul has clairvoyance or intuition, independent of the natural senses. This fact Quimby had proved by repeated experiments in diagnosing the sick.
The term “matter” is used in a peculiar sense throughout, to cover the processes of change attendant upon suggestion and taking place subconsciously. “Thoughts are things,” later writers have said.] (Horatio W. Dresser.)
[Continued from last week.—editor.]
HOW DOES THE MIND PRODUCE DISEASE?
I will give the symptoms of a person who called on me to be examined. The upper part of his body above his hips felt so large that his legs were not strong enough to carry the weight, therefore he complained of weakness in his knees. This idea of weakness was in his mind, for there never was any strength or knowledge in his knees of themselves, any more than there is power in a lever of itself. If the lever, or legs, had to create its own power his body would never move. Therefore, if his body ever moved, it must be by some power independent of his knees or legs. There is such a thing as pressure, but pressure is not power, for it contains motion and motion is another element.
These two elements together we call mechanical power, so mind agitated is called spiritual power. Neither matter nor mind contains any knowledge. As this man’s mind was in a state in which it contained motion or error, (for error is motion, not knowledge), it was not all pressure. As health is the enjoyment of all our faculties, any foreign substance trigs the wheels so as to retard the motion, so error trigs the mind or retards the motion. This was the state of this man’s body. To put this man in full possession of his faculties is to remove the burden that binds him down. These burdens are the effect of error having control of the mind. These errors are made of mind or matter first formed into an opinion, then comes reason, then comes disease or death, accompanied by all the misery the idea contains.—Oct. 1859.
MIND IS NOT INTELLIGENCE
Intelligence contains no thought, nor opinion or reason. Mind contains them all. Disease is the offspring of the mind, not of intelligence. All the above is the result of a chemical change, to bring about and develop some scientific law that will put man in possession of a knowledge of himself, so that he will avoid the evils which man [through his ignorance] is subect to.
Thoughts are like electric sparks. Knowledge classifies and arranges them in a language nearer itself so as to use them for a medium with which to communicate an idea to another. This is the state of all men. Under this state of mind all the laws of science have been developed. Every day brings to light some new idea not yet developed, but bursting forth to the natural world. During this process, the mind undergoes very powerful changes which affect the body, even to the destruction of the same. But this destruction contains no wisdom, it is only the destruction of the idea. The effect still agitates the mind till its end is accomplished. Then the mind returns to its quiet state, and the law is understood.
While all this is going on, as in all sciences, ideas come forth and the minds are affected, and try for the prize; for instance, the idea of navigating the air. All minds are excited. Experiments are tried; accidents, as they are called happen, and lives are lost to this world of error. But that which governs life cannot be lost; but must mingle in with the idea of progression—not losing its identity. What man loses in weight or matter, he makes up in science or knowledge. Therefore, accidents as they are called must happen, and we say, woe to them that are affected; it would have been better, as we think, if they had never been born. This would be true, if it were the end of their existence. Now as these laws develop themselves, is the trouble in the laws or in ourselves? Accidents are the errors or diseases. Correcting these errors and establishing the Truth or Science is curing the disease or establishing the law.
I have said that when any new idea comes up a class of persons enter into the investigation of it, but very few are ever able to put the idea into practice, or get the prize, though most all can understand something of the theory. There is a vast difference between talking a theory, and talking about a theory. Talking about a theory is like talking about a science we do not understand; it contains no wisdom. Wisdom contains no opinion or selfishness; and, like charity, has no ill will towards its neighbor, but like the rays of the sun, is always ready to impart heat to all who will come to the light.
To cure a disease is to understand the law by which that disease was produced. To make it more plain, I will suppose a case. In supposing a case the person you address must suppose himself perfectly well. Now as thoughts contain a substance set in motion by error to form an idea, this substance acts upon another like a galvanic battery, and keeps up a deposit of thought till the idea is formed in the mind. These thoughts may arise from different causes. I will select one. Suppose you become acquainted with a person, the first impression is a shock from his mind, this shock is kept up till an idea is formed in your mind. The motive or disease is in the idea of the person from whom you receive the shock. To you it contains no knowledge. You receive it as a sweet morsel that you can roll under your tongue. You nurse and foster it in your breast till it becomes a part of yourself. You form a strong attachment for it, and as it contains the character of this father, you become attached to the author. When the idea becomes developed and you find what it contains, you see you have been fostering a viper, that will sting you to the heart. Grief, passion, fear and love, take possession of your mind; reason enters into the combination, and a warfare commences. Hatred takes the place of love, truth the place of ignorance, firmness takes the place of weakness, and a battle ensues. As truth works through this error or disease, wisdom and happiness take its place, the evil is cast out, the author or idea is despised, and the mind is changed. You see the deception. Your knowledge is the enmancipation of the error, and all that followed it, the Truth sets you free and happy, which is the cure.
Now sensations can be learned1 before they affect the body or produce disease, so that they [will] fall harmless at your feet. It is necessary that all persons have a teacher, till they can teach themselves. The question then arises, How can a person believe in one whom he has never heard, and how can he learn without a teacher, and how can one teach without he is sent?—Nov. 1859.
1 Our aches and pains may be more wisely interpreted.
[This is the second installment of a fifteen—part series originally written and published as Chapter XIV. CHRIST OR SCIENCE, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
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Today we are continuing a fifteen—part serial review of Chapter 14, CHRIST OR SCIENCE, of the 1921 publication, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser.
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