this fact be admitted - that life is something that cannot be seen -
only the shadow.
This shadow is not life but an echo whose cause you do not see.
You only hear the sound.
~ Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Is There Another World Beyond This?
Aug. 12, 1861
Where is the proof that there is another world beyond this? All will admit that it is the Bible. I am willing to abide by the decision of this book for proof, but I may differ in regard to man's opinions about its language. I venture to say that there is not the slightest evidence that Jesus ever intimated that there was a world separate and apart from man's belief. All he said and did was to show that this other world, as it was believed by the Scribes and Pharisees, was false.
If Jesus had lived in these days, he would be called, as he was then, an infidel. I will take the man Jesus, as I find him, and see if I can gather from what he has said and done what his ideas of another world were. All will admit that he was a very good man, independent of what he taught; but so far as this world's goods went, he had nowhere to lay his head. So his goodness must spring from another source than dollars and cents, as he had none of these.
His food (or wisdom) was not of man. It was above the common opinion of the world. As far as this world's goodness went, he did not make much account of it; for when they were boasting - like all vain men - about their Christian goodness, he said, "If you love and help them that love you, what reward have ye? Do not sinners the same?"
His goodness was not in anything that man could do as man, for when called to pay his tribute money, he sent Peter to catch a fish and get the money out of it. Here he showed some wisdom - to know that the very fish that would bite the hook contained the money! Perhaps the opinions of the wise may explain whether Jesus caused the fish to come around and bite, or how it was. I shall not try to explain now, but leave it to those who believe it a literal truth.
Now I think I can give an explanation of Jesus' belief. At the time of the birth of Jesus, the people were superstitious and ready to catch at any marvelous thing they could not explain. Jesus, from some unknown cause, had been studying into the laws of mind, till he came to the conclusion that the priests were a set of blind guides, talking about what they knew nothing of, except as an opinion; and that they were deceiving the people by pretending to have power from another world. Jesus knew that all their theories and pretenses were based on the ignorance of opinion, but he could see there must be something in all the phenomena. Hearing of John's preaching, he went to hear him and then saw how it might be reduced to a science.
Here was his temptation. If he used this wisdom for money-making business, he could not meet with the same results. It must make him selfish. So he concluded that he would risk all the sneers and opposition of the religious world, and stand up and defend a science that struck at the very roots of all religious superstition and public opinion - and tested all things by one living and true principle.
The Old Testament, being their Bible - he had to explain its meaning and show that the writers had nothing to do with religion, but that they taught this great truth. So he had to speak in parables. His wisdom, being based on science that he could prove - he commenced to put it in practice towards disease; and as disease is made of ignorance and superstition that never had any foundation, except in opinions - it must be met by a wisdom superior to an opinion.
All the world's superstition and wisdom was based on an opinion, and to meet it was to spiritualize everyone of their ideas. They believed in a literal heaven. To this, he gave a spiritual meaning; saying his heaven was not of this world of opinions, but of science - and he would bring it down to man's understanding. This they could not understand; for his kingdom was science, and their opinion of it was their belief; and their belief located it in space and attached their senses to it as a place where this wisdom was and called it a “God unknown” to the people.
But the priests had condensed these phenomena into an identity called God; had given him power over everything they could not understand; and robbed him of wisdom that explained their ignorance. They created a God after their own heart (or wisdom) and set him in the heaven of their own belief. Thus the priests have placed misconstructions on every passage in the Bible which condemns superstition and taken all the wisdom to themselves; while the very science that the Bible contains is their worst enemy.
This has made the war spoken of in Revelation, written by John the Baptist, seem to be written by an insane man. If anyone will look at it, it will be seen that it is a book of the progress of science over the opinions of the priests. It will be seen how he labored to show the people that the priests' ideas bound them and kept them in bondage. But his writings fell into the hands of the priests, who put their own construction upon them and turned the guns on the people, who might be taught to see through their wisdom. So the Book of Revelation, like all the others in the New Testament, has been stolen by the priests, turned and twisted and misconstructed to prove that men were writing to establish the truth of the priests' opinions.
Now I know, by the cures I make, that disease is made by the false constructions of priests; and I shall show that not one of the writers of the New Testament ever had an idea of priestcraft. But the priests, knowing that the people fell in with their views, stole the ideas and persecuted the authors; just as they do at this day. The priests came to be the teachers of good morals and order. I shall show that science has had to fight this battle with priestcraft all the time.
Jesus had to establish a kingdom, as the priests had done. Theirs was based on opinions; his on science. So everything that they believed was only an opinion, which his science could tear to pieces. So he begins by saying, "Seek first the kingdom of heaven" - that is, seek wisdom (or science). Then all their craft could be explained. Then he says, "The kingdom of heaven has come unto you, and ye will not receive it." That is, the science is here, but you will not try to understand it. In the Old Testament, David called this science “wisdom” and exhorted his son to seek it, first of all. Jesus called it the “kingdom of heaven” and calls on all men to seek it. If this wisdom and the kingdom of heaven were not the same, then Jesus and David had different ideas of wisdom.
Does the priest call on the people to get understanding? No. That is what they fear. The priests want them to have religion; that is, to believe in the creeds which cramp the intellect and bind burdens upon them, so that they can lead them. They fear investigation; for it is death to their craft. I will say a word or two about priestcraft. The people mix up priestcraft and religion with good morals, civilization and science. This makes it all confusion, as in political parties.
You often hear young men claiming to be Democrats and quoting Jefferson and Madison; not Pierce and Buchanan. Their claiming these men as their leaders is like a man quoting the acts of his ancestors who are dead. They are like potato tops - the only thing worth anything is underground. So the ideas of these men who are dead are as far from what they quote as the tops are from the bottom. Those persons quoting Christ and claiming him as their leader are like young voters claiming to be disciples of Jefferson. There is not one idea now advocated that was thought of by any of the presidents, up to the time of Pierce.
Men who claim to be Democrats attach themselves to a name that was once attached to a popular party; while the party leaders and principles are long-since dead and underground. It is the same with Christians. They attach their senses to the popularity of Jesus and pretend to be his followers, but have not the slightest claim to wisdom or goodness. Religion, like politics, is undergoing a radical change. Men are separating the chaff from the wheat; principles from opinions; goodness and science from religion; and superstition and freedom from slavery.
This is the warfare. The general heading the divisions of the armies of wisdom against opinion is science. Ignorance leads the opposite army. The political parties are but one division of this great battle. Religion is one, and the medical faculty is another. Public opinion is the echo of both. All these are in opposition to the Science of Truth. Yet in these battles, the truth is left on the field, when the leaders flee.
These three parties - the priestcraft, political demagogues and medical faculty - are marshaled against the Science of Wisdom; and it is not strange that man should falter and turn back. What claim do the leaders put forth to convince wisdom that they are right and ought to be sustained? In the first place, the priest advances his opinions, claiming to be a teacher of this unknown truth (or science). He embodies it in the image of man, called God; gives him all power his wisdom is able to condense; and calls on all to obey and worship him.
Science sees no wisdom in such a God. So of course there is no sympathy between the scientific and religious man. The doctor gives his opinion, but the science sees it as nothing but the opinion of persons who lived long ago that they quote, like the priests; without any scientific wisdom.
So it is with the demagogues. These all made the scientific man of no account. For science is not ambitious. It is not puffed up. It wants no office. It asks no prayers or keeps no fasts. It is perfect harmony. It does not want to be dressed up with a military coat and cap and get on a horse; neither does it wish to dictate to the masses. Is that the case with opinions? No. Opinion is vain. Its happiness is in its vanity. Its misery is in its exposure. It seeks low company for popularity and gain. It is hypocritical. It has a face for every position where it can see anything to gain. It fasts. It prays. It talks loud at times and very meekly at other times; and it goes for good order - where its interests are concerned.
Science is its enemy, so it sneers at science. It calls it “visionary” and “scheming” and warns all men to keep clear of it. It refers them to the priests and Bible for instructions not to give heed to any science that goes to put down religion. It is very earnest for freedom, based on an opinion - and this must come from the leaders of these classes of the wise; for it is jealous. One of these parties is in the world and has an identity. The other is in the world and not recognized. Its opinion is matter. It is seen in man. But as science is wisdom, it is not seen; yet it is acknowledged.
Opinion looks upon it as a law, without any wisdom or anything like itself. So it is, but nevertheless, it is something that man must respect more than anything else. It is to opinion like the wisdom of the dead; respected when attached to matter, but when the matter is annihilated, the wisdom is without an identity, like a thing that once was but now is not. To give science an identity, you must have a resurrection of the body (or wisdom), so that man can put himself in it and make it his God and himself.
Take George Washington. The man was matter. All men speak of him now as the “father of their country.” Let us see. Washington had enemies. Did they attach their senses to the same man that his friends did? I say, “No.” His friends were attached to his wisdom, and his wisdom is in the American Constitution and Government. Here is where Washington is - and all the wisdom that is in man's breast that sympathizes with Washington is in the Constitution.
Where are his enemies now - or that class of hypocrites that pretend to praise Washington? They are found just where they were when they were undermining him (or the Constitution) by electing Jefferson. All their sympathy was buried in the grave of Washington, and ever since, they have denied the resurrection of the truths that the people believed in. So Washington (or the Constitution) is mocked at and spit upon. This Washington (or the truth) that is condensed in the Constitution is the very Washington - and ever since opposition to it sprang up, wise men and prophets have foretold that the principles of Washington will rise in the form of the Constitution, and man will attach his senses and life to it and feel as though it was a part of his very existence. Then it can be said, "Oh, Rebels, where are your opinions? Oh, traitors, where are your graves?"
Your graves are in secession. Your death is in your acts. The true living Washington will once more appear in the President of the United States, and the devil (or secession) will be cast out. Men will attach their senses to the new constitution of wisdom. The old constitution of opinions (or matter) must die to establish the new. Then men will not be heard denying the very land that gave them birth. Then Washington will be seen in the Stars and Stripes, and secession (or the devil) will be chained to the earth (or opinions) as a warning to others not to make war against this truth; with the idea of governing the wisdom of God by the prince of darkness. Then opinions will be looked upon as emanating from the world of darkness (or error) and science, from the wisdom of God.
To the natural man, every man is a shadow; for he is the opinions of the spiritual man. So when you hear a man giving an opinion, the real man (or substance) is not seen or known. So of course it is an opinion; for if the thing is known, it is not an opinion but a fact. Let this fact be admitted - that life is something that cannot be seen; only the shadow. This shadow is not life, but an echo whose cause you do not see. You only hear the sound. And let it be understood that everything not governed by mathematical truths must be wrong. Then men will be convinced that the cause is not inside the wrong, as an opinion. If you give an opinion, it shows that you have a doubt; so the truth is outside the opinion.
This something that I call “wisdom” is something that does not change, while opinions (or matter) do change. For illustration, I will take a child. A child knows its mother - not by sight or touch, but by its mother's wisdom (or love). If the mother could be deceived, the deception might act upon the child; for there being no wisdom in the feelings, the senses (or life) may be deceived, because life contains no act of selfishness.
Life has no inventive powers. It cannot see evil. It is all charity. When it hears of evil, it does not understand it; for evil contains restlessness. Life does not. Life will not make war. If it is pressed upon by error (or opinions), it leaves and attaches itself to some other idea. Its identity is in knowledge of itself. It is love (or an element that fills all space). It cannot be any less or any more. This is life. Its character is sight, smell, taste, hearing and everything that is true; everything that cannot be changed (or seen) by opinions. It is an element of itself, not known in opinions at all. Opinions admit it but call it a mystery.