Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Dr. Phineas P. Quimby

Aristocracy and Democracy I


Mankind are governed by two principles acting together, and I will call them Aristocracy and Democracy. These terms are used in describing political parties, but their real meaning is not brought out. These elements always act together, for either alone is harmless. Democracy is the ignorance of the masses and serves as a medium for Aristocracy to work through; this is shown in the demagogue. There are what is called the rich aristocracy; but they are not the ones who rule the nation. They accumulate money and are governed by the same popular demagogue, when it is for their interest. The scientific element has no identity as a party - and is shown in opposition to all parties.

Aristocracy and Democracy, I call the two extremes of one party. They are like the serpent, which when killed or cut in pieces, comes together and lives. They are found in all sects and parties, under different names. In religion, they are in the priest and people - and again, in the physician and masses. In both cases, Aristocracy reigns over Democracy, and there can never be a change, until these extremes are severed; for Democracy is the body of Aristocracy. Cut them asunder, and each will find the other. It is false that they are opposed to each other, as it is popularly believed.

Wisdom is riches - so the scientific man is rich; and as money is a figure of wisdom, it is Aristocracy (or money), as opposed to Democracy. So it is - for no man with money wants to give it away and become poor; and neither does a wise man want to lose his wisdom and be ignorant. They are both opposed in these instances, and there cannot be but one mind about it. Men divide on the application of the word. Aristocracy of wisdom is thought to be the same as that of party; when one is the counterfeit of the other.
Teach man how to reason, and he will free himself from the aristocracy of party, for this is the head of that serpent that has deceived the world. Give man wisdom, and he will easily detect him and find out his abiding place. This spurious aristocracy is always found drumming up democracy, feeding the food of envy, exciting their passions and telling them how they are oppressed by the rich. The fraternity of divines is also of this serpent. They are constantly appealing to the rich to take care of the poor and instruct them for the reputation of the church. But the worse representative of this class is the aristocratic physician, for he has entire control of the democracy. These three types of one serpent are the same in power, and each leads the masses. Let them be exposed by wisdom - and their influences vanish.

If men questioned opinions, they would see that their trouble arises from their beliefs. Ask a person what diphtheria is. The answer is, “A collection of white sores in the throat always indicate the presence of this disease.” Here a disease is admitted outside of a phenomenon. The invisible diphtheria is the genuine, and the white sores come from it. This reasoning admits that the name “diphtheria” is the disease, and the effect seen is what follows the name. Admitting the effect, man looks for the cause; and finding no name, he names the effect, which makes a cause in his belief. If man knew what produced the effect, he would have given no name - but would have shown the causes. This would end names and stop diseases - and then cause and effect would be the things to reason about. Then man would look back of the phenomenon to learn what produced it.

For instance, if anyone happened to have a discharge of water from the head, he would reason that it came from some little excitement on the mind, which he could not name. But now in such a case, he would say he had the catarrh - and this is the name of the effect, which we believe is disease. Throw away names, and we get rid of disease, and then the great necessity of the medical faculty vanishes. There is no need of naming every effect on the body. The only good done is to make a thing corresponding to the name. Destroy the word “consumption,” and the effect that gives rise to it would never appear.

I will show how to make the word intelligent to a person. Teach a man that a certain amount of clothing and pure air is necessary for his health; that low-studded rooms, exposure to night air and chilly east winds are very dangerous; also that bad blood, narrow chest and the habit of sleeping and sitting in a certain position are injurious - and when he believes it all, he is certainly two-thirds in consumption. To cure him is to take him away from his error and convince him, by your own life, that the whole belief is false - and the evidence brought forward is the cure. To set people reasoning about the folly of such opinions is to drive disease out of existence. If the people ridiculed and laughed at the ignorance of the profession, the doctors would hide their heads and cease their loud talk.

Start a lie. The people give it an impulse; it spreads and circulates through the country, till everyone is satisfied that it is true. That is the success of a lie. Now if the people would not repeat the words of a physician, admitting that they are from superior knowledge, this quackery would end. The idea of disease is installed into the minds of the people as firmly as secession is at the South. And it is as hard to convince man that his disease is of his own make, as it is to convince the Southerners that they are the authors of their present misery.

Look into the newspapers, and observe the manner of accounting for certain phenomena. The most absurd stories are given in explanation of remedies; as though there was real efficacy in the application used. A person afflicted with the rheumatism is obliged to apply the sting of a bee to the parts affected, as a sure means of restoration. Then follows an explanation - which is merely an opinion. I know from my own experience that the word “rheumatism” applies to some effect on the body - but men take the effect for the cause.

I will describe a case. Two persons get into an excitement and become heated up with passion and fear. The excitement does not pass off, and each returns home feeling sharp pains in his joints. One takes no thought of it; the other is alarmed - and they both send for a doctor. One sends for an old school allopath, who tells him he has acute rheumatism. The other sends for a quack who, knowing nothing of the disease, tells him that there is no serious trouble. He merely got excited and is heated and inflamed, and as the excitement abates, the blood will cool, and he will be well. He told the cause; therefore there was no need to name the phenomenon. The other did not tell the cause but named the phenomenon. Here is a name of something that you are ignorant of, which has an existence independent of the person who caught it.

Here is where the error lies. Each person was the cause of his own trouble; both would admit it when explained, but in one case, the cause was not alluded to; while another idea - the invention of man - was introduced. Drive the name of disease out of the world, then remedies will cease, and men will find that their troubles are within the control of their own wisdom.





Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby



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