|This is my theory - to put man
in possession of a science that will teach man
one living progression of his own identity -
with life free from error and disease.
~ Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Death IIMarch 1861
What is the true definition of death? Death is the name of an idea. An idea is matter - so the destruction of an idea is death.
Every opinion has its center, and its center is the idea. Now if a person believes in anything that is founded on an opinion, the idea is in the opinion; and the senses, being also in the opinion, are attached to the idea. This imprisons the senses in the opinion. Now the idea is, of itself, nothing but an opinion condensed into a solid and called “matter,” and every word goes to make the idea. So to make an idea, men reason about something they have no proof of; only as an opinion.
The word is called “reasoning,” governed by their wisdom; and their wisdom is of the natural man (or error). It affects the mind of their opponent, so they build their building (or opinion) out of their error; and in the center is the idea. And if they succeed in establishing their opinion, they imprison their opponent in their opinion, and the misery is what flows from the idea.
I will illustrate. Take the word "consumption." This word is, of itself, nothing to the person who never heard of it. To make it is to create the opinion (or building) and then reduce it to an idea. So matter, in the form of words, is so arranged as to make the idea in an opinion. Now as the opinion is forming in the mind, a chemical change is going on, and the matter is held in solution, until it is condensed into a form, according to the pattern given by the direction. And after the opinion is fairly established in the mind and the person (or idea) in the center, the senses are then attached to the idea and become a part of it. So the senses become wedded to the idea and both are held in the belief (or opinion).
Now to separate the senses from the idea is death to the idea but life to the senses. This separation is what is called “death,” but it is only death to the one idea. Man is always dying and living in progression; for error (or opinion) must always be in the mind - and mind must always exist, until time is no more.
Man is made of science and ignorance (or life and death). Man, seen by the senses, is the center of our belief, and the senses are attached to the idea called “man.” So the idea man varies, as much as one star differs from another. No two men (or ideas) are alike; so each idea man is composed of error and science. The word “brute” embraces all kinds of dumb animals; so the word “man” embraces all kinds of characters that vary as much as the brutes. Each idea - man and brute - is made of this combination called “mind;” combined and held together by a superior wisdom to the matter.
I will now give you an illustration of what I call life and death of the animals: The animal is content to be just as he is and seeks no wisdom above his kind. He lives the animal, and when his identity is destroyed, he is forgotten by his race. (But this is only my opinion.) But the animal that is dead to the living is as much alive in the higher state of matter (or mind) as the man who loses his idea. Each retains his own identity - but man is progressive, and the beast is the same forever. The beast has but one rotation of life and death, but man lives all his life subject to death. So that to destroy one idea called “death,” he is liable to die again and again to the end of time - unless his wisdom destroys death by the science of life. The last enemy to science is death, so the scientific man (or idea) shall reign, till all error is destroyed.
All identities called “man” are not the same. There is the well identity of man, the lame, the sick, the deaf, the dumb and so on. I might enumerate as many varieties of men (or identities) as there are stars in the firmament. Each varies from the other and all are called “man.” Now all men are liable to have a combination of all these identities. For instance, a well man or child is an identity. Now it changes to a sick identity; so the well identity is destroyed, and the child's senses are attached to the identity of a disease.
Man's life is a life of progression, governed by science or error; so to know what makes happiness is to know what makes misery. The science of life is to know how to keep man from getting into death (or error). This is my theory - to put man in possession of a science that will destroy all the above ideas of the sick and teach man one living progression of his own identity, with life free from error and disease. Now as man passes through these combinations, they differ one from another; so will it be in the resurrection of the dead to life - freed from their false ideas and in truth.
Now suppose that man could be so wise as to know every sensation that affects his senses. He could never change, so he would be always the same. Now take another that believes in all the opinions of man, and he is dying and living all the time - dying to error and living to truth, till he dies the death of all his opinions (or beliefs). Therefore, to be free from death is to be alive in truth; for sin (or error) is death, and science (or wisdom) is eternal life - and this life is the Christ.