Ever since the days of Moses there have been adventurers, 
but none have, as yet, planted the standard of life with such an inscription:
The Science of Life is in the Wilderness.
 ~  Phineas Quimby

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Dr. Phineas P. Quimby

How Disease is Made; How Cured:

Obstacles to the Progress of Science

In my remarks on death, I said that every opinion had a center, and this center was an idea. I will try to make this plainer, for it is the center (or foundation) on which all error rests. Destroy this, and disease is out of the mind; for this central idea is the fortress that error erects to keep the subject in submission. This is the enemy's fortress.

As wisdom is its enemy, it keeps up a constant cannonading, to frighten wisdom into subjection. This idea is built by public opinion, got up by demagogues (or doctors and priests). Its father (or founder) was a liar. Its foundation is ignorance and superstition. Its reign is tyranny and slavery to wisdom. And its victims are ignorance.

This kingdom of darkness is the errors of man. Every man's mind is subject to this prince of darkness. Its power is in its popularity. Its laws are arbitrary and binding on all. It knows no mercy. Its chief end is the destruction of man's happiness. For that purpose, it holds out large rewards, as it did to Jesus, to those who will enter its service. Its honesty is hypocrisy, and in fact, its whole aim is slavery (or power).

I have given you a little idea of one world. This is Satan's kingdom. What classes does it embrace? It embraces every opinion of man. Ignorance is the foundation. Destruction to freedom (or science) is its chief end, so its leaders invent all sorts of falsehoods and bind them onto the people (or matter), which is liable to be changed (or molded) into their belief. Every inducement is held out to persuade the senses to become interested in their idea (or opinion).

Now an opinion is like a city (or town) that has its center (or laws). So as man's senses are traveling, like the man going down to Jericho who fell among thieves, he listens to these false leaders and hears of some idea, like a place. It is described to him by some doctor or priest, in an earnest manner. This excites the mind, curiosity is aroused, the senses leave their home (or father's house), like the prodigal son and wander away into this place (or state). Here he is accused of being a stranger and is cast into the belief. The belief is the prison. The idea is the laws. And if he chances to hear of diphtheria, he believes it is as much a place as Boston.

So if he chances to go near the place and happens to feel a soreness of the throat, he is accused; and if he acknowledges that he has it, then his acknowledgment becomes a belief. This places him in the prison, and the sentence being passed - punishment commences. The prison (or belief) embraces all persons who have transgressed the laws of diphtheria.

So every opinion is a prison (or place) to hold the person that believes it, and man's senses may have as many indictments against him as he has opinions. If science is wisdom, it is used to free men from these prisons. So science (or Christ) enters the cities (or towns) and pleads the case of the senses that are imprisoned. And if he gets the case, the prisoner is set at liberty - or the senses are detached from the idea and the error in the mind explained. Then the prisoner (or senses) rises from the place of torment to the kingdom of health.

Here you see one government (or kingdom) founded on error. Its boundaries are opinions, its subjects are superstition, and its laws are for the destruction of science. To destroy this kingdom is to introduce science, so that the warfare is endless - for neither party will yield. No compromise is entered into by science; but as the kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand.

Now as these two parties are in one man, it may be necessary to define their tactics and show how the senses may keep clear of both. One party assumes an idea and uses all their cunning to make it admitted by the senses. So when that is established, then commences the argument. The opposite side - being more ignorant but more honest - admits the idea, but tries to destroy it.

Here is an illustration. The children of the kingdom assert that sin is of divine origin. So the opposite acknowledge it and then try to reason it out of existence. They say that Adam's sin was the cause of all sin. Admitting it, then they try to show how inconsistent it is. They say sin is death. When admitted, it becomes a law. So they go on assuming anything, and the other side admit then argue about it; so that the kingdom of science is not known in all their reason.

Science has battled down the walls of error and established liberty (or science) in much of their kingdom. It has hewn down the trees of superstition and established the science of mathematics. It has struck at the science of health. This is an unbroken wilderness, never entered by man. Ever since the days of Moses, there have been adventurers, but none have, as yet, planted the standard of life with such an inscription: The Science of Life is in the Wilderness.

Jesus tried to do it but was crucified before it became a science. Paul and all of his disciples also tried, but no one has ever yet been able to penetrate through this dark wilderness and raise the standard and sustain it. As I have done so, it may be necessary to give a physical sketch of the inhabitants who lay in wait to devour everyone who enters this place. Now if you, reader, will follow me into this wilderness, you can see what man's senses have to contend with. As you enter at the East, you see all sorts of improvements going on, just as though there was no wilderness anywhere around. The first person you meet is a very gentlemanly-looking man, who accosts you in this way.

I perceive you are a stranger in these parts.”


Are you not aware of the danger you are in?”


You must have known of that cruel enemy to man that inhabits this wilderness of error. He comes prowling around... his breath is sure to poison you... his name is consumption... his place of birth is in the wilderness of error - and very few ever get rid of his grasp.”

"Where does he attack man?"

In the throat - and holds on to him, till his master comes. If the person will pay enough, the master will let him off - if he can - but in the battle, the master, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, loses the victim.”

"Do not the inhabitants do anything to destroy such monsters?"

No, for our very best men use the creatures (or devils) called “disease” to rob strangers.”

In the foregoing piece, I have undertaken to separate the two ideas - life and death. And as I explained but one side of the question, I will now give the other - which is life. I showed that death is opposed to life. I did not use that term, but you will see that that was what I meant. Now death is life to the natural man, as much as error is. Truth and error have their kingdom, and our senses are in one or the other, just according to our acts.

I gave an explanation of the natural man (or error), which is matter, and showed that all our misery is in our ignorance of the other kingdom called “life” (or science). This kingdom (or science) is that spoken of in the scriptures, which was hewn out and came down to earth (or the natural man) and became embedded in the hearts of the people. This was the stone (or science) that the builders of error rejected, which has been the head (or foundation) of the new Science of Life.

This science (or child) was the one that was without father or mother. It had no beginning of days or ending of years, but it is from everlasting to everlasting. It was the rock that followed Moses in the wilderness of superstition; and upon whomsoever this rock (or science) falls, he shall be crushed to powder.

Science is all the solid there ever was - or ever can be - and is directed by wisdom and cannot act contrary to itself. It is progression. It knows no evil. It is a consuming fire that will rage, till it burns up every selfish idea. It is never found boasting of its wisdom; it is not puffed up. It sits and sees itself swell in the hearts of the people, but they see it not. Their minds are now seeing the light that is going before them, and they are afraid; so that even the kingdom of darkness is in rebellion against itself.

The leaders begin to tremble, for they see that the angel of science has sounded his trumpet; the earth (or matter) is moved out of its place; the stars (or parties) are falling; and the powers of the kingdom are shaken. Their sun (or science) has ceased to be an oracle of these blind guides. The moon (or their error) gives no light, and the people (or ideas) are running to and fro, up and down on the earth (or mind); not knowing what to do to be saved from the plagues that are coming upon them. So they pray and fast and throw dust into each other's eyes, till they cannot see; the heavens (or minds) become so dark, they run against each other's ideas; and in their desperation to escape the misery of their own making, they run headlong into the sea of public opinion and are lost to the world.

Now the life of these blind guides (or demagogues) 
is in their error; 
the length of their days 
is in their wisdom; 
and when their wisdom is destroyed 
by that of science, 
they die and are forgotten.

The wind of science passes over them, 
and the places that once knew them 
shall know them no more.

For their iniquities are sealed up in a bag, 
and their wickedness is laid in the ground; 
and as the children of science pass along 
and look upon the ground that these demons inhabited,
they see not one stone left upon another.

The spears of superstition 
have been beaten into ploughshares. 
Science has ploughed up all the stubble 
and burnt up all the rubbish. 
The fields of life are bringing forth 
the flowers of happiness. 

The streams of blood have turned into living waters 
to quench the soul that is playing on the green grass. 
The birds of wisdom are sounding their notes of peace, 
and all the people rejoice; 
for the kingdom of this world 
has become the kingdom of science.

The old world (or beliefs) are passed away, 
and a new belief (or heaven) 
is set up in the hearts of men, 
where all beliefs shall be tested by science, 
and the wicked (or error) shall be destroyed.

Now this is the new kingdom of which I am about to speak. I will give you an idea of this kingdom (or science) and show for what it was established. I have shown that the kingdom of darkness was the devil's (or error's) kingdom, established by error (or the natural man); and that the destruction of happiness was its chief end. Now science (or life) is the other; and its chief end is the destruction of error, but its means are not the same as those of its enemies. Its leader is Christ (or Wisdom). It aims at opinions. Its march is progression. It knows no fear. Its captain is Wisdom. Its qualities are love. It neither turns to the right, nor to the left. It is death to error, when error undertakes to retard its progress. It seeks not its own kingdom (or happiness), but works on earth (or in man) for his happiness. Its aim is to establish its wisdom in man. And as it is a science, its identity is eternal life (or progression).

For this cause, it leaves father and mother (or error and ignorance), goes into the kingdom of darkness and seeks out the poor, sick ideas which are prisons wherein are the children of science, having been deceived by their blind guides. It enters the prison (or belief), unknown to the keeper; for wisdom cannot be seen by error, and error (or matter) is no obstacle to wisdom. It pleads in this prison with the captive, reasons and teaches the Science of Happiness, and protects the prisoner from its enemies in this wilderness of darkness; as Christ, when the king of error sought his life, after it grew to have an identity. Herod killed all the children in his reign. So has everyone since.

Now this science is only named. What its end will be, no one knows - not even the science, but wisdom itself. One thing is certain. The time will come when the opinions of priests and doctors must give way to the Science of Life; for their opinions lead to death and misery, but the Science of Life is health and happiness.





Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby



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