|When a man can see
that his belief can make him sick -
he won't require much reasoning to see also
that to correct his belief will make him well.
~ Phineas P. Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Disease: What is Disease?1864
is disease? It is false reasoning. True scientific wisdom is health
and happiness. False reasoning is sickness and death; and on these
two modes of reasoning hang all of our happiness or misery. The
question is, how can we know how to separate the one from the other?
The truth cannot be changed; the false is always changing. The one is
science, and the other is error, and our senses are attached to the
one or the other. One is the natural development of matter (or mind),
and disease is one of the natural inventions of error. To show how
disease is not what it is supposed to be, by those who use the word,
I must show the absurdity of error's reasoning; for error is the
father of disease. We are all taught by this error to call disease
something that is independent of man.
To make it more plain and show where the two modes of reasoning act, I will suppose a case, and take that of a young man or person who, feeling a little disturbed, calls on a physician. The physician sounds his lungs, examines his heart and tells the patient he is very liable to have the heart disease. The patient asks him how he got it, and he is told that he is liable to catch disease and have it; for it is not a part of him, and to get it (or have it) (or catch it) is to admit that it exists independent of himself. And though the patient be dead, yet it would exist, the same; and others would be liable to get it. At last the patient really has the heart disease, which his physician described to him. Now has he created it himself, or has the doctor created it for him? Now I propose to show that he has made what the world calls heart disease, himself, without anyone's help.
To show how a building is razed is to frame one and then take it down again, so I will take down this building, heart disease, which this man has raised, and then he can see how ideas are made (or raised). I will say to the patient, "You have built the disease yourself, in your sleep of ignorance." This he cannot understand. So I will tell him how he has worked in his sleep and made the very edifice, heart disease, that he has got. So I begin to tell his dream, by telling how he feels; in which he admits, I am correct. Now when he was asleep (or ignorant of the feelings that disturbed him), behold! A spirit in the form of a doctor sat by him, and lo and behold! - he called up from the dead a person with the heart disease, as he called it, and he handled you, and your sleep departed from you, and your limbs became cold and clammy, and your pulse quickened. This excited your brain, and at last a figure of a person arose, like unto the one you saw in your dream; and then you were afraid, and you awoke in a fright! At last, the image became more terrible, till at length, it overshadowed you and became a part of yourself; so that when you awoke, you looked and lo and behold! - the dream had become reality, and you had the heart disease! Now whose was it, the doctor's or yours? Did you catch the doctor's, or did you create it, yourself, by your own reasoning, in your sleep (or ignorance), according to the pattern set for you by the doctor?
I say, "You made it yourself!" Now to cure you (or to take down the building) is to show you that all the feeling you had at the commencement arose from some trifling cause; and that when I can make you understand it, I have performed the cure. And instead of giving medicines or going to work by guess, to destroy the building, I commence by showing the patient how he framed it by his own hand (or wisdom). So I reason in this way. “You listened to the doctor, to try and understand what caused the heart disease. He explained every variety of feeling (or symptom), and you listened, until you understood it. Now without knowing it, you created in your mind the disease, as much as you would if an artist (or mechanic) had taught you how to draft a building, and you would carry in your mind the building, and in your sleep would create it. The only difference would be that one would please you, for it would contain wisdom; while the other would bind you, for it would contain fear and threaten to destroy your life! Your trouble is the material with which to build the building (or disease). A chemical change in the fluids of your system takes place, governed by your belief, and you condense these into a phenomenon, corresponding with your draft. Now the fluids become diseased, and your ingenuity in manufacturing the disease has been the destruction of your happiness. To destroy the disease, I convince you that what the doctor said was an idea gotten up by error, not knowing how to account for some little disturbance, which in itself, amounted to nothing; but by the doctor's mode of reasoning about what he knew nothing, you were led astray into the darkness of heathen superstition, where all kinds of evil spirits and disease dwell in the brain of man. Superstition always shows itself through the ignorance of man's reasoning, assuming as many names and forms as the father of all lies, the devil (or the error of mankind).”