separate us from what we look upon as truth is not a very easy task,
for sometimes we think we like the very thing we really hate.
This keeps us in ignorance of ourselves.
~ Phineas Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Can two persons be in harmony, except they be agreed? If you are affected by any person in a way that produces fear, you cannot be in perfect harmony with another, till the fear is cast out. If it is from some idea that affects your character, you will be imprisoned in the idea, till you are freed from it. The idea may or may not be accompanied with an individual, but if it is so accompanied, you will be affected by that person in your sleep, the same as in your waking state.
One of these effects is attributed to the natural mind and the other to the spiritual mind, but both have the same effect on the health. But as my knowledge contains no matter, I am free from your prison, and as I break (or destroy) the prison (or person) that holds you - you come out of that spiritual idea and come to me. As I contain no matter but the truth, you will have no fear. And if you dream of me, you will not be afraid. I am your protector, but till you know who I am, you may be afraid, because you have been deceived so many times. You look upon all sensation with suspicion. And you suspect yourself.
The ignorance of yourself is the worst enemy that you have to contend with, for its character is public opinion, which is taken for truth. To separate us from what we look upon as truth is not a very easy task, for sometimes we think we like the very thing we really hate. This keeps us in ignorance of ourselves. When we would do good, and evil is present with us, it is not ourselves, but the evil that dwelleth in us. This evil comes from the knowledge of this world, and as this world is made up of flesh and blood, no true knowledge is in it. To separate us from error, and bring us into harmony, is to explain the false idea away; and then all sorrow is passed away. Nothing remains but the recollection of what is past, like a dream or nightmare, and you are not likely to get into the same error again.
All sensation, when first made, contains no direction, but is simply a shock. Error puts a false construction (or opinion) upon it and speaks disease into existence. The mind is then imprisoned in the idea, and all the evils that follow are what are called “disease.” I shall speak of two kinds of disease. One is called by the doctors “local” and the other, “nervous.” In my way, I make no difference, as far as the effect of the mind is concerned. Nervous disease is the effect of the regular's opinion reduced to a belief - and so are all others. I will state two cases, to show the difference.
A person is exposed to the cold. Ignorance and superstition have reduced to a disease a thing called “cold” (or consumption). This is set down as a real disease - and so it is, but it is based upon an ignorant, superstitious idea. This is one of the errors of this world; judged by this world and proved by the effect on the body. This is called “real” and no mistake.
Now tell another that there is a serpent in his breast or a hell that will torment him, in case he does not dream just such dreams or believe just-so; and having succeeded in making the person believe this, and seeing him tormented and miserable, you turn about and accuse him of being fidgety or nervous. All the sympathy he gets is to be told that he is weak-minded for believing what doctors and ministers have told him and warned him against for years. This is the judgment of this world's belief. To condemn all this folly is to disbelieve in all peoples' opinions that tend to make one sick (or unhappy).
Let God (or Truth) be true and all men liars. If two ideas come in conflict in you, and you want to do what you think is not right - investigate the wrong, and you will find that it is from someone's opinion, and you have tried to carry it out to your own destruction. You have taken some effect for an element. This makes all the trouble. Error can produce no element but can only create disease and misery.
Elements are like true love (or science). They contain no evil, except when hatred or passion is put in. Then they may take the name of the author of the evil. For instance, you may love a person, and he may love liquor. You may be induced to drink. Your love for your friend may be transferred to the liquor, and you may become a drunkard. Now to cure you is to have someone interest you in those who have a distaste for liquor; and in that way, if you follow your friend and if he knows what he is about, he restores you to health and happiness.