I propose to find an element that every man will admit -
whatever his religion or political opinions may be - if he is scientific.
~ Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
The Higher Intelligence1864
Ever since the world began to reason, it has been known that there is a state of intelligence higher than the natural man or brute, but to define it has been the problem to be solved. It has been separated from the lower state by hundreds of names, but it has never had a separate identity; for instance - the law and the gospel. Now they put intelligence in the gospel; also right and wrong. Here they admit two kinds of intelligence - good and bad - both in one person. Action and reaction, God and the devil, science and ignorance, etc., etc. I might go on to the end of the chapter and never arrive at what all have aimed at.
Then what are these two identities that have had so many names, such as health and disease, happiness and misery, etc.? All refer to this same higher state and sometimes intelligence. Yet their separation never has been made, so that the thinking mind can have two identities that they can agree upon. The religious world have tried to give these two principles an identity, so they called one God and the other the devil. This, for a time answered, but when men began to reason, these identities merged into one. This has been the case with every theory.
Now I propose to find an element that every man will admit, whatever his religion or political opinions may be, if he is scientific. Every scientific man will admit what is called in mechanics, “statics.” This includes that class (or reason) that sees and knows no third power - or what is called “velocity.” It can't reason from cause and effect. It embraces the brutes and natural man. It embraces imitation and cunning but nothing that relates to dynamics. That embraces a higher power. It sees the errors of statics and cannot overcome them. It is progression - or the destruction of error.
Statics also embraces destruction but not construction. Dynamics embraces the destruction of error and the construction of civilization and freedom; both principles admit destruction. All wars are carried on in these two principles. The one to destroy the government is statics; the one to destroy the rebellion and preserve the government is dynamics. This last has to contend with all the ignorance of the lower mode of reason and also the conservative element - that class of mind which is neither dynamics or statics, but a little of both and not settled in either. They are like sea captains who continue to use a hemp cable upon the principle that an iron one was not strong enough. This was a conservative man. So in all things, the two extremes are the only real identities. Those between are a sort of mongrel that never produce anything, but hold back till the men of statics get out of patience and give up the fight.
The conservative rises and says, “You both are wrong and each partially right.” This conservative principle is actually of importance. It is like the ballast in a ship. Its weight keeps the ship sometimes from tipping over. But it always acts to prevent the wise, or if there was no ballast the wise would, from the misfortune, become wiser by experience. But to save the lives and property while the principle is developing, this third element is introduced. Where science is understood, it is thrown away, for it encumbers the ship of science; being nothing but weight or pressure that has no power. Velocity destroys it, and so science destroys conservatism. So also freedom destroys slavery and conservatism.
Conservatism shows itself in language. It makes issues where none are needed. It is all grammar and pays no respect to principles. It is power of imitation of sounds. It makes issue on what it does not know. For instance, it admits an error and then sustains it by facts that are used to sustain a true principle. For instance, in the error of slavery. Statics contends it is right; dynamics denies it. Conservatism admits it as wrong and at the same time denies the right to destroy it and quotes the Constitution to prove that it is right. So conservatism is a sort of looking glass to both. Each can see their reasoning in it.
Now all trouble commences in this lower element, which is matter in motion. Conservatism is the first element that is produced, for it is that dead matter that is tossed about by the motion of statics - and to get rid of it brings out the higher element of dynamics to calculate power in motion or calculate causes and effects.
Freedom is wisdom and slavery, ignorance. Statics never sees nor reflects on the chances, and being ignorant, it comes in that gross matter called “conservatism” which wants matter to keep still. But as matter is not under the control of statics or conservatism, the latter is as much an enemy of statics as to dynamics.
So the principle, if true, will keep developing, and dynamics (or science) will expand, till conservatism is used up. For it is but ignorance and shows itself in every development of science. Now as disease commences as a way of accounting for everything upon some false basis, conservatism opposes it. So in every respect this element is of use in a certain state of progression, but beyond that it is a dead weight.
For instance, to oppose a truth when it can be demonstrated beyond a doubt is a dead weight to progression. This element is largely developed in religious and political parties and also in the doctrine of disease. Statics has invented all sorts of superstition. The African slaves are a very good example of statics in politics, in religion and in disease. They are famous for their superstition in regard to the other world and believe in all kinds of evil spirits - so that if any one should say to them that a disease has legs and would come to them, they would believe.
Now it is a fact that this false way of reasoning in regard to all these ideas has a great effect on this still kind of matter called conservatism, and when science shows itself by the working of this lower element, then you hear from the conservative. It is dangerous to meddle with the old established truths (or Constitution) as witchcraft, slavery and all kinds of disease or the element to create them. You hear the faculty warning the masses (or statics) not to be humbugged. “You know,” say they, “that the old way of practice has been handed down from our fathers, who know more than these quacks.” Others appeal to the church to prove that our government was founded in slavery and ignorance.
All this is true - but they never dreamt that wisdom had another government that came down from on high and is establishing itself in the hearts and understanding of men, founded on the rock of science (called dynamics). This is the pillar that followed Moses when he was leading the people to the land of science - and this is the rock he smote that discharged the water that they drank. The rock and water was science. The water was the understanding of it, and those that drank in this truth (or water) were satisfied. The serpent was the doctrine of the statics mind. So as Moses held up their superstition and showed how it acted on the minds and made them sick and gave them pains like the bite of serpents, then those who listened and received the truth were healed (or convinced).
Now all this kind of reasoning applies to the people of these days - for false science has always existed. Paul warns the people against these persons teaching science falsely, so-called. In curing disease, this element called conservatism is all the help the error gets. Let those who know nothing of the cause of disease stand aside, and let the medical faculty fight out their own battle, and it would be nothing but a mere somersault, and the truth would come out conqueror. But the conservative element always sticks to the skirts of the faculty, like demagogues (or dogs) - to bark at and hunt the truth and misrepresent everything, for the sake of being petted and fed by the faculty.
The bolters that are always shifting in a storm to be on the right side after the storm is over, when they can say, "I thought so; it has come out just as I said." . . . of all matter this is the least. It is like the lawyer who, when the judge told the court that they must be in their seats when the court began, said, “Your honor knows I am the least absent.” “Yes,” said the judge, “and the least present.”
So to wisdom, the conservative minds are the least present or absent. They are a sort of necessary evil that, in the progress of truth, acts as a stumbling block to science and ignorance. These make up the element of pressure in mechanics. Like the weight of a vessel on the stocks, having nothing to do with getting her off. Wisdom has to overcome it, and all the time it says, “Let me alone. I was put here, and it is against the laws of pressure or weight to be moved, for it may stave all to pieces.”
Statics says, “We will shove it off by force.” Dynamics says, “By the principle of mechanics - by the inclined plane - we get rid of some power or substitute velocity instead. So that if we can start it, the weight (or conservatism) will be on our side.”
The inclined plane is the turning point to conservatism. So as the ship moves off, conservatism sings out with science, “Here she goes,” and throws up its cap in triumph - while statics stands in amazement and calls it a mystery.
This is the way with the sick. The doctor stands and looks at his patient that has moved off the stocks by the power of science, and all conservatism is shouting, “Good!” The doctor stands with his thumb in his mouth, and when asked if he understands how it was done replies, “It (the disease) might have gone before if it had a mind to.” It puts ignorance in the body (or matter) and holds it responsible for their folly.
Science has always these errors to overcome. If I could think of a man who has all these elements well-defined, I would describe him; but every man has them, some more and some less, and no man is free from all, who has the dynamical intelligence. He who has the conservative element may not have the three - but he must have statics. Ignorance (or statics) puts the highest wisdom in the conservative element. Dynamics puts no wisdom in either but calls them elements in matter to be governed by the laws of dynamics. Statics is the natural growth, like all other animal life. Conservatism is the manufactured article. Dynamics is a knowledge of both.
The two first are like the clearing up of a wilderness. Statics is the natural growth. Dynamics cuts down the trees (or obstructions). Conservatism is the resistance to the power of dynamics. So as cultivation and health come, disease and ignorance disappear.