Let man understand that he is accountable for his belief,
and then he will be as careful as to what he
does believe
as he will be about what he eats or drinks.
~  Phineas P. Quimby

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Dr. Phineas P. Quimby

Quimby's Introduction I


In the work which I propose to introduce to the public, one of the principal points will be to give the reader an account of the causes and facts which led me to arrive at the following discovery or conclusion, viz: That man, as we see him, is a combination of truth and error; that he is as much those two opposites as he is of right and wrong; that the identity of these two characters can be traced through every act of his life; and the connections (or links) can be followed as easily as the progress of science in regard to electricity.

The writings of the Bible have recognized these two principles, and the religious world has tried in vain to separate them; for their separation is based on false ideas which are opinions, instead of wisdom. They have always regarded the scientific man as a mystery, and have thus been trying to divide their own houses (or theories); and at the introduction of science, their theories must fall. Always laboring under a mistake, they endeavor to make a truth out of opinions; which gives rise to parties whose whole business is to have a lie acknowledged as truth, and the people made to believe it.

This is the full extent to which the religious world has developed man. Death, to them, is a truth; but the state after death is a question on which there is a wide difference of opinion and is, to the Christian world, a complete mystery. They do not embrace the true man of wisdom in any of their theories, but really disbelieve in everything which goes to identify the scientific man.

There are certain elements (or principles) of life which have an affinity for each other, and as these principles unite (or come together), certain results follow, which vary just according to the combinations formed. Man, as he appears, is the machine under consideration; and all I say will be to show that he is moved and worked by two agents - science and opinions. But these two agents have no more affinity for each other than light and darkness; but each acts in opposition to the other. Error is a combination of matter and has three distinct characters - error, ignorance and opinions, which is all that there is of the natural man. But all these are nothing to the scientific man of wisdom, for wisdom can dissolve them all.

I shall first speak of the natural man, by which I mean opinions, errors, ignorance etc. - in fact, all there is of man, except wisdom, science and truth. The real (or scientific) man is made of elements which are eternal principles, everlasting and unceasing, and these principles are what I call “eternal life.” But when they are united together for certain purposes, they are called “matter.” When the matter is dissolved into its original state, the principles still exist, with their own identities.

Now outside of these principles exists a superior wisdom which controls them by a medium called “science” - for by it we prove the identity of wisdom. Science is connected with eternal life (or the first principles). Matter (or the combination of these principles) is also a part of life. But it assumes to be the author of its own existence, while it is but the author of its own acts; and it acts in accordance with itself. Man is so formed that he is a perfect image of these two principles. His senses are in his life, but his life is no part of the combination called “man.” The compound is a union of the principles of life. The compound has its identity, as a machine has life in the inventor. When the machine is dissolved, the elements still live in the principles of matter, though the identity of the machine is gone. So the life of the machine is dead.

The scientific man's life is his senses, and his senses are in his wisdom. The natural man is to the scientific man as a shadow to a substance - simply nothing. Both have their identity - one as a shadow and the other as a substance. But the identity of one depends on the life of the combination of the other. Take away all science from a man, and you have a complete animal, though not as complete as some. Yet you have an animal that contains all the elements which go to make up an animal, and these elements are under the law of matter.

The principle of science is not contained in matter, or even in its element, but it is a part and parcel of wisdom. So that the destruction of matter does not destroy the principles which govern it. Man contains, within himself, all the elements of matter; but these elements are ignorant of the power that gave them their life (or identity). As the natural man becomes purified from the natural element - ignorance, it becomes the medium through which the scientific man develops himself. Matter (or the natural man) is from above (or independent of matter). I will give an illustration showing the nature of these three characters.

A says to B, "I see a spirit," describing it, and B believes it. C hears what A says, and knows it to be false. C's wisdom is outside of A and B and knows that all that B suffers arises from believing the lie of A.

Here we have the three characters – C, the scientific man; B, the sufferer (or natural man); and A, the liar (or first cause). I will call the clergy and medical faculty A; their followers B; while I stand to the sick, as C stands to A and B in the foregoing illustration - knowing that what A and B say is false.

It is not necessary to confine the identity of the scientific man to any particular branch of science; only to create a man who is capable of detecting a falsehood when it is uttered. For instance, A relates a story, affirming that it is true, but B is not bound to believe it, unless A can prove (or demonstrate) it. If the story is based on a religious or medical opinion, he cannot prove it, and B must use his own judgment about believing it. And if B has been taught to believe in these opinions, he must suffer the penalties of his belief. But if he has been taught to understand that all their wisdom is founded in superstition, then he will stand to A as C did to A and B - pitying and condemning A for his ignorance and hypocrisy.

I contend that man's happiness and misery is of his own creation, after he began to know what it was to be affected, and I intend to keep the identities separate, though both are in one.

Every thought contains a combination of gases which makes man; the food merely going to satisfy the brutal part, while all ideas go to feed the spiritual (or selfish) part - A and B. C is not included in these two, but he is at the elbow of B, to check and develop him and, if possible, to get possession of B, which is but the habitation of A or C.

The tempter is B. The disease (or elder son) is A. The scientific man (or younger son) is C. B is the body, vineyard or field and contains the principle of both. And the developing of C is the destruction of A. C is wisdom in B (or matter). A is the life of matter, changed from one idea to another. I shall call these two characters by various names; sometimes principles or laws of nature; sometimes the natural or spiritual man; good and bad; truth and error, etc.

Wisdom is always outside of mind (or matter), yet like the seeds in the earth, it is growing and coming forth to assume its identity outside of matter. This is the child, science; born out of matter; begotten by wisdom; and kept from the evils of the world, till it can speak for itself. All we see of man is a combination of matter (or ideas) in a living form, having powers like the brute, but differing in some respects.

Wisdom, from some cause best known to herself, created man and beast different in their combinations; as the soils of the earth differ in different latitudes. The products of a tropical clime would die if transplanted to our bleak and cold northern latitudes, yet by introducing a higher element into matter, their transportation can, in a measure, be overcome. It being the design of wisdom that this should be the case, progression was to be the instrument to bring about this change; and as man's body, like the brutes, contains the same elements (or soil), it was necessary that a different soil be combined with it, to bring forth a superior element.

Now man, being this element - it was into it that wisdom breathed the breath of life (or wisdom), and he became a double-being. Not that man has any preeminence over the brute, for both are of the earth, and must return to it again. The brutal element in man will not, if possible, be governed. It makes itself known wherever it is; whether in the wild or domesticated beast, or in the cultivated man. It is opposed to everything that interferes with its interests. It is the element to be subject to science, and knowing this, it makes war with itself; and its life is its own destruction.

Science is in this principle, and is in every thought. It accompanies all the nourishment of the body. It goes with the blood to all parts of the system and is like C, as he stands in relation to A and B; to protect the child in B, which A wishes to destroy. B is nothing but the shadow of A, and they make war with themselves; and out of their ashes, C springs up. Everything that man thinks about, hears or admits, that thing takes possession of his body, and he - that is, the machine - is worked by that idea; wisdom being but a silent observer.

I frequently introduce subjects into my articles which do not seem to have any bearing on the subject of disease, but they do. And could we see what disease is, we should learn that it is a deviation from science (or truth) and that happiness is man's aim. But the roads to it are so obstructed by false lights (or ideas) that it is almost impossible to travel on the true scientific highway. And Satan has many agents, all over the country, calling on every person, in every language and tongue, entreating them to listen to their story. Some tell you you are in danger of losing your soul; others offer great inducements for you to enlist in the army of the Lord and fight for their own particular creed, promising you a crown of glory at the end of the war (or when you die). So you are deprived of every pleasure you might otherwise enjoy, and torment yourself to death, merely for what you are promised at the end of your lives. Your death ends the war, and your crown of glory depends on your faithfulness to your leader.

Satan has so completely deluded the masses by his deception that his followers have “stolen the livery of heaven" in which to serve him and have established laws as arbitrary as ever did any despot - not excepting Jeff Davis. Wisdom has no respect for persons, but is like a pair of scales which weighs out to every person his wages for his labor; for all scientific men are laborers in the service of wisdom, and their acts are weighed, and they receive their wages just in accordance with their acts. But their acts have no effect on the great First Cause, Wisdom, no more than a person going into business. If he loses all he has, the loss is his and not the government's; yet the government protects all its subjects. So science protects man from error, but it does not protect him by upholding his error.

Man stands to wisdom as the child to the parent. The parent is in the child, but the parent's identity is in itself. But had a mother twelve children, each child would have a part of its mother's identity; for the mother's identity is in her wisdom, and the wisdom is in the child, and the idea “matter” is in the mother's ideas. So it makes the child of matter and wisdom - not the wisdom of science, but the wisdom of the mother. The mother, seeing a shadow of her own belief (or ideas), puts into it an identity and gives it a name, as though it was not a part of herself. She, by her own belief, makes the distinction between herself and child, and this belief keeps her separate from her child.

This separation has been going on, till man has wandered away from wisdom and become sick and discouraged, and heaven is to bring him back to the knowledge of himself. The knowledge of this is heaven; the ignorance of it is hell (or misery), sin and death. It keeps man all his life in fear of death and subject to bondage. What I say is to break the bands (or destroy death), and let into the prison Science; who will open the doors and break down the partition walls which separate us from God (or Wisdom), open the cells of disease and let the captives again into the fresh air of health. Now to do this is a science, which I hope one day will be understood.

I suppose that all will admit that there really is no wisdom in an opinion, and yet there are effects produced by them. All men can give opinions, and those who believe are affected by them. This is true. But man's happiness and misery have never as yet been acknowledged to be the result of an effect of our beliefs, but a something we are called upon to get. We are called upon to get religion to make us happy, admitting that religion is something outside of our belief. We are told that it comes by some mysterious power, and this causes people to believe that there are unknown agents working on us, of which we are not aware. Now there is a shadow of truth in all this, but the explanation is merely an opinion, and not from science.

I will here say a few words in regard to matter (or mind). Opinions are the life of matter (or mind) for the time they are embraced, just as the gardener is the life of the garden while he controls it; for the earth would not bring forth the seeds, unless the gardener had placed them in the soil. Man is at the mercy of opinions, which come and take possession of him and cultivate just such vegetation as they please. So opinions take possession of the mother (or native ideas) and use them like slaves to cultivate such ideas as they see fit to have sown.

They sow the seeds of disease, and the native ideas become subject to their direction. This course causes trouble, and a war of opinions arises, and the doctors or neighbors are called in to settle the trouble; but as opinions are ambitious, and the natural ideas are lazy, the latter are very easily subjugated by opinion. Science is not known in all this trouble; opinions assuming all the wisdom, and that is the exact case with the sick, they being two characters - one, opinions and the other, the natural ideas held in subjection. Opinions are as cowardly as ignorance - and more so, for they fear science; while ignorance fears error (or opinions). Science knows that disease is the effect of opinions and ignorance.

Many cures are performed by persons who have no claim whatever to wisdom, and it is an admitted fact among a certain class that there is such a thing as foretelling what will take place, to some extent; and all science does it in a limited sense, but the foretelling depends altogether upon the wisdom of the scientific man. All who pretend to cure profess to tell the effect of their medicine on the patient, and that is their science; and it is foreknowledge to the man of opinions.

To the true scientific man, the person who pretends to tell the effect of his medicine is a hypocrite and wishes to pass himself off on to the man of opinions as a superior being. He gives the impression as being scientific, but he knows he is uttering a falsehood. The whole composition of his being differs from the man of opinions. His character is religious in the extreme, and his store of information is inexhaustible.

We have not yet arrived at the scientific man. All these characters that I have named are prominent in the world, and are in fact the leading characters of the world; while the scientific man is not known to them at all. Every person has these two characters. I know them both. And I know also that the two - opinions and hypocrites - are consulting together how they may keep ignorance in bondage. For ignorance is the child that is to be purified, so as to receive the scientific man; and opinions and hypocrites are the two characters that must be destroyed, in order to free ignorance. For they are nothing but dross to science, which must be burned up by the fires of truth. They fear the truth as the burned child does the fire. They tremble, and the earth quakes, and that is their disease. And they greatly fear the light.

I will represent the ignorant man as coming to me for instruction, being in trouble and not knowing the cause of his misery, and the other two, pretending to be his friends. I see the other two as plainly as I see him, yet they have no idea that I see them, for I do not make myself known to them. Knowing as I do that they are the enemies of the ignorant man, I treat them as I would anyone who I knew was trying to deceive a person with false ideas. I do not trouble them (unless they undertake to uphold their master, error), until I sit with a patient, and I come in contact with them. They have their motives and objects, as much as science. And if the hypocrite wishes to achieve an object, he has to exhibit more shrewdness than opinions; while science has to exhibit more than the three - ignorance, hypocrisy, opinions, or else he will lose his case. Ignorance would not be destroyed, for it is the soil on which both these two reside.

The reason why I give identities to different principles and ideas is because principles have as much of an identity as matter. The only difference being that one can be seen, and the other can see. One fills all space, while the other is space and has its conditions. As wisdom sees opinions, it knows what is the trouble. I talk aloud to the natural man, but he is entirely ignorant of my conversation with the one who governs him; who is in him, as the light is in the darkness. His fears are the workings of matter, and all he says is to complain of his troubles. He is like a person in a quandary, not knowing what to do and afraid of everything.

When I enquire the cause of the trouble, I do not ask the person in trouble, but those around him, which are opinions of all kinds. The sick man is like a stranger in the hands of men who are robbing him of his substance, and he, being frightened, dare not stir. There is, in fact, no end to the torment which the ignorant man endures at the hands of these hypocrites and men of opinions. The sick are in their hands as a mouse in the power of a cat, who will play with it for a while, yet will not like it to go free.

I find every sick person in the hands of these characters become as docile as lambs when science approaches - unless they see their reputation is to be questioned. Then they will gnash their teeth with rage and try and destroy, not only their own lives, but that of the sick. I have learned how to approach them, unobserved. I ask questions to find out the trouble and then expose opinions to the light of reason; which reason is the workings of ignorance.

Opinions make false statements from false bases, and then labor to prove their statements. They take the very mediums of wisdom to prove their assertions. The only difference is, one is science and knows it; and the other is opinions and thinks he knows it. I must take the sick man and separate these different identities; and also place the scientific man among his enemies.

I will call the sick man “ignorance” and his enemies “opinions,” which are like a mob; each opinion having an identity as much as a person. And it is this point which man does not understand. Science has its identity in wisdom and is eternal. Opinions reason to save their lives, and unless science destroys their reason - they live. Ignorance is the soil to be cultivated, and opinions believe there is wisdom in this soil. They, accordingly reason with themselves, according to their belief, and operate on the soil to prove that their reasoning is correct. Science is the life of the soil (or ignorance), and its growth depends upon the developing of the soil.

The developing of mind (or matter) embraces what opinions call either “miracles” or “humbugs.” Either one is but an opinion to science, who sees what will be the beginning and end of all opinions. Take the eclipse. Opinions could not see the cause; therefore, to them it was a miracle; while science could not only tell the cause, but the precise time when the phenomenon would occur.

There is another phase of science like this. You see Mr. A tell Mr. B to place his property in Mr. C's hands, stating that he will thereby get good interest. Now you know that A and C are leagued together to rob every person they can. Now just as B is about to place his property in C's hands, you - knowing that B will lose it - tell him so, and interfere with the speculation. This angers A and C, and you are obliged to prove to B, before A and C, that he would surely lose his property; which if you do, the process is science put in practice for B's happiness.

It is this science that the sick need to keep clear of the priests and doctors; as the motive of the one is to save the soul, while that of the other is to save the body. Every sick person is in the power of one of these two enemies to health and happiness. Yet, they have such hold on the body that ignorance gives them about one-tenth of their income, while the sick pay about the same as the people did under the Levitical priesthood.

Our religious ideas and beliefs in a future state are all founded on error, and they really change man's whole nature. Every truth is not a scientific truth; for were it so, we could have no standard to gauge by. Consequently, every man's opinion would be admitted as a truth. The word “science” represents the name of the process by which man arrives at a truth, while the process itself is science.

To illustrate. You wish to know the height of a triangle, the length of the other two sides being given. I will give three ways in which you may arrive at the true answer. First, having a correct eye, you may possibly guess at it. Secondly, you can enquire of one who knows. Thirdly, you can measure with a rule. Now in all three ways, you may arrive at the truth; yet the true scientific answer can be arrived at by a mathematical process in which there is not a doubt - a process of wisdom which is not contained in either of the other three. The science is putting in practice this principle - not that the answer is science, but the arriving at it.

The correct working of problems by the science of the principles of levers would fail, if certain variations were not taken into consideration. For instance, take the first class lever illustrated by a crowbar. If the bar is six feet long, and the fulcrum is placed within six inches of the end, then one pound on the long end will balance twelve at the other; and if the weight is raised one inch, the other end of the bar will fall one foot. But if the fulcrum should sink or give way, then this same lever becomes a third-class lever, where the power is at one end, the fulcrum at the other, and the weight in the center. Therefore, all this must be taken into consideration, or you fail to arrive at the correct answer; and the science is to know of the variations and take them into calculations in working out the problem.

Suppose, again, that you and I see a person at a distance, and we are in doubt as to who it is. Wishing to ascertain who the person is, we can guess, but we may be wrong. We can get a person to go and see, but he may deceive us. Or we can go ourselves. And this last process of finding out is the science by which we arrive at a truth.

Science is to labor for what we receive, and the reward is happiness. To cure the sick scientifically is laborious; but to cure by books or opinions is nothing. It is merely the science of him who had but one talent, which he hid - and he got others to think and act for him. If the world will take an opinion for a truth, then the lazy are on a par with those who labor, and the wise might well say, “If opinions are wisdom; it is folly to talk of science.”

These false ideas prevent man from studying into the wisdom of opinions; which is science, falsely so-called. Paul speaks of it in his epistle to Timothy, when he says, "O, Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so-called; which some professing, have erred concerning the faith." [1 Timothy:20,21]

I contend that disease is the result of the reasoning of this science, falsely so-called, and therefore it is necessary to establish a new mode, or show how man can be scientifically cured of his errors. My method is based on a science which embraces every part of man's reason and which destroys opinions on all subjects which tend to disturb man's happiness. This being my foundation, I assert that everything seen and felt must have a cause, and that nothing cannot produce any one thing. Now admitting a cause, the process of finding it is a science and is a labor.

I repeat, that all there is of us that can be seen is the effect of our belief, and our beliefs are matter and can be changed. Everything I write is to either lead or disturb the mind, so that the truth can be seen, as it were; for it is thus that I destroy opinions and introduce in their place the Science of Health. It is a new mode of religious reasoning; for all belief is the effect of our religious training, the medical belief being a part of it as much as any church creed. I do not intend to attack any person or persons in particular, but the erroneous ideas of mankind in general.

I believe that ideas are something that affect the happiness of mankind and disturb the senses. The senses are affected by opinions, which, although not admitted as having an identity, yet they have one, as much as heat or cold have; and as powerful an effect on our senses. And they contain an odor as disagreeable to health as any atmosphere which man breathes. The individual who has it has his senses affected just according to his fear. Now the question arises, “Does disease exist outside of man's belief, as rocks and trees?” I answer, “It does not.” But the world says it does.

Science is to correct the errors which heathen superstition have handed down to us. Ideas are like individuals and live and exist as much as what God has created. The mind is full of these ideas, and you can trace their genealogy from the ancient times down to the present date. In every person you will find some trace of heathen idolatry. Now it is these errors and evils that we wish to rid the world of; although they are not seen by man, yet they fill all space.

Ideas have life, and both ideas and life have an odor, but not a name, unless they are attached to the body. Take the disease, catarrh. In space it has no form or life, but like an odor, it may be offensive to a person's senses. It contains no idea so as to make it of any consequence, but attach a name to it, and then the senses are disturbed, and we create the enemy which torments us, called “catarrh.” All false ideas in regard to disease contain the elements which go to make up disease.

Our mind is like the land of a certain lazy man which his neighbors tried to make him till. At last they told him to dig it all over, and he would find a treasure buried. This he did - but found nothing. They then told him to plant his land to wheat, which he did. In the fall he went to his neighbors and told them he could not find his treasure. “Well,” they said, “Go and reap your wheat, thresh it out and sell it, and then you will find your wished-for treasure.”

Now we must work over our minds, looking for a treasure, and while doing so, rid ourselves of error and find the treasure to be the truth, which we get for the result of our labor; else the priest or medical faculty will excite the curiosity by relating some story, like that of the treasure which stimulated the person to gain the prize. This excites the mind, and the doctors then sow the seeds of disease (or tell them some false story which makes them nervous), and a phenomenon is produced. When the crop of their own planting is reaped, they show it to the doctor, who says that it is the treasure - which is disease.

If wheat (or truth) is planted, we reap truth; if error (or disease), we reap disease. In either case, the laborer gets the reward for his toil, and if we sow to the wind (or believe what the priests or doctors say), we must reap the whirlwind. But if we sow to wisdom (or science), happiness is the harvest. It behooves every person, therefore, to test opinions and see if they are based on science or otherwise. For we must be accountable for our beliefs, whether right or wrong - and there is no escape from it.

Let man understand that he is accountable for his belief, and then he will be as careful as to what he does believe as he will be about what he eats or drinks. Wisdom has never been taken into consideration in regard to man's composition. But man has been looked upon as a machine set in motion, without any wisdom to guide it; as a locomotive let loose to run its race and die when its fires were out. All calculations made in regard to keeping man running are made without considering wisdom at all; but he becomes a machine of opinions, whose owner is error - and he is subject to all the errors which error can invent.





Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby



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