Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Language of Men & AnimalsAugust 1861
Language is the invention of opinions to communicate to another opinion what wisdom knows. Do animals reason like men? This question cannot be answered categorically. It is like thousands of other questions asked by those who know not what the question involves. Error is not science; it uses language to try to explain what it does not know. In this way the standard of opinions is based on ignorance.
How do animals communicate with each other? Here is a question that opens a wide field for the wisdom of opinions; which offers no proof of wisdom above the person that asks the question. After some argument, they settle down on the opinion that animals reason and have a language. This is all an opinion, without the slightest evidence or wisdom above the animal. Can there be any wisdom above the opinion of man to explain the actions of animals?
As all give their opinions, I will give my knowledge of the human species. Instinct is a mystery to opinion and is not admitted as intelligence or wisdom; and is not superior to opinions, but inferior to them. Now opinions divide wisdom into two classes - instinct and knowledge. Science also makes two divisions, but not like opinions. It makes opinions neither science nor instinct, but a sort of mixture of ignorance and error.
How does wisdom act on animals? By the law of harmony. Wisdom has its bounds that man or beast cannot pass. Science is wisdom reduced to self-evident propositions which have an identity. So that science is a child that progresses and receives wisdom, according to its capacity to take it up. Or it is like water that takes up salt; it is capable of taking up just so much and no more.
Man and beast, fish and foul, and every creeping thing that has life - except the scientific man - have their bounds that they cannot pass; and when they arrive at perfection, they either recede or assume a wisdom superior to their race. Man is the only one who has ever been capable of teaching a science or of proving it by self-evident wisdom.
Take the dog. He will trace the various and winding routes of his master, till he finds him. Suppose the master leaves the dog in the house and travels in a straight direction, till he comes to three roads that all meet. When released, the dog will come to these roads and try one of them a short distance, when he will return and take the other; as though he reasoned that if his master had not gone two of the roads, he must have taken the third. If that was so, why did he not keep on? But he went a little way and then returned, not seeing his master on any other road. So there must be some better explanation than that.
I will give an explanation, according to my wisdom of scientific facts. The dog, when with his master, was like a mesmerized subject. The master held the dog by sympathy, just as a mesmerizer holds a subject. When the master left home, the dog went with him, as the subject under this wisdom of harmony. When the dog was let loose, his wisdom was drawn by this master, till he came to where the three roads met. Then reason entered, and the dog hesitated. But as he left the right road, his sympathy was disturbed, and he returns to the spot where he feels in harmony with the wisdom. He then takes another road and meets with the same result; returning, he starts on - and his sympathy grows stronger. He follows the dictates of his own feeling, until the object is obtained.
Animals are a combination that act according to their organization. Their wants are few; happiness is all their aim. The gratification of their appetites and rest is all that they want; so they eat and drink - not from any reason, but from a simple desire to gratify themselves. This is perfection in the beast. They also have imitation, to a certain degree - but it is not of their combination, but a higher. Left to themselves, they soon return to their native element. This imitation, opinion calls intelligence; so it is the intelligence of the man of opinions, but not of God (or science).
A monkey is a monkey; you can teach him to imitate, but science can never be learned by him. You can make an automaton a chess player, but he cannot go beyond his limits; and it is so with the brutes. Man is another combination; higher. But the man of opinions is no more a scientific man than the brute. Like the brute, he is capable of imitation to a certain extent; but if he goes beyond that, he ceases to be a brute and becomes a living scientific being.
Woman is not matter, but science (or truth). Man is matter (or opinions); so that everyone is of these two elements, and by their acts are to be judged. Man is made up of opinions. Science is the woman; so when they are imitated, you see the man and woman (or Jesus Christ). Now destroy the man of opinions, and the Christ lives in the flesh; and if you destroy the Christ, man becomes a brute.
Man (after the fashion of opinion) is the offspring of father and mother. Wisdom defines them in this way. The father is of opinion; the mother is science. So the child, being the offspring of its father (or opinion), receives the wisdom of its mother (or science). Here are the two. Science and opinion never have agreed and never can; their identities are as opposite as light and darkness. Although opinion has always been trying to take to itself wisdom, wisdom has never acknowledged the union and never can. These two identities are all through man's life; not one act of his life is independent of both.
Science admits nothing but facts; opinion knows nothing but error. These two characters are as plain in the world as light and darkness. I will give you some names that they have been identified with - since the wisdom of the world has discovered the two - and will show how every phenomenon has been acknowledged by both. I will commence with the Old Testament. This book shows a state of society and wisdom and progression far above the wisdom of opinions. So that science (or wisdom) had made considerable progress in the world of error at the time the Old Testament was written.
If the Bible was not for the development of some wiser truth than the masses had, they never would have accepted Moses as a leader. According to the account, Moses taught his wisdom to the people. What motive had Moses in taking the course he did, if it was not to convince man of a more excellent way of making them happy than they were taught in Egypt? If so, then we must expect Moses must have been a better man, even, than he is represented.
One thing is certain; that at the time of Moses, all nations were very religious and superstitious; for these two elements - superstition and religion - have always gone hand-in-hand. So have science and progression gone along together. Moses and Aaron were representatives of these characters; Saul and Paul, Adam and Eve, the law and the gospel, the rich man and the beggar, the tares and wheat, the prodigal and elder son. All symbolize these two elements in man - the religious man (or sinner) and the scientific man. Just as a man breaks off from his superstition and embraces wisdom based on science; just so he is not religious. Religion belongs to the man of opinions who, not knowing God, worships something he is afraid of. While the scientific man worships God in wisdom and sees nothing but love and harmony; and his love (or wisdom) casteth out fear, for fear hath torment.
I will introduce you to a religious man of the world of opinions, reasoning with a man not of the same dispensation in religion - but a man of wisdom and science, without any religion. The former I will call Christian and the latter, Skeptic.
(S) Is there any such substance as matter?
(C) Everything we see goes to prove that fact.
(S) Is matter a solid substance?
(C) There is matter that is solid, and there is matter that is not.
(S) Is there any matter so solid that light cannot penetrate it?
(C) Yes, I have no doubt of that.
(S) Do you admit a wisdom that can penetrate all matter; substances?
(S) Suppose you should be in a prison where there was no light or any chance for matter to penetrate. Do you believe there is a wisdom capable of penetrating your prison and communicating to you any intelligence? You may call it God or anything you please. Do you believe it?
(S) Well, is it matter?
(S) Then it must be something not matter.
(S) You admit it intelligence?
(S) Then you have intelligence in prison where matter cannot go. You believe it?
(S) Do you believe it is aware of its own presence with you?
(S) Would your belief prevent its coming?
(S) Can there be a wisdom that can be at any particular place and know it, without a consciousness of itself?