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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

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Dr. Phineas P. Quimby
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The Language of Truth

December 1862

Language is used in two senses. The natural man uses it to express whatever comes within his senses that can be demonstrated by language. This embraces the belief in what is called “true” by the learned. But the feelings of the sick and wretched cannot be described by one who cannot feel them; yet they are at the mercy of those who cannot understand their feelings and who attempt to relieve them of something that they have no sympathy with.

Now the Bible was written to convey to such the cause of their trouble, and the New Testament applies more particularly to the sick; so I will confine my remarks to that. The language that Jesus used was not used to describe anything which could be seen or understood by the wisest men of his day, for if what he wished to explain could be seen, then language could have described it. But this was not the fact. The feelings of the sick and distressed was what he wanted to explain, and he had to use such language as would convey to them the fact that he felt their troubles and feeling them, knew the causes. The various beliefs of the world was what made men sick, and therefore to cure their diseases was to destroy their beliefs; for these were matter - and sympathy is not matter but is what is troubled by matter.

To illustrate the use of language in curing disease - a patient has feelings which cannot be felt by another in their natural state and which cannot, consequently, be described by the natural man; but the latter, without any knowledge in himself, names a feeling and undertakes to account for it on the ground of local disease. Now I feel the feelings of the sick, and I have to arrange language to convey this fact. I also feel the effect which the words of the doctor have had on the patient. I have to make him understand this and then destroy it all by language. I am then attacked by the natural man, because I do not understand language, but when I convince him that a belief, and also an opinion, are each combinations of mind; which, being a substance, constitute the real element of disease - then they begin to see meaning in my language and find that there is a language which has never been reduced to words.

For instance, the feelings of a sick child cannot be described, yet everyone is confident that the child feels sick. A doctor is called, and the little child is treated according to his ideas, which are explained to the mother. If she believes the physician, she begins to torment the child by her own mind (or belief), which she receives from the doctor. So a new disease is formed that is for the benefit of anyone, except the child. That is a creature of circumstances, governed by beliefs, which are outside his body, as much as the opinions of the mother are outside the child. This child's mind (or idea child) is the mother's, self-embodied in the idea, and her life is the life of the idea “child.” As the doctor changes her idea, they both change the child, till it becomes the child of the doctor; still keeping its identity that its mother loves it; that it is her child.

To illustrate. The banks of the Mississippi River are one thing and the water, another; and he who speaks of the Mississippi speaks of the water, for his remarks apply to the rise and fall of the river. The water represents the mind for other minds to act in; and as the intelligence of the world acts in the water of the Mississippi - not the banks - so people act on the mind of the child. They disturb the mind, and the child is affected, as the banks of a river show the disturbance of the water. The doctor stirs up the waters, and it throws forth disease and troubles. To cure the child is to say to the water, which came from the clouds of error, “Be still,” and close the windows of the heavens (or source), so that no rain shall fall on the earth.

This trouble is the result of language. To cure the child is to take the feelings and explain them to the mother, showing her how she has been deceived. Then she ceases from doing evil and learns to do right. From sympathy, I take the child to myself and soothe it, till I calm the waters. The waves are smooth, and the wind of opinion goes down, and health is established. To do this requires a new language or a new combination of words. Words are to express ideas, and the world, never having had such ideas - language is not ready to express them. Language is a combination of words to express an idea, and when a person wishes to express a new idea, he must make a language that will convey his idea to another.


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