Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Language: Part TwoMay 18, 1864
It has been generally supposed that language contains some intelligence, but this is not the case. It is like the raps of a galvanic battery; a conductor of intelligence, containing nothing of itself. An idea is something, and to give it to another person requires a medium. So words (or language) are used to convey the idea. The medium may be used for good or bad purposes, like the telegraph.
Opinions and science are the two identities that monopolize language. Language is an invention, and the person who first started the idea of language gave the first impetus to science; for some sensation, higher than the natural man can understand, wished to make itself known to another person. Now this was the Christ (or God) manifest in the human mind. The desire to impart something to the world is what has been prophesied. So language is its medium, and every medium is used for good and bad purposes. So language is the medium of science, as well as of error.
There is no way of getting at the truth by language, for a lie can be clothed in better language than the truth. The least language (or clothing) truth has, the better; and the pure naked truth, stripped of all language, is the most perfect. So language is not to add words to wisdom - but to be used by wisdom to convey itself to another.
Every original idea that has ever developed itself through matter comes to the world (or man) through language. So the idea is the Christ, and the Holy Ghost is the science (or language). And when man is filled with the Holy Ghost (or by the wisdom of God) (or science), then he speaks - not of himself - but of wisdom, through the Holy Ghost (or science).
When it says that Jesus was “begotten of the Holy Ghost,” it does not mean the man (or flesh); but that Jesus was a medium for this great truth to develop itself to the world; so that the Holy Ghost was Jesus' father, and the Christ is in Jesus. Then Jesus could say that he - that is, Christ - had no earthly father but God; made known to Jesus by the Holy Ghost (or science).
It required language to communicate this truth to man, but the ignorance of the world, not knowing or feeling the Christ (or truth), applied it to the man Jesus and called him Christ. Here was one instance of the misconstruction of an idea, not language. The language was not to blame, for the words were invented long before the idea was developed. Yet the truth existed before language was invented.
To make it plainer, I will suppose a case. Take the word “cancer.” Now if a person who does not know the meaning of the word should say to another, as ignorant as himself, that he had a cancer, there could be no effect produced, because the word did not contain the idea. But it might convey some idea and this idea be conveyed to another. Now let one be posted up with regard to the idea cancer - then if he used the word cancer, something would be conveyed to the other by language.
Now a belief is a chemical change produced in the mind by language, which conveys an idea of an invisible thing that cannot be seen, but described. The image, being created in the mind according to description - the matter is kept condensing, and phenomenon is produced on the body, according to the belief. Now if there never had been any language, the belief never would have been created, and of course no phenomena would have been produced.
Every branch of science is made known to the world through the language of the people, and every error is made known through the same medium. To use language scientifically is to correct some error that the people believe in that makes them sick or troubles them. Now through science, the error has been destroyed by wisdom, through the same medium; and corrected by science. Take the belief in the revolution of the earth. The idea that the earth was flat was communicated to the world by language - yet everyone knows it is false. Wisdom, through science, uses the same language to destroy the false idea and establish the truth. Take a piano - the same keys that produce discord will produce harmony. So language, like the keys of an instrument, is directed by a wisdom outside the word (or keys).
Thousands of persons use words without any meaning. If men knew what they were conveying, their language would be of some force; but they often convey a wrong impression, when they intend to convey a right one, from the fact that there never has been a science admitted for the correction of disease. Now let man know that his ills are the effect of his belief, and his belief comes through the medium of language - then he will test the belief in science, and see what foundation it has in truth.
Every truth existed before language was invented. Now can anyone say that disease called “cancer” existed before man? Man is not the beginning; there must be some wisdom to create man. So if we believe that disease was before man, then wisdom must create it, and man must be more exposed to disease than is in the world. It is true that, as the world is at the present time, diseases have their identity and are as well-defined as evil spirits or devils were in the Old Testament.
But we must go back to the first cause - language. Does anyone suppose that if Moses had not known language, he could have given an account of the creation? (And if he had not, the world would never have been frightened into the belief that this world would be destroyed.) Now as I said before, there is nothing in language, of itself. The substance is in the one that uses it. The substance was in Moses, and this wisdom he wished to give to the world. If the world could not understand the true idea that Moses wished to convey, it was not for the want of language, but because it was not developed enough to receive it.
Some persons think a truth is in language. Suppose I speak to you of some scientific truth in Greek; if you do not understand Greek, you receive no value. Suppose I say to you, “You will find some food in the basket.” Now if you understand me, I have conveyed the truth - but not a scientific truth. To convey a scientific truth to another is to explain to them something or give them something that they had no idea of.
Suppose I am thirsty and ask for a tumbler of water. If I ask a Frenchman, and he cannot speak English, then I have not conveyed my thirst to him; for I have put it in my English, and he cannot receive it. Now the science is to communicate the feeling to him, so that he will feel my desire for water and give me a drink. Now the medium I use is the Holy Ghost (or Christ) in me. This acts upon the Frenchman and brings his mind into sympathy with mine, and he feels the same desire for drink. Then he, by his wisdom, gives me the water that quenches my thirst.
Now this is the truth made manifest in the flesh. This is the Christ that came into the world and took upon itself language to communicate to man what never was communicated to the world before. The original language is not the invention of man, but is God itself. It is sympathy - but man has tried to explain it, and created language and lost the original, and has set up a false idea, and has made the people believe a lie, that they might be sick.
When a man speaks, he speaks a lie, for he speaks of himself; and his life is a belief, and not true. Every person believes in the idea of cancer. Now to cure a cancer, the one that undertakes to do it tries to make the person believe that he can cure it; showing that his cure depends entirely on a person's mind. This is true - but is not the person that practices the cure a liar? For he will tell you he believes in a cancer independent of the mind - and then he uses all his skill to change the mind to cure the cancer. He thus shows that all his practice is deception and only to affect the patient.
Now what does wisdom do? Wisdom sees the phenomenon and knows the effect is of the man's belief. So he uses his science (or words) to convince the man of his error. The science dissolves the error, and the man is cured; not of a disease that existed before man was formed, but of an error that man has made. So it is language communicated to a person containing some scientific truth; but all the language used to enlighten man in regard to his health and happiness and his future state is worthless, and is of great evil to the world.
Science will, in the process of time, destroy all these refuse of lies and establish the kingdom of truth in the hearts (or understanding) of men. Then disease (or lies) will be looked upon as an evil that has been permitted to deceive the people for some good purpose - like slavery; for they are the works of the kingdom of darkness. Error has its kingdom, as well as science; and as its servants are ten-to-one of science, it rules the nation.
As I have shown that language is a medium through which sensations are conveyed, I shall try to communicate to the reader a truth that has never been reduced to practice. When it can be reduced to practice and conveyed to the mind of man, it then becomes a science. Man will then see that what he believes, he wants to get rid of - not what he knows. The belief is the casket (or bottle) that holds the poison that affects him.
I will illustrate. In making these illustrations, it gives the person the idea of a sensation and shows whether he understands what he thinks he does. A child can tell a story of what he has read, and yet not understand anything of the fact. Now to understand scientifically is to illustrate the idea of some figure of your mind; not to give the identical words, for the words contain nothing.
Suppose I tell you that you have a scrofulous tumor. Now any person can tell that, but if you have never heard it described or knew there was anything bad in it, you receive no substance. But if you are told your life is in danger - then if you believe it, this disturbs your mind. By what intelligence you have of this imaginary idea “scrofula,” you create an image after the pattern. This is the way disease is created. A lie set in motion as a truth. The minds are excited, fear takes possession of the minds, and phenomena are produced. Then the wisdom of the wise (or doctors) give them a name. This ignorance keeps the minds excited, and the wisdom of this class of blind guides deceives the masses through the power of language and keeps the world groping in darkness and disease.
Now make man understand that mind is something that can be affected, like the earth; and any false idea may be created by the fear of some lie that originated in some medical school - then he will try to correct his errors, instead of embracing more. See the craft of this set of blind guides. Some great medical man in France or England makes a statement of something as false as can be. This is published in the medical journal - a lying sheet in the hands of this set of deceivers. This is sent out as some great discovery. The small-fry catch at the bait, and like birds, distribute it all over the face of the earth. It falls into every person's mind; there it lies and is husbanded till it springs up.
Then one of these birds of prey is sent, and a name is given - perhaps the spotted fever. The idea - and all the misery that follows this disease - has been sown years ago; so that the person's mind is all ready to produce the disease. Now this fright gives direction; the fluids are changed, and phenomenon is produced - and all the people pronounce it the spotted fever. Now comes the harvest. The minds are all ripe. The heads are all ready to be taken sick; and in step, the reapers (or medical faculty) - who reap a grand harvest out of the suffering of the masses. At last the scene changes, and the harvest is over, and there is a large number not saved (or cured). Then comes lamentation and mourning. At length, the cold chill of public opinion commences blowing. And the little streams from the fountain that falls from the eyes are frozen. The soul (or mind) is left to be at rest, till some idea springs up to deceive the people again.