Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
In order to introduce my theory of curing disease, it will be necessary to explain the use I make of a few words to which custom has given a meaning, which I am unable to use. For instance, the word “mind.” All use it as applied to man's intelligence, and as the word mind has never been applied to any spiritual substance or any substance whatever, it strikes the reader strangely to hear it as I have to use it. Still, I think I can show that the author must have had a different meaning, in his wisdom, from what is commonly attributed to it. It could not be that he had any idea of any world or existence beyond this life; for mind was considered man's life and all his reasoning powers, and at death it ended. Therefore, the brain was considered the seat of the mind, and now various beliefs show that this false reasoning still holds sway over mankind.
The word mind, as it is used and believed, comprises all of man and beast that has life and instinct, and at death this all dies - and this is what the author of the word intended to convey. But as science progressed, the weakness of this reasoning was seen, and the religious community invested the word with a new signification which the ancients never dreamed of. For with their limitations, it could not explain the life of man, as it could not contain the word “wisdom.” So a new word was needed, and “soul” was introduced.
Now if you will call the soul “science,” you will then have a higher development than is included in mind. Let mind embrace all matter of the human and brutal creation, as the word "matter" embraces all inanimate substances. Then the soul (or science), like that wisdom which creates from inanimate matter every manufactured article, will control the matter of the human species that is held in solution and called mind. For mind is always under the control of some spiritual wisdom superior to the natural man.
I will illustrate my meaning with what can come to the senses of the natural man. The wisdom which dwells in matter (or mind) knows nothing of chemistry; for that is a step higher than the natural man or brute goes. The natural man and brute can both see a gold dollar. The chemist, by his wisdom, can see and dissolve the dollar and hold it in solution. But the mind of the man and brute loses the dollar when it is out of sight. To them, its existence is dead, never to be united in a body called “gold.” And the brute leaves, not having any interest in it.
But the mind of man - I here use the word as it was originally applied - to embrace all of man that dies, not science or soul - having set a value on the gold, weeps, for he sees it disappear. The difference between the man and brute is here. The latter sees no value in the gold and therefore loses nothing; but the man, through his ignorance, has been made to believe that the gold contains a value which was destroyed with it. Therefore he grieves for his loss. The chemist knows that the gold has no value of itself, but it is only the representative of value, of which it is ignorant. He commences to reason with the man of opinion, whose unhappiness is much greater than the brute, and this brings up the proverb, "Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise."
The life and senses of the chemist is in his wisdom, while the man of opinion lives in his error. The chemist says to the man, "Why do you weep?"
(Opinions) Because I have lost my gold.
(Opinions) It is dissolved and destroyed.
(Chemist) I can bring it to life and restore the value.
Then the chemist proceeds to condense into a solid the gold that was before held in solution. To opinions, this is a mystery from the world of science. He can never enter into that world, for when the science comes, opinion is dead. The gold was matter to the mind of opinion, but when dissolved, it was nothing. But to the man of science, it was matter (or gold) in both cases. In the same way, the man of opinions sees a body called “man,” and the chemist sees the same; but as in the case of the gold, the former does not see the wisdom that moves, deposits and decomposes the body. He therefore puts life (or value) in it.
The two sit down by a sick person and watch the decomposition of the matter. The man of opinion reasons, just as he did about the gold; placing life and value in the matter. But the scientific man sees the value outside the matter, which like the gold, is a representative of a value that is held in solution; which the man of opinions knows not. The latter, seeing the value depart, weeps for it; for it has gone from his sight. The man of science (or wisdom) sees the matter dissolve, like any other matter. But the separation of the wisdom from the dross (or opinion) and its existence, when it can no longer be seen by opinion, cannot be understood.
This was the extent of man's wisdom when Jesus appeared. Ancient philosophers divided man into two elements - mind and matter, the body being matter and the soul, mind; and one was the offspring of the other. The life of the soul was one thing and the life of the body, another - but they both died together. So the word mind embraced all man's life. The intellect of the brute was termed “instinct,” which was included in the meaning of mind. Science never had a separate identity, so that at death all were laid in the grave together - the wise man and the fool, the rich and the poor all found their level in the grave.
The Old Testament says that "a man hath no preeminence above a beast." We have evidence enough to show that what is now called the “soul” in ancient times had no higher meaning than mind, for we read of good souls and wicked souls. Also that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die." So here is an end to the soul. Such teaching as this is a great cause of man's misery.
Everyone will admit that all the qualities of soul which I have mentioned will apply to man's intelligence. They will also admit that mind, according to every definition, can change; likewise that wisdom cannot change - that it is the same today and forever. Now can anyone tell me what there is that is not matter that can be changed? It cannot be wisdom, for that does not change. It cannot be any form which can be seen; which, of course, must be matter.
Then what is it that is not wisdom, not God, not spirit nor matter - and yet can be changed? It is matter held in solution, called mind, which the power, wisdom, can condense into a solid, so dense as to become the substance called “matter.” Assume this theory, and then you can see how man can become sick and get well by the change of the mind, which is a chemical change, making the matter of the man of science - but he is comprehended by the scientific man.
Disease is the natural result of ignorance and error, governed by discords of the mind. For instance, friction produces heat; heat expansion; expansion motion; motion disturbs life, and life comes out of the motion of mind (or matter). There are various kinds of life - vegetables, mineral, etc.; for life is what comes from the decomposition of matter.
Wisdom is not life. It is from everlasting to everlasting; the same today and forever. But as life ascends from the lower to the higher kingdom, wisdom attaches itself to it, in order to develop itself in man. Now life, being the result of a chemical change in matter, must go through a process from the mineral kingdom to the spiritual state, till life is swallowed up in science (or wisdom). I will give you the process, as it comes to me by this great truth that lighteth everyone who comes into it.
The elements of the mineral kingdom, by their chemical change, bring forth life. This mingles with its mother minerals, and an offspring is produced called “vegetable.” The life of minerals enters this new kingdom, and a new creation springs into life. This again mingles with its parent kingdom, and then comes a low animal life called the animal kingdom. One generation begets another, till the matter becomes prepared to receive some of the life from the higher wisdom that rules the lower lives.
Now man's life comes from his peculiar development, so there is as much difference in the idea man as there is in the other kingdoms; for man is made up of those kingdoms. He combines three parts in himself - the animal, the human and the scientific. Women have more of the scientific element and less of the animal. The latter kingdom makes them strong; the human, benevolent; and the scientific, spiritual and poetical - working in their natural elements, out of matter. Their senses are more attached to the scientific life, while man is more brutal and wants to rule and govern the higher kingdoms.
I will give the character of Jesus, as he appears to me. He embraces the human and the scientific and was, therefore, gentle in appearance; for there was no animal element in him. He came to destroy life, not to save it. All men have a higher development of the animal in them than of the other kingdoms, and this life dies, just as the scientific life is received. Therefore, if a person could be perfectly wise, he would have no life, for everything would be subject to his wisdom. So to lose your life is to embrace the truth, for that destroys life.
The priests and doctors try to save life, for everyone believes he must die to be saved. So man, living in this opinion - his life is a life of bondage, through fear of death. Jesus came to destroy this fear and break the bands of death (or belief) and introduce this great truth of eternal progression. Those who believed rose from their graves (or beliefs), entered the world of science and attached their life to this great truth. Then they could say, "O! death, where is thy sting? Matter (or grave), where is thy victory?”
is the death (or sting) of opinions. Science (or God) is eternal life
in this wisdom. This is the science whose light lighteth the dark
dens of disease and leads the sick from their hiding places into that
wisdom that will guide them through this world of opinions and land
them safe on the shores of Eternal Truth.