Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
The Separation of Myself From All Others
Who Treat DiseasePortland, March 1862
Feeling it a duty I owe myself and others to define my position as a man and a doctor, so that I may not be misrepresented, I take this method to lay before the public my ideas, so that they, being my judges, can decide the merits of my claim. For three years, I have been in this city attending to the duties of my practice, without interfering in any way with the world outside of my business. I have given my whole attention to the sick, believing that my method of healing is entirely new and unknown to the world; and my object is to reduce it to a science, so that it can be practiced by everyone for his own good.
This is the sole reason why I remain here. I seek no favors of anyone. I do not write this to get patients - for I have as many as I can attend to; but to separate myself from all others who see fit to assign me a place among the humbugs of the day. It is in my wisdom that I differ from all others. The world puts the wisdom in the body, and when that dies, the soul jumps out - if there is any - and it goes just where their wisdom admits it. You may not understand just where I am, so I will make an illustration to show how I am equal to God, as people say, and how I am equal to Christ.
Suppose the reader is sitting in a parlor; of course all that he sees comes within his wisdom - so he sees himself. If I should be sitting with you, you would see me, and you would allow that I could see as much as you see yourself. Now am I not in your wisdom with every other article in the room, and are not you in my wisdom, as much as all the other articles? So you see, I am in you and you in me.
You will not say that the great wisdom of all is less wise than me, so is he not in you - and you and I in him? And are you not equal to me in what you know, and am I not equal to you in the same? And are not both of us equal to the wisdom that knows all things, as far as we know? When I make any remark in regard to God, it is in this way.
As to death, I do not believe in it, for wisdom cannot die; but if my wisdom is in my body and a part of it, then I die, according to my belief; but my wisdom is not in my body - my body is my wisdom. Now disease is in the wisdom of the patient, and of course his wisdom is in his body. So he puts his disease in his body, according to his own belief. The doctors' opinion is their belief, and I, being in my wisdom, see the sick (or their opinions). To destroy these, I make them wiser; and their wisdom breaks their opinion and sets them free.
To make it clearer, I will show you how to make a disease and how a person gets into it, like a prison - and how I get them out. Tell a person he has the heart disease. At first you cannot get him into that belief (or prison); but at length he acknowledges it, and then he is in this disease. So far as he believes, he leads himself in this disease. As my wisdom is not an opinion of disease - that is in my wisdom, like any other opinion that I know is false; so my wisdom can see through his opinion, and when I convince him that his suffering arises from his own belief, the truth decomposes his opinions, and the separation is the cure.
All I want to show is that I do not belong to any sect or creed. As I used to mesmerize, some think my mode of treatment is mesmeric - but my mode is not in the least like those who claim to be mesmerized subjects or spiritual mediums. I have nothing to say in regard to persons curing by the spirits. I know all about that way of curing. Neither have I anything to say about mesmeric treatment; I know all about that. I have been over twenty years investigating the subject. And if I had no other aim than dollars and cents, I would close my eyes, go into a trance, tell the patient how he felt - and call some Indian to prescribe, by making out the patient sick of scrofula or cancerous humor, or of some other foolish disease; and impress upon the patient the necessity of having medicine ordered by the spirits of my own getting-up, to the value of several dollars of which I should receive for my own benefit, or they never would get well.
If I should do this, I should do what I know to be wrong; and if anyone in a trance or mesmeric state, making it his profession to cure diseases, first tells the patient that he is ignorant of what he says and that he recommends a medicine of his own invention - he deceives the patient. I have had a clairvoyant subject long enough to know that when a person is unconscious of what he says that he has no selfish motives, anymore than a person in a dream. A person is either asleep or awake - and if asleep, he will never recommend medicine for his own advantage. If awake, he should be honest and let the patient know it.
I sit down awake and tell the feelings and have confidence in my wisdom to cure without medicine. But people are superstitious, and if any person purports to come from another world, it has a great deal to do with his cure. His cure is in the belief of the patient's confidence in the spirits that recommend medicine. I ask no aid from any source outside of that wisdom which is given to all men in all branches of science. Wisdom never acts in that way. If the spirit was wise, it could cure without medicine; and if not wise, it is not of God.