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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 11 - Letters to Patients and Inquiries, part 2 of 2
Table of Contents to this Topic
January 11, 1861.
To Miss G.
Your letter to Miss W. was handed to me for perusal to see what course I thought best to take. So I will sit down by you as I used to do and commence operations. Excitement contracts the stomach, not from fright but from being over-joyed at your recovery.... The food digests slowly and it will make you feel a little sluggish at times. But it will soon act upon your system and relieve you of your trouble, for that is only nervous, and has nothing to do with the kidneys. . . . I will repeat the same till you are all right. Remember that I am with you when you read this and every time you read this you will feel my influence. . . . P. P. QUIMBY.
PORTLAND, January 25, 1861.
To Mrs. Ware
By the request of E. and S. I sit down by you to see if I can amuse you by my explanation of disease. You know I often talk to persons about religion and you often look as though you would rather have me talk about anything else. Perhaps it would be better if you knew the cause of every sensation, but you would not want a physician.
Now you will want me to tell you how you feel, and if you will give me your attention I will try to explain. This heavy feeling that you have, accompanied with a desire to lie down and a sort of indifference how things go, comes from a quiet state of your system that prevents your food from digesting as readily as it did. But it will act upon you like an emetic or cathartic. Either way is right. So give no care to what you shall eat or drink, for Wisdom will cause all things to work for the best. If you want to eat, consult your own feelings and take no one's opinion. Remember that He who made us knows our wants better than man. So keep yourself quiet and I will reverse the action from your head, and you will feel it passing out of your stomach. Then do not forget to sit up as I used to tell you and remember not to believe what the blind guides say. They will come to you, and if your throat is a little sore, they will merely ask if you think this sore throat is the diptheria, looking as wise as though they had discovered the philosopher's stone. . . .
Remember what I tell you about this disease. For these hypocrites or blind guides are working in the minds of the people like the demagogues of the South. I do not say that you will be troubled by them. But I have kept on their track for twenty years and have not the slightest confidence in anything they say. I hear you now for the first time asking me if I believe in another world. Yes, but not in the sense of the clergy. I will try to explain my two worlds. You live in Chicago and I in Portland, and if it will not be blasphemy to call your place heaven, we will suppose you are in heaven and I in Portland. Now, if I am here sitting and talking with you I must leave the earth and matter and come to you. If I am with you, what is it that has left the body? It cannot be matter in a visible form, yet it is something. Listen, and I will tell you.
You read that God made all living things that had life out of the earth, so that dead matter cannot produce living life nor anything else. As all matter decomposes, the dust or odor that arises from it was the matter that [the natural man] is formed of. As the child is of living matter, not wisdom, when it grows to a certain age it is ready to receive the breath of eternal life. The child was not eternal life. Eternal life is Wisdom as much above human life as Science is above ignorance. . . . Eternal life is Christ or Science, this teaches us that matter is a mere shadow of a substance which the natural man never saw nor can see, for it is never changed, is the same today and forever, This substance is the essence of Wisdom and is in every living form. Like a seed in the earth, it grows or develops in matter, and is as much under the control of the mother's Wisdom as the gold which is dissolved and held in solution is under that of the chemist. If the mother's Wisdom is of this world, the spiritual child is not under her earthly care. Nevertheless it is held in the bosom of its eternal Wisdom that will cherish it till it is developed to receive the science of Eternal Wisdom. Eternal Wisdom and eternal life are not the same. Eternal Wisdom cannot change but acts on eternal life, changes its form and identity. Eternal Wisdom teaches us that all matter is in itself a shadow and is no barrier. Matter is dense darkness. Spirit is light. If you are wise your body or wisdom is light, and just as you sink into error you become dense or dark. Therefore let your light shine, so that when this wind comes blowing round in the form of an opinion you may know it is merely the noise of a demagogue. Believe not, and you will live and flourish. If you can understand this you have the basis of my belief.
For fear I have not made my two worlds clear to your mind, I will say a few words more. The two worlds may be divided in this way: one opinions, the other Science. Opinions are matter or the shadow of Science. One is limited in its sphere, and the other has no limits. One can be seen by the natural eyes: the other is an endless progression. The one is today, and tomorrow is not. The other is an endless progression. One is always changing, the other is always progressing. The natural man never will know this truth, for he cannot see Wisdom and live; Wisdom is the natural man's death. So he looks upon it as an enemy, prays to it, pays tribute to it as though Wisdom were a man. He often uses it as a balance to weigh his ignorance in but never to weigh the difference of his opinions. He often quotes it, talking as though it were his intimate friend, while he to Wisdom is only known as a servant or shadow, all an imitation. Science is of another character. Science rises above all narrow ideas. He who is scientific in regard to health and happiness is his own law, and is not subject to the laws of man except as he is deceived or ignorant. No one after he knows a scientific fact can ignorantly disobey it. So with Science the punishment is in the act. With man's laws it is different; the penalty may follow the act or come after. With Wisdom the laws are science. To know Science is to know Wisdom, and how can a man work a mathematical problem intelligently and at the same time say he is not aware of the fact?
If we know the true meaning of every word or thought we should know what will follow. So a person cannot scientifically act amiss. But being misled by public opinion, we believe a lie and suffer.
I have gone so far that I have reduced certain states to their causes as certain as ever a chemist saw the effect of a chemical change. For instance, take consumption. I know the character of every sensation. Its father or author is a hypocrite and deceiver. I look upon it as the most vile of all characters. It comes to a person under a most flattering form, with the kindest words, always very polite, ready to lend its aid in any way where it can get a hold.
I will illustrate this prince of hypocrites. I will come in the form of a lady, for it has many faces and characters. I enter as a neighbor with the customary salutations and you reply that you seem very well. "Oh, I am very glad, for by what I had heard I was expecting to find you abed. But you can't tell anything by gossip. You do not seem quite so well as when I saw you last." "Oh, yes, fully as well," you say. "Well, you know there are diseases which always flatter the patient. I suppose you have heard of the death of Mr. " "No, when did he die?" "He died yesterday but was sick a long time. Sometimes he thought he was getting better, but I knew all the time he was running down. But you must not get discouraged because you are like him, for it is not always certain that a person in the same condition you are in has consumption."
Here I make you nervous and you are glad when I leave. Knowing I am not welcome in that form I assume another character. I must now appear as a doctor. I sit down and count your pulse, look at your tongue, take a stick and examine the phlegm that you have raised. Then leaning back in the chair draw a long sigh, and ask if you have a pain in your left side.
The doctor is like a dog that wags his tail while you feed him but when your back is turned will bite you. If superstition is to be put down by scientific facts, it is useless to mince matters. If a person is aiding an enemy, he is as guilty as the thief. I want you to know that every word that is spoken is either matter or Wisdom. Opinions are condensed into a belief. So, if I [as a typical doctor] tell you that you have congestion of the lungs I impart my belief to you by a deposit of matter in the form of words. As you eat my belief it goes to form a disease like its author, my belief grows, comes forth, and at last takes form as a pressure across the chest. The doctor comes to get rid of the enemy and by his remedies creates another disease in the bowels. He begins to talk about inflammation of the bowels. This frightens you. The fright contracts the stomach so the heat cannot escape, and causes a flush in the face which you call a rush of blood to the head. It makes you feel sleepy and weak; you lie down; then the stomach relaxes and the heat passes down into the bowels, this causes pains. You call it "inflammation."
All this is very simple when you know what caused it. This letter is an essay for you to read, so good-night. Let me know how it works.
P. P. QUIMBY.
IN REPLY TO A YOUNG PHYSICIAN (1)
(1) Published in part in "Health and the Inner Life," p 61.
Yours of the 5th is received, and in answer I would say that it is easier to ask a question than to answer it. But I will answer your question partly by asking another, and partly by coming at it by a parable. For to answer any question with regard to my mode of treatment would be like asking a physician how he knows a patient has the typhoid fever by feeling the pulse, and requesting the answer direct so that the person asking the question could sit down and be sure to define the disease from the answer.
My mode of treatment is not decided in that way, and to give a definite answer to your inquiry would be as much out of place as to ask you to tell me all you know about medical practice so that I could put it into practice for the curing of disease, with no further knowledge [apart from what] I might get from you. You see the absurdity of that request.
If it were in my power to give to the world the benefit of twenty years' hard study in one short or long letter, it would have been before the people long before this. The people ask they know not what. You might as well ask a man to tell you how to talk Greek without studying it, as to ask me to tell you how I test the true pathology of disease, or how I test the true diagnosis of disease, etc. All of these questions would be very easily answered if I assumed a standard, and then tested all disease by that standard.
The old mode of determining the diagnosis of disease is made up of opinions of diseased persons, in their right mind and out of it, all mixed up together, and set down accompanied by a certain state of pulse. In this dark chaos of error [the doctors] come to certain results like this: If you see a man going towards the water, he is going in swimming; for people go in swimming. But if he is running with his hat and coat off, he is either going to drown himself, or some one is drowning, and soon. This is the old way. Mine is this.
If I see a man, I know it, and if I feel the cold I know it. But to see a person going towards the water is no sign that I know what he is going to do. He may be going to bathe, or may be going to drown himself. Now here is the difference between the physician and myself, and this may give you some idea of how I define disease.
The regular [physician] and I sit down by a patient. He takes her by the hand, and so do I. He feels the pulse to ascertain the peculiar vibration and number of beats in a given time. This to him is knowledge. To me it is all quackery or ignorance. He looks at the tongue as though it contained information.
To me this is all folly and ignorance. He then begins to ask questions, which contain nothing to me, because [this questioning] is of no force. All this is shaken up in his head, and comes forth in the form of a disease, which is all error to me, and I will give you the diagnosis of this error.
The feeling of the pulse is to affect the patient so he will listen to the doctor. Examining the tongue is all for effect. The peculiar cast of the doctor's head is the same. The questions, accompanied by certain looks and gestures, are all to get control of the patient's mind so as to produce an impression. Then he looks very wise, and so on. All the symptoms put together show no knowledge, but a lack of wisdom, and the general credulity of mankind rendering [people] liable to be humbugged by any person however ignorant he may be, if he has the reputation of possessing all medical knowledge.
Now, sir, this is the field you are about to enter, and you will find the hardest stumbling block from diplomas. Greek and Latin, and the like are all of no consequence to the sick. It is impossible to give you even a mere shadow of twenty years' experience. But I may be of some use to you. I will say a word or two on the old practice, (not taking much time,) that will answer all your questions on the old school; for the less you know the better.
Watch the popular physician. See his shrewdness. Watch the sick patient: nervous and trembling like a person in the hands of a magistrate who has him in his power, and whose real object is to deceive him. See the two together, one perfectly honest, and the other, if honest, perfectly ignorant, [the physician] undertaking blindfolded to lead the patients through the dark valley of the shadow of death, the patient being born [mentally] blind. Then you see them going along, and at last they both fall into the ditch.
Now, like the latter, do not deceive your patients. Try to instruct them, and correct their errors. Use all the wisdom you have, and expose the hypocrisy of the profession in any one. Never deceive your patients behind their backs. Always remember that as you feel about your patients, just so they feel towards you. If you deceive them, they lose confidence in you. Just as you prove yourself superior to them, they give you credit mentally. If you pursue this course you cannot help succeeding. Be charitable to the poor. Keep the health of your patient in view, and if money comes, all well; but do not let that get the lead.
With all this advice, I leave you to your fate, trusting that the True Wisdom will guide you-not in the path of your predecessors. Shun evil and learn to do good.
PORTLAND, Sept. 16, 1860. P. P. Q.
A LETTER REGARDING A PATIENT
Yours of Aug. 27th was received, after a long journey through the state of Maine. I will give you all the information that I am aware I possess.
If certain conditions of mind exist, certain effects will surely follow. For instance, if two persons agree as touching one thing, it will be granted. But if one agrees and the other knows not the thing desired, then the thing will not be accomplished.
For example, the lady in question wishes my services to restore her to health. Now her health is the thing she desires. Her faith is the substance of her hope. Her hope is her desire, it is founded on public opinion, and in this is her haven, the anchor to her desire, public opinion the ocean on which her barque or belief floats. Reports of me are the wind that either presses her along to the haven of health or down to despair. The tide of public opinion is either against her or in her favor. Now, as she lies moored on the sea, with her desire or cable attached to her anchor of hope, tossed to and fro in the gale of disease, if she can see me or my power walking on the water, saying to her aches and pains, "Be still," then I have no doubt that she will get better. The sea will then be calm, and she will get that which she hoped for her faith or cure. For her faith is her cure. . . . This is the commencement of her cure. I, like Jesus, will stand at her heart and knock. If she hears my voice or feels my influence, and opens the door of her belief, I will come in and talk, and help her out of her trouble.
PORTLAND, Sept, 17th, 1860. P. P. Q.
TO A GENTLEMAN REQUESTING HELP WITHOUT A PERSONAL INTERVIEW
In answer to your inquiry, I would say that, owing to the scepticism of the world I do not feel inclined to assure you of any benefit which you may receive from my influence while away from you, as your belief would probably keep me from helping you. But it will not cost me much time nor expense to make the trial. So if I stand at your door and knock, and you know my voice or influence and receive me, you may be benefited. If you do receive any benefit, give it to the Principle, not to me as a man, but to that Wisdom which is able to break the bonds of the prisoner, set him free from the errors of the doctors, and restore him to health. This I will try to do with pleasure. But if this fails and your case is one which requires my seeing you, then my opinion is of no use. Yours, etc.
Portland, Oct. 20th, 1860. P. P. Q.
TO A CLERGYMAN (1)
(1) Printed in part in "Health and the Inner Life," p. 60.
Oct. 28th, 1860.
Your letter of the eighteenth was received, but owing to a press of business I neglected answering it. I will try to give you the wisdom you ask. So far as giving an opinion is concerned, it is out of my power as a physician, though as man I might. But it would be of no service, for it would contain no wisdom except of this world.
My practice is not of the wisdom of man, so my opinion as a man is of no value. Jesus said, "If I judge of myself, my judgment is not true: but if I judge of God, it is right," for that contains no opinion. So if I judge as a man it is an opinion, and you can get plenty of them anywhere.
You inquire if I have ever cured any cases of chronic rheumatism. I answer, "Yes." But there are as many cases of chronic rheumatism as there are of spinal complaint, so that I cannot decide your case by another. You cannot be saved by pinning your faith on another's sleeve. Every one must answer for his own sins or belief. Our beliefs are the cause of our misery. Our happiness and misery are what follow our belief. So as we measure out to another, it will be measured to us again.
You ask me if I ascribe my cures to spiritual influence. Not after the [manner of] Rochester rappings, nor after Dr. Newton's way of curing. I think I know how be cures, though he does not. I gather by those I have seen who have been treated by him that he thinks it is through the imagination of the patient's belief. So he and I have no sympathy. If he cures disease, that is good for the one cured. But the world is not any wiser.
You ask if my practice belongs to any known science. My answer is, "No," it belongs to Wisdom that is above man as man. The Science that I try to practice is the Science that was taught eighteen hundred years ago, and has never had a place in the heart of man since; but is in the world, and the world knows it not. To narrow it down to man's wisdom, I sit down by the patient and take his feelings, and as the rest will be a long story I will send you one of my circulars, so that you may read for yourself.
Hoping this may limber the cords of your neck, I remain, Yours, etc.,
P. P. QUIMBY
[The circular reprinted below is the one referred to in this letter. It was in circulation for some years before Dr. Quimby began to practise in Portland, and had blank spaces to be filled in by the name of the town and the location of Quimby's office.]
TO THE SICK (1)
(1) Published in part in "The True History of Mental Science."
Dr. P. P. QUIMBY would respectfully announce to the citizens of .................... and vicinity, that he will be at the .................... where he will attend to those wishing to consult him in regard to their health, and, as his practice is unlike all other medical practice, it is necessary to say that he gives no medicines and makes no outward applications, but simply sits down by the patients, tells them their feelings and what they think is their disease. If the patients admit that he tells them their feelings, &c., then his explanation is the cure; and, if he succeeds in correcting their error, he changes the fluids of the system and establishes the truth, or health. The Truth is the Cure. This mode of practice applies to all cases. If no explanation is given, no charge is made, for no effect is produced. His opinion without an explanation is useless, for it contains no knowledge, and would be like other medical opinions, worse than none. This error gives rise to all kinds of quackery, not only among regular physicians, but those whose aim is to deceive people by pretending to cure all diseases. The sick are anxious to get well, and they apply to these persons supposing them to be honest and friendly, whereas they are made to believe they are very sick and something must be done ere it is too late. Five or ten dollars is then paid, for the cure of some disease they never had, nor ever would have had but for the wrong inpressions received from these quacks or robbers, (as they might be called,) for it is the worst kind of robbery, tho' sanctioned by law. Now, if they will only look at the true secret of this description, they will find it is for their own selfish objects to sell their medicines. Herein consists their shrewdness!-to impress patients with a wrong idea, namely? that they have some disease. This makes them nervous and creates in their minds a disease that otherwise would never have been thought of. Wherefore he says to such, never consult a quack: you not only lose your money, but your health.
He gives no opinion, therefore you lose nothing. If patients feel pain they know it, and if he describes their pain he feels it, and in his explanation lies the cure. Patients, of course, have some opinion as to what causes pain-he has none, therefore the disagreement lies not in the pain, but in the cause of the pain. He has the advantage of patients, for it is very easy to convince them that he had no pain before he sat down by them. After this it becomes his duty to prove to them the cause of their trouble. This can only be explained to patients, for which explanation his charge is ............ dollars. If necessary to see them more than once........... dollars. This has been his mode of practice for the last seventeen years.
There are many who pretend to practice as he does, but when a person while in "a trance," claims any power from the spirits of the departed, and recommends any kind of medicine to be taken internally or applied externally beware! believe them not, "for by their fruits ye shall know them."