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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 15 - The World of the Senses, part 1 of 5
Table of Contents to this Topic
Chapter 15 THE WORLD OF THE SENSES
[These selections have been chosen from articles written between June, 1860, and July, 1865, and arranged, with condensations, according to topics. The omitted portions have been left out to avoid repetition. The sub-titles are usually the titles of the original articles. The first is a tentative introduction for a book.]
TO THE READER
IN introducing this work to the reader my only excuse is the existence of evils that follow the opinions of the world in regard to man's health and happiness. My practice for twenty years has put me in possession of facts that have opened my eyes to the misery of mankind, from ignorance of ourselves. My object is to correct the false ideas and strengthen the truth. I make war with what comes in contact with health and happiness, believing that God made everything good, and if there is anything wrong it is the effect of our?selves, and that man is responsible for his acts and even his thoughts. Therefore it is necessary that man should know himself so that he shall not communicate sin or error.
All my writings are the effect of impressions made on me while sitting with the sick, so that my book is of the lives and sufferings of my patients, their trials and sorrows, and my arguments are in their behalf. It may seem strange to the well that I write upon so many subjects, but when you take into consideration the great variety of persons, and the peculiar state of literature, varying from the most cultivated to that of the lowest intellect, it would not be strange if my writings did not excite the curiosity of the reader.
For instance, one is full of religious ideas and becomes almost insane, and some are entirely so. This excites me, and my thoughts run upon religion. Another will be almost insane upon spiritualism; then I have to battle that, or show the absurdity of that belief. Some are excited upon Millerism, and believe the world is coming to an end. This brings up arguments to refute their belief. Some upon witchcraft. Now their minds are continually dwelling on all these subjects and on the Bible. So to cure I have to show by the Bible that they have been made to believe a false construction. My arguments change their minds and the cure comes. This is my excuse for what I have said upon the Scriptures.
Some people are love-sick and disappointed. These are not a great many. Minds are affected in various ways. Some are ship masters. Their sickness is caused by various things. But all mankind must be reached by parables. All my illustrations are called out by the case I have to treat. Women are more spiritual than men, therefore with them my illustrations are drawn more from the Bible than from any other book. Medical science I have to use rather hard, for the sick have the most bitter feeling towards physicians and religious teachers. These two classes I have to come in contact with. The fear of these two classes makes the patient sick. I have found this out by the effect the patient has on me. I have been so provoked when sitting by the sick, with the physician and in regard to certain classes of disease, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could keep my temper, and I had never seen the doctor or minister. But I always found that when I would get the patients clear from their opinions, they would express themselves in as strong terms as I had. I thought the fault might be with me, but I am now satisfied that I was only the scape-goat to carry off feelings they dared not lisp out, but could not tell why. Therefore I have not the slightest feeling as a man towards any person, only regarding error. That I have no sympathy with. It is a hypocrite in myself and in every one else.
You may say I have gone out of the way to attack religious denominations. If I have, the fault is in my patient. Every one knows that pious persons when sick are the most profane and talk the worst about the Bible. This is because they have the most fear.
With these remarks I will leave this part of my subject, and say a word or two in regard to words. I differ from all persons about some words. One is "mind." Mind to me is not wisdom, but spiritual matter. And I think before you get through my book you will think so too, and be convinced of the truth of what I say. So far as my education is concerned I need make no apology. If I have learning enough to explain my theory, it is all I want.
FALSE REPORTS CONCERNING MY RELIGIOUS BELIEF
In giving to the public my ideas in regard to curing the sick it will be necessary to correct some false ideas that have been circulated in regard to my religious belief. So I will say I have no belief and in regard to any person's religion or disease I know they are based on a false idea of wisdom. I take the sick as I find them and treat them according to their several diseases. As their diseases are the result of their education or belief I have to come in contact with their beliefs. Their religious beliefs are often the cause of their trouble, but the medical theory causes more than all the rest at the present day. In times of old when the priests led the masses the causes emanated from the priests, but since the right of religious freedom has been granted to all, truth has destroyed the power of the priests. Yet it has not enlightened the people, but transferred the idea of disease to the medical fraternity. . . .
All the religion I acknowledge is God or Wisdom. I will not take man's belief to guide my barque. I would rather stand at the helm, myself, but the priest and medical faculty have assumed sway, and one pretends to look after the body and the other the soul. So between both they have nearly destroyed soul and body, for you cannot find one person in ten but complains of some trouble in the form of disease. As disease leads to destruction or death, death is one of the natural results of disease. So to save persons from what may follow, a religious belief is introduced and another world is made which is to receive all men, who are to be rewarded according to their acts. This makes up the whole progress of man's life. In all this intelligence and goodness are not included. It is true we are told that to live a virtuous life is good, but you never bear that to be posted in the wisdom of the world gives a person advantage over the weak and humble believer who swallows everything the priest tells him. To be a good Christian according to their explanation of religion is to be humble and not wise at all. Now every man partakes of his belief, and in fact they are all made of belief, for everything you can think of or remember is such. Now all thins must end according to man's belief, and there has been nothing as yet that has come in collision with it. Therefore life and death are said to be the natural destiny of man. It is true that the medical faculty try to stave off death but the harder they work the surer they are to destroy the thing they are trying to save. Man's belief is the thing either to be saved or lost and to this end all their skill is directed. This was the state of the world when Jesus appeared.
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 I am unable to use. For instance the word mind. All use the word applied to man's intelligence. As the word mind has never been applied to any spiritual substance or any substance at all, 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 a different meaning in his wisdom than is commonly attributed to it. It could not be that he had an idea of any world or existence beyond this life, for mind was considered man's life and all his reasoning powers at death must end. Consequently the brain was considered the seat of the mind. 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, which at death disappears or dies. As science progressed the weakness of the reasoning was seen, and the religious community invested the word with a new sig?nificance which the ancients never dreamed of ; for, with their limitations, it could not explain the life of man; it could not contain the word wisdom, so a new word was needed and "soul" was introduced. But if you call the soul "science" you will have a higher development than is included in mind. Let "mind," then embrace all matter of the human and brute creations, as the word "matter" embraces all inanimate substances. Then the "soul" will represent wisdom that creates from inanimate matter every manufactured article. . . . 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 covered all of man's life. The intellect of the brute was termed instinct, which was included in the meaning of mind. 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. . . . 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. So here is an end to the soul. Such teaching is the cause of man's misery.
Every one will admit that all the qualities of "soul" which I have mentioned will apply to man's intelligence, and that "mind" according to every definition can change; also admit that Wisdom cannot change, that it is the same today and forever. Now can any one tell me what there is that is not matter that can be changed? It cannot be Wisdom. It cannot be any form that can be seen, which of course must be matter. Then what is it that is not Wisdom, God, or spirit, and not matter and yet can be changed? It is matter held in solution called mind, which the power of 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 a change of mind.
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. There are various kinds of life, vegetable, animal, 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 kingdoms, Wisdom attaches itself to it in order to develop in man itself. . . .
I will give you the process as it comes to me by this great truth that heals all who come 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 a vegetable. The life of minerals enters this new kingdom and a new creation springs into being. This again mingles with its parent kingdom and there comes a low form of life called the animal kingdom; one generation begets another till matter is prepared to receive some of the life from the Wisdom which rules these lower lives. 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 of those kingdoms. He combines three parts in himself, animal, human, scientific, in different degrees in each person. Man partakes more of the animal, less of the scientific. Women have more of the scientific element, less of the animal; the latter kingdom makes them strong, the human benevolent, and the scientific spiritual and poetical.
From time immemorial the subject of mind has been a theme of ancient and modern philosophers. Now if the idea of mind did not embrace all our reason and philosophy man would not be all the time trying to investigate its nature.
Mind is always associated with something else. Moses used the word wisdom in the sense of mind when he said God created the heavens and the earth, which means mind and matter.
The philosophers of our day separate matter from mind and call matter material, and mind immaterial, so that matter is not [supposed to be] under the control of mind, and as mind is immaterial it is nothing. Now can nothing produce something? This the philosophers of our day may answer. Why all these different applications of the same term? If mind is matter, what is life? To show that mind is [spiritual] matter we must illustrate by something that men will admit. But some one may ask of what consequence is it to man whether mind is substance or not ? I say it is of vast im?portance to the world, for if it can be shown that mind is [spiritual] matter, it will be seen that mind is under the control of a wisdom possessed by man, so that wisdom acting upon mind changes it and destroys the error and brings man to the truth. . .
Every person admits that mind has a great deal to do with the body, and each one makes a difference between them. The mind is said to be the intellectual part of man, and the body the servant. In one sense this is true, but to Wisdom it is false, for all admit that the mind can be changed, and if intelligence can change it cannot be wisdom. Jesus taught that the real man is of wisdom. Wisdom cannot change, but can arrange and classify ideas each in its proper place, and show where mind falls short of wisdom. To suppose mind is wisdom is as false as to suppose power is weight.
The natural man, whose intellect is linked with the brutes, and who cannot see beyond matter, reasons this way: He is in matter, but thinks he is outside of it. He cannot see his absurd mode of reasoning, but it is shown in disease. Physical man is composed of fluids and gases, and also mind. The mind is supposed to be the offspring of his body, or brain, although in his conversation he makes a distinction between them; and being in matter his intelligence cannot see beyond it. Therefore lie only believes in a superior wisdom as a mystery. The fact that he admits it as a mysterious gift or power shows that he does not know it. To make man know himself is to convince him, that he, his wisdom, is as distinct from his belief as he is from anything that exists separate from him. Then he will give to mind an identity embracing everything having a beginning and ending. Sickness and disease are contained in it, but wisdom is no part of it.
If we see a dead person we have no idea of a wisdom that exists with all the faculties that were exhibited through the body. We try to believe but our belief is vague; we cannot describe it. Man is not developed enough to see outside of his idea "matter." He is in the idea prophesying of what may come hereafter. I have developed this wisdom, which is the real man, till I have broken through the bars of death and can see beyond the world of opinions into the light of Science. I can see what things have being, and how we take our opinions for truth.
The moon is a figure of the natural man. Its light is borrowed, or the light of the opinions of the sun. It thinks it has light of itself, but the sun's light knows that it is the reflection of the sun's light. The wise man in like manner knows that the light of the body or natural man is but the reflection of the scientific man. Our misery lies in this darkness. This is the prison that holds the natural man, till the light of Wisdom bursts his bonds, and sets the captive free. Here is where Christ went to preach to the prisoners bound by error, before the reformation of Science.
THE SCIENTIFIC MAN
I will try to define what I mean by the scientific man or man outside of matter. To do this I must assume myself in relation to mind as God stands to all creation. The natural man is only an idea made by God's wisdom, like a shadow.
After this shadow goes through a certain change like any other matter it is in a state to be a medium of a higher power than itself. God sent an identity of His wisdom to take con?trol of the medium and carry out His design and bring man to a knowledge of the Father. This identity that He sends is Science or the Son of God.
To illustrate I must use a figure so you can get my meaning. For if you do not do the thing God does you cannot be the Son of God. Jesus was called the Son of God. Why was He called the Son of God? Because He did the will of His Father who sent Him. To be a Son of God you must do His will, and His will is to subject your errors to the Truth, so that you can know that you are born of God. Now, I will suppose that God, when He spoke man into existence knew that man was His own idea. A chemical change was going on for a certain time till man became of age, or men became ready to be governed by a higher principle than matter. Science is this principle put into practice.
So Science is the Son of God or Wisdom. Now Science being the Son of Wisdom, it is a part of Wisdom. Give this Science an identity with a knowledge of its Father, and then you have a Son ready to take possession of matter when matter becomes purified, or a chemical change takes place in it so that it can be governed by an independent power. . . . This Son or Science is not seen by the natural man, so the natural man thinks his life is in this belief. Now to come to the knowledge of this Science is the new birth.
THE NATURAL MAN
All mankind have respect for wisdom or something superior to themselves that they cannot understand. Man of himself is naturally indolent, brutish, and wilfully stupid, content to live like the brute. He is pleased at any bauble or trifling thing. He has imitation and tries to copy whatever pleases him; in this he shows reverence for his superiors. As he does not posses Science he is often deceived. Thus he is made timid and willing to be led. His courage is the courage of ignorance and when he sees superior numbers be curls down like a dog when whipped by his master. Easily led and easily deceived, no confidence is to be placed on his word, for his word is always like the wag of a dog's tail, to show his submission. But when his ends are answered, his next act might be to injure the one that had saved him from trouble. He is easy in his manners if all goes well, but if needed for anything, like the dog he is ready at the whistle of his master or any one that will pat him, to bite his own master or any one else.
Now because the brutes can be taught something it does not follow that they can be taught Science. They have their bounds which they cannot pass. So the natural man has his bounds which he cannot pass. But when I speak of the natural man, I speak of that wisdom that is based on an opinion. The brute is undergoing a change by the introduction of the wisdom of man. So the natural man is undergoing a change by the introduction of the Scientific Man. The brute is developed as far as the wisdom of man is capable of instructing him. So Science takes the man of opinions and instructs him in the Wisdom of God. As every man has more of the wisdom of opinions than of Science, he is ignorant of him?self, and being ignorant he can see only one character; for all the wisdom he has is public opinion. He is up today and down tomorrow, and knows not the cause of his rise or fall. His change is so gradual that he never knows he has changed but supposes that all changes go to prove that he has remained the same. These minds are often found in politics. You will hear a person say, "I was always a Democrat or Federalist, and my father and grandfather were before me." Now this is a man of one idea. He is like the old grey-headed veteran who stands on Mt. Joy and looks around on Portland and then turns to his young friend and says, "My lad, I remember when I helped cut the wood where the city now stands, eighty or ninety years ago." His young friend says "You must have changed very much." "Oh! I am older, but I am the same man I was then." In reality there is not a single idea about him that is the same. So it is with the political man. His senses are attached to the word "democrat," and as long as that word lives in the wisdom of opinions he is a Democrat; and so long as this identity lives in him he never changes, for his senses never were attached to any principle.
So the changes of principle are nothing to him, as he never had any.
Science being a stranger to both, cannot work like the demagogue appealing to one idea. For the senses of the the scientific man are attached to the Wisdom that governs both. So as progress is the order of the day, the senses of the masses become attached to new ideas and detached from old ones, and thus parties are all the time changing and minds are changing to suit the times. This gives the demagogue a chance to appeal to the masses, and as long as they can lead the masses by one popular name, they use any sort of cunning that comes up to suit their convenience.