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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 16 - Disease and Healing, part 2 of 5
Table of Contents to this Topic
THE RELATION OF THIS TRUTH TO THE SICK.
What course of argument must be used to make the masses understand this truth by which I correct the errors that make man sick? What relation has this truth to any one and how does it stand to the sick? It is the sick man's friend and those who can understand it are related to those who do not understand as a teacher who wishes to make his pupil understand the principles of mathematics. He is not to teach mathematics but to explain what the rules mean, so the pupil is not to copy a mathematical work because that gives him no wisdom in regard to the truth; the disciple is not to be above the science, nor the teacher above the truth. but the latter is to explain the science by the words of the truth. To illustrate: I stand to this Science as the teacher or expounder of it, not as the Truth itself. So when the truth says through me that all disease is in the mind you want me to explain what it means. You ask the question because you do not understand what is meant by the mind. It is this: all opinion, belief, reason, everything that can be changed. Thought is a seed or an effect of this great ocean of mind. The word mind covers all man's reasoning as the word wood covers all vegetable substances. A chair is made of wood but it is an idea made out of wood. In the same way mind is the material, and disease is manufactured out of the material, but the wisdom that forms the idea is called something else. Here you see that mind embraces every part of man but his wisdom and here is the distinction which the world makes only in a different sense. The world calls the parts mind and matter. I call them wisdom and matter. Therefore when I use "mind" I use it as matter containing no intelligence, but it is like sound connected with something to which we attach intelligence.
When sitting by a sick person who had a pain in the left side which I felt and described, I said, you think you have consumption. The patient acknowledged it, saying that her physician had examined her lungs and found the left one very much affected. This she believed and when I told her that her disease was in her mind, it was as much as to say she imagined what was not the case. I told her she did not understand what I meant by the word mind. Then taking up a glass of water I said, suppose you should be told that this water contained a poisonous substance that works in the system and sometimes produces consumption. If you really believe it, every time you drink the idea of poison enters your mind. Presently you begin to back and cough a little. Would your fears then grow less that the water was poison? I think not. Finally you are given over by your doctor or friends and call on me. I sit down by you and tell you that you are nervous and have been deceived by your doctor and friends. You ask how? You have been told what is false, that the water you drink contains a slow poison, and now your cure hangs on the testimony in the case. If I show that there is no poison in the water then the water did not poison you. What did ? It was the doctor's opinion put in the water by your mind. As the mind can receive an impression it can be changed, This change was wrought by the doctor's opinion; so calling mind something it is easy to show that it can be changed by a wisdom superior to an opinion. This wisdom that acts upon the mind is something that never has been described by language, but it is looked upon as a superior "power." This power gives rise to all religious opinions. Man has tried to condense it into a being called God, and he worships it. My theory is based on this something that man is ignorant of, and develops from it a language as comprehensible as any language. It contains no words but speaks from impressions which cannot be mistaken if man knows himself. This language is the feelings of the sick, and to convey these feelings to the well so so that they may have some idea of the misery of the sick and its causes has been my study for twenty years. (1) I feel now that my labors have not been in vain. Arranging words to convey this truth to the well is a task very few would like to go through. But I think now that I have succeeded so that any person of ordinary talent can see that it is the key to unlock the mysteries of the spiritual world.
(1) Written, 1861.
ANSWER TO A QUESTION
"Why do you not rub your head when sick?" Because I have nothing to rub out. Now here are the two modes of reasoning, the natural man does not see that the misery follows his acts, so the natural man is courageous at first, for he does not see his real enemy, or the natural result of his acts, which is reaction, the true wisdom that will always measure to action its own measure. The wise man sees the nature of thought before it takes effect and destroys it. When the patient asked the question he had the answer in the question, for his ignorance was what I was rubbing out, so if he had known that he would not want any rubbing.
I am often asked what I call my cures I answer, the effect of a Science because I know how I do them. If I did not know they would be a mystery to the world and myself. Science is Wisdom put into practice. To the natural man it is a power or mystery. All wisdom that has not been acknowledged by the natural man is called a "gift" or spiritual demonstration, not a science. The curing of disease has never been acknowledged to be under any wisdom superior to the medical faculty, so people have kept the world in darkness till now, and how much longer they will do so I cannot tell. If I succeed in changing the minds of men enough to investigate they will see that disease is what follows an opinion, and that wisdom that will destroy the opinion and make the cure. Then the cure will be attributed to a superior Wisdom, not a power.
I am accused of interfering with the religion of my patients. This is not the case, but if a particular passage in the Bible or some religious belief affects the patient I attack it. For instance, a person gets nervous from his belief that he has committed the unpardonable sin. His thought is then attached to the sin of his belief, and his belief is some one's opinion about a passage in the Bible that he believes applies to his case. I know this is all false, so of course I have to destroy his opinion, and this destroys the effect which is disease. His senses are attached to a disease, mine are attached to the Wisdom that shows the absurdity of the opinion. His wisdom is of man, mine is of God or Science. All disease is the punishment of our belief either directly or indirectly, and our senses are in our punishments. My senses are attached to the Wisdom that sees through the opinion, so that my love or Wisdom casteth out their disease or fear; for their fear hath torment, and perfect wisdom casteth out all opinions. . . .
I am often accused of opposing the medical faculty and the religious creeds. In answer to this I plead guilty, but you must not gather from this that I oppose goodness or virtue. I oppose all religion based on the opinions of men, and as God never gave an opinion I am not bound to believe that man's opinions are from God. The difference between man's opinions and God's wisdom is more than one would naturally suppose, but the former is taken for a truth. This makes the trouble with which the wise have to contend. If a man knew himself he would not be misled by the opinions of others, and as disease is the result of our opinions it is the duty of all to know themselves, that they may correct their own errors. Now if error is something to correct it must require more wis?dom than the knowledge which invented it. When I find a person diseased I know his trouble must have a father or beginning. If it is ignorant of its father, it is not to be sup?posed that it is not without a father or mother. So to destroy your earthly father is to destroy your opinions, and to be with your heavenly Father is to be wise; so that every one that loses his opinions and arrives at the truth is dead to the natural world, but alive to Wisdom or Christ.
When I sit down by a sick person and he or she wants to tell me what the doctor says, to me it is nonsense for I have not the least regard for their knowledge. Their opinions are what I try to destroy and if I succeed their opinions have no power to create disease. Man's profession, not his wisdom, is the standard of his popularity. I stand in direct opposition to all others in this respect and here is the conflict, whether man's opinion is to rule or his wisdom. If the medical profession is based on wisdom, then it will stand the test, and disease must have its origin outside of the profession; either this must be true or the opposite. I assert that disease is the off?spring of opinion. Ignorance produces the phenomenon or effect, as in the brute creation, but the wild animal differs from that of the domesticated animal. So it is with man; the perfect fool knows no aches or pains, where there is no fear there is no torment. Fear is error, Wisdom casts out fear, for it knows no fear. You often hear persons attempt to explain my cures by their own opinions. Thus they make themselves out wise by their own ignorance, since they deny the very power of wisdom which they acknowledge by admitting it as a mystery to them. So they admit a power outside of their knowledge and worship that of which they are completely ignorant. Now I know that this something which is a mystery to them is wisdom to me and that my wisdom sees through their opinions; and also that the explanation is the conversion from an opinion to truth or health. The two characters, wisdom and opinion, stand before each other and the people choose the one they will obey, just as they do in national affairs. . . .
Disease is the offspring of error and as long as the people worship men's opinions, just so long will they be sick. To me it is perfectly plain that if the people could see themselves they would discard all the priests' and doctors' opinions and become a law unto themselves. All I do is to put the world into possession of a wisdom that will keep them clear from these two classes of opinions. You may think I have some feeling against the character of the physicians but this is not so. Neither do I think that they who know me have anything against me as a man, but they scout the idea that I know any more about how I cure disease than any one else; they think they have the wisdom and I have the power. I stand to the medical faculty in the light of a harmless humbug perfectly ignorant of what I profess to know, and all my talk being to amuse the patients and make them believe that disease is in their imagination. If I succeed in doing this it is all well, but so far as wisdom goes, that is folly. I am aware that this is my position with the faculty and their opinions have such a strong hold on the people that most of them look upon me in the same light, and if by chance some one chooses to see that I am not the person these blind guides call me, they in time are looked upon in the same light. I acknowledge that all this is true with regard to my position in society, and how do I feel in regard to it? I know that it is all false, although my word does not prove it so, but I suppose I have the same right to give my opinion with regard to these two classes as they have to give their opinions about me and I will now give it and let the masses judge for themselves.
The principles which I am trying to establish are something new. All established theories purporting to help mankind are merely the effect of the effort which one set of demagogues make to gain the ascendency over another; the people are no better off, but worse. Disease of a person is like that of a nation, each is governed by arbitrary laws and the governing of both is alike. Disease is acknowledged to have an identity independent of man, and man makes laws to govern it, attaches penalties to their disobedience and calls these laws the "laws of God." . . .
I stand alone, as one arisen from the dead, or the old theories, having passed through all the old ideas and risen again, that I may lead you into this light that will open your eyes to the truth of Him who spake as never man spake, and who spake the truth. This truth condemns all man's opinions, it settles all creeds and priestcraft and upsets the medical profession and brings peace and good will to man. It teaches that man in order to break off from his wickedness or opinions and learn to speak the truth, must not try to deceive his fellow man by pretending to know what is merely an opinion.
Show me the doctor that really thinks his medicine has any curative qualities or any intelligence except as it is associated with his opinion and I will show you a fool, for no intelligent physician would dare risk his reputation on a homeopathic pill to cure a cough, supposing the patient took the medicine in his food and did not know it. This shows that they believe they work on the imagination of the patient. There are certain drugs that will act as an emetic or cathartic; but if the patient should take an emetic by accident, it would make him vomit. Now when the patient vomits, if a wrong direction is given, another effect might be produced; so it all goes to show that the mind must be guided by some wisdom superior to itself. If error directs, nothing certain is known of the effect. If wisdom is at the helm no medicine is wanted, for Wisdom can break opinions in pieces.
Ignorance not knowing how the mind can be affected by a direction outside of itself, identifies wisdom with error or matter, so that truth is a stranger, and it is all the time fighting against itself to get rid of an enemy of its own creation. Now teach men this simple fact, that in all action the wisdom of reaction is in the act though the act knows it not, and their happiness will be the result.
IS THERE ANY CURATIVE QUALITY IN MEDICINE?
Common opinion would answer that there is and according to my opinion there is but it is all owing to the patient's belief, and to perfect wisdom there is no curative virtue in medicine.
I will relate one case out of a hundred to show medicine proves itself according to the patient's belief or the direction of some other person. I was attending a gentleman who was sick and he thought he had consumption, but was not fully settled in his own mind, so of course he was very nervous. Under this nervousness the glands around the throat were excited and kept him hacking and raising, and also kept him heated, which heat would be thrown off in a perspiration. After I had told him the cause of his trouble, the explanation so far as he understood relieved him, he breathed more easily and was improving. One day he read in a paper an advertisement of a medicine which would cure the catarrh and prevent the discharges from the head; thinking it might cure him he bought a bottle and commenced taking it, but instead of lessening the secretion it grew worse and he ran down very rapidly.
My theory explains this fact in this way. His belief admitted that his head was diseased and in the condition of a sore and that the medicine would cure it. Under this belief the glands of the nose were excited and the medicine then proved his belief that the matter was in his head, for it was taken to make the head discharge. His belief did this by exciting the glands and the medicine was taken to throw it off, so when the matter and even blood commenced running it showed that the medicine was doing what it agreed to do. But another belief came up that I had given him, for I had exposed the absurdity of medicine and after he saw the effect he remembered what I had told him, and abandoning his medicine he returned to me again and in a few days recovered what he had lost. This is how the disease worked. His own belief produced the phenomenon; his knowledge gave the medicine the praise or blame, just as people give God the praise for their own acts while the devil has to take the blame for their troubles. I have observed the effect of medicine and have found that there is more virtue or misery in the advertisement than in the medicine.
Everyone knows how the mouth will water by a desire for something that the person wants, and low the mouth and throat will become parched by fear of detection in crime. This was known by the ancients and magicians, and from the fact that the mind could be changed by fear, so that criminals could be detected, those who understood it took advantage of it to detect a thief. The magicians made a paste that would dissolve when laid on the tongue of a person in a perfectly calm state of mind, but in case of unusual warmth or feverish thirst it would not dissolve, so when a theft was committed by the servants all the people were collected in one room and the magician was sent for. Believing in his power, their minds of course were controlled by their knowledge and if the thief were present he knew it and being sure of detection grew nervous, this would prevent the glands from acting and thus bring out his guilt. The others feeling innocent were safe, for if they were nervous it did not produce the state of mind to prevent the paste from dissolving. So the mind was the medium to detect the thief and out of his own mouth he was condemned. People put extravagant confidence in medicine supposing that it contains curative qualities. Frequently Indian doctors appear who have discovered an herb or root to cure some disease that man is afflicted with, as though God had made both the disease and the cure. The same class of people say that God has made a remedy for every disease, showing that their superstition is woven into a belief that God made all diseases and made medicines to cure them. This is the belief of mankind and it is not strange that man has gone out of the way. Now I disbelieve in diseases and remedies as understood by the world and as I once understood and believed. . . .
The opinion that God has provided a remedy for every disease gives rise to a belief that there are certain roots and herbs intended by the Creator to cure all diseases. Absurd as it seems it is the belief of ninety-nine out of a hundred, and this being the case a door is open to quackery, for new discoveries will come up every day. Dr. Herrick's pills, Ayers' sarsaparilla, and countless others are advertised as the cure-all. Then follow certificates of cures and of recommendations from some M. D., and these give the medicines a run. Next a man comes who exhibits the effect of laughing gas and also states that it will cure neuralgia and rheumatism, and the sick rush to him for a time. After he goes a learned M. D. arrives with flaring advertisements announcing free lectures on anatomy and the digestive organs. He explains the action of these organs and dwells upon the danger of getting sick by overeating and drinking, receives some fifty dollars from the poor sick and leaves. Among the throng of humbugs, where all seems dark and despairing, an announcement is whispered in the ear of the sick that God has opened a way for their recovery and sent an angel of mercy who has discovered a flower that will cure everything that can be cured. So here is introduced an imposter who will give Lobelia emetics till they cease to affect the patient, pretending that all diseases must yield to it. This has its day, and another comes up. All this goes to show that the mind of man is like an old fiddle played on by every kind of quackery relating to roots and herbs. With my wisdom I understand them all as Job said to Zophar, "What ye know the same do I also, I am not inferior unto you." I use nothing, yet I could easily use all kinds of drugs. . . .
I have seen the working of popular belief and know that diseases and remedies are the invention of man, and the very proof which is brought to establish their wisdom goes to substantiate what I say. For instance, an emetic . . . when people have eaten too much they can take a Lobelia emetic; also if they think their lungs are diseased take a Lobelia emetic, and if they have dropsy take the same. Now I will call your attention to what this belief amounts to carried out toward God. What kind of a God is it that made the earth to bring forth, trees herbs and everything that bath life? All this was before man was created, therefore did He make these medicines and the codfish with a liver to cure consumption before the disease was made? This belief would certainly suppose that God made the remedies before the disease, and if He made all the remedies these quacks say He did, He certainly is the greatest enemy to mankind. Absurd as this sounds we believe it and are affected by our beliefs and this makes man the most dependent of all God's creatures. He is merely a target to be fired at by every person's opinion. I can show by facts that every person will admit that no kind of medicine has any more effect of itself than almost any kind of food or drink that we use daily, but our ignorance places some kind of virtue in the medicines as we place wisdom in some one's opinion. The truth which places all disease in the mind can explain the operation of remedies. God is Wisdom and man is opinion, therefore man cannot live in Wisdom and be diseased. To show that there are diseases according to the belief of man is to show that they are made by circumstances which cannot be controlled except by correcting the error that brought them about, while ignorance would prescribe some medicine that God had made from the foundation of the world.