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Topic: Quimby Wisdom
Section: 20 - Chapter 06, Part 01 - What We Believe
Table of Contents to this Topic
What We Believe
The greatest study
What we believe, that we create
Beliefs make us act, and our acts are directed by our beliefs.
Man is governed by two powers
or directions, One by a belief,
The other by a science.
A belief contains no wisdom
But is a shadow of something
that cannot be seen,
Worshipped by man
who knows not what it is.
There is a vast difference
Between a belief and knowledge.
Knowledge is wisdom
and contains no belief.
A belief is error.
The only way to detect them
is by their works or fruits.
Make man responsible for his beliefs and he will be as cautious what he believes as he is in what he sees or does.
Whatever is true to a person, if he cannot prove it, is not necessarily true to another. Therefore, because a person says a thing is no reason that he says true.
When you have arrived at a truth, if you find it attached to a belief, you may know it is not a truth, for it may change.
But this is a truth:
A belief may be changed.
The magicians and sorcerers cured by their belief. They thought their power came from a spirit-world. They believed that disease was sent into the world to torment mankind.
The priests had the same belief. They held up to the people the idea that they must do something different from living honestly and dealing with mankind as though we were one family, that a certain belief was necessary to keep us clear of hell, which itself had been invented to torment man.
This doctrine kept the people in ignorance of themselves and made them nervous, giving rise to belief in evil spirits.
God or Wisdom has never made anything to torment mankind.
I believed as all others did, but my theory and practice were at variance with each other. I therefore abandoned all my former beliefs, as they came in contact with my practice, and at last followed the dictates of the impressions made on me by my patients. The unravelling of my old opinions gave me knowledge of myself, and happiness the world knew nothing of, and this knowledge I found could be taught to others. It teaches man that he is not in the body, but outside of it.
People never seem to have thought that they are responsible for their beliefs. Make man responsible for his belief and he will be as cautious what he believes as he is in what he sees or does. To analyze their beliefs is to know themselves, which is the greatest study of man.
If man knew himself his first object would be to become acquainted with sensations that affect him. He would then learn that a corrupt fountain cannot bring forth pure water, and that from aristocracy nothing but the blackest corruption can issue, which however is becoming popular because of the fountain.
To separate us from the error, and bring us into harmony is to explain the false idea away, and then all sorrow will pass away, nothing will remain save the recollection of what is past like a dream of nightmare, and you will not be likely to get into the same error again.
If you embrace the world
you embrace its errors,
And become a servant to its laws,
The spirit or truth departs
to the God that gave it.
But if you hold on to the Truth
the world is in subjection to you.
And instead of becoming a servant,
you become a teacher of Truth to the world,
To lead other minds to the Truth.
A Case: "a sharp, stinging pain"
If two persons agree upon anything, they call it a truth, but the truth is in them and not in the discord or thing believed. For instance, two persons believe that there is such a thing as a ghost. Now if they believe it, it is the truth to them, but it is not certain that the ghosts exist outside of themselves. The word "truth" used in this way applies to all sorts of error, but there is another mode of testing the word scientifically. I will give a case where the right and wrong truth come in, for the word is only to assent to what one or more believe. I will show how I tell the word.
Editor's note: The description of the case will be omitted for now from this internet version. It should be read only in the context of the book, including especially the appendix on "Doctor P. P. Quimby and His World," describing the state of the science of medicine in 1865.