journey that science has been traveling is dotted with little
where wisdom has cleared up the wilderness and burned up the error.
~ Phineas P. Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Obstacles in Establishing a New ScienceJuly 11, 1864
The great obstacle in establishing a new science in the understanding of the people arises from their ignorance. Science always has had to contend with this difficulty, and no one has as yet been able to direct the mind of man towards the true mode of reasoning, so that superstition should dissolve before the advancing light of science. For man has always been ignorant of himself, and his errors he has fastened upon others.
There are two modes of reasoning; both true to the one that believes them, and neither anything to the person that knows the truth. To the scientific mind, a superstition about anything that science has explained is nothing. But to the unscientific mind, it may be a truth. Now the science to be established is to give a theory, based on a truth, which can be applied to a false mode of reasoning; which not only can destroy it, but can bring about a more perfect and better state of society, and sweep away the lies that, like the locusts of Egypt, are devouring our lives and happiness. This cannot be done by any philosophy known to the world, for the present mode of reasoning is based on the very errors the coming science is to destroy. If Satan cast out Satan, then his kingdom is divided against itself. But if wisdom cast out error, then the true science will stand.
I base my reasoning on a stone which the builders of error have rejected. Mind is matter - is the foundation on which I stand, and this is rejected by the world. Every idea having a form visible to the world of matter is admitted by that world as matter. The reasoning which stands on this basis is one world, and scientific knowledge is another.
Science does not make peace with the world; it makes war. It seeks not to save the life of error, but to destroy it. It sets ideas at variance with each other; the father against the son. It sets the world of matter in motion, that it may, like the earth, be prepared to receive a higher cultivation. This has been done in a vast number of ideas, but in the things that concern man's health and happiness, the world is in Egyptian darkness. This subject never has been sounded.
The sole cause of man's misery and trouble lies in our false reasoning. It always has, and it always will be so, till man is convinced that his happiness depends on his wisdom and his misery, on his belief. True, he may be happy for a time in believing a lie, but that is like a man finding happiness in taking opium. It stupefies him, so he is not sensible of his trouble, but it really increases his misery.
Mind, like the earth, is under the direction of a higher power, which is subject to wisdom. The world calls it God. These two worlds - wisdom (or science) and belief (in other words, happiness and misery) have their existence outside the idea “matter.” To one, matter is nothing; to the other, it is everything. To science, it is an unexplained error. To belief, it is a real, living substance. I am now speaking of the subject of health. I do not include any true science. But every science not based on the rock I have mentioned must crumble, if that rock falls on it; and every idea that is rooted in matter and bears the fruit of misery must be hewn down.
Theories are like trees, and ideas can be grafted into them, thereby changing the whole character of the fruit. Jesus engrafted his truth into the understanding of the people by means of parables. Everyone knows that ideas can be sown in the mind, like seeds in the ground, and that they will grow and bear fruit. The causes of both phenomena are unknown to us, but to the world above matter, they are known. To wisdom, these facts are mere ideas, but to matter, they are solid truths.
As I have said, everything having a visible form is matter, but there are things into which the world has put life which bring no danger to man, because they contain no knowledge. There are others which breed misery, such as the ideas of disease. These ideas must have their foundation in science or in matter. If in science, why is science called upon to destroy itself? If God made disease, and science destroys it, then God's kingdom is divided against itself; but if this world made it, it is not natural to suppose that this world will destroy itself. Wisdom can set the world of errors at variance, and out of the war will come a new theory that will enlighten the mind.
According to the world, there is such a disease as the small pox. With God (or wisdom) this must be a truth, or it must be a lie or a belief in a lie. No one will believe that wisdom (or science) can have the small pox. Therefore, its foundation must be in this world, and it must be confined to the inhabitants of this world. Wisdom teaches that error can create out of itself another error, the same as a tree can bring forth another tree, and that mind (or matter) can generate itself. Wisdom cannot create wisdom, for it fills all space. But it can shed its light upon the world of matter; thus destroying the things of darkness and bringing to light things hidden.
I have said the small pox is the work of this world, and its evils are confined to the inhabitants, therefore. This disease is like a tree whose fruits are scattered abroad, infecting those who eat them. It is a superstitious idea, and like all such, it has a religious cast. It had deceived the world, so that every person was liable. Therefore Truth (or God), so loving the world, sent his son (the idea "kine pox”) into the world, that all might be saved (or vaccinated). As far as the small pox was concerned, this was a savior; and as many as received the virus (or were baptized with the belief) were saved. Here is introduced another world (or a state of progress) after death - which is deliverance from small pox. To all who have passed from their old belief into the world of vaccination, there is no more death from fear of the small pox; but a fear, lest they have not been vaccinated with the genuine virus.
Now what does their salvation rest upon? It rests on no principle outside the mind. In their ignorance of causes, they are satisfied with someone's belief that there is virtue in this savior. Thus their minds are quiet, and the fruits are a milder disease. And if the graft is put into a healthy tree (or child), to that, according to their belief, it is a stranger. This will apply to all diseases. Every disease is the invention of man and has no identity in wisdom; but to those who believe it, it is a truth.
All there is of man is his senses, and these are nothing in a belief or in wisdom. If everything he does not understand were blotted out, what is there left of man? Would he be better or worse if nine-tenths of all he thinks he knows were blotted out of his mind, and he existed with what was true? I contend that he would, as it were, sit on the clouds and see the world beneath him, tormented with ideas that form living errors, whose weight is ignorance. Safe from their power, he would not return to the world's belief for any consideration.
In a slight degree, this is my case. I sit, as it were, in another world (or condition), as far above the belief in disease as the heavens are above the earth. Though safe myself, I grieve for the sins of my fellow man, and I am reminded of the words of Jesus, when he beheld the misery of his countrymen, "O, Jerusalem! How oft would I gather thee as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not." I hear this truth now, pleading with man to listen to the voice of reason. I know from my own experience with the sick that their troubles are the effect of their own belief. Not that their belief is the truth, but their belief acts upon their minds, bringing them into subjection to their belief; and their troubles are a chemical change that follows.
Small pox is a reality to all mankind. But I do not include myself, because I stand outside of it, where I can see things real to the world and real with wisdom. I know that I can distinguish a lie from a truth in religion or in disease. To me, disease is always a lie, but to those who believe it, it is a truth; and religion the same. Until the world is shaken by investigation, so that the rocks and mountains of religious error are removed and the medical Babylon destroyed, sickness and sorrow will prevail.
Feeling as I do, and seeing so many young people go the broad road to destruction, I can say from the bottom of my soul, "Oh, priestcraft! Fill up the measure of your cups of iniquity; for on your head will come, sooner or later, the sneers and taunts of the people. Your theory will be overthrown by the voice of wisdom that will rouse the men of science, who will battle your error and drive you utterly from the face of the earth. Then there will arise a new science, followed by a new mode of reasoning, which shall teach man that to be wise is to unlearn his errors.”
Wisdom cannot learn, but it can destroy. The introduction of science is like engrafting. Every graft does not live; for some have no life, except what they derive from error. When you believe a lie in the form of some disease, and the doctor comes - he does not engraft into your wisdom, but into your belief; for wisdom will not grow in error, nor error in wisdom. Each must have grafts of their kind.
The small pox is a lie, and so is the pine pox. It is the offspring of the former, and the senses, becoming separated from the one, cling to the other. Wisdom shows that they are both false and that they are the inventions of superstition. Thus the world is vaccinated from one lie into another, and this is called “progression.” But the time must come when this false mode of reasoning must give way to a higher wisdom, where all things are proved by science.
I tell you a lie, which you believe, and an effect follows. This does not prove that I told the truth, because the effect is seen. For instance, I tell you that you have the small pox. This shocks you, and you are really frightened. A phenomenon attends or follows the fright. The physicians are consulted, and they pronounce the disease small pox. To you and to the world this is proof that it is small pox - but to me it is only proof that you believed the lie. Now the question to settle is this. Can a lie act upon a person who believes it, so as to make him sick? No one will deny that, I think. Nothing, then, produces something; unless a lie is something - and if it is, where does it start from? Not from wisdom; for if you say it is nothing, you must reason in wisdom, for error shows the effect is something. To me, the lie and the effect are both nothing; but to those who believe them, both are something.
So when I sit by a sick person, I come in contact with what they call “something.” This something frightens them, and another something is produced, which they express by aches and pains and other bad feelings. All these they think come from what they call disease. To me, this something that they call disease is a lie which they believe, and their aches and pains are the expression of their fears and are like the moans of a criminal, sentenced to be hung or shot. Now comes the process of vaccination (or conversion), which is getting them out of one lie, into another. The doctor introduces his opinion, like a virus, which, being received into the mind - a change is produced. And if his arguments are heeded, a milder disease is brought forth in the new graft; and finally the person is carried to that state of mind called safe (or saved). The priest goes through the same process. First he affirms his belief, till the people become alarmed. He then introduces his opinion as a means of safety, and when this is received, the mind is quieted - and this is conversion.
The world has been humbugged by these two classes, till the sick are tired of life. Their substance is devoured. Their fields of happiness are laid waste and every kind of enjoyment destroyed. While the people are in this state, another swarm of locusts come upon them to get what is left. These are the political demagogues - the second growth that always springs up after the others get the mind troubled and ready to be affected. These parties are the scourges that pursue society as it passes through the wilderness of error to the land of happiness and science. This journey that science has been traveling is dotted with little opinions, where wisdom has cleared up the wilderness and burned up the error. Wisdom never stops. It continues and has now reached the wilderness of disease. And every tree that brings not forth good fruit will be hewn down by the axe of science and burned up by the fire of truth.