Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Science, Woman, the Spiritual RibAugust 1860
I have shown that there is no matter independent of mind or life. It is proven by geologists that matter is going through a process of change, which is called “life.” Then life is in the atmosphere (or space). And if life is in a state invisible to matter, it may fill all space. Now in this space, there must be a diversity of matter (or life) - the life of minerals and the life of vegetables and the life of animals. And all these lives are in the atmosphere, like the mist that went up from the earth at the creation.
Thus matter (or life) is in an invisible state to the visible matter, but governed by the same God. This makes the material earth (or natural world). God made matter and condensed it into certain forms and elements, so that it should contain all of the elements that were necessary for man. And to be a combination of these, it was necessary that there should be a chemical union of all matter, dissolved into space, before man could be formed. For man is made of the dust of this living matter.
Now as man contains all the elements of this material world (or life), he is a miniature world of himself and contains all the elements of the original world (or matter). This matter (or life), under the wisdom of God, forms the identity of what is called the “natural man.” So that man, spoken into being, was made up of all the elements of the old world.
Now you have an identity of matter (or life) formed from the mist (or dust) of all material life, in the form of a man. Thus the natural man partakes of those elements of life of which he is largely composed. He is a sort of phenomenon to the natural world (or life), and he commences his life in a higher state of matter. The field (or garden) in which he is placed is with all the creation of animal forms, and he is liable to all the evils that his life is capable of knowing. This makes man composed of all combinations of living life, thrown together in human form. (It is not strange that queer forms and characters should be in the world, which can be traced to the animal creation with which he is most identified.)
All phenomena (or diseases) are the effect of the life that man receives from this atmosphere of animal life, and as man is like all other living matter, a chemical change (or progression) is constantly going on, and he embraces what is called “annihilation.” And as his life is a life of destruction, he is at war all the time. So with man, as with beast, 'might is right.'
As man's life is a sort of purifying process, it has to contend with all the grosser life (or matter) of the animal. So with life. Might is right with man and beast; but as man is the rib (or purest part) of animal life, it contains more of the element, thought; for this, the lower life does not contain. Thought is one step higher than life, yet even in this state, science is a stranger.
Man, like the earth, is throwing off a vapor (or life), and that contains all the life (or matter) of his perfection. Out of that vapor (or life) comes a more perfect identity of living matter, more rarefied than the former; but being in danger of being devoured by the former, the latter life is less gross, but more spiritual. So that what it loses in gross life (or its physical strength), it receives from a higher power, called God (or science). This science is the wisdom of God that controls this pure life, that is subject to the lower (or grosser) life. This is another phenomenon of wisdom.
As the earth is composed of different kinds of soil, adapted for certain kinds of vegetable life, the rest of the earth is wanted for some other use. So as man is of that kind of earth that bears more of the food to sustain the lower lives, he must not find fault with a more pure soil (or life) that can produce a higher kind of living food that gives man more pleasure than he receives from the lower lives. And this life (or soil) is the spiritual rib (or lives) that arise from man. This is a more perfect matter (or soil). This is the soil called “woman.” This is that pure soil that has gone through all the changes of life - from the mineral kingdom to the spiritual (or scientific) world (or the kingdom of heaven), where God (or science) is.
Now I do not mean that woman means every female, nor do I pretend to say that man means everything of the animal - but that the life (or matter) of a female contains more of that life (or love) that is required to receive the higher development of God's wisdom, than the life of man. For this soil (or life) is pure love (or life), which has been purified by this chemical change that life has gone through.
No intermediate space has ever been where this soil was rich enough to bear the fruits of science to satisfy the natural man. Phenomena have always occurred in the form of science, as though man had once been far advanced beyond his present condition; but it cannot be so, from the fact that science is wisdom - and wisdom is superior to error.
As error has more physical strength, it is counteracted by a higher power called “science.” These two elements are the life of man. The male creation feeds on the lower order of life. It makes the higher order a sort of pet for a while, as the cat plays with the bird for a while - then, in a sort of playful way, devours it. Thus all life in the lower animals sports and plays with its prey. So the natural man sports and plays with the female. At the same time, his weapons of destruction lie concealed in his breast, ready to be used at his own pleasure; and while the purer part of his nature is sympathizing with its own love - in a higher life (or soil), the animal life is prowling around, seeking to devour the little pleasure that is striving to grow in this barren soil. This keeps science down and regards it as an enemy, for it is not known to the natural man.
Now put this science into the life (or soil) of the female, and then she is safe from the lower animal life, and it puts her in possession of a science that the natural man knows not of. It separates her from matter and brings her into that spiritual state that rises from all animal life, with a knowledge of its character. She then stands as a chemist among all sorts of matter (or life), which are under her control and which she has the power (or knowledge) of changing. Then she becomes a teacher of that science which puts man in possession of a wisdom that can subject all animal life to his own control, and separate the wisdom of this world from the wisdom of God. Then woman becomes a teacher of the young, and man stands to woman as a servant to his Lord, ready to investigate all phenomena by a science.
The woman is the very one who gives all the impressions to the child. The female is always the most respected among the animal or feathered race. But man, from some cause - probably having more physical strength and looking upon all things as inferior to his own wisdom - is not content to subject all the brute creation to submission to his will, but must subject the very creature that his best life (or nature) adores, to submission; and in this way, woman is deprived of carrying out the science that God intended. By this physical force, woman is kept down and does not have the stand in the world that God intended. But I do say that, at the time that matter (or life) becomes pure enough for the science to reign over ignorance, then science will become the master and ignorance, the servant. This will as surely take place as that there is a chemical change going on in matter.
Mind is only another state of matter, called “life.” Life is only a state of matter that is purifying itself to receive a higher life that will never end. That is science. And as man is nothing but a living animal, he lives on such living life as his appetite craves; and as he separates the animal from the spiritual, his appetite (or passions) change, till he is completely carried away by the spiritual life.
Here is just as much a phenomenon as any of the rest of the world's phenomena; for science teaches man that, although he is not of this world, he is a teacher in it; and being a teacher, he is a soldier in the hands of science. To fight the error of life like a soldier and contend for the truth (or science) requires more courage than it does to fight for your own bread. Like the deist, the beast's courage is for what it can eat. It fights for that - but man ought to have a higher motive than the brute. I am sorry to say that, give man all that his beastly appetite craves, and he, like the lion, would lie down and sleep, till roused by hunger. Then look out for his teeth. But the female is more wide awake, like the hen who scratches for worms to feed her chickens; while her husband is either fighting some political battle or strutting 'round like the rooster.
I do not mean to say that every man is a rooster, or every female a hen. There are some hens that care nothing for their young, and if it were not for their mates, the chickens would starve. So it is with male and female of the human species. There are exceptions to all rules, and as science and error are so combined, it is impossible to draw the line of distinction.
As the mind of man is like the soil, it is composed of all sorts of soil (or earth). So as California is the place the minds are directed for gold; so the wisdom of God (or science) is more abundant in the soil (or life) of the females - but it does not follow that their life is all the soil that is capable of producing science, but it contains more of the spiritual wisdom than is found in man. This is as it should be - and if it could be admitted by man, so that woman could have her place in the life of man, the world would, in a short time, be rid of the scourges that infest the land - that is, the medical faculty and priests.
Women are religious from science, naturally; and if man had not instructed them, the world would have been now free from superstition and evils that follow our belief. Woman is not one-half so superstitious as man. They have three times as much courage and endurance as men. Their sympathy is almost inexhaustible. While men get out of patience and would leave the sick, woman will cling to the sick as much as to say to death, “You shall not have the life.”
Now where is woman placed? Just where man puts her - to satisfy himself. She has nothing to do with her situation, but she must be content with what man chooses to assign her. In wisdom, he, of course, is to be the great center of attraction, and although he has no light, only as it is thrown from the sun (or higher part of his wisdom) - the woman - he never thinks, while he is surveying the solar system of his wisdom, that the very light enabling him to distinguish between light and darkness (or error and science) is derived from a higher power, superior to himself.
You may infer from what I have said that I want to place the female above the male. This is not the case, for a female coming forward in public to advocate man's ideas is as much below the male as the male who leaves his standing and takes the character of a brute, for the gratification of a set of men and women below the brute, itself. Neither is in the place designed by their creator. The woman lowers herself, and the man becomes worse than a brute.
Then it may be asked, “Where is woman's true position?”
I answer, “As a teacher of the science of health and happiness.”
This is what man does not want to do. It is too much like labor to toil over the little children, and sit by the sick, and take their sufferings upon yourself. This man will not do - but he is very willing to bind burdens on his neighbors, which they will not lift one finger to remove. You may ask how they bind burdens. By teaching false doctrines, whose effect on the people they do not know; therefore keeping alive errors, which keep the people in bondage and all their lives subject to death.
I will now tell what these are that we fight and where science steps in and puts an end to the war. I have shown that life is matter, and this matter belongs to the three kingdoms - animal, vegetable and mineral. These all have life. This life is thrown off, like the mist that went up from the earth; and the life is itself, and it makes war with its own father and lives on itself.
Now as man is that combination of matter (or life) that is condensed to form an idea - in his natural life, he is the life of all living life before him. He becomes a sort of “living matter” and is subject to all the living laws of life (or matter); so that man lives on life, just the same as all other living things, who slay and eat each other. Thus, 'might is right.'
Man throws off from himself a more perfect life (or matter). It at last becomes more refined and becomes the medium of a higher life - the life of science or everlasting life; where there is no death, but where all things are tried by science. As science grows in this matter, its life is its wisdom; and to get wisdom is to make war with its enemy. So its weapons are the wisdom of God (or science).
The war is the evils of the world. These are the old superstitions of the world; and as they are the life of the old heathen idolatry, the priest and doctors cultivate these ideas and feed the multitudes; so that they get craving so for some spiritual food, that they attack each other. Therefore, everyone's hand is against his neighbor. We live on each other's lives, for our ideas are life. Now when the science comes, this life (or error) makes war against it; for science is its destruction, and sometimes a hard battle is fought before the enemy is destroyed.
I will illustrate one battle. Take the devil. He was just as much a terror to his generation as Robert Kidd was to the mariners of his day. Now science was the only enemy he had to fear, and all who dared to attack him, were in danger of their lives. What crippled him? Science, not known, has chained him to the earth - but his power is not stopped. His voice is yet heard in the darkness of bigotry. But when the true science, that can show the true answer to all the inquiries in regard to him shall come, then the error will be annihilated, and life eternal will take the place of this life (or belief in the devil).