Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
The SensesMay 1860
I have spoken of the senses as something that can exist independently of our natural body. This is new to the world, or it has never been admitted; for all the senses are attached to and a part of the body, and the idea of their being separated is something which has not dawned upon the intelligence of the world. It may be a belief among some persons, but it is not admitted among the scientific.
To have a knowledge of this science is to know when an impression is produced on the senses. The senses contain no knowledge, of themselves. When a sensation is produced on them, if the soul (or identity) is aware of it and knows its true meaning, it does not produce the same sensation as though the soul was ignorant of the true meaning.
It is very hard for me to define what I want to communicate to you, for there are so many meanings to the same words, and they all mean the same thing and contradict each other, that I do not know how to explain what I mean by the senses. I will try to classify them. In the first place, I believe matter to be nothing but an idea belonging to the senses, but the natural man does not recognize this idea. I believe that mind is matter, used by that power that controls the senses for a medium; and used to form any idea that is desired to bring about a truth or specific fact.
The senses do not embrace, of themselves, any idea of good or bad, but are simply the act of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. All these are independent of knowledge, for the beast and child contain them. Mesmerism proves that the life of all of them is independent of the body. So I set them down as senses; not matter or mind, but life (or the medium of the soul).
The soul (or wisdom) of the senses is what has never been acknowledged to have an identity, but is embraced in the word senses. Here you see I have identified two powers; or something independent of matter and independent of each other. Now the senses are life and are sensitive to impressions; not through flesh and blood, but through the medium called the senses. This fills all space and contains all sight, smell, etc. All these are light, and light contains all the elements of the senses. The senses may be compared to particles of light.
Now suppose God to be the fountain of senses (or light). This light contains particles, and each particle contains an identity; and the particles are made up of these senses, governed by a higher power. Now the strength of the light (or senses) is the expansion of its light (or senses); and the diminishing of its senses is the contracting of its light, until it can be embraced in a bushel. Jesus says a wise man will put his light on a bushel, instead of under it. Now as each person is a particle of this great light (or senses) and the knowledge of it, the soul - it knows that its life is not in the contracting of its senses, but in the expansion of its life (or senses).
Therefore, the life of the body (or ideas) is the knowledge of its senses, and the senses are called the eye (or truth). So if the eye (or truth) be single, the whole body is full of light (or truth); but if the senses are darkened (or contracted) (or evil), the whole body is full of darkness. Now as the senses, like light, expand; the error (or darkness) is annihilated. And the knowledge of the senses is not confined to the idea of matter, like itself, in the bushel; but sees itself outside of the idea (or bushel) and sees into this darkness (or world of superstition). So that life (or light) is in darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. And as man is evil (or ignorant), he chooses darkness, rather than light. For the light would condemn him and destroy his life (or ignorance).
This truth composes all the life that will exist as a science, but the wisdom of darkness reasons in its own element. Its light is its ignorance; its knowledge is matter; its soul is its knowledge; and its knowledge is its life; and its life is in itself; and itself is matter; and matter (or life) is like water - so condensed to take the form of solid (or ice). Science dissolves the solid (or ice) and decomposes it. Each globule takes its own identity and looks at the solid, as the senses look at the body - as an idea of mind; so that there is no science (or truth) (or soul). Then the whole body (or identity) is full of darkness.
Now take the natural body and compare it to ice; and its warmth (or cold), its knowledge. You see just how far its eyes (or senses) can go. It sees its body, but it is not acquainted with its destroyer - the sun (or science). But as the sun throws its rays on its cold, icy form, a chemical change takes place, and decomposition commences. The particles (or identity) of which it was bound by error is dissolved. It rises, and each globule assumes an identity; not that it is ice, but that it has broken away from the prison and is now free to assume any form it pleases. This is an illustration of the scientific man.
Man is made up of ideas, like globules of water. The cold (or ignorant) state of the world, like north winds, has condensed his ideas into a form (or body), containing all the ideas of disease and all other bad effects. In this state, like the ice, he sees no light of the science; and like the particles of water, reasons as though he was the very identity and wisdom of the world. And when this body shall be dissolved, it ends its identity.
The ice reasons just so, if it reasons at all - but science reasons in this way. Although you dissolve this ice (or body), you only set the particles free from the error that binds them together - and they have a house (or identity); not made by the hand of error, but eternal - in the science.