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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

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Dr. Phineas P. Quimby
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Strength I

1864

Does man put strength in his legs when he undertakes to rise from a chair? Everyone will say he does. Now this is not the case. When a person rises from a chair, he weighs nothing to himself, any more than his arm. Now just lift your hand and see if it requires any strength, and you will find it does not. It is as easy to raise it as to put it down. Now take a ten-pound weight in your hand, and it requires some force to lift it. Now is the power put into the arm or weight - or neither? I say it is neither. But you exercise a will, outside the body; and weight, just equal to the weight.

The words “weight,” “power” and “motion,” as used, are all applied to something that has no wisdom. If you wish to move a table, you do not put the power in the table, but in the weight (or resistance), and then you use your judgment to move the weight. Now the thing to be moved is called weight (or resistance).

Now comes in the science, to know how to move the weight. The natural way is for the power to come in direct contact with the weight. This is the natural man's reasoning. The scientific man's reason suggests some purchase by which he can move the weight with less power, so he invents (or develops) purchase. This embraces another combination called “time.” This is often lost sight of by those who have learned the benefit of the lever. They know that by the use of the lever, they can raise a weight that they can't lift by their physical strength; but they are not aware that they have gained nothing by the lever. The lever is for convenience, and the loss of time is equal to the gain of power.

I will illustrate. Suppose you have a body to raise one foot that weighs one-hundred pounds, and your strength is equal to lifting twenty-five pounds. Now if the weight was in four parts, the quickest way would be to lift twenty-five at a time with the hand. But as the weight is all together, you get a lever that is four times as long as the height you wish to raise the weight. Then place a fulcrum one-fourth of the length from the weight to be raised, so that the long end will be three times as far to travel as the weight. And then apply your strength - which is twenty-five pounds - to the long end of the lever, and it will just balance.

Then one ounce will raise the weight, and your twenty-five pounds will drop three times as fast, and the one-hundred will rise. So three times as much velocity must be applied to twenty-five pounds to balance three times the weight. So that which you have gained in one case, you have lost in another. This makes velocity and weight equal.

Now although these principles are known, man never acts upon them when he reasons about his body. He reasons as though his body and power were all one - and in this way, he acts against himself. I shall give some illustrations to show how absurdly man reasons about his body. If he knew he was affected by his own reason and that his body was as much a weight to him as he believed it to be, and by false reasoning he acted against himself - then he would learn to reason correctly.

I will show you how man reasons about his body; and also show how he ought to reason. To reason right, man admits his body is heavy (or weighty); but he also admits that the power is in the weight to raise itself, and if it can't raise itself, then the legs (or lever) are not strong enough to raise the body. So you will hear them say, “My legs are too weak for me to raise my body.” This is the way the sick man reasons. (The well man does not reason at all. If he wants to get up, he can - and he does not know how he does it, nor does he care.)

Now the sick man cannot rise, and he begins to reason; and if he fails, he applies to some physician who knows just as much as he does - and both together know nothing. They reason after this way. There is no strength in your knees, and your back is weak. It must have something to strengthen it. So they rub on some liniment or apply a blister or something else. To me this is as absurd as if a man should put a green tree under a rock and wait for it to grow, so that it might be strong enough to raise the rock. In fact, it is not wise at all. It is the height of ignorance.

Man is just what he believes himself to be, and if, when sick, he believes he is heavy - he is so, to himself. Now he is in a diseased state, and it requires someone to get him out of this dilemma. To reason as he reasons would be like the blind leading the blind. I reason according to scientific principles with the sick man. I say to him, his body - to him - is like a weight to be raised. The power is his will, and the application (or reason) is the lever. The body is the weight (or disease). So to destroy the idea “weight” is to change the mind - or get up an action, like reasoning - and show him that, as long as he waits for his body to grow strong, he is doing nothing. The strength is in his own understanding, and this is outside of his body (or disease, as the doctors call it). The weakness is in his error (or mind), and that weakness reasons, as though the body was weak.

Now when you will to rise, you make the same effort, as though you were raising any weight outside of yourself. You feel as though you must put power in your limbs. And you also feel as though you were taking hold of a wooden man and lifting him up on his feet and getting him balanced. Then it is time enough to put motion in him; but the first is to feel as though you were a second person, lifting another.

But if you feel as if you were lifting yourself, it is like trying to lift yourself up by taking hold of the straps of your boots as you sit in your chair, and see if you can lift yourself out of your chair. One is just as absurd as the other. Just feel as though you were outside of the weight, and lift it up; only leave the feet on the floor and hold the body up, and do not let it press on the limbs and knees, and you will get it so light, that when you say, “Rise,” it will obey your will. Then you have overcome the error, cured the disease, and the weight is gone.

If you put a weight on your limbs by your own reason and then undertake to make your legs grow strong, so they will raise the body - the limbs will become as heavy as the body, and another power will be needed to raise the legs. So apply your wisdom to the idea “body,” and raise the weight, as you would any weight, till you have gotten rid of the idea that strength is in the body. In this way, you will purify yourself from error and; by the power of will, which is velocity, will raise the weight of error and subject it to your own control.

Remember that one grain of weight (or the tooth or a crown wheel of a clock) is enough to raise a fourteen-pound weight on the barrel. Now divide the fourteen pounds into grains, and then you get a lever equal to the weight; so that one ounce on the long end of the lever will be equal to fourteen pounds on the short end. Therefore, 48,384 times the velocity of fourteen pounds is equal to the weight.

It is as much quicker than the fall of a weight, as lightning is quicker than an ox team. So that if the will is anything - velocity is everything, if it is put in action. Now call this velocity the “spiritual man,” with all his wisdom; and the weight (or matter) to be moved and the obstruction, the “mind” (or false reasoning). Then you will have a perfect man outside of matter (or mind) that controls the other three. Then you will see that, just as a man is wise, he is spiritual (or velocity), and his velocity is made superior to his weight, as much as lightning is more powerful than steam.

This velocity is the man (or wisdom) that governs and rules all things. Its weight is its density; its buoyancy is its power. Identity is its wisdom - and when they are all combined in perfection, it is the great first cause; and as man departs from these truths, he becomes weighty, ignorant and diseased.

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