Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Truth & Belief1864
Words are sounds to represent something that contains matter (or form), or they are applied to some imaginary thing. Now the word “truth” is applied to either of these two ideas. So when a person says a thing is so-and-so, if we believe it, this is a truth. Now separate those things that we can't see clearly from those things that are in the dark, and then apply the word “truth” to such as have a substance, according to man's belief, and those that have no substance, only as a belief; and then you will know what is truth and what is not.
For instance, what you know, you are not a part of, but it is yourself. The thing known is something - not of you, but outside. For instance, if I say to you, “Did you ever see a house?” Now you see, you are not part of the house, but outside of it. But if I ask you if you ever saw a man come to you after he is dead, according to your belief, you will say, “No.” But if I ask you if you believe he has a spirit, you say, “I believe he has.” Now don't you see this belief contains no substance; only a shadow - and it requires darkness to produce it.
So ignorance is darkness, and truth is light. So as you come to the light (or science), the spirit (or belief) (or darkness) will vanish; for there is no substance in it. So every word is nothing, of itself, till it is attached to some idea that contains a substance. So to separate the truth from error is to correct the error that makes the trouble called “sickness.”
Now I class all the troubles of man among those truths, based on a false mode of reasoning; for when a person knows a thing, his opinion ceases, and he comes out of the dark and stands in the light. So everything we don't know beyond a doubt has a shade of darkness.
For instance, if I ask you if you can see the figure five, you will see it plain in your mind; but if I ask you if you see the answer to 75 added to 5, 13, 19, 6, 31, 100, 99 and 75 - now you are in the dark, and you see no answer, till after you add them up in your wisdom and set them down in the mind. Then your wisdom can see the answer in the mind. But before this, there must be a chemical process to develop the mind, so the answer would come out; and when it is out, the opinion is gone, and you stand outside, looking at the answer.
So with disease; the seeds of opinion are sown in the mind from a belief of man; for as I have said, mind is matter and governed by his belief, which is matter; and the wisdom is also matter - and is all a part of the same. And the truth destroys both. So when the world gets wise enough to learn that what cannot be seen outside of the man is nothing, if the thing seen is the effect - then it is not certain that it exists at all.
For instance, all diseases - like religious opinions - admit something that you cannot see. This is all as far as man's health and happiness is concerned; for if he admits it as a truth, he certainly is liable to create the misery of his folly. For instance, heathen superstition is now believed to be all fiction, or nearly so; even the city of Troy, the siege of Babylon and lots of others. We get as good and correct an account of them as we do of London - and why should we not believe one, as well as the other? Just because we know persons that have told us that London exists. But no one who had never been to London, but was transferred to London in his sleep and then awakened, dare risk his life and wisdom to say that he knew it was London. Therefore, if he was as sure as he could be, without asking, when he was told that it was London - this would not make him any more sure. After getting satisfied, his belief is gone, and he stands outside in his wisdom.
it is with all these old fables. They are accounts of all kinds of
diseases and how the people died - and the symptoms have been handed
down to this day. The plague of Egypt is one, although all the
history is based on a fabulous account of what never had an
existence. Yet we hear of this old disease being in existence. So all
this goes to show that whatever has been handed down for history and
been believed is as catching as the evils that are invented by the
medical faculty of our days. Modern fables (or stories) are as
popular as the fables of the ancients. Neither have an existence
outside of the mind.