Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Truth & Error
Mind is the medium of a power or powers superior to the natural man. In speaking of mind, we naturally embrace this power; as in speaking of a lever, we often embrace the power that controls it. In the latter case, the mistake arises from our ignorance of mathematics; for if we understood the science of mathematics, we should never confound the lever with the power moving it. So in regard to mind, the body may be compared to dead-weight; the mind to a lever - both governed by a superior and intelligent force.
There is no intelligence in the body or in the mind, but only in the higher power that governs them. The natural man cannot understand this, and as happiness or misery follows our acts, and our acts depend upon our knowledge of ourselves - it is not strange that we are often in trouble.
All men admit the existence of these two motive powers - truth and error; but not as powers independent of the mind and superior to it. Every development of science reveals the higher one to man. He sees and recognizes it in particular instances, but never as the one controlling power which shapes and governs all our right actions. The other, or lower one, is animal power and a servant of the first. To know ourselves is to separate and distinguish these powers from the mind, which they govern.
There are two sciences - one of this world and the other of a spiritual world. They are two opposite directions given to the minds of men. The science that is of this world is experimental. It explains sensation according to previous opinions; it produces an effect and then appeals to that, in proof of its own correctness. A child, for example, feels a pain in its head. The child has no idea what the trouble is, and if the mother is equally ignorant, no effect of any consequence is produced.
But the wisdom of this world arrives in the person of a lady. She hears the account of the pain from the mother, and assuming a wise look, gives her opinion in regard to the trouble. She says the child is threatened with dropsy on the brain; for it has the same symptoms as another child who died of that disease. This account excites the mother, whose mind, acting upon the mind of the child, gives direction to it - and presently the word commences to show that the wise lady is right.
Then a doctor is called in, who is as wise as the lady - and not willing to be outdone by her, he puts in a few extras, such as congestion of the brain, etc. He says that the lady was right, but she did not comprehend the whole difficulty. Thus he has two chances, after the child is killed, to prove his judgment superior to that of the lady.
Sometimes a controversy arises over the patient between two doctors. They differ in opinion, and each strives to maintain his own. If the child, in the meantime, is left to itself, it may recover; and this is the only good result I ever saw from such a controversy. Patients are mere tools in the hands of medical practitioners. But while this controversy is going on, the mother, seeing that the doctors are anxious to establish opinions only - in her dilemma, sends for me. I arrive, and a firebrand is thrown in between the combatants. I contend that the child has no dropsy on the brain but is suffering from some slight shock, and that to quiet the child is all that is necessary for a cure. If the mother employs the doctor, the child, very likely, is killed - and a postmortem examination, revealing water on the brain, proves his theory. I am then put down as a humbug and quack. But if I take the case, I prove my theory, and the child gets well. In this case, it is said the child was not sick; only a little nervous.