What Is Disease?
What Is Disease? I
How the Error of Disease Is Made
The First Symptoms of Disease
Disease and Its Cause

"Every disease, that the physical organism is subject to, has its connective link in the cerebral domain; where it unerringly telegraphs, as it were, its molecular differentiations (through the spinal dura mater or physical sympathetic transmittor) and vice versa back again." [Keely in True Science]

"All disease is founded in fear." [Dialogue on Awakening, 4th edition, page 185]

"Harmony is health, discord is disease." Keely

“Every disease is the invention of man and has no identity in wisdom, but to those who believe it, it is a truth. All there is of man is his senses and these are nothing in a belief or in wisdom. If everything he does not understand were blotted out, what is there left of man? Would he be better or worse, if nine-tenths of all he thinks he knows were blotted out of his mind, and he existed with what was true? I contend that he would, as it were, sit on the clouds and see the world beneath him tormented with ideas that form living errors whose weight is ignorance. Safe from their power, he would not return to the world's belief for any consideration. In a slight degree, this is my case. I sit as it were in another world or condition, as far above the belief in disease as the heavens are above the earth.” [Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, Obstacles in Establishing a New Science, Printed Page: 409]

What is Disease?

Quimby, The Complete Writings, volume I

Disease is what follows the disturbance of the mind; this mind is spiritual matter. When I speak of disease I do not mean to confine the word to any particular phenomenon or disturbance of the mind, but that the mind or matter is simply disturbed like the soil of the earth, ready to receive the seed or disease. This disturbance contains no knowledge or thought, any more than a house on fire would disturb the inmates or spirits who flee out, not knowing the cause. It embraces mind without truth or error, like weight set in motion without direction. Weight like mind could never set itself in motion, but being set in motion it is called mechanical power. So is mind set in motion, spiritual power. Both are governed by laws of truth or error; the fruit shows which of the two powers govern.

If it is directed by wisdom or God, no bad results can follow; but if directed by error and ignorance, as ignorance is the mind and error the enemy to truth, the truth will show which governs. As there is no knowledge in error, it sometimes follows that some good results follow, as it did in the case of Joseph being sold to the Ishmaelites. They, it is said, meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Truth does not work in that way (that is by accident). Truth works by laws, like mathematics, error like chance.

The answer may come right or may come wrong (in error); in either way, it contains no law by which the world is any way the wiser. Ignorance is its life and truth its death. So by error comes disease and death; so by the destruction of error comes the introduction of truth or science or health; and as error is matter or mind, it is the instrument of its own destruction. The matter is not annihilated, but the mind is.

That combined substance that shows itself in persons in the form of an opinion indicates its character by a peculiar show of wisdom, superior to its followers. And when disturbed by wisdom or truth, it dies; but when not opposed, its opinions are sown into the minds of others, like seed in the ground, and comes forth in some form.

This which follows the disturbance of the mind the doctors call disease. Here is where all error lies; they take the effect for the cause. We confound the error and truth together; we take an opinion for a truth, which is an error for what we know we have no opinion of.

If opinion is knowledge, then there is no knowledge, for every person has an opinion. Now if opinion is knowledge, then why is reason introduced? This very fact proves that knowledge is the destruction of an opinion or disease, for what we know, we have no opinion about. Now disease is what follows an opinion. It is made up of mind directed by error, and truth is the destruction of an opinion.

These ideas and hundreds of others have been given to explain the effect of the mind. All of them admit disease as one thing and the mind another. This theory that mind is one thing and disease another has left the people in darkness and caused more misery than all other evils put together. It has always been admitted that a theory that cannot be put in practice is not very good.

The mind is a spiritual matter which, being agitated, disturbs the spirit. This disturbance contains no knowledge of itself, but produces a chemical change of the fluids of the system. These disturbances may be produced in various ways, for instance: by the death of a friend, or by religious excitement, witchcraft, etc. All of the above contain what is called knowledge, which is communicated to the spirit and sets it to work to form disease after the from the spirit gives the mind. The mind being the matter under the control of the spirit, it is capable of producing any phenomenon.
October 1859

What Is Disease? I

Quimby, The Complete Writings, volume I

The theory of the doctors and other leaders of the people (if there is any theory to it) is it is a certain something (I would not attempt to describe their views) that comes in various shapes and on various accounts or causes and attacks people in various parts of the body and with various results. Indefiniteness and uncertainty characterizes all their ideas about it and their ideas go no further than a belief. They believe it to be a something, they can't tell what. When a doctor speaks of the case of a sick person he gives his opinions. It may be founded upon what is to him very much evidence, including much experience. Still, in all cases it is after all an opinion which he gives, and this cannot be infallible and sure, not truth and sure and therefore good for nothing) because two opinions (there is an old saying that when doctors disagree or have different opinions) about the same thing cannot both be right. The same uncertainty about disease is allowed and winked at in the practice. But what is disease? If it is true that it is a thing of itself, did anyone ever see it? In all the post mortem examinations and dissections of bodies . . . has the thing disease ever been found in the body?

A tumor or any disarrangement of the system is an effect, called by Dr. Quimby a phenomenon, or result of some cause. The question is, What is the cause? (This determines the disease). To each of these questions you answer, No. Then I say, You know yourself that if it is not a material thing of itself it must be a property depending upon another thing.

It must be either a live thing like a fox (and twice as cunning) in order to come of itself and attack us. And furthermore, it must have intelligence or else it is a dependent characteristic of some other thing and if the latter, what is that? We hear the name animal life given to something in the body. We are told also that the body is under the control of the mind and we see daily illustrations of the fact. What then is the use of the second power called animal life? Did anybody ever see that? Is that a thing of itself or does it like . . . belong to something else? Oh, one cannot tell. That is something that no one can fathom is the answer invariably to this. How did they find that out? But this "life" is of the body I suppose. Now if the body is matter, has matter life? Again, did you ever see the body of any kind of an animal move without displaying intelligence? You know there is intelligence with every man and every animal and that intelligence guides each man and animal in all his movements. This intelligence needs no proof, but that animal "life" spoken of can neither be proved nor defined.

On the other hand, take away from a man or animal all knowledge, intelligence, or instinct and conceive if you can of any movement that he would make. What could there be a movement for? Nothing! There could be no object; the thought shows an inconsistency. Watch the very lowest brutes or the very smallest insect and you will see intelligence displayed in their movements. And again watch yourself and you will see no act or movement that is contrary to your will, but every stir or slightest motion is the result of your direct volition. What then can be the use of the animal life? If the mind has the control of the body as I would have the control of a hammer in my hand which would be no more a tool than the body is to the mind, of what use would be that second indefinable indescribable opinion of a thing or power called animal life. And if it is a thing of itself, why is it never seen nor found, and how can it go out of existence? But if it is not a separate thing of itself but a property of another thing how can it, being a live or active quality, be a property of a dead or inanimate thing, such as we see matter to be? You may say that is its life. How can it die then? If life dies, then it is not life. Again if disease is not a thing of itself, it must be a property of some other thing that has life and animation and intelligence of itself else it would produce no action or bad result. What then does it belong to? If to the body it could manifestly continue its operations after the spirit left the body. But we have not and cannot prove that the body has any life or animation or intelligence of its own, or independent of the mind; the evidence is all the other way. Then we have only the mind left to which to ascribe the disease as a property or how may it exist in the mind? I answer in the form of a belief, and the body being under the control of the mind, a subject of its influences is moulded and affected just in proportion to the state of mind in its belief.

A person is to himself just what he thinks he is and he is in his belief, sick. If this were not so, if it was not true that all disease is in the mind, not one of the hundreds of cures that have been made by Dr. Quimby, and are constantly being made, could have been accomplished by him, and the old time administers of pills, calomel, and error would still have undisputed possession of the field of sick and wounded. Again, take it another way. You complain of a pain in your side, is it you that complains or your side? You perhaps answer that it is your side complaining through your mind. But I ask, Has your side knowledge? And can it notify your mind that it may speak for it? Is not the knowledge in your mind and is it not your mind that complains? How much pain would you have if you did not know it? How much pain is there in a dead body? Why doesn't pain continue after the soul or mind leaves the body? It is known by all persons that the state of mind or belief influences a person's health. Why is it? How far does it go?

You see that there can be no action or motion without an intelligence behind it and you know that your body has no intelligence. I will quote a few lines from Dr. Q's writings " . . . " There is nothing animate in the body, so when the body is injured by what we call disease, it is by an error of the mind, the body being subject to the mind, so when the mind is corrected of its error, the truth is established which is its health. Quimby

How the Error of Disease Is Made


from Quimby, The Complete Writings, Volume I

All ideas are matter and those that contain danger contain also fear and are of the same class. I will illustrate the differences of disease and show how they are created. A child creeps towards the fire, the heat affects it and the sensation on the child is called fear. There is no wisdom in the sensation, but there is fear. So it creeps nearer and is more affected, but there is no intelligence in the child. At last a sort of intelligence comes, enough to make the child creep out of the fire. Now the burn is called disease. Here is a disease without any intelligence; it is simply the reaction of the act. Give the child wisdom and the fear is gone, for there is no danger. This is one class of diseases, or cause and effect without any wisdom and here is another class. In order to keep the child from getting burned, you tell him the fire will burn him to death if he goes near and frighten the child by telling him stories which he will believe. This makes the child see danger, when it exists only in the mind of his parent, which his parent tells him of to prevent him from running any risk. This danger contains fear and just as you make danger the reaction is fear and disease. Here is where disease commences, in the danger of opinion; the other is not a disease but a phenomenon without intelligence.

You may trace nine-tenths of all disease to danger created by parents when children are small. The religion of this world is the effect of the danger of something of which we know nothing and to keep clear of it is religion. Religion, like fear, is the result of a belief in some idea that contains danger. I will make an illustration that will explain the two kinds of religion, for works are not a religion but a belief is. By faith, you are saved and not of works, lest anyone should boast; but if you believe so and so, you shall be saved and if not, you shall be damned. So religion is a belief and here is the explanation thereof.

Suppose a dozen children were playing and a stone should be seen by one of them coming down directly over their heads and he should show it to the rest. Now down it comes and it frightens them. The children are taught that heaven is up in the skies; don't you suppose that they would think that God sent the stone down to frighten them, if they were in mischief? While they are pondering, some person tells them that they must be good children and obey their parents. The children believe and the priests have made this danger through their ignorance or belief. While they are talking and the priest is giving them good Christian advice, a clap of thunder comes and the lightning strikes a tree. Now they are frightened again and apply to the priest to explain. He tells them the Lord is angry and has sent a thunderbolt to show them that they were not good children. This frightens them. The wind blows and it becomes dark, or perhaps an eclipse of the sun takes place. This is explained in the same way and so on till every phenomenon that could happen is explained. The belief in all the above is admitted as true and this is religion. To believe that, you will believe all the above and ten times as much more, and to repent of everything which the priest says is wrong will gain for you a place in heaven when you die; otherwise you must go to the opposite place. The Christian is one who believes all and so shapes his course as to keep clear of all till death and then he is landed in heaven.

All of the above belongs to the priests. They are the teachers of the young and this nursery is to fit them for another class of hypocrites worse than themselves, the medical faculty. One is sent for to see a child made nervous by the false ideas of the priests. He finds the child laboring under nervous excitement. He feels the pulse and inquires what they have been doing; the answer is nothing except listening to the priests' explanation of the dark day. As the doctor believes just like the priests, he does not make him the author of the trouble but introduces the same subject himself. So looking very grave he says, You have committed a sin against the laws of God or health. For if you expose yourself to the cold, you are liable to take cold, be sick and die of consumption. This makes the patient more frightened. The doctor is sent for again; he finds the patient dangerously sick and says that the brain is affected, that there is a collection of water on the brain and he must die. The minister comes and talks with the child to prepare his mind to die, telling him that he must believe that God will forgive him and receive him to heaven. The minister prays and the friends all weep violently, all exciting the child and then he is told that God will receive him. By this time the child is so nervous that it wants to go to heaven and at last exhausted, he pants and dies. Here is the beginning and ending of the Christian religion. It was born in ignorance, grew up in error and died in the same. This is one side of life where I used to be, but now I have turned over the leaf and will present the religion of Jesus.

While all the above was going on, there was a certain set of infidels who said that the priests did not know anymore than they did. But they could not account for the darkness, nor thunder nor water on the brain and did not believe the doctors could. Some a little wiser began to believe that there must be some natural cause for all these things as well as for others that were known. Some began to talk this way. At such a time as this, John came out of the wilderness or darkness and told the people that some one would come who could explain the falling of the stone, etc. So the child Jesus, being of a certain combination prepared by the great truth, would of himself, like all other children, without knowing why he did it, listen to the priests' belief. He could see that it was all inconsistent with wisdom and that it made the people nervous and sick. So he investigated the phenomena and he was often found in the temples disputing with the doctors on these subjects. At the age of thirty, hearing of John, he went to hear him preach, was baptized into his belief and it became so clear to him that the priests and doctors were the cause of nine-tenths of man's misery that the heaven or this truth was opened to him and he saw the true explanation or Holy Ghost; and it came to his mind and he heard the voice of science saying, This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Then he was led up into the wilderness or into all the priests' and doctors' opinions and saw there was nothing but hypocrisy and priestcraft to humbug the people. After he had fairly investigated the whole subject so that he could see that all their misery was their religious belief and the doctors were in league with them, he came to the conclusion that he would come out from among them and preach the kind of truth or that science that would explain all their troubles. His first act was to take some witnesses with him. So he called on Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother, to follow him and as he went along or talked, others followed him. So Jesus went all about Galilee teaching and curing all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went out through all the country and they brought unto him all sick people to be healed. Quimby, Nov. 15, 1861

The First Symptoms of Disease

from Quimby, The Complete Writings, Volume I

All disease is what follows some sensation on the mind or the fluids of the body. Man's body is made of ideas admitted by the world of opinion. The man as we see him is an idea or reality according to our belief. This makes one fact. All his reasoning about himself are other ideas that are the life and intelligence of the idea body. So if the idea man believes his body is out of order, to him it is so. This is so with every idea made of the idea matter. Matter according to our belief is porous and God can penetrate it. Wisdom is truth and error is matter or darkness or it is porous. Wisdom is as much quicker than lightning, as thought is quicker than the bullet from a gun. So as wisdom is so quick, all ideas are nothing to it. For instance, look as you are riding in the cars at the high board fences put up to prevent the snow from blowing in and drifting onto the track. You know the boards of these fences fit very near together, so the cracks are not far apart. But when the cars are going at a rapid speed, you can see objects on the other side as plainly as though there was no fence. In fact you would scarcely know there was any fence. This is the way with velocity; it destroys space and distance and weight so that obstacles in the way are not obstacles to the velocity. Velocity is like wisdom and opinion is like the fence. The wisdom of opinion stands still and all is out of sight or nearly so on the other side of the fence, while the wisdom that flies without time sees no fence but sees the objects its attention is called to. So it is with the idea matter or thought; it is sent so quickly that to wisdom it is perfectly transparent.

It is generally believed that the earth was once a ball of liquid fire cooled off on the outside, that now in the center it is a fire and that people were travelling round while it was cooling off. The prints of their feet are in the earth, also remains of animals, etc. All of this is no doubt true, but the explanation of geology is as absurd as the doctor's diagnosis of disease. The phenomenon of the earth and of disease is just the same; both are founded in error and cannot stand the velocity or progress of truth. Wisdom can see through the cracks or pores or error of both and can show that neither is correct. Where were all of these living things while the earth was in this liquid state, for they must have form and size, since they are found embedded in rocks and in the earth. Modern theology is not wise enough to explain these phenomena correctly or satisfactorily; but explain them on the principle I have laid down in regard to matter, and then there is no difficulty in understanding it.

To cure disease is to know what produced it, and to know that embraces all man's ideas and wisdom of the creation of the world, for his religious opinions embrace the creation of the earth and heaven and all things therein. Men reason about all this and their ideas are sown in the mind, like seed in the earth. So he is, as the scriptures say, full of dead men's bones and all sorts of corruption. The idea earth is full of all sorts of ideas as much as man. Science is to analyze the earth, and this explains to man his disease, for all are made of ideas. I will give you an illustration of the growth of the idea earth by comparing it with man. To base a truth on an idea is like building a house on the sand. When the wind of investigation shall blow and the wave of science shall beat upon the house of opinion, it must come down. Everyone will admit that wisdom is superior to the idea matter. So we have two alternatives: either that wisdom was nothing before there was matter or that matter is the creation of wisdom.

The world reasons about God as it does about man, that the brain is the seat and origin of the wisdom of man and that the earth or matter is the dwelling place of God and that neither God nor man has any identity out of matter. This is the foundation of man's reasoning; therefore, if one is false, so is the other, but they are false in one respect and true in another. It is true that the phenomena exist in the mind of man or in his belief and that matter to the original man is his life and wisdom, but to wisdom, out of a belief, this is false. The natural man cannot see wisdom, for wisdom is not visible to the eye of matter. In all mathematics, there is a wisdom to be admitted, like the principles in geometry. You first assume a truth and then bring evidence to establish it as a fact. Imagine a vast void or space, where nothing in the form of matter exists. No one is so ignorant as to suppose there never was such a time. Every fact proves to the contrary and goes to show that from the seed things grow, showing progression from void.

In this void, imagine wisdom superior to all the effects that have been developed. Give this wisdom an identity with all the senses and faculties like man, only independent of matter, and then you have a perfect fullness of wisdom. Its motion is its own and from its own self comes all good and perfect wisdom. It speaks ideas and they come forth. The ideas are in the wisdom, as the mist is in the air. As they move or act by their own wisdom that is in the ideas, it grows till it gets condensed into a substance that attaches its life to its growth, as a child. When the child is born, its life is attached to its body and as it grows or creates new ideas, they become attached to the child and this makes the growth of the child. No one supposes that a man does not know he was once a child. But if the child could have been kept ignorant of its growth till he became a man, no one could even make the man believe that he ever had any earlier existence.

Suppose a chicken hatched; after it became a hen, would it ever suppose it was the inhabitant of an egg? It is so with everything that has life. Now suppose that wisdom from some cause unknown to man spoke into existence everything that hath life, yet like all other life there was progression. So if wisdom spoke worlds into existence, it is not to be supposed that the worlds or planets were as large as they are now. But the globe, like a child, is the growth of wisdom that is in itself like everything on the earth that has life. Each life is not the same life. The life of minerals is not that of vegetables and no two things are the same. Our globe is one idea of wisdom and all the other globes and planets that make up the solar system may be like one family, though each globe contains all the life that ever can be. But the growth or development is progression. For instance, man would not be formed before there was some place for him to live or rest upon. So life attached to matter must have some foundation for the matter before life could be attached to it.

Suppose this void was full of mist or life, not wisdom, but life. It would then be in a state like man's mind to be formed into any idea that might be thought of. But wisdom's works are all done at once. For instance, if you throw a rock into the air, all the effects were in the act not developed at the time, but they showed themselves as the progression went on. So when wisdom spake worlds into existence, it is not to be understood that they could be seen as they are now but were like thoughts taking form. From this fullness of life, worlds nursed its idea till it became visible to the idea of itself and then its wisdom was its growth and its life was its ideas. So its ideas fed of the life of this space. To know its growth is to know what contains the least life, for its life is its wisdom, subject to a higher life or progression. Every strata of the earth is a representation of development. So one generation gives way to another more advanced, which lives on the latter.

As the earth is composed of all the elements of man, when it had passed through all the generations of life, so as man came forth, he was the substance of all the life of the earth. Man was first in this visible space with God or wisdom before he became visible to the living things on the earth. When his life began to act in matter, then it took form. This was man. I will show you that man reasons about himself as the world reasons about the earth. The doctors and chemists analyze men and beasts just as they do the earth. Neither supposes there is any intelligence outside of what they analyze but think man's body is like the earth and disease is in it or can get into it, also that man has nothing to do with it; but this is not the case.

Seed did not make itself. It is the offspring of some life. And as man is the offspring of all the living, it is not strange that his growth as well as that of the earth should be encumbered by the errors of his predecessors. You will find traces of the development of the earth, following along with its growth; so superstition or the lower life often shows itself in the more enlightened lives. The body like the earth is the birthplace of both. And the battle is whether the life of progression shall rule, or the life of oppression, for where one is absent the other rules. Oppression is the next stratum above pressure. The stone's power is to press everything under it; ignorance is the same and might is right. When that is conquered by error or by wisdom just enough to keep clear, then its power departs and dies and it is buried. Over its grave springs up a wiser growth which flourishes for a time till some new life is introduced and another battle is fought and the dead are buried in their own ruins.

The earth developed itself by these strata until the brute creation appeared. Then contending parties sprang up. The wiser overpowered the weaker and the earth began to bring forth grass and yield its fruits, for the minerals were not known to them. At last the life of the human species came forth. Now to suppose that the man of our age contains the same combination of life as the first men did is to suppose that the wisdom of man has never progressed. Man is made up of opinions of truth and error and his life is a warfare like all other lives before him. Everyone's hand is against his brother, for truth and error claim the idea man.

Wisdom is the son of God and error is the son of the lower life of animals. These two characters are as easily distinguished from each other as light from darkness. If the animal life is predominant, then man is arbitrary and superstitious. If wisdom is predominant, it can be shown. The earth, like man, is analyzed and geologists can trace life up to human beings. The earth is examined, phenomena are discovered and philosophers have reasoned and traced the mineral into the vegetable and the vegetable into the animal kingdom. But their causes are not attributed to a wisdom outside and apart from all that is seen. So the medical faculty have traced disease down from Adam to the present time, not thinking that their own ignorance is the very cause of the phenomenon they are trying to explain.

The earth commences like a child and every stratum shows the rise and fall of some lower life. That part of the globe that would be called the least intelligent or showing the least life represents the child. It may have seed but it cannot come forth, any more than a child. It can grow and as the identity of the child dies, its life is transferred to another identity or stratum. So the earth's life passes through the ignorance of the mineral kingdom, buries its mother, and out of the covering or stratum the vegetable life springs but brings some of its mother or mineral life and phenomena are seen, half mineral, half vegetable. Thus the earth has been growing and developing itself like man, but man is a life of a higher stratum of the earth. So he brings into his life all the elements of all the other lives. When man commences, he is like the earth. He is made of all the lives of the lower kingdoms and his growth is to cover up the dead or ignorance of his birth. So he grows in size and intellect, ridding himself of his old matter. The growth of his body, he gets from the other lives and it is of his own existence, but eternal life is from wisdom or God. This wisdom was in the first life of man. But it could not come forth till the lower life or strata were fully developed to make the soil fit to bring it forth. And when it sprang up, lower lives appeared also.

Here must be a battle between the life of man and the life of Science or God. The latter has prevailed over the lower in nearly all discoveries except theology and pathology, or religion and disease. These two phenomena are so plainly discerned in man as tornadoes or disease are in the vegetable world. So far the higher or scientific man has not arrived at an age to bring forth this new kingdom, so the powers of darkness prevail and will until the time of reformation or investigation comes. Then opinion will see that there is a science or wisdom superior to itself. It is the science of analyzing the errors or phenomena of man. The chemist can analyze mineral and vegetable life. But man never thinks that all these developments of the earth are the natural result of ignorance, preparing for a higher development of man. When man goes on developing error upon error till he is buried in his own belief, it makes him but little higher than the animal kingdom. But the wisdom of science is to explain the phenomenon of man called disease, to show how they are made and how they can be unmade. This is as much a science as to decompose a piece of metal, which is one of the natural phenomena of ignorance in itself. No one supposes that the animal, mineral or vegetable life is aware of itself, how it is affected, or how to account for any phenomena that takes place. So the natural man is just as ignorant of the misery he brings upon himself as the beast. Both are the natural development of matter and the priest and doctor is the link between the animal and the scientific life. Neither has developed one single idea of wisdom, but they are the stratum for the scientific man to commence with. Their ideas are the field and their opinions are the tares to be pulled up and burned. When the axe of science is laid at the root of their opinions, you will see disease die and be buried in its own ruin. Out of its soil will rise up wise men, who will rid the world of its errors and its sins. Their iniquities shall be sealed up and the places where their opinions were once believed shall believe them no more forever.

So ends the old theory of religion and the creation of disease. Instead of curing disease, the doctors make it. The battle of disease is waged by the priests and doctors against ignorance. The doctors through their ignorance make the phenomenon. Their error calls it disease, their reason about the cure is a belief, and if they succeed in making the patient believe, his ignorance corrects his error sometimes and health is restored. Now if the child was never deceived, the phenomenon of disease would never happen any more than among the brutes, but our mode of reasoning makes disease. The diseases of brutes are like these of men and men differ in regard to them as much as some men and brutes. If disease was fashionable, you would not see so much labor used to get rid of it. Take a person whose disease makes him feel as though he wanted to be noticed; it is very hard to cure him. Quimby

Disease and Its Cause

from Quimby, The Complete Writings, Volume I

Disease is as old as man's existence, but the causes of it have never been explained. Various causes have been given. The ancients admitted disease and then tried to show that it arose from the people's habits of living. The Epicurian philosophers tried to show that man by his own acts caused his disease. Lucretius, one of the pupils of Epicurus, contended that man is the cause of his own misery by his own belief. He does not use these words, but I shall show that that was what he meant. And being misrepresented, his ideas have never found their way into the minds of the Christians of our day because he showed that the religion of his day was the cause of all the disease and trouble that men suffered. To show this was his labor in his poem that has never been understood. The reader will see, by going back one-hundred years before Jesus, how the people were excited by the religion of that time. To see what Lucretius had to contend with is to know what the people believed in. The effect of religion on the people, Lucretius showed in his poem. I will give some extracts.

He says, "Indeed mankind in wretched bondage held and lay groveling on the ground, galled by the yoke of what is called religion. From the sky, this tyrant showed her head and with grim looks hung over us poor mortals here below until a man of Greece with steady eye dared look her in the face and first oppose her power. Here not the fear of Gods nor thunderous roar kept back, nor threatening tumults of the sky, but still the more they roused the active virtue of his aspiring soul as he pressed forward to break through nature's scanty bounds, his mind's quick force prevailed. And so he passed by far the flaming portals of this world and wandered with his comprehensive soul o'er all the mighty space. From thence returned triumphant, told us what things may have a being and what may not and how a finite power is fixed to each a bond it cannot break. And so religion which we feared before, by him subdued, we tread upon in turn. His conquest makes us equal to the Gods."

It is generally believed that the writers of the Epicurian philosophy were men that opposed everything that was good, but they are misrepresented. They opposed the errors and superstitions of their day and to do this was to show that the heathen mythology was based on nothing but a belief. So he shows the absurdity of their religion. The Pythagoreans held to the transmigration of souls. A poet who lived about a hundred years before Lucretius affirmed that the "soul of Homer was in his body; but that he might not injure Pluto, he bequeathed to the infernal mansion not the soul nor the body but the ghost which the ancients held to be a third nature of which together with the body and soul the whole man consisted." Speaking of this class of philosophers, Lucretius says, "And yet the nature of the soul we know not, whether formed with the body or at the birth infused and then by death cut off she perishes as bodies do, or whether she descends to the dark caves and dreadful lakes of hell, or after death inspired with heavenly instinct, she returns into the brutes as our great Ennius sang, who first a crown of laurels ever grew brought down from Helicon, describes the stately places of Acheron where neither our souls nor bodies ever come, but certain spectres strange and wondrous pale." But then he goes on to say that he shall search into the soul what her nature is and what meets our wakeful eyes and frights the mind, and how by sickness and by sleep oppressed, we think we see or hear the voice of these who died long since, whose moldering bones rot in the cold embrace of the grave. "These terrors of the mind, this darkness, these not the sun's beams nor the light ray of day can we dispel, but nature's light and reason whose first principles shall be my guide." This taught him that nothing was by nothing made, therefore could not produce something and every effect had a cause. Now these strange ghosts and spirits are all the inventions of man not of God. Yet to man they are something. But ask where they come from and how they got here, then comes the mystery. Now Lucretius shows that man is matter dissolved and like all other matter passed into space, and the matter was seen by those who believed in spirits. Here was where he failed. He proved that every effect had a cause and as these spirits are nothing, they have no cause or beginning.

His theory was that matter, like seeds, dissolves and each seed retains the elements of the whole lump. This reasoning he carried into man, so that man like all nature dissolves and passes into space and each particle or seed contains the whole of man's life. This was the cause of their strange spectres being seen that the people called spirits and ghosts. Their fear produced it by their imagination. This was his theory, and as far as he reasoned, his theory cannot be refuted. His starting point was light and reason. This taught that nothing cannot produce something, for if a thing could spring from nothing, what need is there for bodies to grow. And if nothing could produce something, then man might spring up out of the ground, grain from the sea and fish live on the land. But everything shows that all things have their causes and all phenomena must come from something. This shows that imagination is either something or nothing. And if a person imagines a thing and the thing appears, it shows that it has a cause outside of the thing seen. Now all these things have been seen and thousands more and there is proof to show that spirits, ghosts, spectres and strange delusions are matter moved without the aid of the natural man. And all these phenomena are so well attested to that it is folly in any one to deny the last. Among the strange phenomena are diseases, for disease is one of the great proofs that these things are among the things believed.

The ancient philosophers were promulgating certain truths as they thought and to live up to them was their religion. They did not have creeds as the people of our day do but a sort of philosophy that governed their lives according to the science of philosophy. The Pythian philosophy consisted of searching into the laws of mathematics. This would teach them causes and effects, so all their acts were governed by their wisdom and their happiness was the fruit of their religious philosophy. Plato believed in one great cause and matter in an invisible state, subject to a power. Here he, like all the rest of the philosophers, loses man. Now according to my own experience, matter is a substance to the one that believes it, but to suppose that matter exists independent of wisdom is not in the power of man to prove. So if matter is an idea, it is very easy to see that it is entirely under the control either of our belief or our wisdom. Now here are the two powers: one wisdom and the other belief. Now belief admits matter as a substance, wisdom admits it as a belief. Wisdom speaks it into existence and to belief it is a reality. I will now show how a belief can create matter and yet to wisdom it is nothing. To do this, I must assume to know what I am going to do. So if I can make a person believe a thing, I impart to him a sort of wisdom (I call it wisdom because it is the highest he has and he thinks it wisdom but I know it is not wisdom but an error). Now to the person, it is wisdom after I convince him of its truth, so I must prove it to the person to establish the fact.

I will take a person and perform a mesmeric experiment and satisfy the person that it is performed. Now he knows that I have done it. This to him is true, but he believes he cannot do it. I tell him he can do the same. So he tries and I produce the phenomenon myself, but he thinks he does it. In this way, he gets confidence and does it himself. Now he, in his belief, does the very thing I do. Now I am in his belief and he knows it not and thinks it is himself. So now he uses the wisdom he gets from me to perform his experiments. Suppose I tell him that the spirits can make him move a table. This he does not believe. By my arguments, I affect his belief till it is sufficient to move a table. Now his belief will not give me the credit but gives it to the spirits showing that my wisdom is a spirit to him. Now this wisdom that I impart can see the spirits and he creates them under this belief and to him they are spirits. But to me they are the spirits of his own make. Now to him this is matter, so he can be made to believe that bodies can be moved, but to wisdom it is not matter.

Matter supposes distance between like our senses, that is, one chair must be not as another chair, so our senses are divided into five. Now with wisdom, there is no division only as wisdom makes it. Senses are swallowed up in wisdom and there can be no space. So everything is present. The difference between wisdom and belief is this: wisdom is never deceived; belief is never certain but always changes. Man is like a town. The inhabitants are the intelligence and the identity of the town is the same. The locality is the same always although the intelligence is always changing. Yet, every person admits the identity of the town. But its inhabitants or intelligence are always changing and improvements are going on showing the growth of the intelligence, not of the town or the ground on which the town is built.

So God makes the ground or identity called body and gives it an identity called man. This is under the wisdom of man until it is able to act of itself, when man's body like a city or town is governed by the inhabitants or wisdom of the town. As a town is made up of different talent, so man is made up of different ideas and sometimes one set rules and sometimes another. Man is not a unit but is governed by a city or nation and is liable to be deceived by false ideas into a belief that gets up a sort of rebellion. All this is the working of matter. So diseases and revolutions take place and sometimes the inhabitants flee from their enemies, but this is the working of matter. There seems to be a sort of inconsistency in regard to God. If God knows and rules all things, how could there be another power that seems to be contradictory to what we call God's wisdom?

Now according to my theory that mind is matter, it looks very plain to me that there should be a conflict going on in man as in nations. For there is a regular grade of matter from the mineral to the animal creation. And there is a regular grade of intelligence that corresponds to the matter. Now as the matter of vegetables and animals are connected, it is not strange that every person should partake of the elements of each. Yet we all admit that the mineral and vegetable life acts just as it was intended by God; but when man steps in, he reasons that God is not quite up to the intelligence of man and we try to reconcile God to man, not man to God. This is natural as our breath. Man wants to rule his fellow man and even dictate to God what is best for mankind.

Now look at man's mind, partaking of all the elements of knowledge of the lower animal creation acting in man, warring against the higher intelligence of matter or mind. Then you will see that man is the center or land of all the intellect of the brute creation, as the United States is the house of refuge for the scapegoats of all nations. So these elements in man as well as in nations are warring against themselves. So as man's body is the bounds of his identity as a man, his knowledge has its bounds as an intellectual man. So when we speak of a man, we embrace his body and his knowledge as one, just as we speak of a city. For instance, if we speak of Portland, we speak of it as a city of intelligence according to our ideas of wisdom, so we confound the city with the intelligence. Every citizen of Portland will admit there are parties and sects that come in conflict with each other and sometimes one party rules and sometimes another. Now the dominant party reasons that it is right and the other wrong. Then perhaps the next season the tables are turned; "the outs" are in and "the ins" are out. So no person will deny but there is a difference in regard to the intelligence of parties, yet every one will say that his party is right. Now there are certain facts admitted by every person that can't be disputed that shows there is a difference between what is called intelligence.

For instance, the brute is not blamed for being a brute nor is God blamed because he made man superior to the brute in this, that the man when developed can produce what the brute cannot. Not that man in his original state is above the brute, but man like the earth is capable of being cultivated beyond the brute, but the wisdom that develops man is not of man. But the earth brought forth all living things that hath life, but wisdom or science never came from the earthly man. So as life is out of the earth or animal matter, there is a natural grade so that every person can tell his place in society if he only has the wit to acknowledge it, and if he won't, the intelligence of the world will place him where he belongs. I will illustrate what I have said to show that there is a standard to test the plane of man's intellect. No person will call two dogs fighting with each other equal to two human beings, yet, they don't find fault with God but look upon the dogs as a lower development of matter or mind. Now suppose a being in the shape of a man should be found fighting with a dog, would any person place him on the same grade with a man of higher intelligence? Would not such a person place him with the dog, and if he is on a level with the dog, then God is not to blame for his acts any more than he is for the dog. But the higher intelligence ought to look upon him as a being that makes a link between the dog and a higher development.

So if you trace the working of the mind in man, you will find that man is now largely identified with the brute and is not to be condemned for his brutal feeling. Once admitted as such, you don't keep a dog that growls at you and even would like to bite you, but you don't expect anything better. Now that intellect which is nearly on a level with the brute shows itself opposing everything that goes to restrain its acts, but at the same time shows its brutal instinct by fighting down everything that will not bow to its own will, showing no wisdom of doing to another as you would have another do to you. This is the point where the man ceases or breaks the link between the brute and the human species. This step taken opens the door for reason, which the brutal man never does. His reason is all on one side, that he is the lord and his will is law and if he can't have his own way he goes for destroying them. With man and beast, it is rule or ruin. Now this is all as God intended and man, as I said, is like a new country unexplored, full of every kind of ideas that is embraced in the world. Quimby, 1864

See Also

As a Man Thinketh
How Idea Becomes Matter or Disease
Keely - Cure of Disease
Keelys Secrets - Part 2 - One Phase of Keelys Discovery in Its Relation to the Cure of Disease
Mind in Matter
Mind over Matter
Part 23 - Harmony is Health - Discord is Disease
Quimby - Lecture Notes Book VI
Sympathetic Vibration in Healing
1.4 - Etheric Mind Force in Healing
Page last modified on Sunday 23 of July, 2017 04:53:12 MDT

Search For a Wiki Page

Last-Visited Pages