Life

 

August 1860

 

by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

 

When we speak of life, we speak of it as though it was a thing. Now there are as many kinds of life as there are birds or fish or anything that grows. The life of a plant is not the same as that of a tree. Neither is the life of man the same as that of a beast. All life is matter, and it lives on life or matter. Therefore, man is made up of life and death. This life is all the time changing, so that we live on life that we get from others. Ideas are matter, and of course, they contain life.

We eat or receive life in the wrong sense. For instance, the Jews, when they ate pork, thought that they ate life; for their belief was that it would produce a disease. So that although the pork was dead, yet its life would rise again in the form of scrofula. So not to have that life in them, they would not eat pork. Now as absurd as this idea is, it is the basis of all our knowledge. How often are we reminded not to eat or drink such things.

Now just look at our beliefs. We all admit that animal food has life in it. So we eat it, as life; for when we say it is so far decayed that it is not good, then we look upon it as poison. So we receive into our stomach life, as though it really added to our life or strength. How often do we talk about fat making us warmer, etc. Now all these ideas are the result of error and the fruits of disease. Does the dog eat meat, as though it had life? No. He eats it as though it was dead and expects no bad effect from it. So it is with all living life, but man. Man has reasoned himself into a belief that all he eats and drinks contains life, and this life is his enemy, if he does not look out for it. So it keeps him on the lookout, what kind of life is in him. Although his life is death, yet his belief is life, and he is affected by his belief.

Now when I eat or drink, the life that was in the substance eaten is dead to me and has no life in it. So I am not afraid in eating pork that I shall become a swine or in eating turkey that I shall become one. Nor am I afraid if I listen and take a person's feelings of scrofula, and any other disease, that I shall have it; for the life of the disease is in the person who believes it.

Now what is the weapon that destroys this life or disease? Science! This is eternal, and to have that, destroys all other life. This is to the animal life, death. So life or science, to the natural man, is nothing that contains life. It is a sort of principle, but this is the only living and true life. This was what “rose from the dead” or natural life.

Man, in his natural state, was no more liable to disease than the beast. But as soon as he began to reason, he became diseased, for his disease was in his reason; therefore his reason was his life, which made him afraid of his reason. This the doctors call “nervousness,” and to prevent this nervous life, they introduce this enemy in everything we eat and drink.

Now let man get rid of these blind guides, and follow the command of God, to take no thought of what you shall eat or drink as having anything to do with your health. Look first for the science of every phenomenon, and pay no attention to your food, any more than the rest of God's creatures. If man was as wise in regard to what goes into his stomach as the beast, he would be much better off. Let the health alone.

Seek how to enlighten man in science, and as science is developed, man becomes wise and happy. His life is in his knowledge, and his knowledge is a science. So to put his science into practice for his own happiness is to correct some error that man has embraced; and to prove the science is to take something that man is troubled about, in the form of disease, and correct his opinion, so that it changes his health.

— August, 1860

P. P. Quimby

 

Version form The Quimby Manuscripts

When we speak of life we speak of it as, though it were a thing. But there are as many kinds of life as there are 391birds or fishes or anything which grows, and the life of a plant is not the same as that of a tree; neither is the life of man the same as that of a beast. All life is the result of the chemical action of some idea, so that life is matter, and it lives on life or matter; therefore the material man is made up of life and death. This life is continually changing, so that we live on life which we receive from others. Ideas are [spiritual] matter and of course they contain life.

We eat or receive life in the wrong sense. For instance, the Jews when they ate pork thought they ate life, for their belief was that it would produce a disease: although the pork was dead it would rise again in the form of scrofula. So to avoid having that life in them they would not eat pork.

Now, as absurd as this idea is, it is the basis of our knowledge about disease. How often are we reminded not to eat such and such things. We all admit that animal food has life in it. So we eat it as life; for when we say that it is so far decayed that it is not good we look on it as poison. So also we receive life into our stomach as though it really added to our life or strength. How often we talk about fat making us warmer. All these ideas are the result of error and their fruits are disease.

Does the dog eat meat as though it had life? No, he eats it as "dead" and expects no bad effects from it. So it is with all living beings but man. Man has reasoned himself into a belief that all he eats and drinks contains life, and this life or food is his enemy or friend according to his belief. Thus he is kept continually on the watch what kind of food he receives. Although the life or food that he receives contains the idea of death, yet his belief is that he lives, and he is affected by his belief.

Now when I eat or drink, the life that was in the substance eaten is dead to me, and has no life in it. So I am not afraid in eating pork of any bad effects. Neither am I afraid if I listen and take a person's feelings arising from scrofula or any other disease that I shall have the disease, for the life of the disease is in the person who believes it.

What is the weapon that destroys this life or disease? Science. This is eternal, and that destroys all other life. This is to the animal life, death. So Science to the natural man is nothing that contains life. But this Science is a Principle. This is the only living and eternal life. This Science is what rose from the dead or natural life.

392Man in his natural state was no more liable to disease than the beast. But as soon as he began to reason he became diseased, for his disease was in his reason. Therefore his reason was his life, and this made him afraid of his reason. This the doctors called nervousness, and to prevent this nervous life they introduced disease in certain things we eat or drink.

Let man rid himself of these blind guides and follow the command of God, and take no thought of what he shall eat or drink as having anything to do with his health and he will then be much better off. Seek first Science at the appearance of every phenomenon, and pay no attention to your food any more than the rest of God's creatures do. If man were as wise in regard to what goes into his stomach as the beast he would be much better off. Let the health alone. Seek to enlighten man in Science; and as Science is developed man will become wise and happy. This life is in his wisdom and his wisdom is a science. To put his science into practice for his own happiness is to correct some error that he has embraced. To prove the science to others is to take something that man is troubled about in the form of a disease which creates unhappiness, and correct the opinion so that health is established.

I have shown that there is no matter independent of mind or life. It is proved by geologists that matter is going through a process of change which is called life. Then life is in the atmosphere or space. And if life is in a state invisible to matter it may fill all space. In this space there must be diversity of matter or life, namely, the life of minerals, the life of vegetables, and the life of animals; and all these are in the atmosphere like the mist that went up from the earth at creation. Thus matter or life is in an invisible state to the visible matter, but governed by the same God. This makes the material earth or natural world. God made matter and condensed it into certain forms and elements that were necessary for man. And to be a combination of these it was necessary that there should be a chemical union of all matter dissolved into space before man could be formed. For man's body is made of the dust of this living matter.

As man contains all the elements of this material world 393or life, he is a miniature world in himself. This matter or life under the wisdom of God forms the identity of what is called the natural man, so that man,. spoken into being, was made up of all the elements of the material world. . . . The natural man commences his life in a higher state of matter. The field or garden in which he is placed is with all the creation of animal forms, and he is liable to all the evils which his life is capable of knowing. . . . It is not strange that phenomena should appear while man is so ignorant of what he is composed of which can be traced to the animal kingdom. All phenomena are the effect of what man receives from this animal life . . . and as his life is in his belief he reasons his life out of existence. Being a progressive process, his life has to contend with all the grosser life or matter of the animal. But as he is the rib or purest part of animal life, he contains the elements of knowledge, and this the lower life does not contain. . . .

— August, 1860

P. P. Quimby

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