My Use Of The Word Mind


August 1860


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


You know I have tried to prove that mind is spiritual matter; and if I have proved that, I will now show you that matter is life. This you will admit so far as vegetation is concerned. Now see if animal matter is not life. If so you see that man is made up of life. His body is particles of animal life condensed into a form or idea, called man, or a living being of life; not Science, but life is governed by Science. Now what is man when he is not man? for you say man dies. What is Science? Is it that wisdom which controls life? Is it not life? If it is then there is no word to define it, for life is matter, and matter is life. Animal life is in flesh and blood, so flesh and blood is not Science, but Science controls it. What are Wisdom's attributes? Has it an identity? The wisdom of man has an identity in a living form. Can you give any definite idea of what people mean by "the soul?" The one who invented the word must have applied it to an idea that never had an existence, for soul is always applied to life. We read of "fat souls" and "lean souls," and "saving souls and losing souls"; so that word cannot explain man when he is not man. When he is not man he is not soul, so we must get some other word to define what man is when he ceases to be matter.

I will now try to explain what man is, and what he is not; and show that what he is, he is not, and what he is not, he is. I will illustrate the two men so that each shall be a separate and distinct identity. I will take for my illustration the man as we see him, and Science as the man who cannot see through the natural man (for Science cannot be seen, only its effects) and show how they differ. The natural man is made of flesh and blood; Science is not. Man has life; Science is life. Man has sight; Science is sight. Man has feeling; Science is feeling. Man has all of the five senses; Science is all of the five senses. Man of himself cannot do anything; Science can do all things. Man is of matter; Science is not. Then what is man, independent of Science? Nothing but an idea of life and death. Then where does he differ from the brute, where does Science make the distinction? It makes no distinction. Who does? The first cause or God. How? In attaching Science to the identity called man. Then does Science have an identity? Yes. What is it? Wisdom or God. When you give it all its qualities, what kind of person is it? It is the Scientific man, not of flesh and blood, but of that world where error never comes. It speaks through man. What does? Its life or the wisdom. of God, How does it get its food? By the sweat of its brow, or the development of itself. Where does it differ from the natural man? In everything. Show by illustration. The natural man is nothing but an idea which Science uses to illustrate some fact or problem that is for the development of Science. Then what does man gain or lose by death as it is called? Just as much as any matter that is always changing.¹

— Aug. 1860.

P. P. Quimby

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