July 1860


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


You know I have spoken of odor. It is like the odor of any flower or vegetable and is what arises from an idea. Thought is a chemical change in the fluid, caused by a sensation produced on the mind. The mind is under the direction of a power independent of itself, and when the mind or thought is formed into an idea, the idea throws off an odor that contains the cause and effect.

For instance, a person is affected; the effect is called “nervousness.” This contains no knowledge to science; only an effect. Error or the natural man thinks knowledge is contained in it and tries to convince the patient of the truth of this science; which to the true science is false. The patient is more disturbed by this theory, and by the direction of this blind guide, an idea is formed which is held up to the patient's mind to receive a name. The mind or error of the doctor gives it the name of “consumption.” This disturbs the mind of the patient, which, like a galvanic battery, throws off sparks or ideas. And these ideas, being under a false direction, are formed into any disease that ignorance and superstition can invent.

Now the idea is formed, and as it grows it has a sort of intelligence which is not recognized by error; but admitted and called instinct. This odor or instinct contains the cause of the trouble, and the answer. But to error, this is a mystery. So it calls it a power or instinct and never looks upon it as anything that can be reduced to a science. This odor is the trouble called disease, but the doctors know nothing about that odor and think that what can be seen by their eyes is the disease or trouble.

This odor is what I come in contact with. It is the spiritual life of the idea; and by the doctors it is called “mind.” This embraces all they can comprehend; and this they make independent of the disease and never treat it as having anything to do with disease. In this way, they keep the soul in bondage, for fear of death. This odor is the soul's trouble, imprisoned in error. As the soul tries to escape, it becomes subject to error; and as long as error holds it in bondage, it is in death. Truth sets it free by destroying the error. All we see of this is in the prison, and that is not visible to the natural eye.

Not one-hundredth part of the misery of the human species is in what is called disease. Ninety-nine hundredths of human misery is in prisons not seen by the natural eyes. This misery is confined to the popular opinions of the day. The common opinion is the prison of the soul. Its destruction is the liberation of the soul from its earthly prison or error. From these prisons the smoke of their tormenting belief ascends; and when I come in contact with their grief or odor, I know the cause of the trouble. The trouble is a sort of intelligence and belongs to this world. It is a sort of instinct to the natural man, and has nothing to do with science.

— July, 1860

P. P. Quimby

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