Spiritualism:
Death of the Natural Man

 

March 1861

 

by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

 

I am often asked where I differ from a spiritualist. In everything, but as this is an opinion I will try to make it clear. The spiritualists believe in the dead rising, and they sometimes say there is no such thing as death. Now let us see what their works show. The senses of the natural man are attached to his knowledge, and that is made of opinions, and so his senses are attached to his opinions. His opinions embrace all belief. So to destroy his belief is to destroy his life, for his life is in his belief, and a part of it.

Let us see what his belief embraces. In the first place he believes in matter, called living matter, that has life; for he says that life or matter must die or perish. Now here is the contradiction in the spiritualists' belief. They deny that the dead rise, but if the dead do not rise, what are the dead? You are pointed to a man lying motionless and to all appearance even according to a spiritualist, dead. Now is he dead, or is he not dead? The spiritualist may answer. He says the body is dead. Was it ever alive? You must say, "yes," for I point to a man moving around and ask if that man is dead and your answer is, "no." Then he must be a living man, and according to your belief we have a living man and a dead one. Now where do they differ? Here is the mystery, their belief like all others flies back to the old superstition which they have all believed: that the dead rise, and in this fog they get lost.

I will show you where I differ from spiritualists and in fact all other sects. If you will admit that mind is spiritual matter, for the sake of listening to my ideas, I will give you my theory. I assert that according to man's belief there are certain facts admitted and established beyond a doubt, and as my wisdom is not of this world or man's belief, only in part, it follows that what I know I have no opinion about. All knowledge that is of man is based on opinions. This I call this world of matter; it embraces all that comes within the so-called senses. Man's happiness and misery is in his belief, but the wisdom of science is of God, not of man.

To separate these two kingdoms is what I am trying to do, and if I can succeed in this I have accomplished what never has been done, but what has been the aim of the philosophers since the world began. The secret of life and happiness is the aim of all mankind, and how to get at it is the mystery that has baffled the wisdom of the world. I should never undertake the task of explaining what the wise men have failed to do but for the want of some better proof to explain phenomena that come under my own observation. The remedies have never destroyed the cause nor can the cause be destroyed by man's reason, and Science cannot admit what cannot be proved. Until some better proof of what we see and hear and feel can be produced the world must grope in darkness and skepticism.

I will separate the two worlds of which I am now speaking and show what one has failed to do, also that the other is not acknowledged as independent of the first. The world of opinions is the old world. That of Science is the new, and a separation must take place and a battle fought between them. The world of error and opinions has held Science in bondage ever since man began to be independent of savage life. The child of Science has been nourished in the bosom of its mother in the wilderness of error till it grew up so as to assume a character, then when it has undertaken to assume its rights it has always been met with the thunder of error. But as it is so much of a friend to the happiness of man, the enemies or error could never prevent its growth, for that was in the scientific world, and that world has no matter, or it is so rarified that error cannot see through it. So the scientific man can pass through the errors and instruct the child of Science till it bursts forth and becomes a man or law. Then the natural man or error destroys its leaders and falls down and worships the scientific laws, and acknowledges them as king of this world. As Science is now acknowledged, the kings of the earth are cut off and the kingdom is divided against itself; the leaders with their armies flee into the wilderness, there to rally for another attack when any new science is started. Now the Science of Life and Happiness is the one that has met with the most opposition from the fact that it is death to all opposers. It never compromises with its enemies, nor has it any dealings with them, Its kingdom is of Truth, not of error; therefore it is not of this world of matter.

I will state its laws, how much it admits, how much it condemns and how it puts its laws in force. Its habitation is in the hearts of men, it cannot be seen by the natural man, for he is of matter. All he has is his senses, there is his residence for the time, he has no abiding city, but is a traveler or sojourner in the world. His house is not made with hands but is in the scientific world. So his whole aim is the happiness of man. The scientific man sees through matter which is only an error acknowledged as a truth, although it is to the natural man a reality. As error holds on to all territory as under its power, it keeps the scientific man in slavery or bondage. So to keep the Science of Life down, men invent all sorts of humbugs in the shape of invisible things and attribute life to them, while they pretend to be the people's guide to wisdom. It is almost impossible to tell one character from another, as . both communicate through the same organs. As the scientific man has to prove his wisdom through the same matter that the natural man uses he is often misrepresented and put down by false stories of the errors of the natural man. This was where Jesus found so much trouble in His day, for the people could not tell who was speaking.

The scientific man was called by the natural man, "angel." So if an angel spoke he would listen. The natural man, being superstitious and ignorant, is easily led by the cunning errors of the world; the leaders, being crafty and superstitious, believe in every phenomenon which is produced, and they attribute it to a power from the invisible world. The locality of this world is the mystery, so all varieties of speculations are got up about it. It opens all the avenues of matter, through which to give the inhabitants "communications." But the natural man has possession of the mediums, so that the scientific man is misrepresented in nine-tenths of all he says. To be in the scientific world is to acknowledge a wisdom above the natural man, which will enter that world where wisdom sees through matter. This is the condition of those who are thrown into the clairvoyant state. To them matter is nothing but an idea that is seen or not, just as it is called out. [All of their senses are in this state but are under the control of the natural man. So it is always hard to establish a fact in this world that goes to destroy the power of the natural man.] The explanation is given by these blind guides, who have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, and hearts but cannot understand Science. They are afraid of the truth lest it destroy them, for the death of error is the introduction of the Science of Life and Happiness.

As the standards of parties are established by error; it is almost impossible to introduce any new science unless it is explained on some of the theories of the natural man. Thus all phenomena are thrown into the hands of blind guides who have pronounced judgment upon everything that has appeared. Whenever anyone shows a phenomenon, the priest and doctor catch the idea out of the mouth of the author and explain it on some theory already known to the people. The theory of health is one that has come up many times and failed because of the blindness of the wise, so that it has now almost become a terror to the one who had boldness enough to stand up and face the blind leaders of the blind. [You see that Jesus could not stand up against so powerful an enemy, for the instant he spoke, they would put a false construction on his every word. So they turned the word of God to no effect by their theories and traditions. Thus you see that with the people the wisdom of the science of life had no foundation but was like a house built upon the sand; when the wind of science blew upon it and the tide of public opinion came, it must fall and be destroyed. But unto this science men have raised altars with this inscription: "to the unknown God." I will say to these guides, This science that you ignorantly worship, I will declare unto you. First of all, you know that mankind are in the dark so far as their life is concerned; that man is all his life subject to disease and death; also that it was foretold that Christ should come and lead man back to God.]

This Christ whom you crucify by your theories, is the same that Jesus taught eighteen hundred years ago. It was taught by the prophets of old and has always been in the world, but has never been applied to the curing of disease, although false Christs have arisen and deceived the people, and the true Christ has been crucified by the priest and doctor to this time.

I will now try to establish this science or rock and upon it I will build the Science of Life. The starting-point is animal matter or life which set in action, leads to thought. Thoughts, like grains of sand, are held together by their own sympathy or attraction. The natural man is composed of these particles of thought combined and arranged to make a form called man. As thought is always changing, so man is always throwing off particles or thoughts and receiving others.

As man's senses are in his wisdom, and his wisdom is attached to his idea or body, his change of mind is under one of the two directions, either of this world of opinions, or of God or Science and his happiness or misery is the result of his thought. As the idea man has always been under the wisdom of this world, the scientific man has always been kept down, from the fact that no man has ever risen to that state where the scientific man could control the wisdom of the natural man. This has always caused man to be at war with himself.. In this warfare if the natural man rules, disease and unhappiness are the fate of man. If Science rules, life and happiness are the reward.

Now I stand alone on this rock, fighting the errors of this world, and establishing the Science of Life by my works. What is my mode of warfare? With the axe of truth, I strike at the root of every tree of error and hew it down, so that there shall not be one error in man showing itself in the form of disease. My knowledge is my wisdom and is not matter or opinion. It decomposes the thoughts, changes the combinations and produces an idea clear from the error that makes a person unhappy or diseased. You see I have something to reason about, and this something is eternal life, which is in Science and is what Jesus tried to establish.

If I can show that man's happiness is in his belief and his misery is the effect of his belief then I shall have done what never has been done before. Establish this and man rises to a higher state of wisdom not of this world, but of that world of Science which sees that all human misery can be corrected by this principle, as well as the evil effects of error. Then the Science of Life will take place with other sciences. Then in truth can be said "Oh! death (or error) where is thy sting. Oh! grave where is thy victory!" The sting of ignorance is death. But the wisdom of Science is life eternal.

I will show the world's reasoning and how I reason. I will take the oracles of the world, for all science of this world of opinions has oracles. These oracles of which I speak are those who pretend to instruct the people in regard to health and happiness. The first is the clergy, for they take the lead in everything pertaining to man's happiness. I will ask them what they think of Jesus, His mission if He had any, and of what advantage it was to the world. They reply that the world had gone so far astray that it was necessary to send Jesus Christ into the world to convince man of a future state of rewards and punishments, that he might repent and be saved. If this is true I ask why did Jesus devote so much time to the sick?

(Oracle) To show that He came from God.

(Q) What does that prove? If I cure a person does it prove that I come from God?

(O) No, but do you make yourself equal with Christ?

(Q) Have you any proof of anything that you never saw and is only an opinion?

(O) The Bible.

(Q.) Does the Bible speak for itself or does someone explain it?

(0) We must take the Bible as our guide to truth.

Let us now sum up the wisdom which this oracle has delivered. All of his wisdom is founded on an opinion that there is another world and that Jesus came from that world to communicate the fact to the inhabitants of this one. The happiness of man is not increased by this theory, because this oracle cannot cure the sick. Now Jesus cured the sick and said if they understood Him they might do the same. We want a theory like that of Jesus, not of talk but of words, for a theory that cannot be put into practice is worthless.

My oracle is Jesus: He proves the goodness of wisdom. Jesus was the oracle and Christ the wisdom shown through this man for the happiness of the sick who had been deceived by the other two classes, priest and doctor. God or Wisdom has seen how these blind guides had robbed the widow and the poor of their treasures, deserted them and left them forsaken and despairing, dependent upon the charity of a wicked world.

This wisdom developed itself through the man Jesus and He fearlessly stood up and denounced these blind guides as hypocrites and devils. [He showed how their theories affected the people and also that they were in direct opposition to all science and good feeling, and he introduced a new theory, a more excellent priesthood or science which had no sacrifice of feeling but took upon itself our infirmities and explained them for the happiness of man. What was it that Jesus wanted to communicate to the world? One simple fact that man was a progressive being, that his happiness and misery were of his own make, that his belief is his wisdom and if it is founded on an opinion, it was liable to make him unhappy.

To separate the truth from the error is a science, the knowledge of which teaches how to correct an error or disease and in this knowledge is eternal life. Jesus never intended to teach the people a belief in another world. His words and acts showed them that their beliefs were false and that they were the cause of their misery. But this they could not understand, and being in their belief, their belief became a part of their identity. As they were taught to believe in spirits, their misery was attributed to them. And as error begets error, the people were tormented by their own belief. It never entered into the minds of these blind leaders that as a man sows, so shall he reap, for action and reaction are equal. The knowledge of science was not general and that the belief of man had anything to do with his health was a thing not dreamed of. All that was believed was something that could not be seen, so the prophets prophesied of someone coming from heaven.

Now if heaven was not something that the people believed in, away and apart from this earth, then it would not have been in the prophesies. So this heaven was an established fact and all their controversies were in regard to it. They introduced all sorts of mediums that purported to come from and have communications from that place. There was the dwelling of God and all religious theories were based upon the belief that there was another world where God dwelt and where He ordered all things according to His own will. Absurd as this is, man is made of this composition, for man is only a mass of matter or ideas, combined together by a wisdom superior to the matter of which the ideas are formed. Science is not recognized in this belief. For it belongs to that class of minds which have never risen to a state where they can discern that man can perceive anything independent of his natural senses. To this class of minds whatever is not established is a mystery.

If a lead ball is thrown into the water it sinks to the bottom, that is a fact. If a wooden ball is also thrown into the water it floats, and then comes the mystery. A medium from the other world is required to explain the phenomenon. Argument is of no force. The explanation must come from God, and thus it is with every mysterious phenomenon-supernatural power only can explain it. Thus man is kept constantly excited to understand every little thing that happens. He never has thought that heaven and hell were a part of his belief and consequently a part of himself, but he believes that these two places are independent of himself and he is liable to go to one or the other after he is dead. So he lives in hell all his life, trying to get to heaven, but never gets there for it is always at a distance, and he is always looking for a savior to save him from hell. How often we hear very good people say that they are weary of this wicked world and they long to be with Christ, showing that they are not there now, but hope to be. You see that their faith contains a belief, not a substance. The faith that is of man is merely a belief in something not obtained, for when the substance is obtained, then faith or belief is lost in the substance and they have what they hoped for.

Was Jesus' faith a belief? No, His faith was the substance of our belief and that substance was Christ. Jesus put his faith in practice for the happiness of man. This substance or Christ or faith is something intended to be applied to man, and Jesus put this in practice for his happiness. The question arises, Has it an identity? Answer, it has; it is all that ever had an unchangeable identity. It is wisdom itself but the Christian's faith is an opinion about this wisdom. I have said that Jesus' faith had an identity and to this his senses were attached. This Jesus could say to his faith, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." What did this Christ strive to do? It strove to enter the heart of man and teach him how to break away from his errors and learn the truth. Jesus taught Christ and put it in practice by his works. Do the Christians do the same? No. They preach about it, so their faith is not of works but a belief. The world is no wiser or better for it.

To prove your faith in music is to play a tune on an instrument by your faith or science, not to talk about music, telling about how beautiful it is. The Science of Health which Jesus taught was practiced by his faith or wisdom and his instrument was man. He took man after he had been beaten, bruised and deceived by the priests and doctors and applied his science or Christ to put him in tune, so that he could sing psalms to the one living and true science and appreciate Jesus as the medium for "he hath opened the seventh seal" that can correct the errors of man who shall be saved from disease and misery. How does Jesus stand by the side of his pretended followers? He talked and taught his Christ to the people. Priest and doctor talk about it. Here is a vast difference. Jesus put intelligence in the Christ or science; the Christians put no intelligence in Christ or science but apply all the intelligence to Jesus, calling the Christ a power. The difference has always been kept up; the natural man cannot see intelligence in anything he cannot understand.

Therefore Christ or intelligence of Jesus is to him a power or mystery and he wanted to know whence it came. This ignorance on the part of the priests and people originated all their speculation about Jesus. The Christ or higher intelligence was shrouded in darkness to them, for they could not see why he, merely a man, should be more than a man.

Everyone knows that a clairvoyant state is different from the natural state. Let me illustrate what all will admit. Persons in a clairvoyant state can talk, using the same organs as when awake. They also have every faculty which they have in their waking state, independent of the natural body, and space and time may or may not be annihilated. They act entirely independently of anyone and when awakened may not remember anything that has been going on. Here you see a being acting independently of the natural body or the identity of flesh and blood, with all the organs and senses of the natural man. Now where is this identity when the natural man is acting, for both cannot be acting at the same time? Everyone will perceive that if a man could retain his reason and natural senses and at the same time be conscious of the other state, he would be a man beside himself, thus making two living intelligences in one identity, acting through one medium. Thus the clairvoyant man could correct the errors of the man of flesh and blood and keep him in subjection to his wisdom. This was Jesus Christ. To have this Christ was to be born again or receive the higher wisdom. This wisdom or Christ was the mystery to mankind. This was the Christ that should reign till all error should be subject to it. Disease, being the off-spring of error, deceives the people, making them nervous, sick, and liable to death, for all this is matter and belongs to the man of flesh and blood. But it is the design of wisdom that matter should be the servant of this clairvoyant man or science; therefore when Jesus received this wisdom, he became God and man. When the man spoke, it was like anyone else, but when the Christ spoke, it spoke not as a man, for that is of God or wisdom from above. Jesus taught the people to distinguish by their works the true Christ from the false. It must have proved its source by works, for he says, "Not everyone who says I am Christ is so himself, but he that doeth the will of the wisdom that sent me."

Let us see if a test can be found such as Jesus laid down. When he called his disciples together he gave them power over all unclear spirits and sent them forth to heal the sick. Here is the test of the clairvoyant or Christ power or wisdom. How did he apply it when he cured disease? Of course, if he was in this state all the time, all things were present to him so that not a sparrow could fall to the ground unnoticed by him, not Jesus, for although the Christ was made known through Jesus, it was only made known according to the necessities of the time when he, Jesus, lived. I will take one of his miracles to show that Jesus and Christ acted together. When the centurion came to Jesus to tell him that his servant was sick, Jesus was not aware of the fact but immediately became subject to his clairvoyant state, saw the servant and administered unto him. Then he said to the centurion, Go thy way, and according to thy faith so it shall be unto thee. So the centurion left and the servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Now this is as plain to me as any cure I ever performed. This was not a power but a higher wisdom that the world knows not of.

I will now introduce myself, showing that I cure in the same way. Everyone knows that there is a difference in clairvoyance. Subjects differ in the direction of their minds. I do not practice clairvoyance except with the sick and I will show others how to be clairvoyant like myself. I said that a clairvoyant does not remember what he says in his sleep. To put a person into a clairvoyant state is to change him from one state to another; so as he loses his natural senses, he embraces the other senses or clairvoyant state till he is completely lost to this world of matter. I will show how I first discovered this state. This state is progression, not imitation, but independent clairvoyance. When I first began to mesmerize and as I became interested in the experiments, I found that the subject could see through matter. I could not help believing this and it showed me that matter could be seen through by a clairvoyant; so it became not an opinion but a truth to me. I also found that all that man's senses embraced could be seen and felt by a person whose bodily senses were dead, if we judged by the body. All this became a wisdom, not a belief, but a part of my identity. So what is a belief to the world concerning these things was to me a truth. My next aim was to become a clairvoyant myself, and as I became convinced that matter was only a medium for our wisdom to act through, I could see how it could be transformed and the senses or clairvoyant state be attached to any idea the natural man might think of. The two kinds of reasoning make up the natural man. Both modes of reasoning can be carried into the clairvoyant state for this does not embrace reason.

To make a good clairvoyant, one must, beginning on earth, rid himself of all beliefs in every theory of man; and as he sees the absurdity of his own opinions, he becomes lighted up in another atmosphere where he feels the discord of this world. He then becomes sensitive to the errors and opinions of man; they affect him and make him nervous. All his senses become entirely independent of his natural will or senses; then he is two persons. This is my state as far as regards the sick. When I sit by the sick and take them by the hand, I feel a sensation. This affects me, and the sensation is produced by something coming within my senses as a man of flesh and blood. This excites the spiritual or scientific man and the senses being freed from matter or opinion see the natural man or opinion that causes the trouble. As I retain two identities, I see the error and explain it to the natural senses. These are set at rest and harmony is restored. I cannot find language to explain this so that you will understand it. I will take the science of mechanics to illustrate these two principles. The word statics is used in calculating stationary powers as weighing on scales, hoisting from a vessel by a cable, dropping a dead weight, etc. All this combines action and reaction. They constitute and come under the head of statics. The natural man and even the brutes have a knowledge of this. The principle of dynamics is from a higher wisdom known only to statics as a mystery. Here is where the foundation of science commences.

Dynamics, like clairvoyance, puts man in possession of a higher wisdom, so that a man understanding the science can see through the statics or natural man. An experiment of this wisdom is seen in a person standing on board a vessel, hauling her up to a wharf with the line made fast on shore, while one standing on the wharf hauling in the vessel by a line made fast to the vessel acts upon statics. The difference is just one-half. The one on the vessel with half the power of the one on the wharf will be twice as long as the other, for he travels with the vessel. So it is with everything where the power moves with the weight or body to be moved. This is dynamics and it makes all the controversy in calculating powers that are in motion as steamboats, locomotives, etc. Man, being matter, is always in motion, for in this is his life. Like a steamboat, his time is calculated and the steam kept up by supplying food as the mind uses it up. His life depends upon two principles. The wisdom of the savage or natural man is all statics, or might is right. As he begins to progress, his life and happiness will be governed by a higher principle of wisdom. So as he loses in error, he must be supplied by wisdom or his force will destroy his body. For he is now a locomotive man instead of a sawmill. His machine is in motion and his sawmill calculation will not govern it. This holds good in every department of life. The dynamical calculation is based on progression. Statics or demagogism is different. Statics is darkness. Dynamics is light and the people are under one or the other of these two classes. All nations have shown that the principle of statics has governed, for as yet no nation has stood the test of time for all have broken to pieces when they have got up the steam. The regulator of dynamics has never been attached to the engine of wisdom, and until that is done, revolutions must take place. Then comes anarchy, confusion and tyranny, and the people have to yield to a superior power that keeps them in subjection till their fears are forgotten. Then they fire up again and blow to pieces. This principle holds good in nations as well as in individuals. Disease is the natural result of demagogism.]

— March, 1861.

P. P. Quimby

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