The Book of Man


Sept. 25, 1862


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


Every person is a book of himself, a sort of library in which the life and acts are written and the trials which each has passed through in the progression of life's journey. The child is like a primer, full of stories, and his happiness and misery are in the amusement of his stories. As the child grows, his stories increase and the fears and effect of what follows his belief is realized. His life therefore becomes a book like the history of what he has passed through. At last he is caught by his own reasoning and confined in his own belief. Now his life becomes the history of some criminal confined in prison or banished to some desolate place, there to live a life of misery or to fly into the mountains, there to dwell in caves and dens. Some are confined in cells without the privilege of conversing with anyone but the keeper of the prison who is a tyrant. Others are bound out to slavery and kicked about by every person.

I might go for hours enumerating the various histories, but I will stop and commence and show how the child is first deceived by its parents. The first entry on the first page is all hypocrisy, flattery and deception. The infant mind is like a blank to be scribbled on by everyone. So in the little infant mind or introduction to the journey of life, on the first few pages will be found written by the friends and relations these words. Oh, what a darling little child! How much it looks like its father. It is the very picture of him. I should know it was a P., if I had seen him in China.

This hypocrisy and flattery affect the mother and her child nurses the vanity from her till another page is written by some others that runs after this style. How handsome the little thing grows. It is so altered since I first saw it. I should not have known it. It is two months since I saw it and if I should die, I can't see one particle of resemblance to it when I first saw it. Let me take it. You pretty little darling. Here is its father's mouth exactly and only see it laugh. Does it not have the same look of its father? Oh, you little rogue; you are a perfect chip off the old block. I see it begins to take notice of what you say.

The mother says, "Oh, yes, it knows when I talk to it. Well, I think I never saw a child so forward. When Prof. Fowler comes this way, you must have his head examined, for he will tell you just what this child is best adapted for. He sees all through futurity so do not miss having his head examined. So goodbye."

(Mrs. A) "Why did you flatter Mrs. B so?"

(Mrs. C) "Why, don't you know that all women like to have their children praised? It is of no consequence what you say."

(Mrs. A) "I do not agree with you; the impressions you make on the parent are generally imprinted on the child and if it is a false one, it grows just as fast as a true one. Here is where the error begins. Well, never mind, it is all over now."

So time runs on. The child begins to listen to the stories of its mother and in the course of one or two years, Mrs. C makes a visit with the parents. At this time, the little fellow can talk and he has grown out of the remembrance of Mrs. C, so when she enters she does not know the child from others playing about.

P. P. Quimby

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