The Natural Man


March 1861


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


All mankind have respect for wisdom or something superior to themselves that they cannot understand. Man of himself is naturally indolent, brutish, and willfully stupid, content to live like the brute. He is pleased at any bauble or trifling thing. He has imitation and tries to copy whatever pleases him; in this he shows reverence for his superiors. As he does not possess Science he is often deceived. Thus he is made timid and willing to be led. His courage is the courage of ignorance and when he sees superior numbers he curls down like a dog when whipped by his master. Easily led and easily deceived, no confidence is to be placed on his word, for his word is always like the wag of a dog's tail, to show his submission. But when his ends are answered, his next act might be to injure the one that had saved him from trouble. He is easy in his manners if all goes well, but if needed for anything, like the dog he is ready at the whistle of his master or any one that will pat him, to bite his own master or anyone else.

Now because the brutes can be taught something it does not follow that they can be taught Science. They have their bounds which they cannot pass. So the natural man has his bounds which he cannot pass. But when I speak of the natural man, I speak of that wisdom that is based on an opinion. The brute is undergoing a change by the introduction of the wisdom of man. So the natural man is undergoing a change by the introduction of the Scientific Man. The brute is developed as far as the wisdom of man is capable of instructing him. So Science takes the man of opinions and instructs him in the Wisdom of God. As every man has more of the wisdom of opinions than of Science, he is ignorant of himself, and being ignorant he can see only one character; for all the wisdom he has is public opinion. He is up today and down to-morrow, and knows not the cause of his rise or fall. His change is so gradual that he never knows he has changed but supposes that all changes go to prove that he has remained the same. These minds are often found in politics. You will hear a person say, "I was always a Democrat or Federalist, and my father and grandfather were before me." Now this is a man of one idea. He is like the old grey-headed veteran who stands on Mt. Joy and looks around on Portland and then turns to his young friend and says, "My lad, I remember when I helped cut the wood where the city now stands, eighty or ninety years ago." His young friend says "You must have changed very much." "Oh! I am older, but I am the same man I was then." In reality there is not a single idea about him that is the same. So it is with the political man. His senses are attached to the word "democrat," and as long as that word lives in the wisdom of opinions he is a Democrat; and so long as this identity lives in him he never changes, for his senses never were attached to any principle.

So the changes of principle are nothing to him, as he never had any.

Science being a stranger to both, cannot work like the demagogue appealing to one idea. For the senses of the scientific man are attached to the Wisdom that governs both. So as progress is the order of the day, the senses of the masses become attached to new ideas and detached from old ones, and thus parties are all the time changing and minds are changing to suit the times. This gives the demagogue a chance to appeal to the masses, and as long as they can lead the masses by one popular name, they use any sort of cunning that comes up to suit their convenience.

— March, 1861.

P. P. Quimby

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