What Is The True Meaning
Of Life And Death
And Of The Two Worlds?

 

May 1862

 

by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

 

How came man to reason that there ever was a world beyond this life? And what is the evidence of a world independent of man, as we see him? Life is a self-evident fact that needs no proof more than each individual has in himself. Death is an opinion of what life is; therefore man's life is in death or opinion, so he lives in bondage through the fear of death. If man knew himself, he would know that death is ignorance of himself, and this ignorance is the cause of the greater part of his trouble. The life of death is an opinion, so all men must die; for all men have opinion. To lose their opinion is death; and the knowledge that you have changed is life.

Life embraces the true wisdom that can prove all things. Our senses are one of the attributes of life. They are not the life, but the medium. Where our senses are is where we consider ourselves to be. So if our senses are attracted to some opinion, we think that something has life; and as all opinion must die, we are afraid of death. This fear is our death; for its life is opinion. The wisdom of this error is the destruction of death. The child knows no death, nor fears it; therefore he has no opinion.

Life is a point, without space. All things start from it. When it is attached to matter, as an instructor, it acts through that medium of God's laws called the "senses." So life and the senses are all that make man. His wisdom is what he acquires by his own effort. If he never places his senses higher than an opinion, then he is subject to death; but if he can see that his life and senses can be detached from an opinion and live in the science of God, then he loses the fear of death as a destructive element, but tries to solve every problem of death, for the sake of what he can gain.

These two worlds are science and opinion. How shall a man know he is in each? By his wisdom. If it is of this world, he shows it by his belief; if it is of God, by his science. Every thought is of this world, and also every opinion; but every scientific fact is of God and is known to the person who knows it. And he is just as far advanced in another world as this fact is known to him, and he can make it known to others.

Beware of false science, for there are many. Try and see if they are of God or man. If from God, they can be shown or proved; but if from man, they rest on some opinion. All our acts spring from one of these sciences and act either for or against us; for man can act only according to the law that governs him, and this is either God or error.

Suppose a man to be God and his children, the sons of God. All will admit that the children are a part of their parents or father; yet there may be a doubt who the father is, but there can be none as to who is the mother. So I will use the mother God. Suppose she knows all things. Then she knows all about her child, but this the child does not know; for its wisdom is limited to itself and acts in its mother's wisdom and knows it not.

The mother acts upon the child, and the child knows it not. The child is the offspring of two ideas, one called its father and the other, its mother. Ignorance and superstition have changed these two characters, and by making brute force the leading power, have made the father the wiser; the mother, the weaker. But according to true wisdom, this is reversed. The child is the offspring of the earthly element, called Adam and the spiritual Eve or mother; and it is in these two elements. So as one must give way to the other, it makes war with itself. The mother is its real life, and the child lives in her; while the father or brutal part tries to keep the spiritual life in subjection to itself.

When Paul broke from the earthly father and mingled with the spiritual mother, the father would come and tempt him. So he said, "When I would listen to my mother, my father was present with me. When I would obey my mother, my father would not let me; so it was not the mother but the father that governed me."

These are the two worlds. To rid ourselves of the earthly man is what we need to make us happy. God is not of the earthly, but of the heavenly or higher intelligence, called "science." Man's identity is embraced in every faculty. When we speak of man's senses, we speak as though each man had sight of his own, and between him and his neighbor there was no sight; and so with all the senses -but it is not so. Sight is not a thing, but is one of the attributes of God, like light. Tasting is not a sense confined to the body, but life; and all the senses fill all space, with no variation. This is the God of all wisdom. He spoke matter into existence and gave it life, eternal.

Like the child, man acts either by the sympathy of his spiritual mother or the dictates of the earthly parent. Each individual is composed of these two identities; our life is in both, and our happiness and misery depend upon which we follow. If we follow the mother, all is harmony; there are no laws to oppose us. But if we follow the earthly or brutal element, we become a slave to the evils that the earthly man is capable of inventing. We are subject to the laws and penalties, rewards and punishments and every kind of disease that ever was or will be invented; for such is the kingdom of the earthly man.

The new birth is to know the wisdom that makes man sensible that there is a higher life of his identity than that of the natural man or brute. When I compare men to brutes, I do not mean to say that brutes will cease to live, but they have no anticipation of anything, except their daily wants. They take no thought of the morrow; the morrow to them is nothing. They are ignorant of another world, yet they are wiser than the Christian, for all his belief of another world is founded on an opinion, in the ignorance of this wisdom I call "science."

This never teaches another world of space or spirit, and the man of science is as ignorant of another world as the brute; but he is wiser in cause and effect. He sees progression in everything, except death, and that is a superstitious fear of what will happen, only in our belief.

Let man settle this great truth, that his life, senses and memory is all there is of him; and these are not his exclusive right, but they are all in the mother of wisdom, like the child who cannot get out of sight of the parent. Our life is her life, but our ignorance makes us unhappy. When we lose sight of this principle of sympathy, we are under the influence of the earthly father, and we become his child. Yet the sympathy of the mother is still in us; but we know it not, till the reaction of our acts comes, and then comes the reward of our acts.

All liars must have their portion in this lake of wisdom, that will burn up the lie or explain it; so disease, being what follows a belief, it is too late to repent after the disease comes. The phenomenon is the result of the belief. The disease or misery is what follows. For instance, if I make you believe that strychnine won't hurt you, your belief is nothing, till you put it in practice; then comes the reaction of your belief, and the effect shows just what you really believed. If no effect took place, then my belief neutralized the poison, so that it acted according to direction. But if the reaction was bad and caused disease, the feeling is the misery, and the misery is the disease.

P. P. Quimby

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