What Is Man?


August 1862


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


There is a great difference of opinion in regard to this question. For my part I believe that every substance throws a shadow. Now is man the shadow or the substance? I contend that what the world calls man is not the substance of man but the shadow, and, if he is the shadow, what is the substance? Wisdom is solid and man is the shadow. Then how it is that the substance, shadow, has a form? By the design of wisdom.

God is the name of the great wisdom that decides and governs all things through the medium called mind, which becomes the shadow. Wisdom or God speaks the idea and it takes form according to direction.

Man is the plant or tree created in this medium. So as it grows, it receives its light from the great father of all, wisdom. As this life enters the plant or shadow called man, it becomes the son of God. The original child of God is perfect, but its shadow is to the child, matter. So the matter or mind called man is the tree or plant that receives the life. This life is the real man; the shadow is the medium or mind and that is the changeable idea or tree called mind. Man or the son of God or wisdom is not seen in the shadow, no more than God is seen, but the whole creation speaks His name and shows His power.

So all created things or shadows show by their motion and act that there is an intelligence that governs and directs them. Man is the name of that wisdom that directs all the acts of the human species and also which governs and directs the brute creation beyond what is natural. The natural brute is like the natural fruit; the cultivated brute is the effect of man; the natural man or savage is like the natural fruit; the cultivated man is the developing of the original seed, the scientific man or God. The grafted fruit or ideas is the development of the scientific man.

Life is not intelligence but is the ocean in which wisdom lives. Matter or mind is the shadow of life; so as wisdom is in life it speaks ideas into existence. It shadows forth life and knowledge, but not wisdom, for wisdom is the substance and knowledge the shadow. So a man of wisdom and a man of knowledge have two separate identities. The sick man is the effect of knowledge or opinion and to cure him is to destroy his opinion.

It may be said a child has no opinion and yet it has a disease. A disease and an opinion are one and the same, for they are both in the mind and neither contains any wisdom, for wisdom destroys both. It is true that you cannot see the effect of an opinion on the body always, neither can you see a disease, as it is called, at first, but after a while you see the phenomena. This is the way with an opinion.

There are certain facts, as they are called, that are true and every one will admit them as such. A certain poison, arsenic, is admitted to be a poisonous substance. Who made it poison? It must be God or wisdom. If the wisdom of man is a part of God, can it not make a poison by a certain direction of the mind? For mind is the substance wisdom works in. Mind is matter and all kinds of matter is the result of wisdom and if man knows himself he is capable of making matter from the invisible mind.

Every one knows that stones are found in the bladder. So the mind of man contains all the elements of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, so these must be under the same control that man's body is.

P. P. Quimby

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