by Ron Hughes
Much time has passed since our last issue of Science of Wisdom. We have now completed the digitalization process for the microfilms and photocopies of the handwritten documents of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. A new edition of P. P. Quimby's writings was published by the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center this past October. We began shipping the books out in early November of 2009. A new informational section for the book, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond has been added to the on-line Resource Center and may be accessed at http://www.ppquimby.com/beyond/beyond.htm. In the left column, you'll find a few short video clips where I briefly discuss the various collections of the Quimby writings as well as the process of cataloging the materials in these collections by creating a new master digital directory or list.
In the process of researching the historical handwritten documents, I've located additional writings by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby that have never been previously published. These additional documents have been transcribed and included in our book for the very first time. For example, another book introduction written the very month Quimby closed his healing practice in Portland, Maine was rediscovered and appears in our book under the title of "Introduction [IV]." Also included in our new publication are some written commentaries made by P. P. Quimby's designated copyists, George A. Quimby, Sarah E. Ware, and Emma G. Ware. We learn from George his reason for not following in his father's footsteps as a spiritual healer, and Sarah and Emma write about their first-hand experiences as patients and helpers of Dr. Quimby.
[Editor’s Note: This unsigned and undated handwritten notice is found within the Boston University collection of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby materials at microfilm position BU 3:0476. It is published in Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond on page 2.]
This world is full of errors and it is to correct these errors that Dr. Q. cures. In writing which is merely curing on a large scale he is influenced by some particular idea which excites him to cure it (for every error has its life as much as every man) just the same as the error in a patient stimulates him to explain it―and when sitting with a patient what he says exactly fits the error of the patient and although two persons may have embraced the same error, smoking for example, yet to cure them he would talk differently to each and he would adapt what he said to each one’s particular case. To bring it to a narrower illustration, suppose two patients to be possessed of the idea that it is right to pilfer. The error in the main is the same in both, but both might need a different explanation. What he says to cure them may vary so little that no one else would perceive it. It might be like the slightest possible variation of a chord in music which would require the most sensitive ear to perceive it, but it is still another idea, and so with regard to what he says to a patient, the slightest variation has its meaning applies only when it fits. And now to come back from where I started in writing, he is excited as I said at first by some particular error, whether he is conscious of it or not and what he writes about it is exactly what is wanted to correct it, so that even the turn of a sentence or the interpretation of a word has its meaning―and so I think that it is necessary that a person should be in unison with him before he is qualified to rewrite anything the Dr. is written―a person may correct it right or may correct it wrong, but he cannot tell himself as he has not the key note to which it will keep him in time and the less he alters the more likely he is to be right.
November 20, 2009
A statement about Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.
This single-volume paperback book is gigantic, not only in size and weight, but in importance. It is nothing to be slipped into a pocket and read at one’s leisure, as time might allow. It is a book that would dominate any coffee (or other) table strong enough to support it. It is big and beautiful, but, of vastly greater importance, a book that justifies the term essential.
It is essential to anyone who seeks to understand the fundamentals of American religion, or any religion put to work in the service of the world. If P. P. Quimby does not become a name placed in the highest ranks of importance among pioneers of paranormal awareness, religion, and philosophy it will not be the fault of this book.
Hughes has succeeded where all others have failed in some degree. As one who had a hand in the preparation of the last supposedly Complete Writings of Quimby, I am far less disappointed that we only came close to accomplishing what Hughes finally has done than I am delighted to endorse what he has accomplished. With a similarity of original calling of Quimby of clock making, and with thoroughness that would delight Quimby.
Quimby, who mastered various trades, is remembered mostly as a healer, a spiritual healer. One who built no institution, but inspired a movement, to the extent that he often is referred to as the "Father of New Thought." Unlike some of predecessors in collecting and publishing of what seemed to be all of the writings of Quimby, Hughes has had the wisdom (a term of special importance to Quimby) to omit accounts of events following Quimby. Rather, he has concentrated exclusively on Quimby and his immediate helpers.
Perhaps the best way of describing the book is to say that it is Hughes’s astoundingly impressive website, www.ppquimby.com, and more, put between heavy paper covers. It is about as important an achievement in shoestring publishing as was Quimby’s accomplishment in helping to unite the science and religion of his day into a practical spirituality that eventuality led to what William James in his classic The Varieties of Religious Experience called the religion of healthy-mindedness, a term regularly used by Ervin Seale, the leader of the team (of which I was one member) that produced the last nearly complete Quimby writings.
In my own long career, it has been a special pleasure to work with a granddaughter of Quimby, the widow of Horatio W. Dresser (son of two Quimby patients), and now, by means of providing my materials from my work with Seale, to cooperate with Ron Hughes in connection with what I trust will be recognized as the capstone of Quimby collecting and publishing.
(Anyone interested in my own doctoral research, for a Boston University Ph.D. degree in philosophy, with a dissertation titled "Horatio W. Dresser and the Philosophy of New Thought," later published as Healing Hypotheses, should go to www.ppquimby.com/anderson/healing.htm and/or read other writings of mine on at least two other websites, especially that of Deborah G. Whitehouse and me, www.neweverymoment.com.)
The moral of all this is that Ron’s book is decidedly worth buying, reading, keeping, and sharing.
C. Alan Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion
Curry College, Milton, MA
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
I have said that according to the religious world, God is the embodiment of man’s belief. All nations have a God according to their belief and show their God in their religion. The belief contains no wisdom but is a shadow of something that cannot be seen and is worshipped by man who knows not what it is. This something is what the world of opinions reasons about. The Jews prophesied about it and attached their senses to it, looking for its coming as for a man of great power who would free them from the Roman yoke. Heathen nations had a vague idea of this something. They incorporated it into their beliefs as a monarch or king, so it has always been in the world or in man's belief, but man knows it not. Language was never invented with the idea that it could be felt or described and to the wise it is a stranger. It has no place in their hearts or in the religious world except as an unexplained mystery. It comes to man's senses but man knows it not. It stands knocking at the door but it is not recognized as having an identity; so it is mocked at, spit upon, hated and despised by all men. Yet it is always the same, calm and unmoved, sympathizing with its friends who are bound down by the opinions of this world's belief.
Now, what is it? It is an invisible wisdom which never can be seen through the eyes of opinion, any more than error can see truth, for when the truth comes the opinion or matter is a shadow of this light or substance that I call something. Again what is it? If I should tell you what it is you would ask for proof, so I will give the proof of it from your own opinions, for opinions always admit but cannot understand it. So when opinion is convinced what it is, opinion is not opinion but is this something. Still what is it? It is what never has been acknowledged to have an identity. Then what is it that has been admitted but cannot be seen and yet is not acknowledged to have an identity? Can the reader answer? “Yes, it is God.”
I ask, Is God without an identity? You say no. Then it is not God. What then is it? I will try and tell you and bring the opinions of the world to prove my answer. It is a key that unlocks the innermost secrets of the heart in the prison of man's beliefs, and it leads the prisoner who has been bound a captive to health. What is that that you call the key? It is wisdom, not opinions, and this I will prove. Opinions are like a shadow, the substance is God. True wisdom is attached to the substance; false wisdom to the shadow. Language is attached to the shadow, wisdom to the substance; therefore language is not in harmony with wisdom; the discord is in the opinion; the senses are life or wisdom. If the senses are attached to opinion, when opinion is lost, man loses his opinion but saves his life, for his life is his wisdom of self-existence. This life is embodied in our senses and the knowledge of sensation, so if all sensation is dead, life is still life but not active. The sensation is made in this world of matter and all religion is the result of man's opinions. This makes up the Christian and his senses are attached to his opinions. The errors of their opinions are the misery of their life, it being subject to the world’s opinion.
Now this something is a knowledge of this wisdom which puts man in possession of a truth that he can explain to another. It does not come to the man of opinions. This shows that every man has two selves, one of knowledge by the natural man, the other by the spiritual man. Here is the proof. The sick will admit that I can tell them how they feel better than they themselves can do. This shows that I know more than they do and also that this wisdom is not known by the natural man. If so it must be superior to his wisdom, and what is it? It must be proved by an admitted fact, for simply telling it would be no proof.
I must make the reader detach his senses from a God of man's belief and attach them to this invisible wisdom which fills all space and whose attributes are all light, all wisdom, all goodness and love, which is free from all selfishness and hypocrisy, which makes or breaks no laws and restrictions but sanctions men's acts according to their belief, right or wrong, without respect to persons. For the natural man is only a shadow of man's wisdom, and if the shadow is from this world of opinions, it will be destroyed when the light of the wisdom of truth comes. But the life will be saved by wisdom and when the senses shall be attached to this wisdom, then shall be brought to pass that saying, “Oh, death! Where is thy sting! Oh, grave! Where is thy victory!” Death is robbed of its victim; the grave gives up its idea of death. Then life rises to that happy state where death, hell, and disease and the torments of existence find no place from whence no traveler ever returns but where man knows himself. This knowledge teaches him that when our senses are attached to opinions of any kind, we become the subject of that opinion and suffer according to the penalty attached to it, unless forgiven or the debt paid by the truth.
This is the new truth spoken of by Jesus; to know this is to have eternal life and the life is the wisdom that can enter the dark prisons of man's mind and find his life imprisoned by the opinions of this world and there hear his groans, feel his sorrows and break the prison walls of his belief and set him free. When a person gets this wisdom and attaches his life to it, then his life is to him a blessing, for it is of use to man. Then he is happiest when relieving those who have fallen into the hands of thieves, been robbed of their substance and imprisoned in a creed, there to languish from the wounds of the priests and doctors till the angel of wisdom or the tide of progress forced along by popular opinions shall beat against the walls of this superstition and break down the medical opinions, lay priest-craft low and overflow the superstitious world with science and good order. Then all men will be judged by what they know, not what they think they know, and all can prove themselves by this standard.
Aug. 9, 1861
Source: Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond, beginning on page 606. This is the first installment of a six-part series written by P. P. Quimby entitled, What is God? ―editor.
In future editions of Science of Wisdom, we will feature selected writings by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby along with news as it pertains to the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
The entire web site has undergone a minor facelift―and much more work is taking place "under-the-hood" as all of the old html code is being brought up to date. If you haven't visited the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center recently at http://www.ppquimby.com, please stop by to see what's new!
In Wisdom, Love and Light,