The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 16, 2012

January 16, 1866

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (February 16, 1802 to January 16, 1866), was a New England (Maine)  clockmaker, inventor,  and philosopher. He was interested in magnetism, and practiced hypnotism. Those who knew him considered him a healer. Phineas Quimby is now labeled the father of "New Thought".  He did not  publish  books while alive, but Quimby kept a huge notebook and the quotes from his writing I use come from these notes.

Here is a blurb summary of this interesting thinker, Phineas Quimby :

Proud of his New England heritage, passionate in his love of liberty and equality for all, outspoken in his admonitions against what he considered aristocracy and priestcraft, empathetic toward the sick and suffering, he recorded his experiences, experiments and case studies of his own life journey's explorations into humanity and spirituality, in order to leave behind, for us, what he found, for himself, to be universally applicable truths, for the benefit of all mankind.

Here are some excerpts from Quimby's notes, published as Complete Collected Works of Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby.(2009).

The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in .... Therefore, if your mind had been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put into it the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come in contact with your enemy, and restore you to health and happiness. This I do partly mentally, and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impression and establish the Truth, and the Truth is the cure."
I will suppose a case; for sensation contains no wisdom to the person receiving it, till he is made acquainted with the substance of the thing spoken. If a Frenchman should ask a person (in French), “Have you ever seen a cat? [and] if the person addressed was ignorant of French, the phrase would contain no wisdom ...While they are talking, a cat comes into the room, and the Frenchman says, “Voila un chat.” Now he has imparted his meaning, and both have wisdom in regard to the animal; but the wisdom is in them and not in the cat. Now here is the trinity in the principles of reason. The word is the name of the Father; the cat [word as in 'the cat'] (... matter), [is]  the Son [and then theory, that is the]... application of the word to the animal was the Holy Ghost (or explanation) of the union of the Father and Son

My brackets may have made it worse, but I was impressed with Quimby's appreciation of the necessity for three factors to compose a moment of understanding --word, matter, and theory, in the case of the cat.  He healed Mary Baker Eddy and she later developed his ideas.  Wonder if Freud was influenced by Quimby's idea of talking to heal. 

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