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Mark Twain > Christian Science > Book I - Chapter VIII

Christian Science

Book I - Chapter VIII


The power which a man's imagination has over his body to heal it or make
it sick is a force which none of us is born without. The first man had
it, the last one will possess it. If left to himself, a man is most
likely to use only the mischievous half of the force--the half which
invents imaginary ailments for him and cultivates them; and if he is one
of these--very wise people, he is quite likely to scoff at the beneficent
half of the force and deny its existence. And so, to heal or help that
man, two imaginations are required: his own and some outsider's. The
outsider, B, must imagine that his incantations are the healing-power
that is curing A, and A must imagine that this is so. I think it is not
so, at all; but no matter, the cure is effected, and that is the main
thing. The outsider's work is unquestionably valuable; so valuable that
it may fairly be likened to the essential work performed by the engineer
when he handles the throttle and turns on the steam; the actual power is
lodged exclusively in the engine, but if the engine were left alone it
would never start of itself. Whether the engineer be named Jim, or Bob,
or Tom, it is all one--his services are necessary, and he is entitled to
such wage as he can get you to pay. Whether he be named Christian
Scientist, or Mental Scientist, or Mind Curist, or King's-Evil Expert, or
Hypnotist, it is all one; he is merely the Engineer; he simply turns on
the same old steam and the engine does the whole work.

The Christian-Scientist engineer drives exactly the same trade as the
other engineers, yet he out-prospers the whole of them put together.

Is it because he has captured the takingest name? I think that that is
only a small part of it. I think that the secret of his high prosperity
lies elsewhere.

The Christian Scientist has organized the business. Now that was
certainly a gigantic idea. Electricity, in limitless volume, has existed
in the air and the rocks and the earth and everywhere since time began--
and was going to waste all the while. In our time we have organized that
scattered and wandering force and set it to work, and backed the business
with capital, and concentrated it in few and competent hands, and the
results are as we see.

The Christian Scientist has taken a force which has been lying idle in
every member of the human race since time began, and has organized it,
and backed the business with capital, and concentrated it at Boston
headquarters in the hands of a small and very competent Trust, and there
are results.

Therein lies the promise that this monopoly is going to extend its
commerce wide in the earth. I think that if the business were conducted
in the loose and disconnected fashion customary with such things, it
would achieve but little more than the modest prosperity usually secured
by unorganized great moral and commercial ventures; but I believe that so
long as this one remains compactly organized and closely concentrated in
a Trust, the spread of its dominion will continue.

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