Autobiography of A. T. Still
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.
LADIES AND GENTLEMFN: -- Twenty-two years ago today
noon I was shot -- not in the heart, but in the dome of reason.
That dome was in a very poor condition to be penetrated by an arrow charged
with the principles of philosophy. Since that eventful day I have
sacredly remembered and kept it -- not all the time before as intelligent
nor as great an audience as this. Part of the time I withdrew from
the presence of man to meditate upon that event, upon that day, where-in
I saw by the force of reason that the word God" signified perfection in
all things and in all places. I began at that day to carefully investigate
with the microscope of mind to prove an assertion that is often made in
your presence, that the perfection of Deity can be proven by His works.
Address in Memorial Hall, June 22nd, 1895
All Patterns Found in Man
Attributes of Deity Found in Man
No Flaw in the Construction
Lesson from a Sawmill
Never was Flux
Abuse of Osteopathy
Some Notes of Warning
Efforts to Seduce Incompetent Students to Practice
Danger from Incompetents
Danger of Going Out Too Soon
I resolved that I would take up the subject, and
ascertain by investigation whether that assertion was true or not; whether
it could be proven as stated by the gray-headed sages of the pulpit, that
the works of God would prove His perfection. (Not all the roads that men
travel are smooth.) We never have a positive but that we have a negative.
I am convinced as far as I comprehend, and I cannot assert beyond that,
that the works of God do prove His perfection in all places, at all times,
and under all circumstances. I drew a line of debtor and creditor.
On the one side I placed the works of God, on the other the acts of man,
who is the handiwork of God, the intelligent association of mind, matter,
and spirit, the child of God, who is the Author and Builder of all worlds
and all things therein. All patterns for the mechanic to imitate
in all his inventions are found in man. You remember that all patterns
are borrowed from this one being -- be it God, be it devil, or be it man
-- who is the originator of all things. All patterns for all things
are imitations of what is found in the constructed being, man. We
see in man, as we comprehend it, the attributes of Deity. We see
the result of the action of mind, therefore a representation of the Mind
of all minds. We find in the solar system motion, without which no
universe can exist. The very thought of mind itself presupposes action.
The motions of all the planets of the universe indicate and approve action
and force. Those planets pass and repass, to the hour and minute;
pass before you and other globes, indicating to a man of reason the ability
of the Mind to mathematically calculate the length of every piece used
in the whole universe, and to arm and equip it with a velocity that is
exactly true, and that will run to the thousandth part of a second.
Should one-quarter of a second's time be lost in the velocity of Jupiter,
what might be the result? Increase the electric force of the whole
system and fever will be the result in the whole planetary and solar system.
If Jupiter in his rounds should lose one-quarter of a second's time on
his circuit, what effect would it have on the whole planetary system?
You would see such planets as Mercury, Venus, and the earth dancing a jig
of confusion. Then if we had a medical doctor turned loose there,
be would give a whopping big dose of morphine. Just on that ground
exactly is where he is incompetent to comprehend the revolutions and the
time exacted by the divine Moon-maker. We find the same thing exactly
in the solar system of man. Suppose the heart fails to make its time.
A confusion is started by a retention of the blood at the base of the brain
-- perhaps the base of the heart, or the base of the bowels, or the base
of the foot, or the side or top of any division of the body -- and you
may expect until Jupiter takes his regular time, gets in line with that
star, you will have to go to the Hot Springs to get warmed up.
A great many of you have come here tonight, and what
for? A very few have come here to see what nonsense is going on.
Between your eyes there are too many miles of reason to call any mathematical
fact a humbug. Some heads are not governed with the milestones of
reason. You must not be too hard upon those whose eyes take in so
little of a mile; but allow them the
privilege of calling you a philosopher or a fool, because to them one
is just as well understood as the other.
My grandmother was a Dutchwoman. She told me
she believed in signs, by which she regulated the setting of hens, killing
chickens, and butchering hogs. When you see one of those little heads
that know it all, with a little book under his arm, an almanac or something
of the sort, claiming in a week or ten days to be a great Osteopath, remember
what I tell you: That child was weaned when the sign was in the feet; thus
he wants to trot. The next place the sign was in the abdomen, and
his aspirations are to eat, and he is ready to go into the world and make
a boast that he is an Osteopath, and that he comprehends all of the science,
and more too. He is ready to go before the world, and with false
statements lie just enough to get more money than he can get by straightforward,
honest dealing before his fellow-men. We have such births here, having
worked at dentistry, selling drugs, or other vocations, and developed in
a few days ready to go out into the world and raise his flag of "Osteopathy."
Twenty-two years ago I took up the matter solemnly
and seriously. Since that time I have not lost a wakeful hour without
my mind being engaged with the construction of man, to see if I could detect
one single flaw or defect in it -- either under the microscope, or with
the anatomist's knife, or the rules of philosophy of my own or the minds
of others. I have never yet been able to detect the least shadow
of confusion. The Jupiter of life is absolutely and mathematically
correct. My investigation has been for the honest purpose of ascertaining
whether, when the great God of the universe constructed man, there was
one single defect in His work that has been detected by all the combined
intelligence of the sons and daughters of man from the birth of man to
the present time. I had to give the wholesale credit mark, and make
the vote unanimous for God, and if you cannot make it unanimous, do as
some of the Republicans did in St. Louis: a few of you go out. If
you can't swallow it, go out and stay out.
Why did I become interested in this great question
of the intelligence of God? His ability to give us the seasons, cold
and hot, wet and dry, the different kinds of fowls and animals, the fish
of the seas and running waters? The reason why I investigated this
was: I believed that man was woefully and wonderfully benighted, from the
fact that when he was sick he guessed what was the matter, and guessed
he would go for a doctor. Then guessing commenced in earnest.
The doctor guessed what was the matter; he guessed what he would give him;
he guessed when to return; guessed that he would get well, or guessed he
would die. He entered the grand chamber of guessing then and there
and when the last breatb was drawn the guess-work was not through with
until the preacher guessed where he would go. I said to myself that
God knew more than I did, and more than Mr. Mikael, or Dick Roberts, or
all the men I could think of; more than General Jackson or Jeff Davis,
Abe Lincoln, or even Horace Greeley. I concluded that if He did know
all things, He has certainly placed that machinery on the track of life,
armed and equipped, with boilers full, plenty of oil, and all the bearings
of the running-gear of the whole engine in good condition. I began
to look at man. What did I find? I found myself in the presence of
an engine -- the greatest engine that mind could conceive of. Having
spent seven or eight years with a stationary engine, acquainting myself
with all its parts from boiler to saw, I began to investigate man as an
engine. In running my saw I found that, if I squeezed it, the blade
would wobble. I found that hum was gone, having passed to a warbling
sound. It was hardly a warble, because when a saw gets hot and begins
to wobble the pressure is very light, and it wobbles just before it warbles.
I discovered that the harmonious hum of the saw was produced when it was
running exactly as it should, keeping line. I found the same wobbling
in man, and it was that which drew my attention; so that I inquired what
was the matter with the saw of life. It was out of line, and the
friction against the timber produced the heat and what they call buckling.
It wobbled to one side like a blubber under a pancake. That wobble
will spoil your saw and stop its work. How many blubbers did I find
in the human engine? I found the blubber of erysipelas, of flux,
of diphtheria. It is the bursting of the bubble by the wobbling saw
which indicates the saw of life is out of line and the carriage off the
track. I defy the oldest sages of philosophy to show me the difference
between flux and no flux; to show me the time when flux was not there.
He must take the number of hours in which this milk soured and began to
curdle. It first commenced its changing process at a stationary condition,
under a suitable temperature. The milk sours in a common pan, just
as the blood would sour in the pans of the bowels or the mesentery arteries,
veins, or muscles. Therefore you have simply an effect, and you call
that a particular disease: it is effect only. Ninety-nine times out
of one hundred that same machine has a wobbling saw; it has left the line;
it is not tracking on the course of life as by nature given, and things
are not harmonious.
Why should I prosecute this for years? Because
I could count as much as an old mathematician in simple addition at least.
I could make a mark for Tom Smith, died under the doctor's treatment; and
Jim Smith, also dead, and John Henry Smith, likewise dead. However,
I omitted to say that the father and mother were both dead of flux.
I began to see, during the Civil War, in that part of the States of Missouri
and Kansas where the doctors were shut out, the children did not die.
I began to
reason as to why it was so. Our ministers say the birds are provided
for, and I just thought if God took care of them He took care of those
children too. There is the same ability there to sustain them through
the summer and winter. Nature has provided for a great many emergencies.
When a mule has worked all day, and the muscles of his spine are pulled
out like a shoestring, what does he do? He finds a good place to
roll, kicks up his heels, kicks another mule or two, and has gone through
his Osteopath manipulation. He shows a little sense. An old
hen when she gets what you call microbes in her feathers, does what?
She gets out her microscope and looks through, and concludes they are microbes;
then she hunts up a dust-heap, and leaves them there. Watch the hog.
He knows more than his master; when he gets the fever he goes into the
mud and stays there until the fever leaves. Some years ago a man
had the cholera, and his friends concluded they would help the old man
cover himself up in the sand and let him die. They went off up the
river and left him, and the next morning he was with them and ready for
his breakfast. They left him to die, but he got well.
I have a very kindly feeling for this day.
On the 22d day of June, 1874, at ten o'clock, was the first time I ever
saw the gravy of liberty, and I have been sopping my bread in it ever since,
and, like eating olives, it was a little difficult at first, but now they
all want olives. The whole of North America is beginning to say:
"I will take some olives, if you please." The Irishman took some,
but said: "Begobs, who spoiled the plums?" Our students, our early
diplomats who have gone out from here, have withstood the howitzers in
every engagement, and come out victorious. That poor little Ammerman,
who is about as big as a little piece of chewing-gum after the Sunday services
are over, went down into Kentucky, and swung a little Osteopathic flag
to the breeze there. They brought the laws of that great State to
bear upon the little banty of less than a year's experience. His
works followed him into the court, and the grand jury of the great State
of Kentucky says "Not guilty."
One of my poor, feeble-minded sons, who has been
a follower of mine, went up to Minnesota. He was arrested for what?
For not seeing diphtheria where there was none. There is a law there
that quarantines against diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever, etc .
Well, my boy is just like his father; he knows so little that he is not
afraid of it. He has more grit than brains, I suppose. I was
told by Senator Nelson, of that State, that he went into twenty-eight houses
in one day, and the next day took down all of those cardboards.
BY ORDER OF
THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH
---- o ----
It looked as if there were dressmakers in every house
until you took a closer observation. They were put up by order of
the state board of health or state board of ignorance, to keep the people
from spreading diphtheria. There were hundreds of them in that little
town of Red Wing. Senator Nelson said be went into those houses with
my son Charles (who is a diplomat of Osteopathy). The children's
tongues were sticking out of their months, their throats were red; but
he said Charles never lost a case. He also told me, previous to that
time one hundred and fourteen children died in that vicinity with diphtheria
in one day, but that Osteopathy did not lose a single case during that
winter. And for saving the lives of those children my son was arrested
and brought before the court. What was the result? The fathers
and mothers came out by the hundreds, and the prosecuting doctors and attorneys
concluded to "git." Those Swedes and Norwegians said if Still was
found guilty they would hang the doctors. The people declared that
from center to circumference of Minnesota, Osteopathy should live.
They also came over from Wisconsin en masse with their firearms to set
at liberty that boy the very instant he was put in jail for violating the
laws by saving children's lives. They declared that the people were
the law, and the statute the tool. The statute is a money-making provision,
and when the people arise they are the law of the country. In Louisville,
Kentucky, the people are the law; in the State of Missouri the people are
the law; also in Kansas; and in many parts of the United States.
Americans will not have their liberties abridged. Neither are they
going to take the doctor of their choice through the kitchen any more.
Twenty-two years ago I had to crawl in through the kitchen to see a child
that had the croup. The child's uncle, John Tibbs, of Macon city,
sent me a telegram to come and see his brotber's child, that was dying
with croup. They had had a consultation of five or six doctors, who
decided the child could not live. One of them was a good old English
doctor who got drunk occasionally, and he said the child would soon be
in the "harms of the Great Hi Ham." The child's uncle and Mr. McCaw
met me at the depot, took me to the house, and succeeded in taking me through
the kitchen; wouldn't let me go in through the front way for fear we would
meet some of the doctors coming out. In five minutes' time the child
began to breathe easy and play about the house. Since that time there
has been an Osteopathic home at that place. Since that time Osteopathy
has become known throughout the whole State, and the intelligent man has
confidence in it. The philosopher also has confidence in its ability
to cure. The fathers and mothers call in the Osteopaths and pay for
their service now.
One objection to Osteopathy is that it may make thieves
and scoundrels. Some men come here for a little while and go away
and say, "I have been in Kirksville; I am an Osteopath," and so on.
They steal from the people wherever they can until found out. They
are drunken scoundrels, the very trash of your town. So far it is
dangerous. The medical doctors have said it was dangerous, because
with a few cures in a neighborhood, Osteopathy is liable to become the
grandest system of robbery in the world. Men will stand up and curse
this science to the very last, and then get on the train, go off three
or four hundred miles, and say they are from the city of Jerusalem, commonly
called Kirksville; that they are right from the rivers of life, and thoroughly
understand this science. They are men who never did anything but
curse it as the lowest conception of foolishness and ignorance. Another
dangerous point I want you to guard against is, that as soon as our students
begin to know a little something of Osteopathy, some one will come and
offer to pay their expenses to foreign parts if they will go. They
propose to pay them well if they will go and practice Osteopathy, when
they are no more fit than a donkey is to go in a jewelry-shop. Men
come and ask me what to do for sore throat, and so on, and say they will
pay so much for it. They tell our young students that they have plenty
of money, and will pay their expenses and two hundred dollars a month if
they will go with them. This is a great temptation to a young man
who has not had fifteen cents with which to buy his girl chewing-gum.
Some of them know of their condition, and hang round among the patients
and strangers, and make them tempting offers, saying: "Don't you go to
the old doctor; he is jealous of us." They keep this up until they are
off with him, and away they go, like any other deceivers.
Having followed this science for twenty-two years,
I am fully convinced that the God of nature has done His work completely.
I am satisfied that a revolution stands before you today -- a healing revolution,
a revolution in the human mind that will result in the study of anatomy
in our district schools and colleges. It is one of the most important
studies for all the schools. When I commenced this study I took the
human bones and handled them week in and week out, month in and month out,
and never laid them down while I was awake for twelve months. There
is a great danger to the student of Osteopathy, that he may conclude be
ought to be out as quick as some hostler or some fellow that has been round
here for a little while, and is out stealing from the people today.
You ask when you come here how long it takes a man to become competent
to go into a community and withstand the howitzers that will be thrown
at him. We tell you, from long experience in this science, that it
will require twice twelve months. I can take you up as a herd of sheep,
comb you and grease you, and send you out in the market, and the best judge
can't tell whether you are good or bad sheep; but I will not do it.
You ask me for truth, I will give it you. If
you send your son or daughter here, you do not want them to go out
A number of those who have been with us a year go
out, and some do some good. Previous to the time we got our institution
so we could handle it, we did the best we could: just like the preacher's
wife who borrowed cloth to patch her husband's shirt -- she did the best
she could; and she stayed home because she had no shoes, which was the
best she could do. We have reached the time now that we can do better.
Two years ago, when I commenced this building, fifty
by ninety feet hall, ten rooms, etc., the people said: "What is that old
fool doing down there, putting up a house of that size? He is crazy."
Do you know the condition that fellow is in now ? He finds that he needs
another building forty by sixty feet and ten more rooms in order to accommodate
the people. Do you see how the work has grown? One person speaks
to another, and another, and reports what is being done. That is
all the advertising we have had. We print our journal to answer your
questions concerning the science.
For twenty-two years I have been looking at the parts
of the human engine, and I find it is a most wonderfully constructed engine,
with the intelligence of mind and the spirit of God from the crown of the
head to the soles of the feet. I believe that is God's medical drug-store,
and that all cures of nature are in the body.
If I were to take up this subject and discuss it
as a philosophy, no one hot night would be sufficient for an introduction
to it. I do not think I could tell it in six months or six years.
It is as inexhaustible as the works of the whole universe.
If I live twelve months longer I expect to reverently respect
the twenty-second day of June, 1897, the anniversary of Osteopathy.