Autobiography of A. T. Still
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.
THROUGH all the darksome night I lay enchained by slumber's
thrall, but with the first faint flushing of the dewy morn I arose and
The Morning Stroll
The Flag of Truce
The Kind of Scalps We Seek
A Prayer for Wives and Mothers
The New Joshua
Divorced from Allopathy
The Looms of Time
The Web of Life
"The Old Doctor"
Some Questions Answered
How Curious is Life
Thought Touches the Infinite
All nature seemed to wait in bushed expectancy.
With the iron band of will I barred the gate of memory, shut out the past
with all its old ideas. My soul took on receptive attitude, my ear
was tuned to Nature's rhythmic harmony. Afar o'er billows of the
briny deep I saw faint shafts of light arise, enriching with rosy tint
the pallor of the dawn. I saw the red disc of the sun peep forth,
then spring -- full-orbed and fiery -- from night's embrace, and kiss the
world to waking beauty. My spirit was o'erwhelmed with the unmeasurable
magnitude of the Deific plan on which the universe is constructed.
Standing on the border of the land where waves from
fancy's sea break on the shores of fact, I saw with mental orb a beauteous
vision in the sky. With pen of truth dipped boldly in imagination's
ruddy ink, I paint the picture as it came to me. High up in heaven's
empyrean dome of blue I saw great Sirius, central sun of stillness, reign
and marshal all his starry host with skill. And as they wheeled and
counter-wheeled in air, I saw among those myriad worlds a family circle
all complete that seemed to dwell apart. This was the solar system
with its fair members. Although this group doth dwell in isolation,
the union between its members is so perfect that the slightest shock doth
jar with harsh discord on each sister planet. The central figure
of the group, mother Sun, illumines space with her effulgent rays, and
lights the pathway of numerous children and grandchildren too. She
is a matchless mother, and guides her children well; each one of them is
polished to the highest point of perfection known to skill. Born
without flaw, obeys willingly, hears every call, performs every part assigned
it in the grand plan which the mother has on constant exhibition.
Small Mercury dwells close unto her mother's side,
as if she feared to wander away lest she be lost in fields of space.
She is arrayed in robes of vivid white, without a spot to mar her purity.
Venus, fair star that decks the morning sky and lights the evening's dusky
breast, is the most brilliant of all the daughters of the Sun. She
glows with conscious beauty, and even dares to cast a shadow on the earth.
She brings no child to gladden her mother's heart and help increase the
starry progeny. The eldest child of all, Mrs. Uranus, is guilty of
no shortcoming. Although further removed, she is never from the watch-care
of the parental eye, and brings the grand-children in full view of the
old grandmother every few hours, days, months, or years. Her family
is well regulated and their movements always on time. I saw the gay,
vivacious Mrs. Saturn, with her many rings. She smiled on Jupiter,
danced with Mercury, burnished the Moon, and shed the light of her instruction
on her many children. Bold-belted Jupiter, fiery Mars, far-distant
Neptune, our own Earth, whose daughter, Moon, dotb wax and wane with silvery
light -- all these unfalteringly obeyed the slightest mandate of the lady
Sun, and followed with unfaltering footsteps the line of march she had
laid out for them. I saw the face of the dear mother shrouded by
a veil of impenetrable mourning, as if her heart were grieved by some erring
action of one of her beauteous family. But in an hour or two, as
we count time, the dark shroud of seeming woe was lifted, and revealed
her face, not shrunken or disfigured, but glowing with fresh brilliancy
and with a sunny smile. She sent this message to me on a ray of light:
"I was not garbed in mourning. One of my children
stepped between you and my face, as another one does between me and my
fair grand-daughter-lovely Moon."
All this I saw, and more. I saw great stellar
worlds give birth to other worlds. I saw those worlds live, grow,
and die, and the offsprings thereof repeat in accordance with nature's
law the same process of exhibition and retirement -- just as the children
of men pass through the various phases of physical life. I beheld
these glorious denizens of upper air in brilliant brave attire advance,
and to the refulgent music of the spheres dance rhythmically upon the floor
of space. With reverential eyes I saw this part of a whole, whose
beginning and end we know not! -- this branch of the universal life that
throbs and pulses through every vein of nature and guides each atom on
its way throughout the countless ages of eternity. This life is law,
and Osteopathy its latest clause that teaches us its magnitude, and doth
direct and guide creation's crowning work -- the living man --unto his
perfect, right, unchanging health.
Timidity takes possession of us only when we are
at a loss to judge of the end from the beginning. For instance, we
are timid about going under the influence of chloroform, because we do
not know whether we will perish or survive its use.
The same timidity comes over us in the use of drugs.
In Osteopathic treatment we have no timidity, as
Osteopathy strengthens us in all cases. In no instance has death
ever occurred as the result of the treatment, though thousands have received
benefit at the bands of skilled graduates of our school.
For twenty-five years legal recognition has been
withheld from us, yet our flag for truth has ever given music to the breezes.
Strong mortars have thrown shells of great size, loaded with that which
had done deadly execution and taken down the flags of all opposition, until
1874, when little Osteopathy planted a single gun in open field in the
powerful State of Missouri. Shells have fallen all around that flag
for twenty-two years, and on review at roll-call not a thread is found
to be torn or missing. Each thread is stronger, and calls legions
to its defence. Anthems are sung to its praise. Its victories
multiply and come in quick succession. The brainy are among its captives.
It never records a victory if it has not conquered a general of renown.
The scalps of fools and children are never counted, as we do not wish to
be tried for infanticide. It must not be the scalp of a bald-beaded
general. We want no toy ladies' -- man's scalp. It must be
a rooster with full comb and spurs, or we will never exhibit him as a trophy.
This is a war not for conquest, popularity, or power. It is an aggressive
campaign for love, truth, and humanity. We love every man, woman,
and child of our race; so much so that we have enlisted and placed our
front of the enemy for their good and the good of all coming generations,
and ask the Lord, who stayed the knife that was in the hands of Abraham
of old for the destruction of his own son, to please aid and assist by
all honorable means to stop the useless butchery of our mothers, wives,
sisters, and daughters; to teach our people better sense than to use any
drug which would
cause gall-stones, bladder-stones, diseased livers, heart, and
lungs, fibroid tumors, piles, appendicitis, or any other disease or habit
which may be traced directly to the unphilosophical use of drugs, which
are given by one and produce tumefaction of any or all parts of the body,
leaving the patient in such a condition that there is no relief short of
the deadly knife or the next
experimenter. This war has raged hot and heavy for nearly a quarter
of a century. Its position as a witness has been before the judge
of love, truth, justice, and humanity.
Since October, 1874, my pen has been silent as to
reports of how the child, Osteopathy, has been treated. When I opened
the cage in which I kept the boy that I believed in time would be the greatest
warrior who ever appeared on the world's stage of reason, many stayed long
enough to see that the child was a boy, red-headed, had a Roman nose, a
good-sized neck, an eagle's eye, talons, and wings of great length, which
they said meant to fly very high if necessary, and the eye meant to select
the choicest gems at will, and the claws said in the best of language that
to penetrate deeply was the rule of reason and wholly indispensable.
After a careful investigation all said: "That child has the build of a
gritty and sensible warrior." Others asked: "Why do you want to fight in
time of peace?" I told the multitude that in days of peace was the time
to prepare for war. I began to train my boy for the Olympic games
of all future days. For years I kept him in close training to be
a skilled fencer, for I knew much hard fighting would have to be done as
soon as the boy kicked old theories which could boast of no merit save
age and tradition. I knew my Joshua would soon command such suns
and moons to stand, and make them obey to the letter.
Some said, but in a low whisper, that young one was
an illegitimate child: its father could not be found, and it would at all
times be known as a bastard; further than that, no illegitimate could be
allowed to run at large in Missouri. But it soon grew to manhood,
and sued its accusers for slander, and the suit was put off from term to
term for over twenty years.
A great and good man, by the name of Lon V. Stephens,
arose in the highest court of Missouri and said: "I am its father, and
will give it Missouri for its inheritance." And he executed his will
and put the great seal of the State of Missouri, with his signature of
authority, on March 4th, 1891, and named the boy Joshua.
Revolution after revolution -- political, religious,
and scientific -- has originated in America. Governments have changed
with the velocity of demand. These revolutions run from the congregated
assemblies of our law-makers, military, religious, and scientific professions,
and have the navigation of the seas down to each individual, which has
granted to him the right to secede or differ from any of the above-named
systems. He or she has the right to ask and obtain a divorce from
a husband or wife when proof in sufficient quantity is produced; and letters
to that effect are granted by our highest courts by common consent of our
people. As I was wedded to Allopathy early in my life, I lived with
it, put up with it, suffered under it, until it made my life miserable
by continuing the association, and I asked a divorce. I asked, and
put in my petition on June 22d, 1874. I based my charges upon the
foundations of murder, ignorance, bigotry, and intolerance. The fight
in the court through which I had applied was very hot and determined.
A decision was refused from 1874 until October 30th, 1894, previous to
which time the judge of the court carefully examined my claims and referred
my case to the secretary of state, who, after causing a careful examination,
granted me letters-patent from the State of Missouri, with her great seal,
and said: "You are hereby set free from further obligations to Mrs. Allopathy."
For about twelve months I have been busily engaged
in overhauling my loom. I had a loom of the finest construction;
not made on earth, neither is it made by hand. It is the outgrowth
of mind. No thread can pass through its reeds that has not been spun
from the finest silk of reason. Ten thousand four-cut six-ply threads,
with one hundred and forty to the cut, from a reel whose circumference
was twelve feet. Every journal is oiled with that class of oil that
sticks to the steel journals and cannot stick to anything else. Its
duties are limited to the journal only, and will stay there, and there
alone. Those journals are great in velocity.
They make many thousand revolutions per minute.
I am now preparing to manufacture, or weave, as you would term it, a web
as long as the future days of eternity. I am commissioned and appointed
by the ancients of rest, whose minds are never still, to proceed at once
and fill the sley or reed with five threads in each mesh, and begin to
weave the web of life. I am ordered to use those five threads because
they contain sensation, motion, nutrition, assimilation, and body completed.
Those same threads contain five senses. They see, hear, feel, smell,
taste. By the ability they contain, it is only necessary for me to
start the looms in motion. Name the subject, and the web is woven
to the very highest order, to answer and satisfy the mind of the greatest
philosopher and seeker after truth. I will give you a handkerchief,
white as snow, solid as steel, pure as gold, and on its face in a few words
I will tell you what road or roads lead to a successful knowledge of what
thread or threads have broken, gummed, or disturbed in the human looms
The question has been asked so long, and often, and
by so many, if my name was "Dr. A. T. Still, the old doctor." Universally
I have said Yes. Then the questions would begin: "How did you happen
to think of Osteopathy, the most wonderful science in the world, the greatest
blessing God has given to man?" and a thousand more qualifying expressions
of approval and admiration of the science. I will now cheerfully
give you an answer by asking you a few questions. Why and how do
you see an object? smell an odor? taste a quality? bear a sound? feel a
substance? Which you would answer by saying, Nature has made in me
such machineries and endowed each with the necessary qualities to perform
such functions. Therefore you see, hear, taste, and smell because
by nature you are endowed with such qualities, and are free to use them.
The same question could be asked of Newton as to how he studied astronomy,
Fulton as to steam, Howe and the sewing-macbine, Morse in telegraphy, Washington
in studying out the liberties of America, and many other men who have obtained
great results in mental action. If you will read their history, you
would see all the results which they have obtained have come through mental
perseverance, without regard to time, or the opinions of any person or
persons for or against, until they have obtained the object sought, without
which no explorer ever succeeds. If you think on the line I have
indicated, you can answer all your questions your-selves, without seeing
the "old doctor." All successful persons become so by choosing one business,
and bringing all the powers of mind to develop the principle sought, without
which his seat and position is with the "common herd."
He who talks much, does little, and hates his successful
brother or sister, because they have succeeded by perseverance, while be
has failed through laziness and stupidity, will never succeed in anything.
You say, How curious life is! That is a truthful expression of a
man speaking of law when excusing its functions. It would be proper
even in a "Deity" to say: " Oh, how curious art then!" Faultless, peaceful,
eternal, self-finding, self-feeding, nerve and muscle of all animate and
inanimate substances of motor, motion, mind, shape, and form, speaking
of self only as seen and felt; making the eye to behold, minds to sit in
judgment on thy work. A judge, to do justice in his decision, must
have the whole of the evidence of the case; and self being witness, juror,
and judge, and knowing all the subject and substances of the infinite acts
of force, then be, too, must say,
Prophecy is what can be seen by a cloudless mind,
either of the past or future. The events of the past and coming days
must all be in sight of the eye of the mind. To prophesy well, you
must see through two veils -- one of the past and one of the future.
If an event is to arise tomorrow, where is it now? Memory calls up
the past; reason sees tomorrow.
Thought is the action of the machinery of the upper
or third story of life, fed by the nerves of sensation and nutrition, on
which chamber only the corpuscles of life center -- the arteries of reason
to be woven into knowledge by the loom of the Infinite, which moves all
there is of mind at one general move, which is to put that power into motion
in all beings, forms, and worlds: a quality and as plentiful as all space,
when you think you touch the cord that connects you to the Infinite.
All causes combined will never shake the stone on
which Osteopathy is founded. Go deep or shallow, the farming is rich
all the time.
Of what value is a mind when placed in the brain
of a coward? If mind is a gift of God to man for his use, let him
use it. A mind is not in use when doing no good.
If God knows a man will not use his mind, why did He not
put horns on him and call him a mutton-head?