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Charles Fillmore’s Essay on the Little Wigglers

Mark Hicks

Dear Friends -

Here is an essay by Charles Fillmore entitled How Microbes are Made that was published in 1909. To make it more readable, I have slightly rearranged the text and have added subtitles. But the text is 100% as written by Charles Fillmore.

Several people have asked if Charles Fillmore had commented about the flu pandemic of 1918. I didn’t find anything in those years but you can browse PDFs of Unity magazine from 1918 through 1920 here. Let me know if you find something. Regardless, this essay from 1909 directly addresses our current pandemic. I hope it is helpful to you.

Scroll down and you will see a link to download a PDF that may be printed as a booklet. If you run the booklet PDF through a duplex printer, flipped on the short end, you will have a very readable document for study or to share with others. Or, if you just want a clean copy, click here and then click print in your browser.

Read the essay carefully and you will find that Charles Fillmore does not say that we have created these “little wigglers” by the of the activity of our thinking. But what he repeatedly says throughout the essay is that we have mistakenly “named” their place in God’s perfect creation as evil. God creates microbes; Adam names them.

Mr. Fillmore would have us do four things to overcome these “beasts of the field” whose “office it is to make men miserable:”

  • He wants us to clean up our thinking facility with Wisdom and Love so that we may seek a higher source of wisdom than ourselves, and reflect it.
  • He wants us to embrace materia medica and to connect it with metaphysics so that we may partner with our health leaders to overcome the ravages of disease and death.
  • He wants us to reject hate germs such as anger, jealousy, malice, avarice, lust, ambition and all of the detestable ideas that mankind harbors.
  • Finally, Mr. Fillmore wants us to embrace our image and our likeness of God by “naming” the truth and goodness of all creation.

Let me elaborate a bit on that last point. How we “name” the coronavirus just may be the way we move forward. No doubt this is a “kairos moment” when all things are open to change. As a human race we have an opportunity to improve democracy, achieve peace, care for the poor and fix our climate. As individuals we have an opportunity open our heart to others and rebuild relationships. As a church we have an opportunity to redefine how we deliver spiritual benefits to a world underserved by traditional religion.

In summary the way to overcome this little wiggler is not to kill it but rather to transform it into a greater good. The way forward is forward.

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Mark Hicks
Sunday, May 31, 2020

This article, named Micro-organisms, was repeatedly printed by Unity, beginning in 1895 and continuing at least until 1934. Here is a link to several editions, including the 1909 edition, from which this text has been extracted. And here is a link to the 1934 edition.

The content of this page can be printed by clicking here.

If you want this article in booklet format that can be included with your Sunday bulletin or to place in a newcomer's packet then click here and print out the PDF on your printer, double sided and flipped on the short edge.


How Microbes Are Made

Talks on Truth (1909 Edition)
by Charles Fillmore
restructured text, with added subheadings, bible references and text highlights

Every Mental Process is Generative

It is now almost universally accepted by physicians that the majority of diseases are caused by minute forms of life commonly called “microbes” or disease germs. Cancer, consumption, diphtheria, croup, etc., each has its specific microbe, which is the invisible yet active agent. These microbes may be seen with very strong microscopes, and the form and character of the different varieties are fully described by experts like Pasteur and Koch, whose antidotes for these destructive little animals have been widely advertised. Their remedy consists in destroying the microbe—they do not attempt to explain his origin. They find the little worker busy in the bodies of mankind, and they seek to put him out of action, not asking where he came from or whither he may go.

But the reflective mind is not satisfied with this superficial way of dealing with such destructive agents. It asks their cause, but no answer is vouchsafed on the part of those who study microbes. Only the students of mind can answer this question of the origin of microbes and disease germs, and it can be explained from no other standpoint.

The Adam-man, the intellect, is responsible for all the microbes. He gives character to all the ideas that exist—he “names” them. This process is intricate and may be explained and understood in its details only by metaphysicians of the deepest mental insight, but it is summed up in what is commonly called “thinking.”

Many factors enter into the process of “thinking.” There is the capacity of him who thinks to form his thoughts and give them substance and force. There is also the understanding of right and wrong, truth and error, substance and shadow. These and many other conditions enter into that mental process loosely termed “thinking.”

But we should not be ignorant of the fact that every mental process is generative—from thinking is evolved what is called living. Thinking is formative —every thought clothes itself in a life form according to the character given it by the thinker. This being true, it must follow that thoughts of health will produce microbes whose office is to build up healthy organisms, and thoughts of disease will produce microbes of disorder and destruction.

Here we have the connecting link between materia medica and metaphysics. The physician observes the ravages of the disease microbe, but is at a loss to account for its source; while the metaphysician stands in the storehouse of thoughts and sees them poured into visibility as microbes. This opens up a field of causes of unlimited extent. If every thought that flits through the mind of every man, woman and child in the universe produces a living organism, a microbe of character like the thought, what mighty possibilities for good or ill rest with the thinkers! There is no escape from this conclusion, and everybody must sooner or later accept it.

Take an illustration and observe the various stages of the law in the case of diphtheria. A child is attacked; the doctor is called and from symptoms detects the disease. He communicates his fears to the family, and in addition to the diphtheria microbe, another of more deadly character commences its inroads upon the nerve centers of the whole family, including the weakened and therefore doubly susceptible patient—this is the microbe of fear, which paralyzes life throughout the body. When these microbes have done their work up to a certain point, still another is created to complete it—the microbe of death.

This may seem an exaggeration, but we have the authority of Dr. Parker, a physician of New York, who states that he has discovered the microbe of death and experimented with it. A recent newspaper article, describing his discovery, says:

“Death is caused by a certain specific microbe, that can be recognized and bred, just as the microbes of various diseases have been discovered and propagated by Koch, Pasteur and the other bacteriologists. The labors of these great men have made further discovery possible, and it was through the study of their achievements that Dr. Parker conceived the idea that, inasmuch as disease was caused by these infinitesimal derangers of the human system, the culmination of disease must have its own specific microbe to put the finish to the work of dissolution, without which the various organs of the body, distempered and degraded from their pristine purity and vital activity, would remain a purulent mass of living corruption unable to resolve itself into its primal elements and to form other combinations, a process which we see taking place every day as defunct animal matter sinks into the earth or vanishes into the air to afford food for new and active organisms."

This is not at all improbable, but the discovery might properly have been anticipated by the metaphysician. If thought is creative it must cover every phase of life, and every thought must form its microbe, and every life expression must have originated in some thought.

We Characterize Life by Naming

The author of Genesis was evidently a great metaphysician. He described Being as God, Lord God and Adam. We would express the same truth in the terms, Mind, Idea and Manifestation. The manifestation is always the self-conscious, hence the limited. This is Adam. But these three are one, because the manifestation rests upon and is sustained by the Idea, and the Idea is encompassed by the Mind that conceives it; therefore the Real of Adam is the Lord God, and the Omnipresent Fount of the Lord God is the One God. This being true, man has no permanent existence while he is alone in the consciousness of this Adam or personal estate, because this is not all of his being, but merely a part. His being is summed up in a consciousness of God, Lord God and Adam. These three are not separated, but are omnipresent in everyone. The only walls of separation are those built by consciousness of separation. When Wisdom is found, and her conditions complied with, the consciousness of the omnipresence of the Three in One is proclaimed: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”—John 14:10.

Adam is perfectly legitimate in his right place, and that place is the consciousness of the omnipresence of the Father; then he is back again in the Garden of Eden. Adam has a very important place in creation in that he is the factor in the manifestation of Being that “names” or gives character to its potentialities.

Man is not Adam: Adam is a part of man’s consciousness. Adam is your intellect, but you transcend the intellect. You form your intellect from the “dust of the ground;” that is, the omnipresent substance, and through it, as a kind of reflecting lens, you give character to your surroundings.

Those familiar with the study of the operations of the intellect tell us that it is constantly making images of the ideas that float into its surroundings. It is when we know this that we are astonished at the metaphysical depth of Genesis. The Lord God is described as bringing the “beasts of the field and the fowls of the air” to Adam “to see what he would call them.”

The “beasts of the field” are the ideas in Being pertaining to organized life, and the “fowls of the air” are ideas of spiritual life. It is the Adam, or intellect, that gives character to both ideal conditions; it is through him that man makes his heaven or his hell. Among the disciples of Jesus, Peter represented one aspect of the I Am. He had been partially opened to the light of Spirit, and his power over ideas recognized. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). This is a repetition on a higher plane of the allegory of the Lord God bringing to Adam the beasts of the field and fowls of the air to see what he would call them.

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.—Gen. 2:19.

He who studies Mind may know how to “discern the signs of the times.” He becomes familiar with certain underlying principles and he recognizes them in their different masks in the whirligig of time. All Scripture veils under historical symbology the movements of Mind in its different cycles of progress. These cycles repeat themselves over and over again, but each time on a little higher plane. Thus the sphere or circle is a type of the complete Mind, but in manifestation the circles are piled one on top of another in an infinite spiral.

We, today, are repeating the mental circle of two thousand years ago. The descent of the Spirit into the earth consciousness, as symbolized by the life and death of Jesus Christ, is being again enacted in our age. The idea of a personal Messiah has been raised to include Messiahship for all who will drink of the waters of life and light immanent in all, and now being poured out upon all mankind.

But principles do not change—man makes his heaven or his hell just as he did two thousand or two million years ago. In the days of Moses, the Egyptians refused to give freedom to the Israelites (their spiritual ideas) and they saw frogs, lice, locusts and blood in earth, air and water. Today those who contend for the Egyptian darkness of the intellect, see in the same earth, air and water, disease germs, death microbes and destructive animalcules.

Hate Germs

These propositions are axiomatic, and when one familiar with mind discovers a microbe he should know just what idea in the Adam consciousness, or intellect, gave it form and name.

Anger, jealousy, malice, avarice, lust, ambition, selfishness, and in fact all of the detestable ideas that mankind harbor, produce living organisms after their kind. If we had microscopes strong enough we would find our bodies to be composed of living microbes, doing to the best of their ability the tasks which intellect has set before them.

If you have said, “I hate you,” there has been created in your atmosphere hate germs that will do the work for which you created them. If one's enemies alone were attacked by these microbes of thought the law would not be so severe, but they have no respect of person, and are apt to turn upon the body of their creator and tear it down.

Doctors are especially industrious in creating microbes in their particular line. They make a new disease every day, or rename an old one, and each is endued with its specific microbe that gives it standing among the people who believe in such things, and its inventor goes down in medical history as a benefactor of the race.

So the fears, the doubts, the poverty, sin, sickness, and the thousands of erroneous states of consciousness—all have their microbes. These organisms whose office it is to make men miserable, do their work to the very best of their ability. They are not responsible for their existence, but are the formed vehicles of thought and the servants of those who gave them life. So it is not to the microbes that the wise regulator of affairs should look, but to those who are creating them and thereby bringing into existence discord and disease.

Remedies beyond number are advertised for microbes, but they are guaranteed to kill the little wiggler only. What is needed is a medicine that will prevent his appearance. To apply the remedy to the poor little microbe is like trying to stop the manufacture of counterfeit money by destroying all that is found in circulation.

All counterfeit thought comes from the intellect. It alone originates the disease germ and the destructive microbe, and we shall go no farther than this disobedient Adam to find the cause of all the ills to which humanity has become slave.

Wisdom and Love Transforms the Intellect

Wisdom is not an attribute of the intellect. The assumption of wisdom by it is the one thing it is especially warned against by the Lord God. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

This very clearly indicates the inability of the intellect, on its own account, to set up a standard of knowledge of good and evil, and the end to which it will come if it does so.

That there is something wrong in the standard of good is evidenced by the variety of opinions in the world as to what is good and what is evil. There should be no question on such vitally important points, and there would not be if the intellect would relinquish its claim to a knowledge of good and evil, and relegate to the Spirit the office of Wisdom and Understanding.

The intellect is the formative, character-giving mechanism in the man; it draws its substance and intelligence from the Spirit. Like the lens through which the ray of white light is passed, it reflects the potentialities of the Spirit. If it looks within and seeks the guidance of the Spirit, it reflects Divine ideas upon the screen of visibility. This is the plan which the Lord has for it, and it is building according to that plan only when it admits that there is a higher source of wisdom than itself, and seeks it.

The manifestation of life is through the Adam consciousness, and he is in a way attached to and responsible for the forms thus made visible. Hence the reform—the transformation—of existing conditions must be made from the standpoint of Adam as an important factor.

To ignore Adam is to slight one of the established creations of the Lord God. If Adam was not a part of the Divine plan, why was he formed from the dust of the earth, the breath of life breathed into him, and a living soul capacity given to him?

No, we are not to erase Adam, but we are to transform him. He is not a safe guide in anything— his conclusions are derived from observation of conditions as he sees them in the external world. He judges according to appearance, which is but one side of the whole. Appearances say that microbes are dangerous and destructive, but one who is familiar with their origin is not alarmed, because he knows that there is a power and wisdom stronger and wiser than the ignorant intellect.

It is to this power that we are compelled to go before we can right the wrongs that now dominate the minds of men. There is but one fount of wisdom, and that is Wisdom itself.

Wisdom cannot be evolved from the study of microbes—it is they who wait upon the Lord who shall be wise. Herein is one of the most universal errors of this age—the idea that wisdom is attained through the study of things. This is the concept of the intellect in its tendency to look without instead of within. The without, the universe of things formed, is not and never can be a source of wisdom. The things formed are the results of efforts to combine Wisdom and Love, and their character indicates the success or failure of the undertaking. When Wisdom and Love have been invoked, and their harmony made manifest in the thing formed, God is manifest.


To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne.—Rev. 3:21.

We love to give “names” or character to the ideas of the Lord God, because it is our office in the grand plan of creation to do so. The glory of the Father is thus made manifest through the Son. In no other way can the ideas in Being be made manifest, and man should rise to the dignity of his office and formulate according to the plans of Divine Mind.

Disease germs and microbes would quickly disappear from the earth if men would consult God before passing judgment upon his creations. It is not man’s province to formulate anything but what will be a pleasure in his eye. If he makes microbes it is because he thinks microbe thoughts. When he thinks God thoughts he will form the beauties of nature and mankind only, and there will no longer be anything in all his world that will cause a fear or pang of pain. God is not the author of this condition of so-called “progress from matter to mind”—God is the one source from which and of which man makes his existence.

There is a law of unfoldment in Being, a law as harmonious and exact as the progressive steps in a mathematical problem in which no error is made; or in a musical production where discord has found no place. But microbes and disease germs are not a part of this Divine Law. They are as far removed from it as would be error in the steady, careful steps in the progressive unfoldment of numbers, or false notes in symphony or song.

It does not require labored arguments or hard thinking to see how easily the problems of life would be made orderly and Divine if men would let the Lord into their minds. Jesus said the yoke was easy and the burden light. He was victor over all the hard conditions to which men and women think themselves yoked, and he made light of sin, disease and poverty by annulling them and preaching boldly, in the face of an adverse theology, that it was the prerogative of the Son of man so to do.

There is a royal road for every man—a road in which he will be conscious of that dominion which is his by Divine right. That road Jesus said led out from the I Am. As Moses delivered the children of Israel from the Egyptian darkness of their ignorance by affirming in their ears the power of the I Am, so Jesus gives us a series of affirmations that will deliver us from the wilderness of ignorance.

His command is, “Keep my sayings.” Then his sayings are set before us: “I Am, the Way, the Truth and the Life;” “I Am, the resurrection and the life;” ‘I Am, the light of the world;” “I Am, meek and lowly of heart;” “Before Abraham was, I Am.”

I Am is the polar star around which all the thoughts of man revolve. Even the little narrow concept of the personal “1 am” may be led out into the consciousness of the great and only I Am by filling its thought sphere with ideas of infinite wisdom, life and love. “Hitch your wagon to a star,” said Emerson. Your wagon is that which carries you along. Your “1 am” is that which carries you up or down, to heaven or to hell, just according to the idea to which you have attached it. Then “hitch it to a star” and let it carry you to the broad expanse of heaven. There is room a-plenty—you will not knock elbows with anyone if you get out of the surging crowd and hitch your “I am” to the star of Spiritual Understanding.

Cease making microbes and turn your attention to higher things. Make love alive by thinking love. Make wisdom the light of the world by affirming God’s omnipresent intelligence. See in mind the pure substance of God and it will surely appear. This is the way to destroy microbes—this is the antidote for disease germs. The real, the enduring things of God are to be brought into visibility in just this simple way. This is the way the I Am makes itself manifest. It is so easy that the man of great intellect passes it by; it is so plain that a simpleton may understand it. A college education is not necessary. You do not have to know about anything whatsoever except God. How easy it is, how light the burden! No long, tedious years of study; no delving into depths of intricate theories and speculations about molecules, atoms and ethers, but just a simple, childlike attention directed to the everywhere Spirit, and a heart filled with love and goodness for everything. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

“The soul of things is sweet, the heart of Being is celestial rest; stronger than woe is will; that which was Good doth pass to Better, Best.

“Ye suffer from yourselves. None else compels, none other holds you that ye live and die, and whirl upon the wheel, and hug and kiss its spokes of agony, its tire of tears, its nave of nothingness. Behold, I show you truth! Lower than hell, higher than heaven, outside the utmost stars, farther than Brahm doth dwell, before beginning and without an end, as space eternal and as surety sure, is fixed a Power divine which moves to Good; only its laws endure.