Chiropractic Epigrams

Several people have asked me why I republished B.J. Palmer’s epigrams. After all, most of the epigrams may be found free online. Of course if you read the preface or the introduction to the book you would know why I created the book!

The epigrams are awesome! That is the simplest answer as to why. The book simply sorts them by topic so that you may easily find an epigram that resonates with the moment you are in.

I discussed the book just before it came out with Drs. Kent and Gentempo. Please check out the short video of our conversation here:

Just before completing the book, I asked Thom Gelardi, founder of Sherman College to write a foreword. I knew that Thom found the epigrams a source of inspiration and great meaning. When I attended Sherman, epigrams were everywhere! I was honored when he wrote in the foreword, “Simon Senzon’s categorization of the epigrams from B. J. Palmer’s book, As a Man Thinketh, is, if not a stroke of genius, a great bounty to many. “ Categorizing the epigrams was one motivation.  And yet, there is more to it.

A Discipline of Philosophy

This book is part of a larger project of developing a discipline of philosophy in chiropractic. It also contributes to the history by expanding on the epigrams and also linking them to B.J. Palmer’s later philosophy.

This approach is consistent with two of my previous books, where I organized quotes from D.D. and B.J. Palmer along specific topics. Many people have told me they keep those books at their desks for daily inspiration. In fact we have found it so difficult to keep the B.J. book in stock, we are currently putting together an expanded 10th anniversary edition, which will be printed on demand!

The hope of the epigram book was to offer nuggets of wisdom for a new generation of chiropractors in an easy and accessible format. The deeper vision was to demonstrate how these epigrams are part of the philosophy of chiropractic.

Thots in Action*

The epigrams represent thots in action. This was an important part of B.J. Palmer’s philosophical approach to life and learning. His enactive approach often gets overlooked. Here is a classic epigram from B.J., which demonstrates what I mean,

Why these epigrams?

What is before you, is seen.

What is being seen, is read.

What is being read, is thot.

What is being thot, is acted.

What is acted, is YOU.

—BJ Palmer

As a Man Thinketh


This is not ordinary thinking. This is thinking in action, something B.J. tried to instill in his students and give to the world. This approach is consistent with his view of innate intelligence as a super consciousness rather than merely as part of the subconscious mind.

Living bodies are intelligence in action. Adaptation to the environment or the universal forces is intelligence in action. The quote above captures this. You are your thots in action!

But how do you use the Educated Intelligence, which is a subset of the innate intelligence, to further express your own being? How to bring thot into action? Epigrams! (Epigrams are at least one way!)

I realize this may seem overly simplistic to some. After all, several of the epigrams were just silly, like “Deliver your message to Garcia,” written in the employee’s bathroom. And yet that was part of the magic. Epigrams everywhere on the campus helped to create a distinct cultural milieu, one in which thot in action was at the heart of the philosophy.

I will write more on enaction and language and how they relate to the philosophy of chiropractic in the future. I also plan to include these topics as part of the next series of courses. In the meantime, remember the classics, “We never know how far reaching something we may think, say, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow,” and “Get the Big Idea; all else follows.” These two epigrams are exellent examples of thots in action.


  1. BJ Palmer AU: BJ Palmer epigrams.
  2. Senzon SA. (2010). Introduction to Success Health and Happiness.
  3. Senzon SA. (2010). Success, Health, and Happiness: The Epigrams of B.J. Palmer. Integral Altitude: Asheville.
  4. Kent and Gentempo. On Purpose
  5. Gelardi, T. (2010). Foreword to Success, Health, and Happiness.
  6. Senzon, SA. (2004). The Spiritual Writings of B.J. Palmer.
  7. Senzon, SA. (2006). The Secret History of Chiropractic: The Spiritual Writings of D.D. Palmer.
  8. Palmer, BJ. As a Man Thinketh.

More on Epigrams:

Gromola, T. (1985). Broadsides, epigrams, and testimonials: The evolution of chiropractic advertising. Chiropractic History, 4(1), 41-45.**

Gilman, C. (1996). Epigrammania Revisited. Chiropractic History, 16(2), 81-82.**

Wiese, G. (2003). With head, heart, and hands: Elbert Hubbard’s impact on B.J. Palmer. Chiropractic History, 23(2), 27-35.**

Palmer, BJ. 1952. Idle Space Works. Answers: Volume 28. PCC. Page 426.***

One of the earliest books known from D.D. Palmer’s personal collection was:
Wright, M. (1870). The moral aphorisms and terseological teachings of Confucius: The sapient Chinese philosopher. Battle Creek, Michigan

More on Enaction:

The Observer Web: Autopoiesis and Enaction

John Stewart and Tom Froese. 2010. Life after Ashby: Ultra-stability and the autopoietic foundations of biological autonomy. Cybernetics and Human Knowing. Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 7-50

Tom Froese and John Stewart. (2011). Enactive cognitive science and biology of cognition: A response to Humberto Maturana.

Marek McGann. Enactive Cognition: A cognition briefing.

*B.J. was inspired by Elbert Hubbard to use a modified writing style to economize space on the page. Thus “thought” became “thot.”

**Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.

***from Sinnott, R. (1997). The Greenbooks: A collection of timeless Chiropractic works – by those who lived it! Mokena, IL, Chiropractic books.

© 2020 The Institute Chiropractic - Senzon Learning, Inc.