CONSTITUTIONAL MEDICINE with reference to The Three Constitutions of Dr.Van Grauvogl (By John H. Clarke, M.D.)
THE following extracts from von Grauvogl’s Preface to his Text-book, dated “Nuremberg, 1865,” will give a clear idea of his aim and object in making that compilation:
Since Homoeopathy is nothing but a system of Therapeutics resting on the foundations of all the natural sciences-Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, etc.- a confirmation of the Organon and the proof of its conformity with natural science may be required often and at various times. And if the practice of life has a word to say, then it is the duty of every practical physician to make public the knowledge and experience which he has acquired, no matter whether at the present moment these should be regarded favourably or unfavourably; for frequently their real value is finally settled by the future only.
A text-book, however, must present examples; its principles must be demonstrated and set forth by cases and comparisons taken from life. Then everyone can accurately apply what he has learned to his patient and at the same time confirm it by the test of success.
I resign all pretence to any party stand-point, since there should be no party in science, consequently none in therapeutics.
Aside from its contents as indicated by its title, this work has also the intention to respond to the necessary though not easy demands of a –
– medical logic elucidated by practical examples; for “opinions”- and these, unfortunately, mean nothing but faith in “authorities”- separate physicians into hostile camps and paralyse medical activity which, were it united, would always be attended by the happiest results; these, however, are not attainable under present lamentable circumstances.
The cause of this state of things clearly cannot be in the subjects themselves about which medical factions contend, since these subjects stand to each other in the natural relation of cause and effect, but is brought about by arbitrary “conceptions” thereof. Hence the necessity is abundantly apparent of intertwining the instruments of logic with the contents of a therapeutic text-book.
Those who wish to follow the brilliant logic of Grauvogl’s treatise must be referred to the Text-book itself. One of my aims will be to “dis-intertwined” the practical conclusions from the “instruments of logic” and let the facts speak for themselves. All I will say here is that readers can trust implicitly to Grauvogl’s honesty as well as his logic. I will only add this pregnant passage from Part II, page 104 of the Text-book. Grauvogl had been citing instances where the teachings of the “physiological school, commonly called Allopathy,” were both useful and necessary:
Thus then we must sometimes offer the diseased human organism palliative aid according to the causal law, but as a rule, of course, medical help according to the law of reciprocal action [Homoeopathy]. If Homoeopathy should seek to treat all cases and every cases and every case simply and solely according to the law of similarity, it would fall into the same error as Allopathy. Hence these sciences are no contrasts in the sense of opposition but rather complements of each other.
This an extremely important observation and it is purely from the want of the recognition of this truth that there was ever any opposition to Hahnemann and his teaching. Homoeopathy was simply an addition to the knowledge of medical truth and should have been accepted at that. If it was incidentally the means of exploding many cherished medical “opinions” not founded on facts, then the “opinions” ought to have been allowed to pass into the limbo into which all such will eventually have to go. Instead of this we know what happened and what is happening now.
Against this devotion to mere “opinions” Grauvogl raised his voice. He also has some pertinent remarks as to what is a “Simile.” He says: “The substance of the law of similarity consists in this, that it indicates a correspondence in form which must be present for the purpose of a cure between “the form of the reaction against some morbid matter and the form of the reaction against some drug manifested in a proving. The law of similarity refers only to the indication, and the effect which follows is naturally not a similar but its direct contrary. Thus the strife of the Contrarium with the Simile is a strife about nothing-a strife about mere ideas of relation. The investigation of facts with a criticism based on natural laws has in all these controversies been consistently neglected.”
Grauvogl was as true a Homoeopath as ever lived, but he never mistook Homoeopathy for being something which it is not, or ever worshipped the dogma as a kind of theological fetish. He was a truth-seeker always, and was able to find it everywhere- even in his own errors. “Errors are (or contain) often the germ of truth where the mind without a teacher is obliged to teach itself.” Lest any should think there was any weakness in his apprehension of Homoeopathic truth I will quote a passage from Part II, p. 390:
“The doctrine of high potencies is the most glorious acquisition of Homoeopathy. It developed its greatness and might in an intellect which has lit up the path of natural science for more than half a century, without, having been comprehended. And what are the discoveries of the spectrum analysis compared to the discovery of Hahnemann’s high potencies.