Theory of the Chronic Diseases. – Human pathology is the science which treats of diseased or abnormal conditions of living human beings. It is customary to divide the subject into general pathology and special pathology. *Special pathology is divided into *medical pathology, dealing with internal morbid conditions, and *surgical pathology, which deals with external conditions. *General pathology bears the same relation to special pathology that philosophy bears to the special sciences. It is the synthesis of the analyses made by special pathology. It deals with principles, theories, explanations and classifications of facts.
While the findings and conclusions of modern pathology are accepted in large part by all schools of medicine, and serve as the common basis of the therapeutic art, there are enough variations and differences, particularly in general pathology, arising from contemplation of the subject from the homoeopathic point of view to justify the creation of a special field or department, called Homoeopathic General Pathology, especially as it is concerned with *Chronic Diseases.
Homoeopathy differs with regular medicine in its interpretation and application of several fundamental principles of science. It is these differences of interpretation and the practice growing out of them which give homoeopathy its individuality and continue its existence as a distinct school of medicine.
These differences are primarily philosophical. They have to do mainly with the interpretation or explanation of facts upon which all are agreed, and which all accept. These differing interpretations arise from differing viewpoints. Modern science in general, and medical science in particular, regards the facts of the universe from a materialistic standpoint. It endeavors to reduce all things to the terms of *matter and motion. No valid objection could be raised to this if its definitions of these terms were broad enough to include all the facts.But failing in this, and deliberately closing its eyes and refusing to see certain great, fundamental facts which are not covered by its definitions and of which, therefore, no explanation can be made, medical science formulates systems and methods of practice which are not only inefficient, but often positively harmful.
Homoeopathic medical science views the facts of the universe in general, and medical facts in particular, from a vitalistic sub- stantialistic standpoint; that is, from the standpoint of the substantial philosophy, which regards all things and forces, *including life and mind, as substantial entities, having a real, objective existence. In homoeopathic philosophy life and mind are the fundamental verities of the universe.
Upon the recognition of this basic fact rests Hahnemann’s doctrine of the ” Vital Force” as set forth in the Organon, about which there has been so much discussion. All doubt as to Hahnemann’s position is removed and the subject is placed beyond controversy so far as he is concerned by the final sixth revised edition of the Organon, which is at last accessible to the profession. In this edition Hahnemann invariably uses the term, *Vital Principle instead of Vital Force, even speaking in one place of *”the vital force of the Vital Principle,” thus making it clear that he holds firmly to the substantialistic view of life-that is, that Life is a substantial, objective entity; a primary, originating power or principle and not a mere condition or mode of motion. From this conception arises the dynamical theory of disease upon which is based the Hahnemann pathology, *viz.: that disease is always primarily a morbid dynamical or functional disturbance of the vital principle; and upon this is reared the entire edifice of therapeutic medication, governed by the law of *Similia as a selective principle.
As this view leads to a radically different method of practice, the necessity for a special consideration of general pathology in its various departments is evident.
In formulating his “Theory of the Chronic Miasms, ” Hahnemann did for pathology what he had already done for therapeutics: he reduced a great mass of unsystematized data to order by making a classification based upon general principles.
This classification of the phenomena of disease led to the broadest generalization in pathology and etiology that has ever been made, and greatly simplified and elucidated the whole subject.
Hahnemann’s generalization was based upon his new and far- reaching discovery: *the existence of living, specific, infectious micro-organisms as the cause of the greater part of all true diseases.