Life, Health & Disease

A little later Metchnikoff of Paris repeated Pettenkofer’s experiment. He swallowed a cultivated mass of the bacilli on three successive days and had no injurious result. Others in his laboratory did the same with the result of only a sight intestinal disturbance. But of a dozen who thus put the matter to the proof in the Pasteur Institute, *one individual acquired an attack of the Indian cholera which very nearly caused his death. That put an end to such experiments and conclusively demonstrated that Koch’s comma bacillus is really capable of producing true cholera, *when right conditions exist.

The announcement of Koch’s discovery made a furore in the medical world. Glowing hopes of cure were based upon it, soon, alas! to be disappointed. It seemed such a simple proposition in those days: “Kill the germs and cure the disease!” At last cholera was to be “stamped out!”

It was very easy to kill the germs in a test tube; but to kill them in the living organism of the cholera patient without killing the patient was quite a different proposition, as they very soon learned. In spite of all attempts at cure based upon such crude reasoning, cholera continued its ravages with undiminished mortality. Now hear what Hahnemann said more than fifty years before all this happened.

When Asiatic cholera invaded Europe in 1831 and began ravaging the population it was realized that it was of the utmost importance to learn its modes of propagation and extension. Hufeland, the great leader of medical thought in Europe at that period, believed and taught that cholera was of atmospheric- telluric origin, from which there could be no protection. Against this awful error Hahnemann protested in a vigorous essay on “The Mode of Propagation of the Asiatic Cholera”. in which he held that it was *”communicable by contagion only, and propagated from one individual to another”.

Illustrating and explaining its mode of origin and propagation he says. ” On board ships, in those confined spaces, filled with mouldy, watery vapors, the cholera miasm finds a favorable element for its multiplication, and grows into an enormously increased brood of those *excessively minute, invisible, living creatures, so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists”, He refers again and again to “the invisible cloud” that hovers around those who have been in contact with the disease, “composed of probably millions of these miasmatic *animated beings, which ar first developed on the broad marshy banks of the tepid Ganges, always search out the human being”.

Consider this amazing statement in which Hahnemann again, by more than half a century, anticipates the conclusions and demonstration of modern science.

Remember, Hahnemann had no microscope. That instrument except in its crude form as a magnifying glass, used as a sort of plaything did not exist. His conclusion was a deduction of pure reason from observed facts, which he states at some length in his essay. Moreover, Hahnemann by an exercise of that same thinking faculty which his wise old father had so carefully trained in his childhood and youth in the old home in Meissen, also discovered and announced the true curative remedies for the disease and that before he had ever personally seen a case.

It was reserved for Koch, who had a microscope, to demonstrate ocularly the absolute truth of Hahnemann’s idea. Whether Koch had read the writings of Hahnemann on this subject is open to question. They were published in book form and were to be found on the shelves of any great library, accessible to all students. If Koch and Pasteur had read and were familiar with the teaching of Hahnemann they were not so frank as Von Behring, who publicly acknowledged his indebtedness to Hahnemann for the idea of his diphtheritic antitoxin and declared that no other word than “Homoeopathy” would adequately explain its modus operandi.

I have dwelt somewhat upon this subject, not only because it shows Hahnemann’s priority and supremacy as an original investigator and thinker, but because we have in this cholera episode a complete illustration of the homoeopathic teaching in regard to the nature of disease.

The first proposition is that *disease is not a thing but only a condition of a thing; that disease is only a changed state of health, a perverted vital action, and not in any sense a material or tangible entity to be seen, handled, or weighed, although it may be measured.

Those who think that have been following me closely warm in their interest in the identification of the comma bacillus as the cause of cholera, are doubtless puzzling their brains to reconcile that identification and demonstration with the statement that “disease is not a thing but a condition of a thing”. Has it hot been demonstrated that the bacillus is a tangible thing? Those who think thus have overlooked an important point in may statement, and by so doing have identified the conditioning and the conditioned, which is a violation of the rules of logic.

The foundation is a condition for the house, but it is not the house nor the cause of the house. Much less is the house identical with the foundation. The bacillus is the proximate cause of cholera but it is not cholera, nor the sole cause of cholera. It is only one of several conditions necessary for the production and propagation of cholera, all of which must be considered if we are to form just conclusions about the nature of disease.

For instance, there are sanitary conditions to be considered, with all their numerous implications; there are social and moral conditions, including facilities and modes of transportation and inter-communication between nations, communities and individuals to be considered. There are also atmospheric and telluric conditions.It is to be noted that it was only after many trials by administration of the bacillus cultures that one individual was found who succumbed to the attack. With him there was a condition of individual susceptibility and that susceptibility was an essential condition for him as it is in all such cases.

Those who did not observe that point were caught napping as many others have been when dealing with such subjects.

We must discriminate between cause and effect, between power and product, between that which acts and that which is acted upon. We must also learn to realize that the power which acts to cause or produce effects is always invisible. We see the wonders of the realm of dynamics only with the eyes of the mind. We know the existence of force only by its manifestations and phenomena. We know gravity chemical affinity, electricity, life, mind, health, disease, only by their phenomena.

We must not let the phenomena which we perceive with our organs of sensation blind us to the existence of the invisible power which produces them nor think that the visible is the all of existence. The tumor, the eruption, the ulcer, the pain, or the fever which we see or feel, or the germ or bacillus which the microscope reveals, is not the all of disease. Back of these lies the substantial, all- pervading life principle of the organism, which primarily acts and is acted upon.

Functional or dynamic change always precedes tissue changes. Internal changes take place before external signs appear. We do not see the beginnings of disease. Neither do we see disease itself any more than we see life, mind, or thought; for disease, in the last analysis is primarily only an altered state of life and mind, manifesting itself in morbid functions and sensations, which may or may not lead to visible tissue changes.

All Action is conditional. No force or agent acts unconditionally. Our cholera illustration teaches that no pathogenic micro-organism acts unconditionally. No germ or bacillus is the sole or absolute cause of any disease, but only a proximate or exciting cause under certain conditions. Other predisposing, contributing, antecedent causes must exist before the germ becomes operative.

Numerous Klebs-Loeffler bacilli may be found in the throats of perfectly healthy people who have been in contact with a diphtheria patient.An examination of the nasal pharyngeal secretions of any one of us at this moment would probably reveal the presence of numerous pathogenic organisms from the inhaled dust of the street. But we are not thereby endangered beyond the ordinary chances of life, because nature has her own means of protection against all such outside, morbific influences.

They are harmless to us in our normal condition because the element of morbid susceptibility to these particular germs is absent in the great majority of individuals. The vital resisting power of the healthy individual in superior to the infecting power of the bacilli or any other form of infecting agent, under ordinary conditions. It has been well said that “the best protection against contagion is good health:

It behooves us, therefore, to understand what Hahnemann means by “the sick” in the first paragraph of the organon, where he says that the first and sole duty of the physician is to heal the sick; and what he means in the third paragraph where he says that the physician should distinctly understand what is curable in disease.

Stuart Close
Stuart M. Close (1860-1929)
Dr. Close was born November 24, 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine.

His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years. Finishing his studies at New York Homeopathic College he graduated in 1885. Completing his homeopathic education. Close preceptored with B. Fincke and P. P. Wells.

Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close went on to found the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union in 1897. This group devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy.

In 1905 Dr. Close was elected president of the International Hahnemannian Association. He was also the editor of the Department of Homeopathic Philosophy for the Homeopathic Recorder. Dr. Close taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College from 1909-1913.

Dr. Close's lectures at New York Homeopathic were first published in the Homeopathic Recorder and later formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy.

Dr. Close passed away on June 26, 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.