The Scope of Homeopathy

Homoeopathy as a therapeutic method is concerned primarily only with the *morbid vital processes in the living organism, which are perceptibly represented by the symptoms, irrespective of what caused them….

Accuracy and efficiency in homoeopathic therapeutics is only possible to those who have a clearly defined idea of the field in which the principle of *Similia is operative.

The scope of homoeopathy is a subject which has received too little consideration by teachers and practitioners alike. Hazy and confused ideas prevail. As a result we find on the one hand a few sincere but misguided enthusiasts attempting the impossible and bringing ridicule upon themselves, and on the other hand, the great majority, ignorant of the higher possibilities, missing their opportunities and bringing discredit upon themselves and their art by resorting to unhomoeopathic measures in cases which could readily be cured by homoeopathic remedies. One believes too much, the other too little. Neither one knows why he succeeds in one case and fails in another.

Haphazard cures do not justify boasting. The art of pharmaco- therapeutics in general, and of homoeopathy in particular, is not advanced by such work. What we need is clean-cut, scientific work; work capable of being rationally explained and verified; results attained by the intelligent application of a definite principle and a perfected technic in a sharply delimited field.

The therapeutic principle is known; the technique of prescribing has been developed; a large number of remedies have been prepared; but the field of action has not been clearly defined.

In this respect we are like an army which is wasting much good ammunition trying to search out a hidden enemy of whose exact location it is ignorant.

A philosophical aeroplane, sent into the upper regions of the air, may be able to locate the enemy exactly and enable us to train our guns directly upon him.

Homoeopathy as a therapeutic method is concerned primarily only with the *morbid vital processes in the living organism, which are perceptibly represented by the symptoms, irrespective of what caused them.

In defining the scope of homoeopathy it is necessary first to discriminate between disease *per se, as a morbid vital process and the material results or products in which the morbid process ultimates. With the latter, homoeopathy primarily has nothing to do. It is concerned only with disease *per se, in its primary, functional or dynamical aspect.

Disease *per se, Hahnemann says, is “nothing more than an alternation in the state of health of a healthy individual” caused by the dynamic action of external, inimical forces *upon the life principle of the living organism, making itself known only by perceptible signs and symptoms, the totality of which *represents and for all practical purposes constitutes the disease.

It becomes necessary, therefore, in homoeopathic prescribing to carefully separate the primary, functional symptoms which represent the morbid process itself, from the secondary symptoms which represent the pathological end-products of the disease.

The gross, tangible lesions and products in which disease ultimates are not the primary object of the homoeopathic prescription. We do not prescribe for the tumor which affects the patient, nor are we guided by the secondary symptoms which arise from the mere physical presence of the tumor: We prescribe for *the patient selecting and being guided by the symptoms which represent the morbid, vital process which preceded, accompanied and ultimated in the development of the tumor.

If there is doubts as to which symptoms are primary and which are secondary the history will decide. In the evolution of disease in the living organism, functional changes precede organic or structural changes. *”Function creates the organ”, is a maxim in biological and morphological science, from which it follows that *function reveals the condition of the organ.

The order in which the symptoms of a case appear, therefore, enables us to determine which are primary and which secondary, as well as to ascribe reflex symptoms to their source and correctly localize the disease.

For the homoeopathic prescriber the totality of the functional symptoms of the patient is the disease, in the sense that such symptoms constitute the only perceptible form of the disease and are the only rational basis of curative treatment. Symptoms are the outwardly perceptible signs or phenomena of internal morbid changes in the state of the previously healthy organism, and are our only means of knowing what disease is. They represent a change from a state of order to a state of disorder. When the symptoms are removed the disease ceases to exist.

These phenomena result from and represent the action upon the living organism of some external agent or influence inimical to life. With the morbific agents themselves homoeopathy primarily has no more to do than it has with the tangible products or ultimates of disease. It is taken for granted that the physician, acting in another capacity than that of a prescriber of homoeopathic medicine, will remove the causes of the disease and the obstacles to cure as far as possible before he addresses himself to the task of selecting and administering the remedy which is homoeopathic to the symptoms of the case by which the cure is to be performed.

In thus focusing attention upon the individual and purely functional side of disease upon disease *per se, the sphere of homoeopathy may be clearly perceived.

From this point of view, the most significant and general feature to be observed about the phenomena or disease is the fact of motion, action, change; change of states, forms and positions; change resulting from the application of morbific force in the living organism; change from a state of health to a state of disease; and the reverse; change of symptoms and their groupings; change of order to disorder; change of form of diseased structures; change of function; change of molecular combination and arrangement; everywhere motion, change and transformation so long as life lasts. In one word, we find ourselves in the realm of *pure dynamics. This is the true and only sphere of homoeopathy, *the sphere of vital dynamics. In fact homoeopathy might well be defined as the Science of Vital Dynamics. Its field is the field of disordered vital phenomena and functional changes in the individual patient, irrespective of the name of the disease, or of its cause. Its object is the restoration of order and harmony in vital functioning in the individual patient. Its laws are the laws of motion operating in the vital realm, which govern all vital action. Its fundamental principle is the universal principle of Mutual Action. “Action and Reaction are Equal and Opposite”.

“The unprejudiced observer”, says Hahnemann, “well aware of the futility of transcendental speculation which can receive no confirmation from experience be his power of penetration ever so great takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the *changes in the health of the body and the mind(morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from a former healthy state of the diseased individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease.” (Organon, par.6)

The tangible things which the examining physician finds in the body are not the disease, but merely its effects. It is as impossible, and therefore as futile, to try to find a disease in the hidden interior of the organism as it would be to try to find a thought by an exploration of the interior of the brain, the electricity in the interior of a dynamo, or the song in the throat of a bird. Such things are known only by their phenomena. Metaphysically considered, they may be said to subsist in the dynamic realm as substantial entities, or forces, but as such they are perceptible only to the “inner vision”, through the eyes of the mind. They are “spiritually (that is, mentally) discerned” The metaphysical conception serves as an aid in the interpretation of the phenomena.

Practically, however, we do not deal with abstractions. We deal with facts and phenomena, with symptoms.

“The totality of these, its symptoms, *of this outwardly reflected picture of the internal essence of disease, that is of the affection of the vital force, must be the principal, or the sole means, whereby the disease can make known (its nature and) what remedy is required.” (Organon, par. 7.)

The removal of all the perceptible symptoms or phenomena of disease removes disease itself and restores health. Hahnemann thus philosophically distinguishes between disease itself and its causes, occasions, conditions, products and phenomena, and in so doing shows clearly that the sphere of homoeopathy is limited primarily to the functional changes from which the phenomena of disease arise. In other words, homoeopathy is confined to and operative only in the sphere of vital dynamics.

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.