HOMOEOPATHY AN EXPLANATION OF ITS PRINCIPLES by SIR JOHN WEIR.
My first duty is to thank the President and Council of the Royal Society of Medicine for their unprecedented courtesy in offering hospitality and thus affording an opportunity of presenting to the Profession some knowledge of Homoeopathy. They are thus falling into line with the idea expressed in the British Medical Journal of July 9th,1932, in the “history of the Association” where it is stated :
“Before the passing of the Medical Act a Committee on Quackery was appointed, which in 1851 presented a report condemning the practice of homoeopathy. IOn more recent years a wider view has been taken, and it has been realised that in medicine there is no orthodox doctrine, but that when once a man has obtained a registrable qualification in the usual way he is entitled to hold his own opinion on therapeutics.”
I was reminded recently that when a man is legally qualified it is not only privilege but his duty to practise in any way which he genuinely thinks will be for the benefit of his patients.
This meeting is really the outcome of the expressed desire of several physician to know more of the principles of Homoeopathy then will be possible in a short paper on “The History of British Homoeopathy” at the British Medical Association on the 29th inst.
One feels keenly the honour, but also the responsibility go having to present the subject of Homeopathy before such an audience as faces me to-day. And I am minded (because of the widely -prevalent mistaken ideas as to what Homoeopathy really is) to simply state facts, ab initio.
I am delighted to tell you a little about Homoeopathy, because it helps me to do some things that I should have believed impossible; and my ambition is, to so interest you, that you may go way and try it.
It is only the few who are intrigued by cleverly-worded arguments; what the many want is more power; and it is to such that my appeal is addressed to-day. Arguments leave most of us cold. You cannot learn Homoeoapthy from arguments as to its possibility. The appeal of Homoeopathy has always been to experience. Do the works if you would know the truth.
Homoeoapthy could never have been discovered a priori. It is a science it is entirely based on experiment. Who was the great great chemist who said the only possible way to know how a lump of sugar would behave, when put into a cup of tea, was to try? Or, as Hunter said to Jenner,” Don’t think : Try.” It is only our experience of Homoeopathy that has made us homoeopaths. We have all been sceptics; but facts have been too string for us.
It may seem strange to you, but the century-old message of Homoeoapthy has a distinct appeal to the men of modern science. Homoeopathy has reversed the old saying, “The science of to-day is the nonsense of tomorrow”; for here, the nonsense of one hundred years is proving to be the science of to-day. And as I said my ambition in coming g here is to help my professional brethren to an appreciation of what appears to me to be vital knowledge in regard to curative drug-action- as conducive to a more definite and wider range of usefulness and power. It is a poor creature who, having found something good, tries to keep it to himself.
For, after all, it is power we need. Knowledge of disease – knowledge of drug-action – what are they? Nothing! -lacking the essential knowledge, how to apply the one for the relief of the other. There must be the co-ordinating principles – law – if power is to result : i.e. the power to deal curative, with assurance and foreknowledge, with the sick individual. ANd after all, this is our very raison d’etre, as doctors.
Now, it is legitimate, natural and praiseworthy to question and to strive for something better that that which contents other men. Progress would cease if we were merely to accept that which comes to us by tradition or authority – satisfied with what satisfied our predecessors. And does it not seem the height of absurdity to hark back to medical ideas of a hundred years ago for light on our problems of to-day? Changes are so rapid in our profession that it has been said,”If a doctor who dies to -day could come back in fifty years from now, and attempt to take up his profession, he would have to graduate all over again.”
ANd yet there was one great physician of the past who, where he come back to earth to-day, could take up his work as he left it. He would find new and exciting developments- possibilities – confirmations : but the essentials would be absolutely the same, because based on law. Moreover, he would find hundreds – no thousands of doctors in all countries of the world, doing precisely what he did : treating their patients as he treated his; and experiencing, thereby, his astonishing results.
How can this be?
Because, in the world’s history there appears from time to time, genius, which instead of moving placidly with the times, leaps far ahead of them.”That man.” we say – but we are only able to say if after his death! – “that man was born a hundred years before his time”… for it is from posterity alone that such men receive tardy vindication.
One such genius was Samuel Hahnemann. Law was revealed to him in one bright of intuition and realisation – the Law of Drug- action; and to the elucidation and elaboration of that Law he devoted his long life. Poverty – bitter enmity – banishment – scorn – were his sorry portion: but nothing moved him. His steadfast appeal was to experienced, and to posterity.