Law of Similars

Law of Similars: A weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished in the living organism by a stronger one, if the latter (whilst differing in kind) is very similar to the former in its manifestation….

[READ ORGANON $ 21-25]

In these paragraphs Hahnemann summaries what he has said before and points out the necessary conclusions. In doing so he proves that the only method of applying medicines profitably in disease is the homoeopathic method. We daily see that the antipathic and heteropathic methods have no tendency of permanency in their results. By these means there are effected changes in the economy and changes in the symptoms but no permanent cure, the tendency being simply to the establishment of another disease, often worse than the first, and without eradicating the first.

In this connection we might speak of the giving of morphine and purgatives. The friends of the patient plead with you to stop the pain or give something to move the bowels for the relief of the patient. You know quite well that the relief from morphine is very transient, but when you are occupying the ground of principle there is the strongest reason why a dose of morphine should never be administered. After giving morphine changes are observed which are really detrimental to the patient. The symptoms are changes, and this is always unfortunate.

The same objection applies to the giving of chloroform in labor. No woman at the present day is well enough to go through labor without some symptoms calling for a remedy. Hence, if you give chloroform in labor, you put your patient in a state in which she is unable to express the symptoms of her own condition. If, at the close of labor, she was about to give forth symptoms that would indicate to the intelligent physician what remedy she needed (perhaps to overcome a life-time of suffering) you would be deprived of knowing what the remedy was by this act of foolishness.

$26. This, depends on the following homoeopathic law of nature which was sometimes, indeed, vaguely surmised but no hitherto fully recognized, and to what is due to every real cure that has ever taken place :

A weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished in the living organism by a stronger one, if the latter (whilst differing in kind) is very similar to the former in its manifestation.

In this paragraph Hahnemann distinctly declares that the phenomena of cure depend entirely upon fixed law, the law of similars or the law that governs Homoeopathy. After Hahnemann had made a number of reported cures for the purpose of observing whether the cures had been made accidentally or from purpose and whether they were in accordance with the law of similars or with the principle of dissimilars.

In every instance he was able to see that the cures had been made in accordance with the law of similars, viz., that the drug which cured in each case was capable of producing symptoms similar to those which it cured. This is true in all planes, under all circumstances, and all other apparent cures are not cures but suppressions.

“A dynamic disease in the living economy of man is extinguished in a permanent manner by another that is more powerful when the latter (without being of the same species) bears a strong resemblance to it in its mode of manifesting itself.” That sentence seemed to be about the best way of expressing the law in Hahnemann’s time.

The words “more powerful,” or more intense, would afford a natural way of expressing it, but when one has lived in Homoeopathy, and has been able to perceive its inner working, the word “powerful” expresses a different thought. If we follow along the line of potentization we lose the idea of power that is manifest to an uninitiated mind. We enter the world of thought and therein learn of a different kind of power of intensity.

When we think naturally of power or intensity the mind is at once carried to the idea of intensity as in an electrical problem in which we increase the intensity by increasing the number of batteries. On the other hand, Hahnemann’s expression leads to the idea of intensity, having qualities more internal, higher, prior; i.e., in the sense of from first to last, the more internal it is the more intense, more it approaches the first substances, so that intensity as to cause means higher or more internal, higher in the sense of subtleness or fineness.

The word “powerful” then, you will please note, contains an interior thought, and that is the only way to bring the mind to realize what is meant. Powerful is actually from within and hence we potentize, going higher and higher, in order that we may reach intensity, and it is in this sense that the remedy becomes more powerful by potentization. As a matter of fact, when speaking upon the material plane, the remedy grows weaker by potentization because the material is actually reduced.

It would seem strange to materialist, to an old school doctor for instance, who has not thought of anything but the giving of great pills, to say that Aconite becomes more powerful by being attenuated. To him it would just be saying that it becomes more powerful the weaker it becomes and yet it is really so, though he cannot see it.

“A dynamic disease is extinguished by another that is more powerful when the latter is similar to it.” The first proposition is that it must be similar and then it must be intense enough. the more there is in the interior, the more there toe expect in the other lights, because there is more in its interior; it is purer, it is more dynamical and it will turn aside and destroy all other light.

This law of similars is seen prominently in the natural world. We see it from man to man. It is easily illustrated among the insane. It is the secret of mind cure, and there and many instances of mind cure that are based on the law of similars. One example of this is seen in the young girls who has lost her mother or lover and is ill as a consequence, is depressed with grief is constantly sobbing, and has become melancholy.

She sits in a corner, hears nobody, thinks no one can pity her because no one has had just such grief. Let us apply allopathic treatment to her. “Come, there is nothing the matter with you; why don’t you brace yourself up; why don’t you try to arouse yourself?” But this only throws her into a deeper state of melancholy. Scolding and harsh treatment do no good. But introduce the homoeopathic treatment, employ a nurse if you will who is a good actress and who has gone through the same identical grief, and let her make a big fuss in the other corner.

Pretty soon the patient will say, “You seem to have the same grief that I have.” Yes, I have not lost a lower.” Well, you can sympathize with me,” and the two fall to bellowing and weep it out together. There is a bound of sympathy. Sometimes a curable case of insanity can be reached in this way, and thus we have a mind cure. Hahnemann made use of this plan in curing insanity. When a patient would exert her will, but is unable on account of the physical encumbrances, then the homoeopathic remedy will restore order.

$27. The curative power of medicines, therefore depends on their symptoms, similar to the disease but superior to it in strength, so that each individual case of disease is most surely, radically, rapidly and permanently annihilated and removed only by a medicine capable of producing (in the human system) in the most similar and complete manner the totality of its symptoms, which at the same time are stronger than the disease.

Then it is not sufficient merely to give the drug itself regardless of its form. It is not sufficient to give the crude drug, but the plane upon which it is to be given is a question of study. The attenuation also must be similar to the disease cause. In a proving the crude drug may bring forth a mass of symptoms in one prover, but when a person is sick those symptoms will not be touched by the crude drug because the patient does not sustain the similar relation or susceptibility that the one did who proved it.

In paragraph $29, Hahnemann has given an explanation of the law of cure. He himself preludes it by saying that he does not attach much importance to it, You are not in any way bond to consider it, and it is usually omitted in this course.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.