Materialism in Medicine

The materialist refuses to believe anything that does not conform to the laws of time and space. It must be measured it must be weighted, it must occupy space, or he has no idea of it, and ill distinctly affirm that without this it is nothing and has no existence….

Several paragraphs now to be read are scarcely more than a recapitulation of subject spoken of. In going over previous paragraphs I have introduced these points in advance, because it was natural to do so in connection with the subject in hand. I will therefore glance over them until we reach something new.

“In thirteenth paragraph Hahnemann says:

“Therefore disease (that does not come within the providence of manual surgery), considered, as it is by the allopathists, as a thing separate from the living whole, from the organism and its animating vital force, and hidden in the interior, be of ever so subtle a character, is an absurdity that could only be imagined by minds of a materialistic stamp, and has for thousands of years given to the prevailing system of medicine all those pernicious impulses that have made it a truly mischievous (non-healing) art.

The material notion referred to was that existing in the time of Hahnemann. Materialism is still growing. It seems impossible for the majority of men of the present day to perceive. Perception, that is, seeing with the understanding, seems to be entirely lost. The materialist refuses to believe anything that does not conform to the laws of time and space. It must be measured it must be weighted, it must occupy space, or he has no idea of it, and ill distinctly affirm that without this it is nothing and has no existence.

Everything beyond this is to the material mind poetical, dreamy, mysterious. So they look in vain in the material world for causes. You will never find a material entity as in any way causing anything. It has no causative power, no creative influence, no propelling influence. Causes or simple substance are, in the natural state, in motion, and cause motion in the bodies that they occupy; the natural state for simple substance is that of power, of mobility, of activity. The natural state of matter is rest, quietude, silence; it has no power to move unless acted upon. Like the dead man, whose tissues are at rest, it has no action of its own. But the simple substance dominates matter and animates it.

The two worlds, the world of motion of power, and the world of inertia, exist in one. There is a world of life and a world of dead matter. The realm of thought and the realm of matter are the realm of cause and the realm of result. Causes are invisible, results are visible. We see the actions of material substance, but the thinking man has only to reflect to see that these actions that are visible in material form are but result of the cause that exist in the form of simple substance which is invisible to the natural eye but visible to the spiritual eye or understanding.

The materialist cannot grasp this idea, he cannot think in this way. We have the grandest confirmation of these things in the wonderful action of our potencies in the varying degrees in which they operate upon man, from the lowest to the highest. You will discover in course of time that in a large number of chronic diseases our antipsorics will cause changes in the economy, curative or otherwise, in from five to seven different potencies,. In this you have the demonstration of degree of simple substance, and their relation to different planes in the interior of the economy.

$ 14. There is, in the interior of man, nothing morbid that is curable, and no invisible morbid alteration that is curable, which does not make itself known to the accurately observing physician by means of morbid signs and symptoms-an are arrangement in perfect conformity with the infinite goodness of the all-wise. Preserver of human life.

This we have already spoken of. Every curable disease is made known to the physician by signs and symptoms. Incurable diseases have few signs and symptoms, and by their absence the disease is often thus known to be incurable. By watching the patient gradually decline without any symptoms but those which are the common expressions for pathological condition, we see that the case is incurable and is going down to death.

All curable maladies, therefore, have signs and symptoms in order to make themselves known; their purposes is the shadows forth the disorderly condition of the vital force or interior of man, so that the physician may read it and understand its nature. This imaging forth when the human race is in a state of ignorance, or materialism, is like seeds sown upon stony ground; there is no man to understand them, to apprehend their meaning. The images of sickness are continually being formed, and only wait for a man intelligent enough to observe them, to understand their meaning to translate them, and it is possible for men, by the doctrines of Homoeopathy, to become wise and intelligent enough to be conversant with these signs.

In this paragraph we also see Hahnemann’s recognition of Divine Providence. It was the very recognition of providence that enabled Hahnemann to become a man, and being directed by Divine Providence enabled him to finally perceive the law. When his little ones were being hurled to death by strong drugs the first thought of Hahnemann was that Providence had not made these little ones to be destroyed by medicine; it seemed to him inconsistent that they should be made to take this miserable stuff. In all your experiences, if you live to be very old, you will find a very poor lot of Homoeopaths among those who do not recognize Divine Order. You will find among them false science, experimentation, but never any government of principle, no thought of purpose,. order or use.

Hahnemann was not in the strictest sense the discoverer of the law, for Hippocrates said that diseases might be either by opposites or similars, but Hahnemann discovered this by pure experimentation and the following out of strict order After reading it up he found corroboration of the principles he had discovered, and he followed along the line, growing wiser and stronger, until he formulated the code which is so simple and yet so complete. Very few are able to read the Organon at first and see anything in it but words, and yet the oldest practitioner of pure Homoeopathy finds nothing in it to change and the older he grows and becomes more active in work the more he depends upon it and the more consistent it becomes. Although I have been teaching the Organon for many years I never go over it without discovering same new thought in harmony with the general teaching. The continued study of the Organon brings a deeper and deeper understanding of it, because it is true.

In the 15th paragraph another thought comes up which still further shows the unit of government which we have dwelt upon so much in past lectures. Everything that flows from a a center must be considered in connection with that center. Man in his healthy state is but the result of the normal activities of a unit, and he must be considered as a unit. In other words, his healthy vital force is the result of action from Center.

On the otherhand, when man becomes diseased in his disordered or diseased state he is still a unit and has to be considered collectively. It is not to be considered that his physiological action produce his morbid actions, but that his morbid actions so completely dominate him that he is one morbid state. This is again illustrated when he is dominated by the action of a drug (when a drug instead of a disease possesses him), then we see a morbid state, but it is still a unit of action.

There are three different subjects forming a union of study, the study of man in his natural state, the study of man in his sick state from natural disorder, and the study of man in his sick state from artificial disorder. Each remedy must be studied as a unit first and then those units may be compared. To intermingle comparative Materia Medica without a full knowledge of units is a mistake.

This I have found out by experience in my earlier teaching. I have taught much comparative Materia Medica, thinking that a wise course to pursue, but have since abandoned that plan and now study each remedy as a unit, just as I advise the study of each disease as a unit. When one remedy is fully mastered, or one disease is fully mastered, then you are ready to compare. First of all think of measles as measles, and whooping cough as whooping cough, and, have been observed in sycosis and all those that have been observed in psora.

You are then prepared to enter the study of the Materia Medica and see the relationship of some remedies to the acute miasms and the relationship of other remedies to the chronic miasmas, You will see particularly the image of measles in some remedies, the image of whooping cough in others, and the image of psora, syphilis and sycosis in others. Then you are ready to proceed with what may be called individualization, because these are the most general, and from these we go into particulars and then into comparison. This is the classical way to proceed, and when it is followed the physician becomes wise and intelligent and can apply the Materia Medica with wonderful precision. Such was Hahnemann’s method.

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.