Simple Substance

Simple Substance is concept given by Kent which is similar to, but greater than the concept of Vital Force given by Hahnemann. The simple substance gives to everything its own type of life, gives it distinction, gives it identity whereby it differs from all other things….

9. In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force, the dynamis that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway, and retains all parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.

This paragraph introduces the vital principle. It would hardly seem possible that Hahnemann, in the time he lived, could say so much in a few lines. In the seventh section of the first edition of the Organon, Hahnemann wrote: “There must exist in the medicine a healing principle, the understanding has a presentiment of it, ” but after the Organon had gone through a number of editions. Hahnemann had somewhat changed, and in this work, which is the 1883 edition, he distinctly calls a unit of action in the whole organism the vital force. You get the idea from some of his expressions that the harmony itself is a force, but I do not think that Hahnemann intends to teach that way. We cannot consider the vital principle as harmony, nor harmony as principle is something that is prior to harmony. Harmony is the result of principle or law.

Hahnemann could perceive this immaterial vital principle. It was something he arrived at himself, from his own process of thinking. There was paucity of individual ideas at that time, m i.e. ideas outside of the accepted sciences, but Hahnemann thought much, and by thinking he arrived at the idea contained in this paragraph, which only appears in the last edition, “In the healthy condition of man the immaterial vital principle animates the material body.” If he had used the words “immaterial vital substance, it would have been even stronger, for you will see it to be true that it is a substance.

At the present day advanced thinkers are speaking of the fourth state of matter which is immaterial substance. We now say the solids, liquids and gases and the radiant form of matter. Substance in simple form is just as positively substance as matter in concrete form. The question then comes up for consideration and study: What is the vital force? What is its character, quality or esse?

Is it true that man only has this vital force? Is is possessed by no animal, no mineral? For a number of years there has been a continuous discussion of force as force, or power to construct. The thought that force has nothing prior to it leads man’s mind into insanity. If man can think of energy as something substantial he can better think of something substantial as having energy. When he thinks of something that has essence, has actual being, he must think of that esse as something existing and as having something which has ultimates.

He must think in a series whereby cause enters into effect and furthermore into a series of effects. If he do not do this he destroys the very nature and idea of influx and continuance. If man does not know what is continuous, if he does not realize that there are beginnings, intermediates and ends, he cannot think, for the very foundation of thought is destroyed.

What do we mean by influx? As a broad and substantial illustration let us think of a chain. What is it that holds the last link of a chain to its investment or first attachment? At once we will say the intermediate link. What is it that connects that link? Its previous link, and so on to first link and its attachment. Do we not thus see that there is one continuous dependence from the last to the first hook? Wherever that chain is separated it is as much separated as possible, and there is no longer influx from one link to the other. In the same way as soon as we commence to think of things disconnectedly we lose the power of communication between them. All things must be united or the series is broken and influx ceases.

Again, we see that man exists as to his body, but as yet we do not see all the finer purposes of his being.

To believe that man exists without a cause, to believe that his life force goes on for a while and does not exist from something prior to it, to think that there is not constantly and continuously that influx from cause whereby he continues to live, demonstrates that the man who does so is an irrational being. From his senses man has never been able to prove that anything can exist except it has continually flowing into it that which holds it in continuance. Then why should he, when he goes into the immaterial world, assume that energy is the first? We shall find by a continued examination of the question of simple substance that we have some reason for saying that energy is not energy per se, but that it is a powerful substance, and is endowed from intelligence that is of itself a substance.

The materialist to be consistent with his principles is obliged to deny the soul, and to deny a substantial God, because the energy which he dwells upon so much is nothing, and he must assume that God is nothing and therefore there is none. But the one who is rational will be led to see that there is a supreme God, that He is substantial, that He is a substance. Everything proceeds from him and the whole series from the supreme to the most ultimate matter in this way is connected. Just as surely as there is a separation, and not a continuous influx from first to last, ultimates will cease to exist.

The true holding together of the material world is performed by the simple substance. There are two worlds that come apparently to the mind of man, the world of thought and the world of matter; that is, the world of immaterial substance and the world of material substance. The world of material substance is in order and harmony. Everything that appears before the eye has beginnings. The forms are harmonious; every crystal of a metal crystallizes in accordance with order; man’s very anatomy forms harmoniously.

We see nothing in the material world to account for this, but we perceive that all things are held in position because of the continuous influx from first to last. There is no break in the chain and no break in the flow of power from first to last. Nothing can exist unless its cause be inflowing into it continuously. We see that all things made by man’ hand decay and fall to pieces in time, but look at the things perpetuated from influx, look at their order and harmony form time to eternity, working by the same plan and in the same order.

There are many qualities predicated of simple substance, and one of the first propositions we have to consider is that simple substance is endowed with formative intelligence, i.e. it intelligently operates and forms the economy of the whole animal vegetable and mineral kingdoms. Everything with form goes on its natural course and assumes and continues its own privates state. The laws of chemistry by analysis may be so revealed to man that he can detect all elements because they conduct themselves uniformly.

The simple substance gives to everything its own type of life, gives it distinction, gives it identity whereby it differs from all other things. The crystal of the earth has its own association its own identity; it is endowed with a simple substance that will establish its identity from everything in the animal kingdom, every thing in the mineral kingdom. This is due to the formative intelligence of simple substance, which is continuous from its beginning to its end. If we examine the frost work upon the window we se its tendency to manifest formative intelligence. Plants grow in fixed forms. So it is with man from his beginning to his end; there is continuous influx into man from his cause. Hence man and all forms are subject to the laws of influx. If man is in the highest order and is rational, he wills to keep himself in continuous order that his thoughts may continue rational; but he is so placed in freedom that he can also destroy his rationality.

This substance is subject to changes in other words, it may be flowing in order or disorder, may be sick or normal; and the changes to a great extent may be observed or even created by man himself. Man may cause it to flow in disorder.

Any simple substances may pervade the entire material substance without disturbing or replacing it. Magnetism may occupy a substance and not displace any of it nor cause derangement of its particles or crystals. Cohesions is a simple substance; it is not the purpose of cohesion to disturb or displace the substance that it occupies. Therefore this first substance, or primitive substances, exists as such in all distinct forms of growths of concrete forms, and the material, concrete, individual entity is not disturbed or displaced by the simple substance; the simple substance is capable of occupying the material substance without accident to that substance or to itself.

When the simple substance is an active substance it dominates and controls the body it occupies. It is the cause of force. The body does not move, think or act unless it has its interior degrees of immaterial substances, which acts upon the economy continuously in the most beautiful manner, but as soon as the body is separated from its characterizing simple substance there is a cessation of influx. The energy derived from the simple substances keeps all things in order. By it are kept in order all functions, and the perpetuation of the forms and proportions of every animal, plant and mineral. All operation that is possible is due to the simple. substance, and by it the very universe itself is kept in order. It not only operates every material substance, but it the cause of cooperation of all things.

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.