Susceptibility


Because of these varying degrees of susceptibility some are protected from disease cause and some are made sick; the one who is made sick is susceptible to the disease cause in accordance with the plane he is in and the degree of attenuation that happens to be present at the time of contagion. …


The human body appears to admit of being much more powerfully affected in its health by medicines (partly because we have the regulation of the dose in our own power) than by natural morbid stimuli- for natural diseases are cured and over come by suitable medicines.

$ 31. The inimical forces, partly psychical, partly physical, to which out terrestrial existence is exposed, which are termed morbific noxious agents, do not possess the power of morbidly deranging the health of man unconditionally; but we are made ill by them only when our organism is sufficiently disposed and susceptible to the attack of the morbific cause that may be present and to be altered in its health, deranged and made to undergo abnormal sensation and function, hence they do not produce disease in every one, nor at all times.

$ 32. But it is quite otherwise, with the artificial morbific agents which we term medicines. Every real medicine, namely acts at all times, under all circumstances, on every living human being, and produces in him its peculiar symptoms (distinctly perceptible if the dose be large enough) so that evidently every human organism is liable to be affected, and as it were, inoculated with the medical disease, at all times and absolutely (unconditionally), which as before said, is by no means the case with the natural disease.

Incidentally these paragraphs have a bearing upon degree or intensity (which is potentization), upon the repetition of the dose, and upon susceptibility, things which must be known by the homoeopathic physician in order that he may be a good prescriber. We have studied potentization sufficiently to see that disease causes exist among attenuated things, the infinitesimal or immaterial substances, and thus the physician must see that curative remedy must be on the same plane. He must know why it is that he should give but one dose, and the rationale by which susceptibility is satisfied.

In contagion (and consequently in cure) there is practically but one dose administered, or at least that which is sufficient to cause a suspension of influx. When cause ceases to flow in a particular direction it is because resistance is offered for causes flow only in the direction of least resistance and so when resistance appears influx ceases the causes no longer flows in.

Now, in the beginning of disease, i.e., in the stage of contagion, there is this limit to influx, for if man continued to receive the cause of disease (if there were no limits to its influx) he would receive enough to kill him, for it would run a continuous course until death. But when susceptibility is satisfied, there is a cessation of cause, and when cause ceases to flow into ultimates, not only do the ultimates cease but cause itself has already ceased.

Hahnemann states that we have more power human beings with drugs than disease cause, for man is only susceptible to natural diseases upon a certain plane. Disease causes, existing as they do as immaterial substances, flow into man in spite of him; he can neither control nor resist them, and they make him sick. But certain changes occur and man ceases to be susceptible, and there is no longer an inflowing of cause into his economy; as a suspension has taken place, because susceptibility has ceased. Susceptibility ceases when changes occur in the economy that bar out any more influx.

But cure and contagion are very similar, and the principles applying to one apply to the other. There is this difference: in cure we have the advantages of change of potency, and this enables us to suit the varying susceptibilities of sick man. Because of these varying degrees of susceptibility some are protected from disease cause and some are made sick; the one who is made sick is susceptible to the disease cause in accordance with the plane he is in and the degree of attenuation that happens to be present at the time of contagion.

The degree of the disease cause fits his susceptibility at the moment he is made sick. But it is not so with medicines. Man has all the degrees of potentization, and by these he can make changes and thereby fit the medicine to the varying susceptibility of man in varying qualities or degrees. Hence Hahnemann writes “Medicines (particularly as it depends on us to vary doses according to our will) appear to have greater power in affecting the state of health than the natural morbific irritation, for natural diseases are cured and subdued by uproot medicines.”

Now, here we might ask the question, when does a medicine that has been administered cease to be homoeopathic? The same between cure and contagion. Let me illustrate it in this way. Suppose we have a case of diphtheria, and after due study Lachesis appears to be the most similar of all medicines and dose is given. Now, when does Lachesis cease to be homoeopathic? When the symptoms that indicated it change, then it is no longer indicated.

It it is given at all after this change, it operates upon a different plane from what it did in its homoeopathicity, and if it acts at all it does not act curatively but depressingly. Any more than just enough to supply the susceptibility is a surplus and is dangerous. In a chronic disease administer Sulphur when it is clearly indicated, and the symptoms disappear and the patient feels better. Then the remedy ceases to be homoeopathic, and if it is administered longer whatever action it has, is neither homoeopathic nor desirable.

But man argues if a little will do good, more will do more food. Enough to effect a change is all that can be homoeopathic; when certain changes are effected then the physician must wait.

Enough medicine must be given to establish order, and that is done almost instantaneously; at most it is but a matter of a few hours and as long as order continues after it has once begun, so long “hands off.” That is just the way contagion takes place. In diphtheria the diseases begins, susceptibility ceases, a change takes place that protects the man from any further disease cause flowing place that protects the man from any further disease cause flowing into the body, and the disease develops and manifests itself by its symptoms.

The repetition of dose is advised by many wise heads, but if we understand this doctrine it sill be clear to us that such repetition of dose is perfectly useless. It is true, that in vigorous, robust subjects who have lightning-like reaction the dose may be repeated and changes occur for the better if the remedy is not quite homoeopathic to the case. But some are injured in this way because they are delicate subjects, whose reaction is slow; the reaction is actually prevented by the repetition of the dose; i.e., the order we have tried to establish is actually prevented.

Hahnemann teaches that the human economy is more under control of man than under the control of disease, for the economy can be affected only by such disease as it is susceptible to, but man, whether for the purpose of proving or for the purpose of curing, can so vary the dose that he can always gets results, and they very susceptible one are terribly damaged by the repetition of the dose.

In the thirty-first paragraph Hahnemann says that disease causes are limited in their ability to effect changes in health, to certain conditions and states; i.e., to susceptibility. This is all Hahnemann says of this doctrine of cessation of cause after certain evolutions have taken place. We see that when a natural disease is taken it runs its period, and tends to decline, and the patient will not be susceptible until another states of susceptibility to a disease, and in a few days go into another state of susceptibility to that same disease. There must be a change a cycle which means a certain length of time. Now if we talk about cure instead of contagion, it would seem that a certain dose of medicine administered had lasted a certain time.

That is commonly the appearance. The medicine appears to act all that time, and you should be clear in your mind that this is only an appearance. It really means that a certain length of time elapses before another dose is necessary, viz., until another state of susceptibility has arrived. So again we say, when ever a medicine ceases to be homoeopathic it is of no use to administer that medicine any longer, as it will act on the patient only upon an artificial susceptibility.

By this we mean that certain sensitive patients always have a susceptibility to high potencies. We have thus two things to deal with, the acute state, created by the disease itself, and the chronic state, which is the natural state of the patient born under miasm. Now, when in the acute state the patient has satisfied the susceptibility to contagion, there is a period in which the disease cause can no longer operate upon him; he is immune against any further influx of disease cause. But when a remedy ceases to be homoeopathic, the patient has not this immunity against more of its power because of the possibility of variance in the hands of the physician; the potency being given to the patient outside of his own degree of susceptibility, he may be damaged.

$ 33. In accordance with this fact it is undeniably shown by all experience that the living human organism is much more disposed and has greater liability to be acted on and to have its health derange by medicinal powers than by morbific noxious agents possess a power of morbidity; or in other words, that the morbific noxious agents possess a power of morbidity deranging man’s health that is subordinate and conditional, often very conditional; whilst medicinal agents have an absolute unconditional power, greatly superior to the former.

When we look over the improper use of all sorts of medicines, we can but conclude that the human race, because of drug-taking, has been greatly disordered in the economy. You have heard Hahnemann speak of the management of chronic disease; he distinctly states that the greatest difficulties are those that have been rough about in the economy but continuous drug taking.

It is not that the drugs themselves are laid up in the economy, but that left long disorder is created. Think of the poor old individuals who were in the habit of taking sulphur and molasses, think of those who were perpetually tapping their livers with blue mass, think of the western sufferers who have filled themselves every year with quinine pan-cake to keep off the chill. These people are so disordered that it takes years of careful prescribing to turn them into a state of order.

In $34 Hahnemann repeats two propositions to which we have already alluded. The first prostration is that in order to cure the medicines must be able to produce in the human body and artificial disease similar to that which is to be cured; this has been fully illustrated and explained.

The second proposition is that the artificial disease must be of a greater degree of intensity. The matter of intensity has already been explained as something higher, more internal, something superior or prior. Intensity of power is proportionate to the degree of approximation towards primitive substance.

There is thought of intensity in any other direction. The cause of disease and of cure exist within the primitive substance and not in ultimate material form, although the immaterial case of disease continues in disease ultimates.

The bacteriologists have crawled into confusion because they do not know in their science that causes continue into effects. The bacteria may contain cause because cause are continued into ultimates; but the primitive cause is not in the bacteria; the bacteria themselves have a cause.

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.