The Sick

Now what is meant by “the sick?” It is a man that is sick and to be restored to health, not his body, not the issues. You will find many people who will say, “I am sick.” They will enumerate pages of symptoms, pages of suffering. They look sick. But they tell you, “I have been to the most eminent physicians. I have had my chest examined. I have been to the neurologist. I have been to the cardiac specialist and have had my heart examined. The eye specialist has examined my eyes. I have been to the gynaecologist and have had my uterus examined”, says the woman. “I have been physically examined from head to foot, and they tell me I am not sick, I have no disease.” Many a time have I heard this story after getting three or four pages of symptoms. What does it mean? It is true if that state progresses there will be evidences of disease, i.e., evidences which the pathologist may discover by his physical examination. But at present the patient is not sick, says the learned doctor. “But what do all these symptoms mean? I do not sleep at night. I have pains and aches. My bowels do not move.”

“Oh, well, you have constipation,” That is the first thing that has been diagnosed. But do all these things exist without a cause? It would seem from one opinion that the “constipation” is the disease per se, but from another opinion it would appear to be the cause of disease; the “diagnosis” is made to apply to one as much as to the other. But this is the character of vagaries so common to Old School whims. These symptoms are but the language of nature, talking out as it were, and showing as clearly as the daylight the internal nature of the sick man or woman.

If this state progresses the lungs break down. The doctor says, “Oh, now you have consumption,” or a great change appears in the liver, and he says, “Oh, now you have fatty degeneration of the liver;” or albumen appears in the urine, and he tells the patient, “Now I am able to name your disease. You have some one of the forms of Bright’s disease.” It is nonsense to say that prior to the localization of disease, the patient is not sick. Does it not seem clear that this patient has been sick, and very sick, even from childhood? Under traditional methods it is necessary that a diagnosis be made before the treatment can be settled, but in most cases the diagnosis cannot be made until the results of disease have rendered the patient incurable.

Again, take the nervous child. It has wild dreams, twitching, restless sleep, nervous excitement, hysterical manifestations, but if we examine all the organs of the body we will find nothing the matter with them. This sickness, however, which is present, if allowed to go on uncured, will in twenty or thirty years result in tissue change; the organs will become affected and then it will be said that the body is diseased; but the individual has been sick from the beginning. It is a question whether we will start out and consider the results of disease or begin at the beginning with the causes. If we have material ideas of disease we will have material ideas of the means of cure.

If we believe an organ is sick and alone constitutes the disease, we must feel that if we could remove the organ we would cure the patient. A man has a necrotic conditions of the hand; then if we believe that only the hand is sick we would think we had cured the patient by removing his hand. Say the hand is cancerous. According to this idea it is cancerous in itself and from itself, and seeing he would later die from the cancer of his hand we would conscientiously remove the hand and so cure the patient. For an eruption on the skin we would use local means to stimulate the functions of the skin and make it heal, and believing the eruption had no cause behind it we would conscientiously think we had cured the patient. But this is the reductio ad absurdum, for nothing exists without a cause. The organs are not the man. The man is prior to the organs. From first to last is the order of sickness as well as the order of cure. From man to his organs and not from organs to the man.

Well, then who is this sick man? The tissues could not become sick unless something prior to them had been deranged and make them sick. What is there of this man that can be called the internal man? What is there that can be removed so that the whole that is physical may be left behind? We say that man dies but leaves his body behind. We dissect the body and find all of his organs. Everything that we know by the senses belongs to physical man. everything that we can feel with the fingers and see with the eyes he leaves behind.

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.