The Unprejudiced Observer

The trouble is that there are so few unprejudiced observers. To get rid of our prejudices is one of the first things we must do in the study of Homoeopathy. Therefore let me beg of you, while sitting in this room, to lay aside all that you have heretofore imagined or presumed, the whims and notions, and “what I thought about it.” the things that you have learned from men and books, and only follow after law and principle, things that cannot deceive, cannot vary.

Even law will deceive if man is of prejudiced mind, because then he misreads the law and doctrine, and when things are called back they look to him white; every image is inverted in his prejudiced mind, because he realizes only with his senses, and sees with his eyes and feels with his fingers only the appearance of things, just as we say that the sun rises, judging from our eyes, although we know from our intelligence that it does not rise.

If we believe our senses only we will accept all the notions of men. If the senses were invariable men would agree, but they are variable and no two men will agree in everything, for just as men’s observations differ so different notions and theories will be established. We must try to get rid of the prejudices that we have been born with and educated into, so that we can examine the principles and doctrines of Homoeopathy and seek to verify them. If you cannot put aside your prejudices the principles will be folly to you. The unprejudiced observer is the only true scientist.

“He perceives in each individual affection nothing but changes of state.” The changes of state are such as are observed by the patient when he says he is forgetful, that his mind does not operate as it did, that he is often in a state of confusion, that when he attempts to deliver a sentence a part of it goes away from him, the idea passes away, or that he is becoming irritable, whereas he was pleasant, that he is becoming sad, whereas he was cheerful before, that there are changes in his affections, in his desires and aversions. These things relate to states: not to diseased tissues, but to a state of disorder or want of harmony. Dr. Fincke expresses it as ” a distunement.”

After the patient has related everything he can about his change of state, the physician may be aided by information from outsiders, from relatives who look upon the patient with goodwill, who wish him well. If the husband be sick it is well to get the wife’s testimony. After the physician has written down all the information in accordance with the directions of 85 for the taking of the case he then commences to observe as much as he can concerning the disorder, but more particularly those things which the patient would conceal, or cancel relate, or does not know. Many patients do not know that they are awkward, that they do peculiar and strange thing in the doctor’s office-things that they would not do in health, and these are evidences of change of state.

The physician also notes what he sees, notes odors, the sounds of organs, chest sounds, intensity of fever, by his hand or by a thermometer, etc., and when he has gone over this entire image, including everything that can represent the disease, he has secured all that is of real value to him.

What if there are changes in tissue present? There is nothing in the nature of diseased tissue to point to a remedy; it is only a result of disease. Suppose there is an abdominal tumor, or a tumor of the mammary gland, there is nothing in the fact that it is a tumor or in the aspect of the tumor that would lead you to the nature of the change of state. The things that you can see, i.e. the changes in the tissues, are of the least importance, but what you perceive in the patient himself, how he moves and acts, his functions and sensations, are manifestations of what is going on in the internal economy. A state of disorder represents its nature to man by signs and symptoms, and these are things to be prescribed upon.

Take a case which as yet has no pathological changes, no morbid anatomy, one that has only functional changes; the collection of signs and symptoms presents to the intelligent physician the nature of the state and he is clear as to the remedy. But if the patient does not receive that remedy, what will happen? The case will go on for a while, perhaps for two or three years, and when he returns to you on examination you will find that he has cavities in his lungs or an abscess in his liver, or albumin in the urine, etc.

If it were the last, according to the old- fashioned notions and theories, you must now prescribe for Bright’s disease; you would not think that remedy which you figured out two years before fitted his case perfectly then and is what he must have now. But he needed that remedy from his childhood, and you were able to figure it out from the symptoms of his change of state pure and simple, without tissue changes. Do you suppose because the disease has now progressed into tissue change, the organs are breaking down and the man is going to die, that this has changed that primitive state?

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.