What the Physician Must Perceive – Curability

A discussion the third aphorism dealing with the knowledge a physician must have to cure the sick. This includes knowledge of disease, knowledge of medicinal powers of drug substances and the knowledge of laws to apply the later to former….

Organon Section 3. If the physician clearly perceives what is to be cured in diseases, that is to say, in every individual case of disease: if he clearly perceives what is curative in medicines that is to say, in each individual medicine; and if he knows how to adapt, according to clearly-defined principles, what is curative in medicines to what he has discovered to be undoubtedly morbid in the patient, so that recovery must ensure-to adapt it as well in respect to the suitability of the medicine most appropriate according to its mode of action to the case before him, as also in respect to the exact mode of preparation and quantity of it required, and the proper period for repeating the dose; if finally, he knows the obstacles to recovery in each case and is aware how to remove them so that the restoration may be permanent: then he understands how to treat judiciously and rationally, and he is a true practitioner of the healing art.

The translator has correctly used here the word “perceive.” which is to see into, not merely to look upon with the external eye, but to clearly understand, to apprehend with the mind and understanding. If Hahnemann had said “see ” instead of perceive,” it might have been taken to mean seeing with the eye a tumor to be cut or by opening the abdomen, to see the diseased kidney, or, by examination of the urine, to see that there is albumen or sugar present, by removing which in some mysterious way the patient would be cured.

It is evident by this Hahnemann did not look upon pathological change or morbid anatomy as that which in disease constitutes the curative indication. The physician must perceive in the disease that which is to be cured, and the curative indication in each particular case of disease is the totality of the symptoms, i.e., the disease is represented or expressed by the totality of the symptoms, and this totality (which is the speech of nature) is not itself the ease of the disease, it only represents the disorder in the internal economy. This totality, which is really external, a manifestation in the tissues, will arrange itself into form to present, as it were, to the physician the internal disorder.

The first thing to be considered in a case is, What are the curative indications in this case? What signs and symptoms call the physician’s attention as curative signs and symptoms? This means not every manifestation is a curative indication. The results of disease occurring in the tissues, in chronic diseases, such as cancerous changes, tumors, etc., are of such a character that they cannot constitute curative signs; but those things which are curable, which are capable of change, which can be materially affected by the administration of remedies, the physician must know, they are the curative indications.

The physicians ought to have a well-grounded idea of government and law to which there are no exceptions; he ought to see the cause of disease action to be from centre to circumference, from the innermost of the man to his outermost. If law and government are present, then law directs every act taking place in the human system. Every government is from the centre to the circumference. Look at it politically. Whenever the system of central political government is not bowed to, anarchy and loss of confidence prevail. There are also commercial centres. We must recognize London, Paris, and New York as centres of commercial government in their different spheres.

Even the spider entrenches himself in his web and governs his universe, from the centre. There cannot be two governments; such would lead to confusion. There is but one unit in every standard. In man the centre of government is in the cerebrum and from it every nerve cell is governed. From it all actions take place for good or evil, for order or disorder; from it disease begins the healing process. It is not from external things that man becomes sick, not from bacteria nor environment, but from causes in himself. If the homoeopath does not see this, he cannot have a true perception of disease. Disorder in the vital economy is the primary state of affairs, and this disorder manifests itself by signs and symptoms.

In perceiving what is to be cured in disease one must proceed from generals to particulars, study disease in its most general features, not as seen upon one particular individual, but upon the whole human race. We will endeavour to bring this idea before the mind by taking as an example one of the acute miasms, not for the purpose of diagnosis, as this is easy, but to arrange it for a therapeutic examination. Let us take an epidemic, say, of scarlet fever, or grippe, or measles, or cholera.

If the epidemic is entirely different from anything that has hitherto appeared in the neighbourhood it is at first confusing. From the first few cases the physicians has a very vague idea of this disease, for he sees only a fragment of it, and gets only a portion of its symptoms. But the epidemic spreads and many patients are visited, and twenty individuals have perhaps been closely observed.

Now if the physician will write down all the symptoms that have been present in each case in a schematic form, arranging the mind symptoms of the different patients under “mind” and the head symptoms under “head”, and so on, following Hahnemann’s method, they-considered collectively-will present one image, as if one man had expressed all the symptoms, and in this way he will have that particular disease in schematic form. If he places opposite each symptom a number corresponding to the number of patients in which that symptom occured, he will find out the essential features of the epidemic.

For example, twenty patients had aching in the bones, and at once he sees that that symptom is a part of this epidemic. All the patients had catarrhal affections of the eye, and a measly rash, and these also must be recorded as pathognomonic symptoms. And so by taking the entire scheme and studying it as a whole, as if one patient had experienced all the symptoms, he is able to perceive how this new disease, this contagious disease, affects the human race, and each particular patient, and he is able to predicate of it what is general and what is particular. Every new patient has a few new symptoms; he has put his own stamp on that disease. Those symptoms that run through all are the pathognomonic symptoms; those which are rare are the peculiarities of the different people. This totality represents to the human mind, as nearly as possible, the nature of this sickness, and it is this nature that the therapeutist must have in mind.

Now let him take the next step, which is to find in general the remedies that correspond to this epidemic. By the aid of a repertory he will write after each one of these symptoms all the remedies that have produced that symptom. Having in this way gone through the entire schema, he can then begin to eliminate for practical purpose, and he will see that six or seven remedies run through the picture, and, therefore, are related to the epidemic, corresponding to its whole nature. This may be called the group of epidemic remedies for that particular epidemic, and with these he will manage to cure nearly all his cases.

The question now arises, which one is the remedy for each individual case? When he has worked out the half dozen remedies he can go through the Materia Medica and get their individual pictures so fixed in his head that he can use them successfully. Thus he proceeds from generals to particulars and there is no other way to proceed in homoeopathy. He is called to a family with half a dozen patients in bed from this epidemic, and he finds a little difference in each case so that one remedy is indicated in one patient and another remedy in another patient. There is no such thing in homoeopathy as administering one of these remedies to all in the family because of a diagnostic name.

Now, while one of the remedies in the epidemic group will most likely be indicated in many cases, yet if none of these should fit the patient, the physician must return to his original anamnesis to see which one of the other remedies is suitable. Very rarely will a patient demand a remedy not in the anamnesis. Every remedy has in itself a certain state of peculiarities that identifies it as an individual remedy, and the patient has also a certain state of peculiarities that identifies him as an individual patient, and so the remedy is fitted to the patient.

No remedy must be given because it is in the list, for the list has only been made as a means of facilitating the study of that epidemic. Things can only be made easy by an immense amount of hard work, and if you do the drudgery in the beginning of an epidemic, the prescribing for your cases will be rapid, and you will find you remedies abort cases of sickness, make malignant cases simple, so simplify scarlet fever that classification would be impossible, stop the course of typhoids in a week, and cure remittent fevers in a day.

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.