We observe larger objects first, gaining in power of discrimination by repeated looking. Trying to force facts into preconceived opinions and theories was, until quite recently, the way of the world, and very decidedly the way of medicine. Now, however, we are so engrossed in poring over minutiae, that we can barely see the great forest in which we are working. That devastating wars and the surgical holocausts should mark both periods simply show how bitter is the fruit of such thinking.
If, lacking a definite objective, we turn aside at every crossing, the end of our journey will never be insight. Presumably then propensity to wander implies a lack of definite ideals; a somewhat serious handicap, I imagine. Allow me to point out, here, that the lack of an unselfish devotion to the general good is the parent of most of our ills; especially those of the physician. For the public it is a case of where the ostensible needs to be made the obvious.
A look at the materia medica excites surprise that any one or even several persons should have ventured upon indexing it. It is also one of the reasons why our repertories fail to make the right, appeal to students! nor are they always easily worked, even by experts.
If it be really axiomatic to say that effectiveness is practically governed by simplicity of operation, then the great labour of properly collecting and developing clinical pictures and finally finding the similimum therefore, implies that our methods are still very crude. When doing this most of us try first one tack then another, until we develop the one best suited to our own mentality; thereby gaining a considerable efficiency and doing fairly good work. The result is just enough striking successes to hold our interest, and make us feel the near presence of much better and greater things, could we but fly grasp the situation.
As the different sciences bring first this then that fact in the scheme of nature to light, we note with keen satisfaction that they quite uniformly lean toward or tend to support the law of similars. Viewed from this angle the bearing of aetiology, anamnesis and heredity on disease aspects has been but imperfectly worked out, especially as concerns Homoeopathic practices. At most we have been content to observe the successive disease phases or the direct hereditary bias present in a given case, which is a move in the right direction, but of comparatively little real value because the investigation has not been carried far enough.
Associated individuals known as blood kin, invariably carry forward certain predilections to disease, so that by noting the ten or fifteen nearest blood relatives and their complaints, as accurately as possible, we are able to enumerate the relative proportions of the various tendencies present. Such findings show parental influences to be fifty per cent, basically active. Grandparents and children are the next most potent factors. The remainder include peculiarities descending from still earlier ancestors and are of a very persistent kind.
The actual symptoms of the patient are generally found to be an amplification of the hereditary findings, while a comparison of the two series usually points to such rubrics in the repertory as will quickly bring into relief the most similar remedies. It is especially helpful in those single symptom cases which Hahnemann called the most difficult of all. Working out a test case will exemplify the method. The patient had already improved marvellously for months after pulsatilla 12X given in three doses, twelve hours apart.
A careful examination showed sixteen points of morbidity in as many individuals of the nearest blood kin. Of these seven were of the rheumatic type, two typhoids, two pneumonias, two dysenterys, one sepsis and one each cardiac and haemorrhagic. A glance at the corresponding rubrics of the repertory gave phosphorus, pulsatilla and sulfur the first place. The indications upon which pulsatilla had been given are not regarded as characteristic by any means, yet in this scheme they become the individualistic, hence deciding ones.
Let me stress the scientific accuracy and speed of this method which begins with the self evident and objective, general findings and ends by using subjective sensations and mental symptoms for the final differentiation. Moreover it cuts a path of its own right through the repertory toward the deeply acting constitutional remedy of the patient.
Dr. Krichbaum: Suppose a man knows little about Homoeopathy, how is this going to come out?