Philosophy and the Repertory (1934)

About a score of our drugs act out the common ills of life in their pathogeneses. These Hahnemann called polychrests and if we must have favourites let us learn all we can about these first of all. …

*Read before I. H. A., Bureau of Materia Medica, June 22, 1934

Our old, brutal materialism seems to be slowly melting away, gradually merging into
what a clearer light shows to be action, reciprocal on every plane; even medicine is not
escaping the metamorphosis. The power of nature which demonstrates the survival of the
fittest is being transformed into another phase wherein its contained good is made to grow
at the expense of that which is not quite so good.

Early medicine did much groping about until the later Renaissance opened up even
the doctors’ minds to the hidden treasures of the past as well as excited their curiosity into
turning them into newer paths.

Such a background helps us to understand how the spirit which animated Hahnemann
finally led him into researches of which we today are the beneficiaries. Whether we shall
continue to deserve the legacy must rest with every individual conscience. Let it not be
inferred that a mind capable of bringing to the light of day such an ethereal concept of
vital action, must necessarily also inaugurate s irresistible reform. The thinking processes
of an eminently conservative profession are far too Darwinian for that. We must
remember that a concept having the form of finality is moribund from its inception.

In the very year of my graduation Madam Blavatsky laid down the postulate that “the
essence of life is consubstantial with electricity”. We are only now beginning to fully
realise how true this is. She further said that before the end of the nineteenth century new
discoveries would upset the dicta of science. It was left to the role of our own Madam
Curie to fulfill this prophesy. How well she did it we realise more and more every day.
Truly the destructive power of radium is not limited to malignancies by any means, and
by the strongest of inferences we must admit that the developments of physics have rung
the death knell of crude drugging as well as brought general medicine face to face with
Hahnemann’s experiments and their consequences. It only remains to be seen whether
general enlightenment or medical progress will force the issue. The axe has been laid at
the tree of preconception and purely materialistic reasoning.

In order to correctly sense the sharpness of his tools the physician must needs have a
just comprehension of the physics of life especially as implied in the philosophy of the
Organon. He will then realise that Similia Similibus Curantur is a phase of the law of
action and reaction on a higher plane. It is an extension into the superphysical where
stabilisation occurs, as here, through the conversion of energy. In other words health can
not be regained until harmony in the expenditure of vital energy again prevails. lt is now
beyond cavil that harmony can only be established through the contact of a synchronously
acting or vibrating force. Manifestly this must be made through the nerve channels.

It is perhaps not too much to infer that this vital force must be of a fluidic nature and
at present perhaps still superphysical, al-though we are confessedly on its borderland now.
It is also interpenetrative in that its effects are practically not only local but general at the
same moment. This conception of its action explains how it comes about that amelioration
is felt in the mind first, and progresses as long as no mental revulsion occurs. The first
intimation that the remedial response is beginning to slacken comes through mental

The experience of much prescribing often causes one to settle upon the use of only a
few drugs or at the best into choosing the more promising one from a rather small group.
It is a loose and easy way that neglects the minority indications, therefore is less precise
and efficient. It smacks of indolence and lack of mental agility, reminding one that
versatility is not acquired here any more easily than elsewhere.

We are daily confronted with atypical cases that make the careful assembling of all of
their symptoms.very important if we wish to obtain a clear image for which a counterpart
is to be sought among our provings. For this purpose we first search the repertory and
then compare the actual provings until convinced of their similarity. At present it is the
only feasible method, but it is surprising how few men really know how to go about doing
it well. Repeated practice, however, soon makes for skill, particularly in evaluating
symptoms, which is, after all, exceedingly important as well as has considerable value in
prognosis. Over stressing single symptoms or the wrong one easily leads to one-sided
prescribing, palliation and ultimate confusion. The whole picture with certain outstanding
points is the ideal to be sought for, if we wish to succeed.

About a score of our drugs act out the common ills of life in their pathogeneses. These
Hahnemann called polychrests and if we must have favourites let us learn all we can
about these first of all. They especially include Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia,
Chamomilla, China, Cina, Ferrum phos., Gelsemium, Hepar, Ignatia, Ipecac, Lachesis,
Mercury, Natium mui., Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox., Sulphur and the Veratrums
. The
sick making properties of these drugs resemble those of sick people rather than disease
forms. This is a very vital distinction for the homeopath.

At the most drug action can simulate types of disease in part only. No human entity
can show forth all or even a majority of the symptoms appertaining to a single drug or
even of a single type of disease. The nearest approach to this specificity is perhaps the
relation of Mercury to syphilis and yet Hahnemann, like the rest of us, supplemented its
use with other drugs when quicksilver lagged because of the presence of heterogeneous
factors. The latter show themselves as side symptoms seemingly having no connection
with the disease in hand; for which reason we view them as the outcrop-pings of other
miasms, that thereby deflect the vital force by just that much.

The older homeopaths ascribed poor results to the presence of an all pervading miasm
which obscured and distorted the real indications. With an enormous increase in available
pathogenetic symptoms we do not feel this need so acutely, albeit often to our own
disadvantage. Most prescribers gradually enlarge the scope of their remedies quite beyond
their seemingly legitimate sphere of action. This springs from the fact that the similimum
releases reactive power strong enough to re-establish harmony, which in turn is capable of
sweeping away almost any morbid condition. The crude similar, however, can remove but
a small part of the symptom complex and leaves behind a distorted image of the sickness,
much harder to treat. The best that can be said for, partial prescribing is that it sometimes
removes the superimposed load which blocks an effectual reaction. Such an impediment
originates m the presence of some miasm, pernicious drugging or suppression. Hahnemann inveighed strongly against excessive depletion and pernicious polypharmacy; we, how-ever, are faced by the still more dangerous procedure of serumisation and ray treatments. The first always holds the menace of sensitisation and vasomotor effects,
while the latter drives back upon the vital force every eliminative function; a more
dangerous procedure is hard to imagine. All in all it may be said that the utter therapeutic
confusion of dominant medicine is only too apparent to one who thinks clearly. It is
becoming increasingly evident that autoantidotalism, as serumisation in the old school
and isopathy in our own, has captured a large part of the therapeutic field. In either form it
is incapable of doing more than removing a present incubus, leaving the basic miasm
untouched; it therefore falls short of being the similimum, hence of doing the most good

A word in conclusion. Jahr was ideally correct in stating that proper repertory analysis
as well as the pathogenetic picture should point out the same remedy independently of
each other; but practically most of us use the former to amplify, clarify and complement
the latter. For us the proving text is too rigid and lacking in flexibility without the addition
of some imagination,’ always a dangerous recourse, because resemblances are not equally
evident to us. For this reason we need the check and counter check of clinical evidence, in
order that our remedies may be properly delimited. This can be best accomplished by a
system of coapting symptoms and their related remedies as is nowadays done with card
indices, although these are confessedly now in their formative stage. The procedure itself
yields an entirely new point of view and one fully consonant with Hahnemann’s
conception of the deduction to be drawn from the clinical picture.

The method steps down the enormous rubrics of genera ties and adds new ones composed of the most diverse elements present in the clinical picture, thereby forming the combination most likely to
contain the particular minutae so decisive for the homoeopathic remedy. In parting I have
a word to leave with you: Hold fast to the law, learn its implications and thereby cure
; it is the only way it can actually be accomplished. Are we as prescribers and he
healers ready to take what should be the leading part in the reformation of therapeutics?



Dr. Donald Macfarlan: We ought to have a philosophy in life, and in medical life,
especially. The three principal things, you might say the trinity, which are most valuable
in homeopathy are the law of cure, in a single remedy, in a minimum dose; and that is just
how Hahnemann developed this system. First dawned upon him the law of cure, and then
in order to expedite cure, and in order to avoid aggravation, he got the minimum dose.
Those three, things have to enter into every correct homoeopathic prescription. They
are inseparable. Associated with them is the frequency of repetition. I believe that the
only way you can skilfully adapt yourself to proper repetitions is through provings,
because you have your hand in making well people sick and, conversely, making sick
people well.

The first thing that enters my mind when I see a sick person is this: What remedy
which you have proven would make this fellow look like that? And, if it occurs to my
mind, say that he needs Phosphorus, I give him Phosphorus.

Dr. Grimmer: Dr. Boger always gives us a splendid paper and this is an
exceptionally good one, even for Dr. Boger. It really is a textbook in a way. He has shown
us the fundamentals, the things that are so essential to keep in mind; first of all, the correct
taking of the case; second, the evaluation of the symptoms—don’t forget that. You can
have pages and pages of symptoms and have no case, and other doctors can give you
three, or four, or five symptoms, and you have the picture of your remedy. That comes
from_ the art of evaluation of symptoms, knowing the symptoms that are really symptoms
of that sick patient, separated from the symptoms of disease, the pathologica1 symptoms,
the symptoms that come as diagnostic indication. They are not so valuable. Many times
they are almost valueless as far as prescribing goes.

Dr. Boger has gone further. He has shown the relationship of these finer forces. It is
the study of these finer forces and their origin that is going to make homeopathy accepted,
and science is beginning-at least the progressive portion of science, consisting of the great
physicists of the time-to pay attention to these very forces.

They have got so far beyond the ordinary sciences that they acknowledge that they
cannot prove some of the propositions. Compton has said that we have to accept some of
this phenomena on faith as it were. He has got beyond the idea of an automatic universe,
not that he can prove from reasoning altogether, but from the higher perception, the kind
of perception that Hahnemann had. He knows there is something beyond all these
material things we see around us, and that is what homeopathy is. It reaches up into other
planes. It reaches up into the mental state, even into the spiritual side of life, and that is
why homeopathy is vital. That is why it cures. That is why it can wipe out inherited

Did you ever stop to think why a homoeopathic potency is especially adapted to wipe
out inherited traits? We are told by scientists that a little grain of a cell, among the finest
of ultra-microscopic cells, carries all the germs and the chromosomes of the past. Nothing
can touch that but the homoeopathic remedy, and that is why we can prove it

Dr. Alfred Pulford: The whole thing devolves upon two propositions, the taking of
the case, which is the primary thing, and the next thing devolves on the primary action of
the drug upon the human being.

I have possibly the most complete card repertory that there is in existence, but I have
never used it. Just lately I took three cases and, if I had not been well acquainted with the
primary action of the drug on the individual, I would have spent ample time and possibly
lost the case, but, as it was, the case as taken brought out the indication of the remedy so
plainly that within a moment of taking the case, I had the remedy, gave it in the 1000th
potency, and never had to repeat the dose.

Dr. Bryant: This is one of the papers I came three thousand miles to heat. I don’t
think Dr. Boger rearizes that in the Far West he has many friends and many admirers; in
fact, it is this International Hahnemannian Association that really keeps us men in the Far
West interested and stimulated and inspired.

I have had the pleasure of coming into homeopathy by true apostolic succession. I was
a “regular” and met with Dr. Walter James; I saw him pull my wife out of the grave when
it seemed that nothing more could be done, and then when I knew what it was really all
about, I realised that Walter James had been associated with Adolph Lippe for seventeen
years, and Adolph Lippe was a pupil of Samuel Hahnemann, and I am a pupil of Walter
James: therefore the apostolic succession.

Here is what I want to tell you that Walter James explained to me as having been
handed down by Adolph Lippe, and as now again explained by Dr. Boger: The length of
action of remedies and how we can persuade patients or enable patients to help us know
when the remedy has actually acted itself out and this was the diagram he gave me, and it
is so indelibly impressed on my mind that I thought probably it would be of some use to

First he drew two lines (using the blackboard), this line up here representing health,
and this line disease. It was very difficult for Dr. James to get to me the fact that a remedy
of high dilution can act a long time, and in order to fasten this in my mind, he made this
diagram. Here is your patient here. Now, suppose you are using the 30th potency, he says
if the remedy is properly selected, the patient immediately begins to feel better, which
means he rises toward health. He calls that period the period of primary amelioration.
Perhaps you all know this.

Dr. Grimmer: It won’t hurt us to have a repetition.

Dr. Bryant: Then he explained to me how nature steps in and causes reaction to cure,
and then this takes the downward turn, the period of aggravation; according to the potency
you have, of course, these lines are long or short, but anyway, whatever the patient has
gained here, he is sure to come back to, or he is going to die. If he cannot rise from the
period of aggravation you have a hopeless case, and that is one of the ways in which you
can gauge prognosis.

Then he travels along here until he goes through the same cycle again.

I have used this with patients right along, who did not understand homeopathy, and
didn’t know what I was talking about. They say, “Dr. Bryant, I can’t take the medicine,
because I feel very much worse.” But, if I take the time to explain to them the periods of
action and reaction, they understand that.

I have always kept that diagram and have had many patients I have been able to hold
where otherwise I would not have been able to do that.

Dr. Boger: I think the discussion is worth more than the paper. I frequently tell my
family that you never can see the end of a false action. The ultimate end of a false action
can never be seen.

Dr. Bryant has told us about Walter James. He didn’t know that I knew Walter James
very well. Walter James and I were great friends for a while, up to the time I left
Philadelphia, and all that he says about Walter James and Dr. Lippe is true, and how much
I got through Walter James and Dr. Lippe and he from Hahnemann direct, I leave for you
to guess.

This action and reaction coincides exactly with my experience, that wave of action
and reaction, and most aggravations come from the fourth to the sixth day after giving a
remedy, sometimes the seventh day, and, as Dr. Bryant has pointed out to you, it depends
on how deep the patient goes down in the aggravation whether he is ever going to come
back again. Why is that? That depends on the amount of stored energy he holds. If he
doesn’t have stored energy enough to come back, he never can come back, and every good
homeopathist has been guilty of killing patients right at that point. I don’t make any
exception at all. Every good homoeopathic physician has been guilty of killing patients
right there. He has caused a reaction which destroyed the patient. I have seen it.
What are you going to do about this thing?

There is one very good point that has been handed to us by. Hahnemann. Where you
are suspicious that the action of the patient’s stored vitality cannot sustain the shock, give
the remedy by olfaction; that is good practice, and you will get reaction, but much less
violent. I know that from actual experience, and you will bring out things that you can’t
get otherwise, and you won’t cause such a terrible drain on the patient.

Dr Stevens: You mean in the first place give it by olfaction?

Dr. Boger: Yes, the first thing.

One of the commentators intimated non-action, when you don’t get action from
remedies, and there seems to be no response at all. Non-action simply means you haven’t
touched the cord of harmony; that is all it means, and you always have behind that the
remedies which bring up reaction, such as Psorinum, Sulphur, and so forth. You can’t get
well without reaction, without re-establishing harmony. That holds good in the physica1
world and in the mental world.

The physical body contains a certain amount of stored energy. When you give a
remedy, you tap that stored energy through an equalisation of its distribution in the body.
In that way you restore harmony, just as surely as you can tap electric current by pushing
the button.

There is one point I didn’t bring out in the paper as fully as I should have done, and
that is that we can’t all see resemblances as well as we should. Sometimes my mind is
fitted so that I can see certain resemblances and the other fellow can’t and sometimes it is
the other way about, and the other fellow sees the resemblance and I can’t see it, even
when it is pointed out to me. That is an inherent factor of the mind.

I want to recite briefly an experience I had not long ago, right along that line. A man
came to me from a distant city and said he hadn’t had any benefit at all from the treatment
he received there. He had generalised eczema from head to foot, and those cases are
always very difficult..I hesitate to prescribe for them because, I am free to say, my
success is not invariable.

I sat and talked to him awhile. He had it so badly that the skin was cracked in places
and exuded a nasty, offensive, sweet odour. His face was bluish, and all together he was a
rather forbidding sight. The longer I talked to him the more I became convinced that he
was an exact replica of poisoning by Rhus venenata. I didn’t look up the materia medica
for that at all, but gave a single dose of Rhus venenata MM. potency.

I said, “Don’t take this tilt you get home, because something is going to happen.” He
waited until he got home and took it. The third or fourth day he began to sweat all over.
Then it was confined to the left chest. It had the odour of rotten smoke. He had gout
stones in the lobules of both ears. Those both dropped out and he cleared up, all over,
peeled off all over.

Now, that Rhus venenata didn’t cure him, because after a while it came back a little,
but it didn’t come back enough to worry about and I didn’t repeat the dose. I am going to
let him ride along and see how much reserve force he has back there to stabilise this thing

C.M. Boger
Cyrus Maxwell Boger 5/ 13/ 1861 "“ 9/ 2/ 1935
Born in Western Pennsylvania, he graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and subsequently Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia. He moved to Parkersburg, W. Va., in 1888, practicing there, but also consulting worldwide. He gave lectures at the Pulte Medical College in Cincinnati and taught philosophy, materia medica, and repertory at the American Foundation for Homoeopathy Postgraduate School. Boger brought BÅ“nninghausen's Characteristics and Repertory into the English Language in 1905. His publications include :
Boenninghausen's Characteristics and Repertory
Boenninghausen's Antipsorics
Boger's Diphtheria, (The Homoeopathic Therapeutics of)
A Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica, 1915
General Analysis with Card Index, 1931
Samarskite-A Proving
The Times Which Characterize the Appearance and Aggravation of the Symptoms and their Remedies