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?

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