Homoeopathy its Fundamental Principles


Discussion on the fundamental laws of homeopathy given by Dr. Hahnemann. Principles that governs the whole system of homeopathy medicine explained by Dr. Kent…….


As we were about to enter upon a discussion that may lead beyond the probability of ready comprehension, and as I may encounter, even at this center of Hahnemannism, those who have not traveled beyond “faith” and “belief,” permit me to ask my hearers to lay aside both, and with me enter upon a line of thought and investigation, and accept the outcome regardless of preconceived opinions, belief, or faith. These have no part in a scientific discussion. One should proceed without opinion, without faith, without prejudice to weigh the statements found in the sixteenth section of the fifth and last edition of the Organon of Samuel Hahnemann.

The doctrines contained in this section are the result of many years of thought and classified experience, and they conflict with the statements of accepted authority. But if it be the foundation of truth, even in part, we must explore its interior and bow to its revelations. Though Draper and Carpenter have failed to discover these inner precincts, they have not demonstrated that Hahnemann’s conclusions were illogical or impossible. With cell-formation they have ended; but life, the home of disease, is unknown to them. The opponents of this doctrine, which the followers of Hahnemann have accepted as a great truth, may search in vain and quote authority without end, and the only result attained is: Not found, not demonstrated; unknown. These authors, being ignorant of this vital dynamis, deny its existence; they cannot see it; cannot manipulate it; and cannot demonstrate it by the common instruments in chemistry and physiology. Nevertheless, the time will come when physiology must deal with this question as a factor not in dispute; then will the great void in this science be filled with that which will make medical science to rest on firm foundations; while at present from old-school standpoint it has no foundation, and with the Hahnemannian school our foundation is disputed.

As it is probable that I shall be accused of extremism, let me say, by way of explanation, that not all so-called homoeopathists admit the truth of the dynamic doctrine and choose to call it “dynamic theory.” There are graded believers in Homoeopathy as in religion. Some are born to position, others acquire it. To be born of Christian parentage does not make one a Christian. Yet believing in Christ and His teachings, without following His example or obeying His commands, will distinguish him from the Jew. In like manner believing in the Law of Cure makes a homoeopathist. But like the followers of Christ, it is only possible to be an exemplary one by close relation at the throne of grace, or measuring every action by the principles under the law. Therefore it will be observed that to be an exemplary follower of the master-healer, it is necessary to be near him, and follow after him in all his steps that the highest degree of wisdom may appear in our methods. Not that I would blindly follow a leader who has been extensively courted; but that after discovering Hahnemann to have been the greatest living healer it behoves that we study him in all his intricate philosophy to ascertain, if possible, wherein rested his great powers as a physician, and then see whether as a healer he is worthy of followers. If we have discovered that he was an original thinker and philosopher, and his teachings are as he declared them to be, viz.: the only true method of curing the sick, let us follow as far as he has gone, not wavering a hair’s breadth, until we have arrived at the point where the master left us and his great philosophy. They who practice on a part of Hahnemann’s teachings and fill the great void with “results of experience,” do so with methods that the master unequivocally condemned; and while it may not be thought kindly of, the statement is true; they are not the homoeopathists who have followed in the footsteps of the master. They have not lived closely to the law, and are not Hahnemannian. Hahnemann said to a friend of his in Paris, who was complimenting him on the great number of his followers. Says Hahnemann: “Yes, there are a great many homoeopathic doctors, but all my true followers can be counted on the ends of my fingers.”

It is as an exponent of the philosophy of Hahnemann that I speak to you, his professed followers. It is because I have learned that the Central New York Society desires to live close to the master and learn of him, as far as he had advanced, that I traveled so far to address you on this occult subject.

While some of the enemies of Homoeopathy, and some professed followers of the Law of Cure, have said that this great master was visionary, and many other harsh things, it may be well to observe that he never ceased to think with strength; his very last thoughts are to be fully appreciated before we attempt to walk alone, or build a philosophy out of other material.

Before entering upon a fuller discussion of the statements which contain the master’s conclusion, let us look into the life of this great man, and see what manner of man was he, and how he was led to such a conclusion relating to the invisible vital dynamism. We want to know whether he reasoned it out by a pure mental effort, or arrived at it after the use of potentized medicines-as a result of experience.

Burnett says: “Of Hahnemann’s father sufficient is known to be sure that he was no ordinary man, inasmuch as he taught the young Samuel to think for himself-for which purpose he is said to have shut him up alone and given him a theme to think out.”

If Ameke’s history be read it will be seen at once that Hahnemann displayed wonderful energy in securing his primary training, as his father was a man of limited means.

Everywhere facts confirm the historian, wherein he states that Hahnemann never admired metaphysical speculations; he always concluded on facts, never on theory or speculation. I refer you to his essay on the “Speculative System of Medicine,” Lesser Writings, p. 567, wherein a masterly handling of the subject was done, showing a wonderful mind and a complete knowledge of the medicine of his time, which he manipulated so iconoclastically.

In 1792 he challenged the physicians to justify themselves for the treatment administered Emperor Leopold II. Even thus early the master-mind saw the perniciousness of the practice in vogue. Neither was he wanting in knowledge of many sciences.

He was the first to make the proving of drugs a system. From 1790 he continued the proving of drugs, and throughout his writings, he recommended the use of drugs only whose effects are accurately known, which knowledge is to be discovered only by proving upon the healthy; and this is in keeping with his manners and acts-everywhere we find exactitude of thought and method.

While translating Cullen’s Materia Medica, in 1790, he met the latter’s explanation of the action of Cinchona bark in curing chills and fever. Cullen attributes the curative influence to a “strengthening power it exerts over the stomach.” Hahnemann refuses to accept this explanation, and cites the following: ‘Substances, such as strong coffee, pepper, arnica, ignatia, and arsenic, which cause a kind of fever, extinguish the periodicity of fevers.” “For the sake of experiment, I took, for several days, four drachms of good Cinchona bark twice a day.” The results are too well known to be recalled here; but it will be observed that Hahnemann did not refuse to accept Cullen’s explanation without a reason on definite information, while Cullen’s opinion was a mere speculation, such as men feel compelled to offer when expected to say something. From facts, Hahnemann was led to remark that Ipecac must produce certain forms of artificial fever in order to cure intermittent fever. Gradually was he advancing by deduction to the great discovery of the Law of Cure. Up to this time, while he had seen the evidence, he had not formulated the similia similibus curantur, in fact, nothing is seen of it until 1796, in an essay which appeared in Hufeland’s Journal, and is a part of the Lesser Writings, p. 295 “Essays on a New Principle for Discovering the Curative Power of Drugs.” In this paper he advises medicines in crude, but small doses. “In a dose just strong enough to produce scarcely perceptible indication of the expected artificial disease.” At this time he had not discovered the nature of the vital dynamism.

In 1801 he wrote a paper, “Cure and Prevention of Scarlet Fever” (Lesser Writings, p. 369), wherein he recommended tinct. Opium, one part to five hundred of alcohol, and one drop of this to be shaken with five hundred of alcohol, the patient to take one drop of this preparation at a dose.

It was after 1801 that his centesimal scale was brought into use. In this year he used Belladonna and Chamomilla in about the third or fourth dilution.

Very soon he discovered that “the diminution of the action of the drug was not proportionate to the diminution of its quantity.” Also the astounding fact became evident that “medicines could be so diluted that neither physics nor chemistry could discover any medicinal matter in them, and yet they possessed great healing power.”

Hufeland says Hahnemann was the greatest chemist of his day, therefore was not in ignorance of the actual inability of the science to measure the quantity of medicine in his newly discovered healing agencies. His enemies have said he was highly educated in physics, botany, chemistry, geology, astronomy, pharmacy, etc. His greatest and last attainment was his discovery of dynamism, which has distinguished him from all men and established a Hahnemannism that will stand as long as the world stands.

They may run away with Homoeopathy and befoul it into a modern nastiness, a mongrelism, and by virtue of the might and numbers vote it to mean anything they chose, but they have no power to change Hahnemannism, which stands and must forever stand as a living truth wherever men love truth and are not afraid to speak their true convictions. I do not favor isms; but, Mr. President, in this case our only safety is to stand by this one for the simple reason that when any other name has become popular it will be stolen as the honored name of Homoeopathy has been stolen, and is no longer an expression of the doctrines of Hahnemann and its most conspicuous representatives who do not make use of his methods. If an inquiring allopath seek information of one of these modern representatives, he will learn nothing of the teachings of Hahnemann. Why is this? Simply because the colleges have not taught the sixteenth section of the primary work, but have placed them at work with the advanced course, which is never learned without the primer. Where have we such a parallel in other sciences? One of the conditions necessary to the successful perpetuation of this science is knowledge of its first principles and how to teach them. Let us now proceed to inspect the various editions of this Organon, and we see what a careful man our author was. He was not a man to adopt a theory of others before having thoroughly tested it and having observed the facts upon which the theory was based. Everywhere we see originality of thought, firmness, great power of observation, comparison, and most wonderful reasoning. Metaphysical speculation was repulsive to him, which he carefully avoided in the first edition of the Organon, which was published in 1810. He was eminently practical in all that he said and did. Thus, you will search in vain in all the first four editions of the Organon for the term and idea of the vital force. He only spoke of the interior of the organism. In the seventh section of the first edition: “There must exist in the medicine a healing principle; the understanding has a presentation of it, but its essence is not recognizable by us in any way, only its utterances and actions can be known by experience.” Twenty-three years later, when seventy-eight years old, in the fifth edition, published in 1833, in the ninth and tenth sections, he distinctly calls a unit of action in the whole organism of the vital force. From this it is evident Hahnemann arrived at this conclusion after a long and practical experience, inasmuch as he was led up to it by his early perception of the similar vital principle contained in the medicine (see first ed., fifth section), which is only recognized by its action upon the organism. I have shown you that it was not metaphysical speculation that led the master to the idea of the vital dynamis, but a long series of practical and experimental research.

If we would think for ourselves, let us inspect some of the facts that relate to general medicine and see if we can answer some of the questions that are propounded, and then revert to the vital dynamism. We read in the time-honored textbooks that there is such a condition of the human body known as diathesis-in fact, several of them; again, that these diatheses are hereditary and predispose to disease. What is this diathesis out of which grow so many diseases? In one subject comes cancer; in another insanity; in another tuberculosis; and in another epilepsy, or Bright’s disease, or Hodgekin’s disease. What is the strumous diathesis? What is this state of bad feeling that precedes any fixed organic change that locates in an organ? Can it be that this latent wrong in the vital power is not worthy of consideration? Can it be that the kidney can take on structural change and become waxy without cause? You must say, No! What is the cause of this lesion, and why do not these named exciting causes always produce the same results, and why does not every person subjected to these exciting causes become afflicted with waxed kidneys? You answer because there is a predisposing, determining influence at work. Yes, the diathesis. But the diathesis has no foundation in fact, only a thing of imagination. A convenient explanation of unknown things; a figure-head in the text-books, out of which we have had no benefit, and learned no lesson from the old school, whose literature has so wisely furnished us with a meaningless lot of terms.

We read of the weakness, of the dropsy, etc., etc., coming from Bright’s disease, but we do not read of the pre-historic symptoms; are they of no value? Are they not present? Yes, they are present. Then what are they? We read of exciting and predisposing cases but we do not read why a similar combination of exciting and predisposing causes is not always followed by Bright’s disease. We have a right to ask this of a system of medicine that claims scientific attention and public patronage. Another example, if you please, we read of a self-limited disease called scarlatina (scarlet fever). Any allopathist will warm up in opposition if you tell him that scarlet fever is not a self-limited disease. If it be a self-limited disease it must result in resolution or death; the child must recover by statute of limitation, or-die. They do not all die; some are left even under old-school treatment to tell the tale. From these we learn that ear-discharges are the result of scarlatina. This otorrhoea is not a part of scarlatina-as according to accepted teaching-the disease is self- limited. The child was a picture of health before the scarlatina: then, what is this new trouble? Specialists treat the otorrhoea as if it were a new disease per se; if so, whence has it come and what is the nature of it? A novice can tell you a long name and affirm that it is catarrhal; but that is not satisfactory. Where did it come from? Did it come spontaneously, or was it the result of some latent wrong in the vital dynamis? I say in the dynamis, as there was no tissue change before, and the scarlatina has long gone. We do not know that this new trouble is essentially chronic; and that in scarlet fever there is no chronic element. Now, has this sore ear simply developed this, a propitious time? Has the scarlatina so weakened the mucous membrane of the aural tubes that they become the favorite sites for the expression of a something that the disease when badly treated has aroused into action? I say when badly treated, because when the disease is properly treated, otorrhoea does not follow. I no longer see such troubles, and have not had them since I have been able to recognize their true nature. What is this something that may exist for years in a latent state- be handed down from generation to generation, and come to view at any time and cause chronic troubles to follow self-limited diseases? We have a right to a civil answer to a question of this kind. If a vital wrong is capable of existing for years in an invisible state outside of the tissues, there must be some invisible precinct that stores it or it does not exist. Can it now be doubted that a disease may exist for years with or without a morbid anatomy? Rokitansky says scrofula has no morbid anatomy. To be logical, according to the material school, there is no scrofula and no stroma; that scrofulous manifestations have no cause, and consequently no reality. Why do not all injuries of the synovial membranes of the iliofemoral articulation result in hip-joint disease? Why do some abscesses close with the evacuation of pus, and others form sinuses and fistulae. Look where you may in literature other than Hahnemannian, and you will find mere speculation, theory, and no practical deduction.

Hahnemann describes three constitutional miasms that may exist in latency, that develop and progress in the vital “dynamis without” changing the tissues that may spring into destructive activity and attack organs and give shape to countless lesions called disease; that these miasms should be recognized as primary wrongs out of which grow incurable maladies, and all structural changes. Shall we learn a lesson from these reflections, or shall we pass them as mere theories? Hahnemann teaches the nature of these miasms; it is not my province to discuss them, but to simply call them up as the essentials to the complete study of the sixteenth section. The questions to be an answered from all these are:

First. Have we such a condition as an invisible immaterial disease?

Second. If so, are all diseases of the same nature, and

Third. Is it rational to attempt to nullify a disease of immaterial nature by material substances.

Hahnemann’s early deduction was that disease, being of an immaterial nature, could develop only on a similar basis or in a similar sphere, when in contact with a similar quality of force; and to again reach it curatively, a force must be found equally as immaterial.

The mystery of the vital force for all practical purposes in the healing art has been solved by the immortal Hahnemann, and named the vital dynamis. His deductions are summed up in the sixteenth section. This section furnished the key stone to the doctrines of Hahnemannism, and without which the great arch must flatten and collapse; without this finishing doctrine his followers would be where all are who have rejected it-floundering in the mire of uncertainty and floating in the swift and muddy rivers of guesswork and disappointment. The study of the sixteenth section clearly sums up what the great Philosopher believed disease to be. Let us enter this wilderness and see where we are directed. If we accept the teachings we must admit that (the results of disease) lesions, tissue changes, cannot be considered as primary expressions of disease, but as a consequence. The molecular, vibrations or vital activities, are a warning that a continuance of the expressions of wrong life must mean progressive death. To consider life in the sense that Hahnemann looked upon it, as normal activities within the organism, and we must then look upon these normal activities changed by cause to be the abnormal, which is disease. The only evidence of disease are the definite, expressions that deviate from the normal, which we choose to denominate the language of the vital wrong (section 7), “Hence, the totality of these symptoms, this outwardly reflected image of the inner nature of the disease, i.e., of the suffering vital force. Localization is at all times a secondary state or the result of disease, while changed feelings are the primary manifestations. The primary or changed feeling often escapes observation, as in a gonorrhoea; but the disease has been pervading the economy for a period of eight days, and the localization finally appears as a discharge. The same is true of all contagious diseases, and as far as is known, of every disease. If we look upon disease with any other view and consider it per se when it localizes itself, and then search for a name to fit it, by virtue of its morbid anatomy, or its location, we trace it to its observable beginning, and as though it had no cause, and study it in relation to changed cells as a something with only an ending but with no beginning. But when looking at all tissue changes as the result of disease, we are in position to inquire: What is the disease proper? This guides into the pre-historic state when there were no tissue changes, and yet there will be found ample expressions to convince us that all was not perfect in the invisible vital kingdom, and the scalpel has not been directed. Then it is with this pre-historic state, these vital activities, that we have to deal. Before the change of tissue has occurred there must have been a cause of morbid vibrations-a condition of morbid vital activities, or cell-changes could not have been wrought. What is the nature of that state or condition that existed before the tissues and cells changed their shape? There must be two, the right and the wrong; the former the correct life function known by the absence of all subjective sensations a feeling of bodily comfort and ease; and the latter by the presence of subjective morbid feelings. The former is known as health, and the latter as sickness or disease. These cannot be measured as a quantitative influence, as the cause is only qualitative in itself, and its results are but a perversion of a proper force. It will be as difficult to demonstrate that quantitative influence is necessary to produce vital changes as to demonstrate that there is a measurable quantity in noxious forces so hurtful to man. Therefore, we may conclude that causes purely qualitative act destructively. We now have the right to assume that all vital changes primarily are only qualitative in the sense of misapplied force, and that these morbid vibrations are the disease, and all there is of disease per se.

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.