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.”

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.