It is nearly useless to cram students with the language of provings. If they cannot be made to see the clinical image to be met, they fail to make good prescribers. The student needs to know something of what we do, and what can be done with provings. Dry study of provings without application to clinical images, will not do for the neophyte.
Rarely do we find a student with sufficient acumen to formulate these images for himself; so, after puzzling over them for a time, he falls to grumbling over the imperfections of the Materia Medica, sometimes even, making fruitless efforts to correct the imperfections. Imperfection do exist, and some of them are fully recognized by good men, but how they are to be corrected is not so well known, even by the best men of today. Dr. Hughes has demonstrated that he thought he knew how to correct those imperfections, but he has failed to demonstrate satisfactorily to the profession, that he knew even one remedy.
There is no short road to a fair knowledge of therapeutics.
The physician who masters the use of the repertory, usually makes the most rapid prescriber.
The symptoms that are in the way, are the ones we do not understand. Suppose each egotist were to throw out all symptoms he does not understand, what portion of the Materia Medica should we have left? Hahnemann made most wonderful use of the Materia Medica that he left us; we ought to do as well as he, with the many added I provings, but if we tear down, we should be quite positive that the building would not result in improvement. The best symptoms of the Materia Medica have come, and must come, from the provings of potentized drugs. Throw away all such symptoms and, we shall be compelled to practice medicine upon the thrown away Materia Medica, for the portion left and accepted, will not sustain the law for universal application. This is demonstrated by the fact that those crying for crude provings, constantly confess their inability to cure the sick. The very cry for a revised Materia Medica is an ample confession. The use of quinine, whiskey, and compounds, testify loudly in the same direction. The grumblers never recognize the possibility of the difficulty being a personal one, nor think of their confession as the guilty pleading of their own lack of knowledge of the Materia Medica and how to use it. A confession of the inability to use the Materia Medica as it stands, is not a qualification necessary to the erudition of a compiler of a new Materia Medica. They have confessed, we have not accused. The confessions extend so far, there little left for them to learn pertaining to cures. The most startling confession recently made, the assertion that the 30th and 200th potencies do not make symptoms but has a negative result; either the doctor did not select sensitive persons, or he refused to recognize symptoms.
Not all provers bring out symptoms from potencies, but the sensitive ones furnish symptoms of inestimable value. If the physician makes careful study of his willing provers, he will be able to select for them, such remedies as they can get symptoms from, i. e., by studying the natural traits of their life, he can see their weaknesses and make use of them. A lady expressed a wish to prove drug, she was carefully observed, and thought to be sensitive to Phosphorus. She proved the drug in a high potency, confirming many old symptoms of Phosphorus about which she knew nothing, neither did she know the name of the drug she was proving.
These facts stand, nor do they become less than facts when other doctors fail to obtain symptoms the same way.
It is grievous to demonstrate one’s inability to find a remedy fitting to subjects, for the purpose of proving, after making numerous trials. It means something. It means failure. Not of the law, not of the potentized drug, not of the patient or prover, but of the physician. He knew not how to select provers or remedies for provers, therefore he is become an agnostic. The chemist says to a friendly physician: “I hear you have become a Homoeopath?”
Physician: “Yes, that is true.”
Chemist: “Well, you do not mean to say you believe in the 30th potency, do you.”
Physician: “I understand you are a chemist, that you make a living by your knowledge of chemistry, and that your science is based upon the hypothesis, of molecules and atoms, etc.”
Chemist: “Yes, I am a chemist by profession.”
Physician: “Well, now my friend, have you ever seen a molecule or atom?”
Chemist: “Let’s go; we’ll have a bottle of wine.”
The chemist knows the molecule is not very well determined, that it is entirely hypothetical, but he does not care so that he produces the results that previous experiments enable him to expect. The results are not changed, even though the molecule be argued out and not believed in. Facts stand in spite of unbelief.