What Shall We Do When Law Fails

“When we have to do with an art whose end is the saving of human life, any neglect to make ourselves thoroughly masters of it, becomes a crime.” …

There is a large number of earnest believers in the low of cure, who desire to limit or restrict its application, not realizing that this limited acceptance makes it to themselves no law, but a rule of management of a few cases. With them it is not a low that has any relation to their failures, but some other kind of medical practice must be called into use to fit the uncured cases which are, as a rule, the majority. These expect to cure all cases of disease with medicines in crude state, and failing to do so, condemn the law as only applicable to “certain cases.”

They say that certain diseases must be treated with strong medicines; that a congestive chill must have large doses of quinine. They deny the dynamic activities of medicines and ask foolish questions and manifest wonderful ignorance of medical philosophy. They do not admit what they cannot demonstrate, and their demonstrations have been very meager, therefore their useful medical knowledge is admitted to be very small. They are not willing to learn the part that does not permit itself to be accounted for through the action of visible particles of matter.

The dynamis and identity are unexplained, and yet we see them. Call them by what name you please, they are present. I am asked what I mean by the dynamis and identity. By a slight digression I will explain myself in a few words. The power, each identity possesses to produce its kind is unquestionably a most singular force and may be latent or active. The power to grow from and out of the acorn the mighty oak, is no less a force in the dry acorn than when surrounded by congenial environment, heat and moisture or the earthly implantation. What this force is has not been revealed to man. It may be a vital force or a formative force. The acorn has never been known to grow a sycamore; nor has the button ball ever grown an oak. What is this identity that is not transferable?

This dynamis is found again in animal life producing its kind. In crystallography this formative force is apparent. In symptomatology we again see it, each drug producing its own and no other identity or individuality. But it must be remembered that the peculiar environments must under each and every circumstances be suitable to the identity or the evolution will not occur. The vital energy may be a complex force composed of heat and electricity, but as such our subject is not endangered, and at present there is no clear demonstration. It has been stated that the vital dynamis cannot exist apart from electrical vibrations. Even this is hard to demonstrate in view of the fact that the vital spark in its latency exists in the acorn without electrical activities. From these it is clear that life is not motion, although motion is one of the evidences of life, as it is of heat, of electricity and of light. It was recently said in one of our public meetings that without motion there is no force. The statement needs no further refutation. Again it has been stated that the amoeboid vibrations are the only evidences of life in protoplasmic cells, but the analogy will readily lead one to conclude that the motion is not the dynamism. The vibratory activities in protoplasm increase with types up to the highest cell life, but the vital dynamis, or formative energy becomes no more typical or perfect that in the lowest order of such activity. Then to develop the activities of each and every sickmaking substance is the aim of the Homoeopathist. He must study the most favorable relations for the evolution of the manifestations of each identity, or he has not performed his whole duty as a physician. Hahnemann was acquainted with these necessities and potentized, or attenuated medicinal substances to place them in a favorable relation to sick making causes to conform to the law of similars. They who are willing to learn of the master himself find the law universal in its application to the demands of the sickroom, because they do not attempt to limit the environments of a drug in its curative evolutions. They are willing to use a drug from the lowest to the highest attenuation, only to find the most suitable relation to sickmaking cause and alteration of health as expressed in symptoms. As to myself I have no longer a doubt, in fact I am more than convinced that I could not universally apply the law curatively with the exclusive use of lower potencies.

Then it should be expected that the law would fail in the hands of men who do not admit the essentials to its universal application. Crude drugs cure disease promptly under certain conditions, and the lower potencies when carefully selected are generally potent enough to cure most diseases, but shall we permit prejudice to deprive the world of increased usefulness. The dynamis and its identity are unexplained, yet they are facts. No method of reasoning can forecast such things and no method of reasoning can do away with these facts. Can it be said that the law has failed when, in a given case, the dose administered is yet too large to cure? The failure of the law to help us out comes at all times from its non use. We think we are the law, we try to use the law, but we don’t use the law. Homoeopathy is an applied science, and is no part of man’s imagination or belief. It cures disease when the law is applied, and not when misapplied. When man fails it is man’s failure, and the law stands unimpeached.

Again the law seems to fail where the selection has been perfect, and the potency suitable by meddling with the action of the remedy. This fault is a common one and depends upon ignorance of the philosophy of Homoeopathy. I have many times heard the law condemned for not curing an incurable sickness. The physician who expects to cure the sick must know of disease what is curable, and he must know how to observe and how to interpret what he sees. I remember a chronic rheumatism of all the joints in the body to have so change0d in six months that the ankles and toes only were painful. The general state had greatly improved, and the patient was nearly well, but she said, “I cannot walk and I must be cured;” so she went to a neighbor who bathed and rubbed vigorously, and the ankles and toes became better immediately, but the whole trouble came back, and I was never again able to relieve her. There are many things that a physician must know to prescribe homoeopathically outside of what drugs may do. He may know the appropriate remedy and then not know how to use. The patient may say he is better, or he is worse, and the statement is of little value. If it relates to his general state he is competent, but if in the direction of his symptoms he is incompetent. Pain going from place to place must be observed for a purpose. A deep seated trouble changing under the action of a remedy, coming to the surface, though the suffering be increased ten fold the remedy must not be disturbed or the cure may never be realized. Though the patient say “I am so much worse, just see how I suffer,” he must have Sac.lac. The physician who does not know these things can never follow the law closely enough to make it universally successful.

The treatment of chronic complaints demands an investigation entirely different from self-limited diseases. A man may disorder his stomach by gluttony and establish morbid phenomena, which may continue as long as the cause is continuous, but will cease when the cause is removed. Should such diseases be called chronic? I think not. These are an intermediate class that need for remedial measures instructions for the patient and very little medication. These diseases tend to recovery, which is unlike the disease properly called chronic. Any disease having no tendency to recovery may properly be called chronic. This must not be interpreted to mean a symptom. A symptom may have a tendency to disappear, and soon be followed by another equally as dangerous. The ulcer may close and a diarrhoea appear as intractable as the ulcer. This shows that the proper disease has no tendency to recover.

The question will then arise, as to what is understood by chronic disease and how it is defined. It must be understood first of all that all diseases when leaving the body when cured or self cured do so under unvarying rules or laws. The vital maneuvers are not one way today and another way next week. Nature operates under fixed principles. Now it must be known first of all that diseases recover from above downward from within out and in the reverse order of their coming. When the phenomena of disease do not follow this circumscribed limit of directions the disease is growing worse or at least progressing. When any given disease has existed a considerable time and its changes present phases in the reverse of the above formula though the supposed causes have been removed, it is of necessity a chronic disease, and will only change or reverse its order of direction by suitable homoeopathic agencies. A knowledge of these principles only inform the physician when, and when not, to interfere in the treatment of the disease. It is so common for a patient to return after a correct prescription saying, “I am much worse today.” The physician must now look into the case. If the new symptoms are such as were noticed in the early progress of the disease the cure is certain if properly conducted. If the new manifestation is felt on deep organs that have not heretofore been touched or given rise to symptoms, the disease may be known to be deep seated and most likely incurable. Sharp aggravations after a prescription the direction being from within out is a sign of speedy recovery. Following a prescription for chronic rheumatism, if heart symptoms intervene the patient never will recover. If the acute symptoms following a careful prescription are prolonged, the recovery will be slow.

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.