DISCUSSION ON DR WILLIAM SHARPS PAPER ON THE FOUNDATIONS AND BOUNDARIES OF MODERN THERAPEUTICS


Hahnemann began to appreciate the delicate qualities of symptoms, their relative value and their adjectiva. Thus the effect of emotions, of temperature, of weather, time, position, etc. became of practical value. …


DR. FARRINGTON: In reviewing Dr. Sharp’s paper, I cannot but think that he has founded his arguments upon fallacious premises. “Among the precious fruits which Hahnemann gathered”, writes the doctor, is “the use of much smaller doses than had before been given” And yet in a subsequent paragraph, because Hahnemann, began to employ infinitesimal doses, the doctor deprecates the practice as one which has been “an almost insurmountable barrier against the progress of his system.”

Hahnemann, as we well know, was not the first to discover the Law of Similars, no more than he was the first to make experiments on the healthy. Yet no predecessor ever investigated the subject so thoroughly or systematically as he, because no one had so clear a conception of the great fact. What was original with him was this disputed potentization of medicaments, “this precious fruit”. which Dr. Sharp acknowledges, but refuses to profit by its cultivation. When Hahnemann began to dilute his remedies to avoid aggravations, he did not find, as he expected, that their action ceased. Indeed, they multiplied, though their nature was considerably altered.

At this stage, in his mental growth a new world opened to view. He saw, in the unexplored panorama before him, means for the relief of the sick hitherto unnoticed, or silently rejected. He was enabled to penetrate the secret recesses of the body, holding, as it were, communication with the soul within, working thence to coarse and less vital parts.

He began to appreciate the delicate qualities of symptoms, their relative value and their adjectiva. Thus the effect of emotions, of temperature, of weather, time, position, etc. became of practical value. And is not science to-day elucidating these very points? Does not Physiology teach us that certain hours in the daily cycle mark positive changes in the human economy, such as maximum electric tension at 10 A.M. (Natrum Mur.) minimum, 4 to 8 P.M. (Lycopodium)? And who will deny the opposite physical changes by north and south, or north-west and north-east winds?

So, too, in the domain of Psychology none but the potencies will develop the many mental symptoms which Hahnemann and experience make the most important in practice. It is no wonder, then, that he made every remedy have a general action upon all parts. Each drug has its prominent points of attack; but the system is a unit, and suffers as such. Centrally are those symptoms which distinctly characterize the drug; while concentrically distributed are those of less import, receding like the centrifugal ripples following the splash of a stone into water. The highest potencies will produce and demonstrably have cured symptoms, primary and secondary, subjective and objective. In this one indisputable fact lies the answer to all arbitrary attempts to limit the range of potencies.

That large and small doses have a contrary action is only an apparent truth; or, at least, is of no importance to us.

Years ago., the question was asked, “What is the peculiar, the characteristic, which cures”? The answer came simultaneously from both sides from both sides of the water. “Those symptoms of a drug which have distinct opposites, all the rest being only accessory.” Then came the experiments with Gloninum and the sphygmograph, proving incontestably that those opposites are but variations in the waves of motion. The smallest doses will cause them just as certainly as will the largest.

From my standpoint the doctor’s charge against Hahnemann, that he was an iconoclast, “breaking the old, but worshipping new images of his own make”, seems as unjust as it is unmerited. Until it can be proved that potentized medicines do not act, do not cure, all attempts to bound therapeutics to their exclusion must fail, because fallacious.

Again we are asked to exchange Hahnemann’s scheme for Sharp’s organopathy. Call the former, if you choose, a kaleidoscope; you do not express its immensity, not its uselessness. The kaleidoscope is constructed on scientific principles, as is Homoeopathy. The kaleidoscope obeys fixed laws, as does Homoeopathy. “The kaleidoscope”, says one authority, “is of great use to pattern-makers, to whom it supplies endless varieties of figures;” so with Hahnemann’s Homoeopathy. It supplies the student with an endless variety of similia from which he may choose that corresponding to his case. As the pattern-maker thus increases his usefulness, so does the Homoeopathician increase his opportunities to heal the sick.

The time will come when this new science of Homoeopathy will become definitely systematized, but never through organopathy; In the words of our good friend, Dr. Lilienthal- “only a master, but not the apprentice, dares over-ride fixed rules”, We are all apprentices. Let us gather up material until time shall develop the master who is to lighten the burden, but not lead us astray”.

E. A. Farrington
E. A. Farrington (1847-1885) was born in Williamsburg, NY, on January 1, 1847. He began his study of medicine under the preceptorship of his brother, Harvey W. Farrington, MD. In 1866 he graduated from the Homoeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. In 1867 he entered the Hahnemann Medical College, graduating in 1868. He entered practice immediately after his graduation, establishing himself on Mount Vernon Street. Books by Ernest Farrington: Clinical Materia Medica, Comparative Materia Medica, Lesser Writings With Therapeutic Hints.