Homoeopathy came to some of us by inheritance, some have acquired it by learning, while still others have drifted into it or had it thrust upon them. To all, however, it can have a living meaning only as it is loyally followed. If we would pluck its fruits, we must also be willing to climb the ladder, rung by rung, that will reach them.
Now this ladder is the pursuit of pure science and it rungs are the hard facts of actual experience, barren of theory in its lower reaches, but affording the most glorious possibilities from the upper ones. Such higher realization are based upon work, work and yet more work, even if part of it seems needless, for there are dark shades as well as light ones to be filled out in every educational gain.
Pathologists have plagued us and limited our hopes by their misleading deductions, careless prescribers have thrown confusion into our ranks, and worse than all, the schools have poisoned our youth with materialistic and nihilistic ideas. These are Dead Sea apples of homoeopathy, and yet there remains so sphere of life where living faith will sooner make us whole than in the practice of the science of homoeopathy in its purity. Corrupting it with other method will get us nothing; not even the respect of the allopaths.
Our journals tell of many a homoeopathic cure but the reasons for the correct choice of the remedies are rarely given. Perhaps this is because reason is such an elusive and many sided thing, and does not appeal to all of us in the same way; yet be it remembered that it is in the very nature of truth to prove itself from all angles, hence special perspectives are not always appreciated at their market value.
Each prescriber instinctively feels for a starting point around which he may arrange the whole morbid symptom complex in an orderly and comprehensible manner. Such being the case, he should be able to unerringly pick this out, as the essential or key symptoms, so as to follow it and thus also perceive its relation to the rest of the picture. If he is either unable to detect it, or cannot find its counterpart in the pathogenetic text, he must necessarily fall back upon the more general but a little less peculiar symptoms. The former method requires the more acute discrimination, but is also very certain in action.
The latter generalized much more, hence leaves greater room for inferences, thereby increasing the element of uncertainty, although it is sometimes capable of yielding the most brilliant results. On either case success depends upon being able to perceive the harmony that links symptom to symptom and to recognize the real deciding factor, be it found in the beginning in the form of a general key symptom or at the end among the minutiae. This factor may belong anywhere, although in actual practice the mental phase, as pointed out by Hahnemann, easily overshadows all the others.
In making comparisons every bit of knowledge comes into play, chemical, botanical and symptomatic; nothing can be overlooked with safety. If, for instance, we find the desired symptom under a drug one of whose constituents in hydrocyanic acid, then the whole prussic acid group comes up for comparison and we may perhaps even be compelled to piece out an imperfect pathogenesis with data from a fuller one; but the final decision in the choice will almost surely rest upon the relative generals aspects combined with the mental phases presented.
For every prescriber the practical question of of how to find a desired symptom must come up.
This is the crux of the whole matter, and a fairly large acquaintanceship with professing homoeopaths enables me to say that but rarely does one find them possessed of the needed equipment for correct prescribing. This appalling state of affairs begins in college, where the minutiae of bacteriology, microscopy and pathology are rigorously crammed into the heads of the students, but of methodical and purposeful searching in the materia medica they are blissfully ignorant.
The consequence is that even the well informed homoeopath is almost completely disarmed when confronted by a difficult case, if he has only the usual, very small homoeopathic library to fall back upon. Would you trust even a great surgeon, to do a trephining operation with a small pocket case? Certainly not; and yet you are asking our ordinary practitioners to get good results without the necessary tools, or even the knowledge of how to use them.
This is the gall and wormwood of homoeopathy, and yet so rich is it in resources, and so powerful are the recuperative powers of nature, that this badly handicapped doctor has done wonders in an unbelieving world and has made a place for himself by the sheer force of superior success. but let me warn you, one of his most powerful arms is growing weaker, because the inherent recuperative power of nature is being recognized more and more fully by the profession and laity alike.
The time is not far off when the homoeopath will hold his place only by the fertility of the resources of the materia medica and his ability to use them.
Most men just out of school dont have the means of buying all sorts of books, nor is it desirable that they should be misled by very much of what is printed in the name of homoeopathy. A little personal experience will give you my ideas along this line.
A recent allopath university graduate asked me what books would give him the clearest insight into our science. I could recommend but pitifully few; so I wrote and asked him not to begin too high up, but he content to read Clarkes “Homoeopathy, All About It,” Burnetts “Fifty Reasons” and Wheelers “The Case for Homoeopathy,” in the order named.
This he did, and then came quite a distance to see me. We talked dynamics, pharmaceutical procedure, daily practice and what not, with the result that he went home satisfied and ready to take up Nashs “Leaders in Typhoid,” and then Farringtons “Materia Medica,” all of which made the step to a reading of the Organon, with Kents “Philosophy”as a commentary, much easier. Jahrs “Forty Years Practice,” the “Synoptic Key” and Boenninghausens “Characteristics” were next taken up with the greatest ease and satisfaction, especially as their teachings were also gradually verified in his practice.
The “Materia Medica Pura” and “Chronic Diseases” of Hahnemann, along with Allens “Hand-book,” will complete his working-day library. The expense is the very lowest possible and the material will be enough to keep him busy for a long time, although Herings “Guiding Symptoms” and Clarkes “Dictionary” will help to round out some of the vacant places in the future.
Now for the result. The following excerpts from his letters tell the tale: “I am now doing 100 per cent better work with Homoeopathy than I could do with Allopathy. It is a good joke on Dad, but he has seen some of my cures and they all occur so promptly, that several times I have caught him slyly reading Nashs “Leaders.” Again, “I am getting along better than I had expected with the remedies; indeed, I am using the remedies exclusively now except in one case. After that is finished I do not anticipate using any other means in the treatment of sickness, but the homoeopathic treatment. I have had very interesting cases also.” This is an instance of what can be done by correct guidance.
The modern Allopath sees more than enough of the negative side of therapeutics and is therefore especially open to correct instruction, but do not for one moment delude yourself into believing that half way homoeopathy appeals to him in the least. He knows, only too painful, the limitations of his own work and is therefore more than suspicious of advice which includes many things of which he can tell you much more than you can possibly teach him. My advice is, never try to instruct the other fellow in his own work.
Now for the other side. Reasons which impel an unsatisfied Allopath to look into Homoeopathy may also be strong enough to excite the born follower of similia to gaze over the fence into neighboring pastures. These certainly do look very green to the lazy, stupid or unprincipled man, as witness the fact that Homoeopathy has never had the desperate struggle with all kinds of quackery that is so sad to blemish on Allopathy.
Less than two months ago an eminent surgeon said: “I wish I knew more about Homoeopathy, but it is not a lazy mans job.” This man sees the real kernel even if he cannot profit thereby; many another is in the same predicament. Dont for one moment allow yourselves to think that the ordinary Allopath is deceived by your little subterfuges and evasions of the law. You are only earning his contempt when you show by your acts that you are not up in what you profess to know. A poor workman is at once correctly placed when the begins to side step.
There is much evidence to show that the advance of general science has given apologetic homoeopathy its deathblow, and it remains for us to decide whether we are going to die with it or are going to mend our ways and become real healers of the sick. If all physicians really strive to cure it would seem that success must be measured only by their abilities.
This is to a large extent only apparently true, because all upward paths lead to the summit, however devious they may seem to be. No two prescribers will follow exactly the same course in finding the similimum, yet if both the true followers of the law they must finally choose the same remedy. This being true we can see how necessary it is to develop each mans ability along its own natural lines; in other words, make the instruction fit the man, an he will just as surely end in making his application of the law fit the patient.