Orthodoxy we have always with us, in science as well as religion. Reactionaries always with us, in science as well as religion. Reactionaries always resent and react against any word, expression or action which tends to enlarge the boundaries they have arbitrarily set in their creeds, customs or codes. Hence the ridicule and criticism to which Hahnemann and his followers have been subjected to for using certain words that are “taboo” in scientific circles.

In collating the references in the “Organon” to the vital force a peculiar fact not hitherto noticed is brought out.

They fall naturally into two classes which may be roughly characterized as respectful and disrespectful.

In the first class Hahnemann describes the vital force as “spiritual,” “spirit-like,” “invisible,” “immaterial,” “known only by its effects,” “omnipresent in the body,” “indefatigable vital principle,” etc.

“In the healthy condition of man,” he says, “the spiritual vital force )autocracy), the dynamis that animates the material body (organism), rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.” (Par. 9. sixth edition).

“The material organism, without the vital force, is capable of no sensation, no function, no self-preservation; it derives all sensation and performs all the functions of life solely by means of the immaterial being (the vital principle) which animates the material organism in health and disease.” (Par. 10 sixth edition).

“When a person falls ill, it is only this spiritual, self- acting (automatic) vital force, everywhere present in his organism, that is primarily deranged by the dynamic influence upon it of a morbific agent inimical to life; it is only the vital principle, deranged to such an abnormal state, that can furnish the organism with its disagreeable sensations, and incline it to the irregular processes which we call disease; for as a power invisible in itself, and only cognizable by its effects on the organism, its morbid derangement only makes itself known by the manifestation of disease in the sensation and functions of those parts of the organism exposed to the senses of the observer and physicians, that is by morbid symptoms, and in no other way can it make itself known.” (Par. 2, sixth edition.).

The material organism and “the instinctively perceiving and regulating dynamis,” like the interior “morbidly deranged dynamis” and the totality of the external signs and symptoms of disease, constitute a unity-in each case are one and the same- “although in thought our mind separates this unity into two distinct conceptions for the sake of easy comprehension”.

Life, therefore, considered by Hahnemann as an entitative power or principle, a real being, corresponding to the modern scientific conception of Energy (except that he recognizes the energy as endowed with intelligence, which only a few, and those the greatest of modern scientists, will admit), is not only the basis of all activities of the organism, but is the active agent itself manifesting through all the body in both health and disease-a far-reaching conception of tremendous importance and absolutely fundamental in the homoeopathic healing art.

Here it should be noted that in some passages Hahnemann uses the terms “life,” force” and “vital force” interchangeably. In other passages. especially in the sixth edition of the “Organon,” he distinguishes between life (the entitative power or principle), and the life force, by naming the life principle “the Dynamis,” or simply calling it the life principle. In these latter cases life is the thing that acts, and “the life force” is the action of the thing, abstractly considered.

To Hahnemann, as to all substantialists, life is a real being or thing, not a mere state or condition, the cause, not the effect, precisely as “energy” to the physicist is a real thing, a being, a power or principle that acts. Of course, it is invisible, intangible, immaterial (using the word in the ordinary sense), but none the less real, substantial and powerful. All forms of energy, including life, electricity, radio-activity and the ether are invisible and immaterial and known to us only by their phenomena in connection with or through matter and material things and organisms.

It was in the endeavor to make this scientific fact clear that Hahnemann, in describing the life force, unfortunately used the words “spiritual” and “spirit-like”-unfortunate, not because they were not perfectly legitimate and illuminating words to use, but because the use of theological words in a scientific discussion shocks the delicate sensibilities of the average scientist today almost as much as the use of a scientific word shocks the equally delicate sensibilities of the average orthodox theologian.

Orthodoxy we have always with us, in science as well as religion. Reactionaries always with us, in science as well as religion. Reactionaries always resent and react against any word, expression or action which tends to enlarge the boundaries they have arbitrarily set in their creeds, customs or codes. Hence the ridicule and criticism to which Hahnemann and his followers have been subjected to for using certain words that are “taboo” in scientific circles.

Consider now the multitudinous and enormously complicated and delicate organic processes involved, over which the conscious mind appears to exercise no control and which yet are all performed with intelligence and purposefully. Think of growth, nutrition and repair; of digestion, assimilation, and excretion; of respiration and circulation. Hahnemann is not a materialist. He recognizes the spiritual character of life constantly and does not hesitate to use the right word to describe it.

He ridicules, with biting sarcasm, those petty materialists who imagine that disease is in some way material and endeavor to remove it from the organism by derivatives, sudorifics, cathartics, etc. He declares, with starting boldness, that “disease is a nonentity.” This is not to say that it is non- existent, but only that it is a condition and not a thing or entity. He recognizes, moreover, the vital importance and superlative value, for therapeutic purposes, of mental and psychical symptoms in disease, based upon the intimate relation between the mind, the body and the vital force, all of which constitutive a unity.

Attaching paramount importance to Life as the entitative power or principle; recognizing so clearly its field of activity, and expressing his profound and reverent admiration of its work, as we have seen, we are surprised to find Hahnemann using another cases of expression in regard to the vital force in which distrust, lack of respect and almost contempt is expressed. These occur mostly in the introduction, but also in the body of “The Organon,” when he speaks of the operations of the vital force in disease.

It is now “this unreasoning life-force,” “this unintelligent vital force, this blind guide,” this “crude, unreasonable automatic vital energy,” which “cannot, like a skilful surgeon, heal a wound by first intention by co-adapting its gaping edges; which does not know how to adjust and replace the divergent ends of a broken bone, notwithstanding its ability to furnish (often superabundantly) osseous matter; which cannot tie a wounded artery, but exhausts all its energy in causing a wounded person to bleed to death; which does not know how to reduce a dislocated humerus , but, on the contrary, prevents human art (as if the vital force were not human) from accomplishing reduction by speedily producing a swelling around the joint; which, in order to remove a splinter from the cornea, destroys the whole eye by suppuration”.

“Nay”, he continues, “this unreasonable vital force rashly receives into the body those chronic miasms (psora, syphilis, sycosis), the greatest tormentors of our earthly existence, the source of innumerable diseases, under which humanity groans for hundreds, nay, for thousands of years, and utterly unable to even palliate one of these, this same vital force is utterly incapable of removing such diseases from the organism of its own accord but suffers them to rankle in the system until death closes the eyes of the sufferer after a long life of sorrow”.

This is a formidable indictment of the vital force. How is defense to be made? Apparently there is contradiction and inconsistency here. How is it that this “immaterial being” which was so trustworthy in health is so untrustworthy in disease? How is it that that which was so expert and skilful in the performance of its duties while the person was in health is such a stupid bungler now? That which required only the simplest co- operation and was worthy of the highest confidence on the part of the “rational mind” in health is now a blind guide and utterly untrustworthy. How are these statements to be reconciled?.

But hear Hahnemann again:

“The vital force, which of itself can only act according to the physical constitution of our organism is not guided by reason knowledge and reflection, was not given to man to be regarded as the best possible curative agent to restore those lamentable variations from health to the normal condition, and still less that physicians should imitate its imperfect morbid efforts,” etc. Reasoning and reflection are functions of the intellect, the “higher human mind” of Hahnemann.

Stuart Close
Stuart M. Close (1860-1929)
Dr. Close was born November 24, 1860 and came to study homeopathy after the death of his father in 1879. His mother remarried a homoeopathic physician who turned Close's interests from law to medicine.

His stepfather helped him study the Organon and he attended medical school in California for two years. Finishing his studies at New York Homeopathic College he graduated in 1885. Completing his homeopathic education. Close preceptored with B. Fincke and P. P. Wells.

Setting up practice in Brooklyn, Dr. Close went on to found the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Union in 1897. This group devoted itself to the study of pure Hahnemannian homeopathy.

In 1905 Dr. Close was elected president of the International Hahnemannian Association. He was also the editor of the Department of Homeopathic Philosophy for the Homeopathic Recorder. Dr. Close taught homeopathic philosophy at New York Homeopathic Medical College from 1909-1913.

Dr. Close's lectures at New York Homeopathic were first published in the Homeopathic Recorder and later formed the basis for his masterpiece on homeopathic philosophy, The Genius of Homeopathy.

Dr. Close passed away on June 26, 1929 after a full and productive career in homeopathy.