There is nothing so remote from our natural observation as the world within us. Lange, in his “History of Materialism,” said: “External things lie nearer to the natural consciousness than the Ego.” It is an historic fact that man discovered the constitution of the solar system and the circulation of the planets long before he discovered the constitution of his own body and the circulation of his own blood. For thousands of years man did not know that he had in his body an engine working at the rate of sixty to seventy strokes per minute driving the blood through a wonderful system of vessels, and that the end of seventy years this pumping engine had registered the almost incredible number of approximately two thousand millions, one hundred and forty one thousand, five hundred and twenty beats. So difficult is introspection that when the discovery was made it was not generally accepted for a long time, and the discover was subjected to ridicule and antagonism.
The same law prevails in the realm of life and mind. We do not see the things that lie closest to us. Harvey was the friend and physician of Lord Bacon, but neither of these two great men fully appreciated the others greatness. Harvey apparently thought Bacon a pompous and pretentious writer (in which he was quite right as far as style is concerned), and Bacon seemed to attach little or no value to Harveys researches and discoveries, being perhaps too deeply occupied with his own studies to be able to enter fully into the work of others.
Superficially it looks as if both men were colossal egotists filled with self-conceit; but there were saving factors in each case. Both men were of intellectual greatness and tremendous powers of concentration. If they were conceited they had good reason for it. Probably both realized their weakness in their moments of introspection, but justified themselves by referring to the treatment they received from their contemporaries. One who is doing a great work which is not appreciated may be compelled to take refuge in self- appreciation in order to keep his courage up.
In his will Lord Bacon said: “For my name and memory, I leave it to mens charitable speeches, to foreign nations, and to the next ages.” Basil Montagu, in the preface to his edition of Bacons works, said: “The words were carefully selected, with the knowledge which he, above all men, possessed of their force and pregnant meaning, and of their certain influence sooner or latter, upon the community. They spoke to me as loudly of a sense of injury, and of a reliance upon the justice of future ages, as the opening of the Novum Organum speaks with the consciousness of power”.
Much of the criticism and all of the ridicule heaped upon Hahnemann and his followers in connection with his dynamical theory was entirely gratuitous because most of it was based upon a total misunderstanding of what Hahnemann had in mind and was trying to describe. Physical science in his day was only in its infancy, and biology was unborn. The fact is that Hahnemann as a scientific investigator and thinker, was almost half a century ahead of his time in formulating or attempting to formulate and illustrate a concept of that universal principal or power which physical scientists later, by common consent, agreed to call Energy. He was almost a century ahead of his time in extending the scope of that concepts into the biological and medical fields, so that it would include the phenomena of vitality, or Life.
Few physical scientists even yet have identified the “vital force” as even one of the many forms of that infinite and universal energy which actuates and moves all things, animate and inanimate. The majority refuse to recognize it at all. Fewer still perceive that life or mind rather than the hypothetical ether, may be and probably is, the substratum and substance of all things.
This idea, however, is now entertained by more than one physical scientist and by some biologists and psychologists, although, strange to say, biologists and physiologists whose business it is to study life in all its forms and manifestations, have been almost as slow as the medical men to identify life as “energy,” or “energy” as life. They cautiously explore the surroundings territory, studying every outpost and avenue of approach with their lenses, but shrink from walking boldly into camp. But to this conclusion science must eventually come in order to account for the operation of that Cosmic Intelligence which is manifest in all the workings of nature.
Sir Oliver Lodge, in “The Ether of Space,” reminds us that Motion and Force are as yet the only things postulated in physics as the completely known; and that even of these we have actually only a working hypothesis. Of matter, energy, gravitation, electricity, light or the ether there is as yet no complete theory.
Physical scientists apparently feel that so long as they limit themselves to the attempt to reduce the physical aspect of things to the terms of motion and force they are on safe ground. But Lodge tells them that by their failure to deal with certain phenomena they are depriving themselves of knowledge of a third as yet unknown category, “by incorporating which, the physics of the future may rise to higher flights and an enlarged scope.” He says:
“The things of which we are permanently conscious are motion and force, but there is a third thing which we have likewise been all our lives in contact with, and which we know even more primarily, though perhaps we are so immersed in it that our knowledge realizes itself later, viz., life and mind. I do not now pretend to define these terms, or to speculate as to whether the things they denote are essentially one and not two.
They exist, in the sense which we permit ourselves to use that word, and they are not incorporated into physics. Till they are, they may remain more or less vague; but how or where they can be incorporated is not for me even to conjecture”.
Elsewhere in his treatise on “The Ether of Space,” Lodge says: “The universe we are living in is an extraordinary one; and our investigation of it has only just begun. We know that matter has a physical significance, since it can constitute brain, which links together the physician and psychical worlds. If anyone thinks that the ether, with all its massiveness and energy, has probably no psychical significance, I find myself unable to agree with him”.
Clerk-Maxwell has tentatively referred to the ether in its relation to life: “Whether this vast homogeneous expanse of isotropic matter is fitted not only to be a medium of interaction between distant bodies, and to fulfil other physical function of which, perhaps, we have as yet no conception, but also to constitute the material organism of beings exercising functions of life and mind as high or higher than ours at present-is a question far transcending the limits of physical speculation”.
Hahnemann dwelt principally upon life as a form of energy or a force, acting under laws of its own; but in order to see this he must have had a concept of the universal, all-inclusive Energy of which life is at least one form, and he went further than anyone else in identifying that Energy with Life. There is much in his writings, especially in the sixth edition of the “Organon,” which confirms this deduction.
In the new note to paragraph II, explaining his statement that in illness it is only the vital principal “that is primarily deranged by the dynamical influence upon it of a morbific agent inimical to life,” he asks: “What is dynamic influence- dynamic power?” “Our earth,” he says, “by virtue of a hidden invisible energy, carries the moon around her in twenty-eight days and several hours, and the moon alternately…..raises our northern seas to food tide and again correspondingly lowers them to ebb. Apparently this takes place not through material, not through mechanical contrivances, as are used for products of human labor; and so we see numerous other events about us as results of the action of one substance upon another substance without being able to recognize a sensible connection between cause and effect.
Only the cultured, practiced in comparison and deduction, can from for himself a kind of suprasensual idea sufficient to keep all that is material or mechanical in his thoughts from such concepts. He calls such effects dynamic, virtual, that is, such as result from absolute, specific, pure energy and action of one substance upon another”.
Clearly he has here the concept of the Cosmic Energy which controls all things, with which he has at least partially identified the life force.
Hahnemann next uses the magnet as an illustration of another form of this universal energy of which he has formed a concept.
“This invisible energy of the magnet,” he says, “does not require mechanical (material) auxiliary means, hook or lever, to attract the iron. The magnet draws to itself and this acts upon the piece of iron or upon a steel needle by means of a purely immaterial, invisible, conceptual, inherent energy, that is, dynamically, and communicates to the steel needle the magnetic energy equally invisible (dynamically)”.
This illustrates perfectly, according to Hahnemann, how infections diseases like smallpox or measles are communicated to a susceptible healthy person, that is, by infection at a distance (it may be an infinitesimal distance) without anything material passing from one to the other.
Substances are medicinal, Hahnemann says, “only in so far as they possess each its own specific energy to alter the health of man through dynamic, conceptual influence, by means of the living sensory fiber upon the conceptual, controlling principle of life.” In other words, the medicinal property of any substance is simply its specific form of energy as related dynamically to the energy of the living organism. Medicines act “wholly without communication of material parts of the medicinal substance,” or dynamically, as by infection at a distance, Hahnemann thinks, otherwise, how could an infinitesimal dose carry so much more healing energy in a given case than a larger dose?.
“Is it then so utterly impossible,” he asks, “for our age to think of dynamic energy as something non-corporeal; since we see daily phenomena which cannot be explained in any other manner? If one looks upon something nauseous and becomes inclined to vomit, did a material emetic come into his stomach which compels him to his antiperistaltic movement? Was it not solely the dynamic effect of the nauseating aspect upon his imagination? And if one raises his arm, does it occur through a material instrument? a lever? Is it not solely the conceptual dynamic energy of his will which raises it?”.
Will is an attribute and function of mind, and mind is life, and life is energy plus intelligence.
Frank recognition of the existence and being of the Life Principle and qualified acceptance of the suggestion that the “Energy” of physical science may be identical with it is seen, for example, in “Matter and Energy” by Frederick Soddy, M.A., F.R.S., lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Radioactivity, University of Glasgow.
Professor Soddy says: “One can hardly emerge from such thoughts without an intuition that, in spite of all, the universal Life Principle, which makes this world a teeming hive, may not be at the sport of every physical condition, may not be entirely confined to a temperature between freezing and boiling point, to our oxygen atmosphere, to the most favorably situated planet of a sun at the right degree of incandescence as we are almost forced by our experience of life to conclude. Possible the Great Organizer can operate under conditions where we could not for an instant survive, to produce beings we should not, without a special education, recognize as being alive like ourselves”.
Twenty-five paragraphs (6 to 31) of the “Organon” are devoted to setting forth the dynamical theory of life in its two- fold conditions of health and disease. In these pregnant paragraphs Hahnemann builds up solidly, step by step, an argument which as a whole no man has ever been able successfully to controvert, although many have tried. In view of the whole trend of modern biological, physical, chemical and electrical science toward the dynamical conclusions at which Hahnemann was among the first to arrive, we may be confident that his theory will continue to stand.