Back of and within every living organism, back of all matter, back of every inorganic structure, back of every law of nature, back of every process is Mind, the intelligent, thinking, willing, planning, designing, organizing, guiding and controlling principle. From the atom to immensity, in every realm of nature and in every part of it, intelligence is displayed. The microscope, the telescope and the test tube, as well as reason, alike reveal it. Everywhere are the evidences of purpose, design and will. Everywhere energy is present. Everywhere action and reaction are taking place. Everywhere law reigns. All these are the powers, qualities and attributes of Mind and Life, and of nothing else. Nothing can conform to law without knowing. Conformity to law implies intelligence. Certainly nothing can originate a law within itself, nor obey a law unless it knows.
In the last analysis Life and Mind are one, since nothing can be predicated of one which is not true of the other, as pointed out long ago by Professor Elmer Gates. They are two aspects of one and the same Infinite and Eternal Supreme Being, “in Whom we live, and move, and have our being”.
This basic philosophy, in its essentials, is implicit everywhere in the Organon and explicit, so far as Hahnemann had thought it out, in such sections as those dealing with the “vital force,” the nature of health and disease, primary and secondary action of medicines, potentiation and the infinitesimal dose; and in those dealing with the observation and use of subjective and mental symptoms.
For, be it known to you, Hahnemann was the first to make a definite connection between psychology and therapeutics and use either of these classes of symptoms as guides in the selection of the curative medicine. He was, therefore, the first scientific psychiatrist.
Leaving now these abstruse, metaphysical subjects, let me come to the more practical side of homoeopathic philosophy. This perhaps. I can best present in the form of a condensed statement of principles and definitions.
I cannot hope to cover the whole field nor enlarge upon the necessarily brief statements. For that I must refer you to the Organon itself and to such essays, lectures and books as have been written around it. These have been many and some of them are very valuable; but I regret to say they are now nearly all out of print and hard to find.
I believe the only book on homoeopathic philosophy in print and on sale regularly today in this country, besides the Organon, is my own modest little volume, The Genius of Homoeopathy, published and sold in this city by our old friends Boericke and Tafel. This may be fortunate or unfortunate for homoeopathy, according to the point of view. However, it is a condition for which, I beg you to believe, I am not responsible. I did not buy up all the other books in order that mine might have the market all to itself.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES.
Homoeopathy is a scientific system of experimental and curative medication based upon the universal, natural law of action and reaction, or reciprocal action, formulated by Sir Isaac Newton as the Third Law of Motion, and applied in medicine by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who substantially restated the law and embodied the principle in the well-known motto: “Similia Similibus Curantur,” “similars are cured by similars”.
A brief explanation will make clear the substantial identity of the two statements. The similarity referred to by Hahnemann is the similarity of phenomena, or symptoms. Logic teaches us that no two things can be identical, that is, the same, but only similar in the highest degree. The “equal” of Newtons formula is, therefore, only the highest degree of similarity. The respective phenomena of action and relation are not identical, but only similar in the highest degree. Hence, Hahnemanns use of the word “similia”.
The law as stated by Newton is: “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Being universal in its operation this law must govern every action or motion which takes place in nature. Hahnemann was the first to perceive and demonstrate that the law applies to the phenomena of Life, in living beings, as well as to the phenomena of motion in the inanimate world; and, therefore, that it governs the phenomena of Life in disease as well as in health. He proved by experimentation with medicines that action and reaction in the living organism, in health and disease, under certain conditions, are equal and opposite.
When a drug is given to a healthy person the action of the action of the drug and the reaction of the organism are shown by the production of subjective and objective symptoms, perceptible by the subject or others, precisely as the action of a “natural” disease-producing agent is manifested in the production, by the reaction of the organism, of symptoms which represent disease.
When the proper dose of the symptomatically similar medicine is administered to a sick person, action of the medicine and reaction of the organism are shown by the disappearance of the symptoms of disease and the restoration of health; by which we judge that the action of the medicine is equal and opposite to the action of the disease-producing agent.
The formula “Like cures like” is merely a paraphrase of the Newtonian formula, adding but one word, “To every drug action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.
The Latin form, Similia Similibus Curantur, from which the expression, “the law of similars,” is taken, expresses exactly the same idea. Action and reaction, regarded as forms of motion or processes, are exactly similar, differing only in direction. Theoretically, they reciprocally balance or neutralize each other and result in equilibrium, balance, or, in the living organism, health.
Since every disease or pathological disturbance, according to biochemical science, is an intoxication or poisoning, resulting from the introduction or internal formation of toxins or other deleterious substances since drugs are also poisons, giving rise to actions and reactions in the living organisms precisely as the so-called causes of disease do, and similar as to symptoms; since similar forces moving in opposite directions (action and reaction are equal and opposite) mutually neutralize and annual each other; and since the similarity or equivalence between drugs and diseases may be learned by comparing their symptoms; it follows that in the law of reciprocal action, as applied in the homoeopathic system, we have a true and (humanly speaking) infallible guide for the rational treatment and cure of disease.
From Newtons wonderful generalization flow almost innumerable inferences, deductions and conclusions. All science are based upon it. The law of Reciprocal Action–balance, rhythm, vibration, compensation, polarity, equivalence–is the one absolutely universal law known to man.
It is easy, when the subject is opened up, to see how this law is applicable in medicine. It is easy to trace it in the work of Hahnemann and his competent followers. It is visible and easy to observe in the action of every dose of medicine given. It matters not how many others explanations of the action of a drug may be given, it can always be explained fundamentally by reference to the law of Reciprocal Action and its corollaries.
The primary object and ideal of homoeopathy is the cure of disease, safely, quickly and permanently; not the mere palliation, or obliteration of certain particular symptoms, nor the removal of the tangible products of disease; for all of these things may be done without benefit to the patient; but the annihilation of the disease itself, in its whole extent, and the restoration of the patient to health.
Homoeopathic philosophy clearly distinguishes between cause and effect; between disease itself, which is an invisible, interior morbid or disordered vital process, purely functional or dynamical in character, and the external, visible, organic changes and tangible products which may accompany it, or in which it may ultimate.
Homoeopathic philosophy teaches that disease is not a thing, but a condition of a thing. Disease is visible only as force, or mind, or life is visible, that is, by its phenomena, for disease is nothing else than a disorderly action of mind or life manifesting itself by signs and symptoms. We know mind or life intuitively through consciousness, but we also know it as we know any other force in nature–by its phenomena and products. By knowledge of the laws of force and matter we control and use them. We cannot see electricity itself. We know it only by its phenomena. We know that the forces of gravitation, cohesion and chemical affinity exist, but only by their phenomena or effects.
These things all exist in the invisible realm of force. These ideas are of fundamental importance to us as physicians, because they establish the right point of view from which we should regard health and disease, and because they lead logically to a mode of treatment not only radically different from but immeasurably superior to that commonly adopted.
Homoeopathic philosophy teaches that the things which are visible in disease–the tumor, the eruption on the skin, the discharges from diseased organs–are merely the results of disease, not the disease itself. With these homoeopathy primarily has nothing to do. It is concerned solely with the perverted functional or dynamic processes of which they are a product. The mechanical, electrical or chemical removal of disease products, when necessary, belongs to other departments of medicine.
Homoeopathic philosophy does not make the mistake of confusing processes with products, wasting the energy and endangering the life of sick persons by the mere palliation of pain, as by narcotics, the suppression of discharges, or the forcible or mechanical removal of tangible results of disease before it has begun to restore functional harmony to the disordered organism. It strikes first and directly at the hidden source and cause of the visible phenomena and deals with the tangible products incidentally or later if necessary.
Homoeopathy deals with individuals, not classes. It recognizes the differences which always exist between individuals, in disease as well as health. It knows by observation and experience that no two persons are ever affected exactly alike, even when suffering from the same disease or acted upon by the same medicine.
It knows that individual patients cannot be thrown into a class, labelled with the name of a disease, and be treated successfully by the same remedy. It treats each case “on its merits,” as it actually is not as it is supposed to be. It studies and treats each case as a whole, not merely a part or an organ, and it does so logically, consistently and systematically. In one word, homoeopathy is scientific.
Homoeopathy teaches that there are no “specifics” in medicine, no one remedy for all cases of the same disease, be it drug, serum, vaccine or what not. Guided by a definite principle of medication, it is able to select for each patient the remedy symptomatically similar, demanded by his own peculiar and characteristics complex of symptoms and thus, by equalization of similar opposing forces, destroy his disease at the source.
The materia medica of homoeopathy, the arsenal from which it draws its weapons for the warfare with disease, is composed of substances drawn from every department of nature. From mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms alike, it takes these substances, prepares them by simple, mathematico-mechanical or chemical processes, and tests them experimentally in doses small, but sufficiently powerful to excite perceptible action and reaction in healthy, human beings. It observes and records the symptoms produced and then applies them, in still smaller or infinitesimal doses, for the cure of diseases presenting similar symptoms.
Recognizing that disease is the result of a dynamical disturbance of that delicately balanced action of the organic forces which we call health, and knowing how small an amount of force is necessary to disturb it, the homoeopathic physician needs and uses only the smallest doses to restore it.
We have no reason to doubt that a single pathogenic bacterium is capable of originating its typical disease under favorable conditions.
How much does a single bacterium weigh?.
Recall, too, that it is not the mere physical presence and bulk of the pathogenic germ, small as that is, that does the damage, but the almost infinitesimal quantity of its secretions or ptomaines.
How much poison does a single streptococcus secrete?.
Who knows how much of one of the “filterable viruses,” say of influenza or poliomyelitis, invisible to the highest powers of the microscope and capable of passing through the finest filters, is necessary to originate the disease in a subject who is morbidly susceptible to its action?.
With this idea in mind ask yourselves how much of the homoeopathic or similar medicine, would be required to originate in the infected body the counter action necessary to cure it? Only as much, at most, as equalled the amount of the original poison.
I have repeatedly cured the most virulent cases of streptococcic and staphylococcic infections with the 30th and 200th potencies of such medicines as Arsenic, Bellad. and Lachesis.
How much medicine is in the 30th potency of Lachesis?
I will not multiply illustrations. I would have you realize that with homoeopathy you are working in the sphere of dynamics– the invisible realm of force–in which the modern scientist recognizes and deals constantly with the infinitesimal as well as the massive. If your college and university professors of mathematics, chemistry and physics have not inducted you into the higher spheres of these sciences in which such subjects are treated your worthy dean, Professor Pearson, as a chemist, could doubtless do so–if you should ask him, and he felt like it. In any case the works of the great thinkers and generalizers in science are accessible to you whenever you are ready to take them up.
There are many other subjects connected with homoeopathic philosophy which I might discuss, but I fear I have already tired you. My sole purposes has been just to open the door and give you a glimpse of the wonderful field in which the homoeopathic physician is privileged to work, and to indicate suggestively some of the relations of homoeopathy to other sciences and arts. If I have succeeded in arousing or stimulating your interest I shall feel happy and repaid, because I shall expect you to keep the door open, or at least unlocked, and later to go out and explore the field for yourselves.