Cynical though they seem, these lines of Lord Byron are as true and applicable today as they were when they were written in 1822. In no department of science are they more applicable than in medicine. The greater part of that which passes for medical science is proven in each of its succeeding stages of so-called progress to have been only “another kind of ignorance”.
Orthodox medicine uses the technical processes of science to arrive at conclusions that are unscientific and methods that are futile because they do not conform to the first requirement of real science – that they shall be true and of benefit to humanity. Tested by this standard how many of the drugs, natural and synthetic, as produced and distributed by the manufacturers and used by “scientific” physicians today are of the slightest real value or benefit to the people who take them? Not one of them – in the form and by the method in which they are commonly used.
At best, most of them – insulin, for example – are merely palliatives of conditions to which they have no curative relation – mere secondary conditions which should be approached from the standpoint of a true therapy directed toward cure of the primary disease by constitutional homoeopathic treatment.
President Hibben, of Princeton, speaking not long ago on “The Flowers and Fruits of Knowledge” before the student body, made a fine distinction between two phases of education which is useful in every department of science. He said:.
“The bare results of scholarly investigation, accumulated facts, generalities, formulas and hypotheses based upon these facts and resulting from the activities of the brooding mind – these I would characterize as the “fruit” of knowledge. But there is also a residual element of significant value, a possible by- product of all scholarly research. The scholar does not possess it; it rather possesses him.
I refer to the effect produced upon the inquiring mind by daily and hourly contact with truth. It is not only the question of what the scholar is able to acquire as the fruit of knowledge, but also to what extent is his own nature enriched and deepened by such knowledge. The latter I would characterize as the flower of knowledge”.
Here is something to which scientific men, including medical men, might well give more thought than they do. The tendency to become completely absorbed in the observation and collection of facts, as in the case of research workers, or in the details of technique and practice as with the practitioner, works against the realization and development of these finer personal, esthetic and spiritual qualities which are, or should be, both the flower and fruit of the profession – a mans life.
No greater mistake can be made than to fall into the rut of routine, to narrow and obscure the larger outlook upon life by constant absorption in details and minutiae. As a result the mind becomes narrowed and distorted, sympathies are submerged, the sense of the larger fellowship with God and man is lost, the spirit becomes dulled until the man finds himself, like Macbeth, “cabined, cribbed, confined, bound into saucy doubts and fears,” in an ever- narrowing passage which too often turns out to be nothing but a blind alley. To do this is to pervert science and frustrate its highest aims and purpose.
For the aim and purpose of science ;is the discovery of truth. “Truth,” said Schiller, “dwells underground.” To find it we must dig and delve and explore in many dark regions,, to be sure, but having found it we must bring it up into the light that its beauty, like that of the diamond, may be seen; for Truth is Beauty and Beauty is Truth.
“A threefold measure dwells in space -.
Restless Length, with flying race;
Stretching forward, never endeth,
Ever widening, Breadth extendeth,
Ever groundless Depth descendeth
Types in these thou dost possess :-
Restless onward though must press,
Never halt nor languor know,
To the perfect wouldst though go:-
Let the reach with Breadth extend
Till the world it comprehend –
Dive into the Depth to see
Germ and root of all that be.
Ever onward must thy soul;
Tis the progress gains the goal;
Ever widen more its bound;
In the full the clear is found,
And the truth dwells underground.”.
– Schiller, “Space.
The laborious task of gathering material that is to be used only for the preparation of a learned disquisition before some scientific body, or for the buttressing of some shaky theoretical structure which will ultimately topple into a pile of ruins, tends only to pendantry. It represents erudition without culture.
Dr. Hibben declared that “one of the outstanding obstacles which prevents the recognition and appreciation of the flower of knowledge is the laborious task of gathering material for the doctor of philosophy dissertation. From the standpoint of the scholarship attainment it represents erudition without cultivation. If he is to be teacher he comes to his task, after his years of study and the obtaining of his degree as a doctor of philosophy, with a spirit often thoroughly dulled. He is on his way to becoming a pedant.
“Pride is an obstacle of the scholars progress; complacent in his attainment, his interest weakens and his energies flag. Beware of the scholar who becomes an oracle. He is an uncertain guide and an impossible companion”.
How much of the vast heap of matter or laboriously accumulated by medical research during the last decade is of any value to humanity? In laboratories, small and great, private and institutional, all over the civilized world the work has constantly gone on. Valuable to the exploiters of pseudo- scientific theories of treatment, and to the manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, yes. Valuable to the proprietors of commercial “biological laboratories” who flood the profession with serums and vaccines and antitoxins, with which to pollute the blood of the innocent and gullible public, yes.
Valuable to politico-medical “Health Departments” with their army of underlings, who terrify and deceive and tyrannize over the public, yes. “Theres millions in it” – literally – millions of money invested in it and derived form it in dirty dividends. But to Humanity – to the children in the schools; to the men in the army and navy; to the employees of great corporations who must all submit under penalty to the dictation of “official medicine” when ordered to do so; to the “man in the street” who is deluded and hypnotized by the gaudy signs that stare him in the face from every drug store window and wayside billboard throughout the land; of what value are they?.
Let medical history of the last decade answer with a list of the worthless laboratory products that have been “discovered,” elaborated, advertised, exploited and crammed down the throats of the profession and the public for a time, and then abandoned or replaced by others of equal worthlessness. Let the record of “accidental” deaths; the ever-lengthening list of chronic and incurable “protein diseases” and “disorders of metabolism”; the rapid extension of “drug addiction” with its aftermath of crime and disease; the always overflowing jails and hospitals and asylums for the insane-let these answer.