LIFE AND THE VITAL FORCE


This organic substance is built up, developed, maintained,and repaired by the higher active principle the vital dynamism which conditions it. In our study of physiological individually we have sufficiently demonstrated the reality of vital dynamism considered as independent of the organic complex, and as an organizing and directing principle.


In bringing the study of homoeopathy it seems proper to preface that study with a consideration of the meaning of “life” and is determinations,for it is with the living human that we have to do; and it is to be our greatest endeavor to keep that life within its body as long as possible, and, in keeping it, to make it as unhampered in its activity as may be permitted.

As far back as history goes they seems to have been a recognition of an immaterial something that dwelt with the living but not with the dead. With some it was a spirit the came, and lingered and departed; with others it was only a loss of something that they could not see or know.

But with the ancient Egyptians there seems to have been a knowledge of life and its activities of a most unique character. Life, itself,was the gift of the gods, and everywhere the different deities were represented bearing in on me or both hands Lifes symbol,the “arch”, a figure something like a cross with its upper projection replaced by and oval loop. But whether this typified the life of the soul only, or the life of both soul and body, is uncertain. However, it seems quite conclusive that they regarded the living body as containing not only the soul, “ba”, which enveloped the spirit, “khu”,but also an incorporeal vital something,”sekhem”, which ended with he death of the body. This last is note worth as it recognizes a vivifying principle that was different from the immortal art of soul.

The Jews, the Persians and the Phoenicians seen to have had no idea of a vital principle other than the soul but the Greeks who borrowed considerable of their civilization from the Egyptians, particularly in the matte of their divinities, taught the existence of the “psyche: or soul and the “pneumonia” or spirit, but heir relations to,teach their and to the living but their relations to each to the and to the living body were vaguely and differently expressed by various philosophers. Pythagoras taught that their was an animal soul and a world soul Plato,that the soul was dual,the immoral part dwelling in the head, the mortal below the diaphragm; and Aristotle,that the soul is the vital principle.

During the dark Ages no new thought regarding the soul and the life of the body was prominent, and it was not until the beginning of the 16th century that paralyses, called the father of modern medicine,brought out his theory of he vital force,which he called the arches, this arches was personal and present in all living bodies a the vivifying principle. It is not the body nor yet the soul, and yet it is spiritual.

Sylvius,Malpigi, Boerhaave, each had some idea of vital spirits distilled in the brain,and passing forth and vivifying the animal economy. But it was not until Swedenborg, the scientist, wrote his Economy of the Animal Kingdom that a strikingly new and national they of he vital principle was given to the world of science and philosophy. Now, in mentioning the name of Swedenborg,if in settling forth any of his philosophy, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I am not here drawing upon his theology, much as I may personally enforce it. I speak if his in order that there many personally endorse it.

I speak of this in order that there may be a distinction made between the two,and that that prejudice that we all have in one easy or another, may not exercise itself at this particular time. Therefore, whether you hold to Swedenborgs theology or not,his philosophy should be considered equally with that of his comperers. And particularly is this true in the present instance, as without that philosophy we are left in the dark as to a rational explanation of our own Homoeopathic law and principals.

Swedenborgs methods of stud6 were different from those of most of his contemporaries. He preferred to take the facts of others and maid us of them in forming his own conclusions. He was not primarily a laboratory man. Naming twenty distinguished anatomists of his time, from Eustachius to every when, he says in n.18 of the Economy of the Animal Kingdom:

Assisted by the studies and elaborate writings of these illustrious men,and fortified by their authority,I have resolved to commence and complete my design; that is to say, to open some apart those thins which it is generally supposed that nature has involved in obscurity, He and there I have taken the liberty to throw in the results to my own experience; but this only sparingly, for on deeply considering the matter,I deem it best to make use of the facts supplied by others. Indeed there are some that seem born or experimental observation, and endued with a sharper insight than others, as if they possessed naturally a finer acumen,such are eustachius, Ruysch. Leeuwenhoek,Lanchisi,etc. there are others again who enjoy a natural faculty for contemplating facts already discovered,and eliciting their causes.

Both are peculiar gifts and are seldom united in the same person. Besides I found when intently occupied in exploring the secrets of the human body, that as soon as I discovered anything that had not been observed before I began soon as I discovered anything that had not been observed before, I began soon as I discovered anything that had not been observed before, I began [seduced probably by self-love] to grow blind to the most acute lucubrations and researches of others, and to originate the whole series of inductive arguments from my particular discovery alone; and consequently to be incapacitated to view and comprehend, as accurately as the subject required,the idea of universals in individuals, and of individuals in universals.

Nay when I assayed to form principles from these discoveries, i thought that I could defect they were fairly susceptible of no construction of the kind. I therefore laid aside by instruments, and restraining my desire for making observations, determined rather to rely on the researches of others than to trust to my own.

This quotation has not been made because of its direct application to the subjective under consideration, but the as the declaration of a principle that guided Swedenborg in the tremendous task that he essayed, and aided him in becoming the foremost rational scientist and philosopher than the world has ever known. Would that we were able to emulate him!.

Now, in order that Swedenborgs philosophy of life may be understood, it is necessary to know something of his doctrine of discrete degrees, for this enters in to his explanation of all universal activities, Swedenborg taught that everything exists and has within it three discrete degrees a soul degree, or the in most;an intermediate degree;l and an ultimate or outmost degree.

These three degrees are so many distinct planes for activity. But it is to be noted that the higher degrees can and do act into the lower, and are their life, but that the lower cannot act into the higher;l the lower can only react. As an example of discrete degrees we may take the soul,6the vital force.,and the material body; or the sun;s aura, the either, and the air;and in alike manner Swedenborg speaks of the three degrees of the blood as the spirituous fluid, the animal spirit, and the red blood.

From a careful perusal of the treatise, The Economy of the animal Kingdom, those on The Blood and on The Fibre, and somewhat from his theological works, I have gathered the following concepts of “Life” and “The Vital Force”. “All Life is from God,and the soul is but a recipient of that life”,. therefore, “the soul is that in man which lives”, consequently it is the only vital essence, and is mans very life.

But as the soul cannot descend without intermediates into the ultimate compositions and effects of its body, because the soul is in the highest degree,and cannot from the highest flow in to the lowest and act upon it immediately-therefore, it follows that next to the soul, in the order of forces and substance, it the spirituous fluid; next to purer blood,and next the red soul in the animal kingdom. Thus all these may be called formative substances and forces that is to say, each in. its own degrees; while the one vital substances, which is the soul, presides and rules over all.

From this it is evident that the soul cannot act upon the body immediately, but only mediately, that is,through some other agency and this it does through the agency of the blood, which Swedenborg calls the corporeal or bodily soul. But as the blood is three-fold, that is, compounded of the red blood, the purer blood and the purest blood, mediation is again necessary for the soul cannot act immediately in to the red blood. But it may so act through the medium of the animal spirit,which partakes of the essence of the soul and at the same time of the essence of the body., Hence the animal spirit, being composed of that which is spiritual and of that which is natural, may be principal substance of the body and its vital essence.

This animal spirit, it is, that Swedenborg calls the vicegerant of the soul. But whether this vital principle that captains the corporeal a part of man be called the animal spirit,the first substance of the body, the vital force,or the corporeal soul, it is perfectly plain that there is a vital something differing from the soul proper, and unlike it, perishable,and ending with the life of the body.

Hahnemann called this vital principle the vital force, or the spirit-like dynamic, which seems to convey the same essential idea of corporeal vitality that Swedenborg evolved. Did Hahnemann know of Swedenborgs views regarding the animal spirit? Certainly could have known them, for he was a profound scholar of everything related to medicine. But he did not go beyond the vital force.

Perhaps he realized that all above that plane was unapproachable and beyond the sphere of medicine. It is interesting, however,that in point of time his Organon of Medicine,which contains much of his medical philosophy,was published just sixty years after that of the Economy of the animal Kingdom. Let me read the 9th paragraph of the organon. This paragraph is the basis of Homoeopathic philosophy.

In the healthy condition of man, the spirit-like vital force,the dynamic that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway,and and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation,as regards both sensations and functions, so that our in dwelling,reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living,healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.

Here we have the trine of the material body,the spirit like dynamic,and the reason-gifted mind or rational spirit, which there seem to form the requisites of mans being as far as medicine has relation to it. It is a recognition of the fact that mans material body does not live from itself, but from something higher than itself. Hahnemann believed in God and His Divine Providence,and throughout the Organon he acknowledges Him. the next paragraph of the Organon supplements the one that has just been read. “The material organism,without the vital force,is capable of no sensation and performs all the functions of life solely by means of he immaterial being (the vital principle) which animates the material organism in health and in disease.”

These two paragraphs of he Organon cover the main features of the two paragraphs of the organon cover the ,main feature of Hahnemanns doctrine for the vital force in man when in a state of health. Nor are we concerned at this time as to its application to state for disease;although it is obvious that it the vital force the established as the essentials force in health,it logically must play a major part in disease for health it logically must play a major part in disease;for health means unimpaired vitality,m of unobstructed flow of the vital forces, while disease means obstruction and impairment.

The vital force of Hahnemann needs the clear philosophy of Swedenborg in its elaboration. Hahnemann was not very clear as to its antecedents.He seemed satisfied with the fact that it was and is. In his preface to the Organon he adds something to the which has already been quoted: It (the vital force) is “that requisite power innate in the human being, designed to direct in the most perfect manner the operations of life while it is in health,equally present in all parts of he organism in the fibres of sensibility as well as those of irritability, the unwearying spring of all the normal natural functions of the body -the maintenance of the life and health of the organism”.

This declaration is a near approach to some of Swedenborgs statements regarding to animal spirit. In n.81 on The Fibre, we read: “The vital juice or animal spirit is conceived and brought forth in the cortical substances.” And in n.86 of the same treatise,m he says, speaking of that vital juice: “Hence also is derived the life of the blood, whence is the life of the whole body.”.

Swedenborg, as far as I am aware,does not apply the exact term, vital force, to any particular entity,but he does speak of the activity of the soul, as being the force of forces,and is not the life of the soul its activity., There are, the life of the soul its activity. Therefore,the life of the soul is vital force on the spiritual plane. He also speaks of the spirituous fluid as being a formative substance and force; and that which is mediatorial agency,such as the animal spirit, which is equally of the body and of the soul, therefore vital force may be predicated of that also. I quote from the treatises on The Fibre n. 143: “As regards life and sensation-we shall be assured that it is from the marriage of the fluid with its fibre, according to their re- established relation to teach other, that we move, and sensate,and life”.

And in n 156:.

As in the arteries resides strength,is in the fibres resides the force of forces and the life of the body. But that in the fibres resides an active force, or, in the simple fibres a force of forces-For where there is no fibre,there is no must be efficient forces of strength. Hence, if here be strength in the arteries, the fibre must be the efficient or producing force.

If therefore seems quite conclusive that the animal spirit and the vital force are one and the same; and further that the operation of the soul in living forms is the vital force.

Let me quote briefly from some for the statements of modern science regarding vital force.

Is there such a thing as vital force in the animal economy? And if so,what is its nature? Most modern text-books of biology or physiology debt the existence for the vital force as distinct from energy or force in general. the late Dr.Stuart Close of New York had this to say:

Modern science, in its desire to get away from the theological idea which seems so repugnant to it, speaks no more of: God”, but only of a blind, unintelligent, dead “Energy” or “Force”, the terms being used interchangeably. It denies the existence of a life-force because it cannot identify any force in the living organism which differs in any respect from chemical or electrical force. Constructively it denies the existence of life itself as an entity; that is,as an originating or controlling power or principle; and her is the head and front of its offending. It regards and speaks of life only as a state or condition-an effect for which no c cause is assigned-ignores it altogether.

Dr. William Schwartz of Houston,Texas,evidently a reader of Swedenborg, in a recent article states: “The vital force circulates through the nervous system,which is the circulatory system of vital government, just as the blood vessels convey digested food in the form of blood.”.

Prof.Gustave, Geley, a thinker bold enough to differ from accepted teachings and logical enough to see that end,cause and effect are in separable, in his book, From the Unconscious to the Conscious, says:.

The body. . . . can no long be considered as playing the primordial and essential part that was assigned to it by classical psycho-physiology. the known facts of super-normal physiology seen to establish definitely that the diverse anatomical modalities of the organism are reducible to a unique representation-the primordial substance, which is not nervous,muscular, or assesses, etc., but is the substance pure and simple. This opens p a vast field, and the study of organic modality must be resumed on an altogether new basis.

This organic substance is built up, developed, maintained,and repaired by the higher active principle the vital dynamism which conditions it. In our study of physiological individually we have sufficiently demonstrated the reality of vital dynamism considered as independent of the organic complex, and as an organizing and directing principle. The apparent manifestation of its organizing directive and repertory powers, do not extend beyond the birth and death of the organizing directive and repertory powers, do not extend beyond the birth and death of he organization which it conditions.

By this, I understand is meant that there is a vital corporeal principle,coming at birth and leaving at death,that organizes and directs the organic complex, know as the body, but is independent of it. This independence leaves a considerable hole to be filled. But perhaps the does not want it filled, such is the fashion.

Kleinschod, in his book, entitled Inherent Law of Life,says: “Vital Force is the natural principle of animate nature or life, and is synonymous with the essential activity of life or of animate nature, while force is the natural principle of lifeless nature, or a lifeless natural structure.” This apparently is an attempt to reconcile life and nature without going in to the realm of first causes,or what is the same, into the origin of force or energy.

Prof. Virchow says: “We have I the living body two forces, the molecular forces and the stimulated and stimulating life force,by the working together of which the elemental or cell forces are formed,. which in the general sense of the word are also called life-force.”.

Now we take up another phase of the subject.

It is well know that many substances have their aura or atmosphere, and give off certain emanations, but it is not generally recognized that this is true of all substances. It maybe asked, what is an aura? And what possible relation can it have to the animal spirit or vital force? As to the first, an aura is all that sphere that flows forth from a substance and encompasses it. As to the second,I not answer it directly, but rather inferential, by quoting several recent and interesting demonstrations that may,or may not,have a significant bearing upon this subject.

In the late 90s of the last century a certain Dr.Gates is reported to have made experiments upon which he based the following statements of fact:.

That the emanation of the living body, or anus, differs according to the condition of the physical health. That these emanations can be tested by the chemical reactions of some salts of selenium. that these reactions are characterized b various tints or colors, according to the nature of the mental impressions. That forty different “emotion products”, as he calls them, have already been obtained.

Later, in 1911, the late Dr.Walter J.Kilner,an English physician and scientist, formerly connected with St.Thomas Hospital, London, published a work entitled The Human Atmosphere. In it he has shown that all humans have an atmosphere or aura; that this aura is three-fold, there being a part which he calls the Etheric Double, a second known as the Inner Aura, and a third as the Outer Aura; that these aurae may be distinctly seen and measured by means of certain chemical screens,treated with a dye known as dicyanin,and with proper lighting; that the Etheric Double is a dark band adjacent to,and following exactly the contour of the body, separating the latter from the cloud or true aura; that no noticeable changes were observed in this aura due to a departure from health or other circumstance; that the Inner Aura is really the middle aura, being situated between the Etheric Double and the Outer Aura; that both the Inner Aura and the Outer Aura are variable as to size in health, but variable as to both size and shape in disease,and in certain physiological shape or contour of these aurae in disease will return to a normal symmetry with the return of health; and this aura is visible only in the living.

Kilner states that the most likely theory of the Aura, is that “it consists of a force the body,which, like all forces, is invisible in itself, but which becomes perceptible by means of its action on the ether or atmosphere.”.

The next case is that of an Italian scientist named Giorgi who quite recently has published his experiments in photographing beer ferment, saliva ad various like things. the exposures were made under selected conditions and often for months at a time. Giorgi concludes from these experiments that living material emanates an activity which will impress a photographic plate under conditions of filters of a definite nature.

Likewise, we have the experiments of Cremonese; of Reiter and Gabor ; and of Gurwitch, all of which seem to confirm the earlier findings dealing with vital phenomena.

Charles L. Olds