[Read before the I.H.A., Bureau of Homoeopathic Philosophy, June 9-11, 1932].
In the conduct of an art which has to do entirely with dynamics and the mastery of which depends almost entirely on cognition and reason, a comprehensive viewpoint from which to put it into practice is the first necessity. It is a necessity not only for personal work, but for being so aware of what one is doing and what is to be done, that the surety be passed on not only to patients but to that wider commune, the laity.
That this awareness and surety is generally lacking is apparent, even to many of the laity. Colleges without homoeopathic teaching, hospitals without homoeopathic medicines, asylums without high potencies, societies hiding homoeopathic artistry under the bushel of “modern science”, obstetricians with no conception of the dynamic problems that stare them in the face, specialists hitting with some suppressive club or substance every local head that shows, surgeons sealing up the vitality that should be brought forward instead of coordinating their mechanics with the law of vitality, journals picturing black bottles and chemical sundries, editors silent concerning truly homoeopathic issues, the literature generally abjectly innocent of the easily comprehensible principles of the Hahnemannian concept certainly a wide awake point of view in a desperate need for the homoeopathic membership if not for the presentation of the entire profession of medicine.
It is a ghastly spectacle; and it is not necessary. If all the brains and talent that are exercised with side issues and non- essentials were, even for a few weeks, put to grips with the essentials of homoeopathy, the whole field of effort would become illuminated, professional efficiency would become extended a hundred fold, and an assurance established with the laity that would soon react on the old school so that they would come to us in appreciable numbers.
I say it is not necessary, because there are hundreds, probably many hundreds, among us at the present time, as well as among other schools, who need only to get the point of view and spend a little time and effort, to develop the efficient method. Some of us have thought that a special type of mind is needed for Hahnemannian practice. This is true only to a very limited extent. That would be shaping the student to the study instead of adapting the presentation to the student, an obvious absurdity. The art of homoeopathic is something that each student can acquire and to a certain extent use, in accordance with his own mentality better than with that of another.
What, therefore, is that viewpoint that is so necessary for intelligent homoeopathic practice? We may as well emphasize the central truth right here. As landscape and its content may be best seen from the nearest high point, so homoeopathic may be best understood through its principles. In fact, homoeopathy cannot be understood nor can it be effectively used without becoming familiar with the principles and using them.
There is no certainty of securing permanent results, nor is there any epochal widening of viewpoint without observing the rules. It is true that dabbling with materia medica alone any score a certain number of first hits; but there the certainty, such as it is, ends and failure begins. Our savants have always stressed the advice, “philosophy first”. The reason is simple; it is because it explains what homoeopathy is (which, by the way, comparatively few know), outlines its scope, gives standard directions as to what to do and when and how to do it. All students must take this route and instead of depending on recommendation or supposition, each one must use his own perception and reason in the work.
The student approaching homoeopathy should understand that however well grounded he may be in the various branches of medicine, however useful they may have been to him in the past, or should be in the future, that the conception of what is to be accomplished and the uses of medicines therefore is an entirely different proposition. It is based on a different concept of vitality, on dynamic, though manifest, actualities.
These are, first, the fact of a central living unity, the vital force, present in every normal part of the living body, corresponding in itself to the organism and function in every part and every part to its other parts from center to periphery, acting and reacting to the internal and external forces with which man is in contact and enclosed; and these reactions to be observed with specific therapeutic intent. Second, the potential powers of the individual entities contained in individual substances (medicines), which, being attenuated with certain method, correspond in their individual qualities to the disturbed vital expressions of individuals.
When the investigator perceives these truths and has sufficiently verified them by actual observation of cause and sequence to be possessed of a rightful conviction, he is then prepared to study the art of managing these forces in practice.
This is the first platform of the climb. From there may be seen the farther points of the ascent and something of what may be accomplished in the work. From there, in contrast to physical climbing, the ascent is easier for it is taken step by step on “principles that are at once plain and intelligible”, so that the view becomes clearer and more expansive (and we shall permit ourselves the luxury of saying, more wonderful) with each step.
Without the benefit of teaching experience the writer would say that the following easily comprehensible principles are held out for the grasp of the student:.
1. PROVING. The reasons for provings and their uses; method of execution; interpretation of their significant expressions and adaptations for practical use.
2. DISEASE. The vitalistic conception of disease; the direction of its invasion; its interruptions, latencies, exacerbations, crises and progress; susceptibility; hereditary relationships; the distinction between acute and constitutional conditions, their relation to each other and relations of remedies to either or both; the significance of chronic complexities and recognition of latencies; the relation of drug diseases; the relation of vital force to surgical and mechanical conditions and medicinal aids in their correction.
3. SYMPTOM RECEPTION. PERCEPTION AND RECEPTION OF SYMPTOMS; ALLOCATION. CAUSE, MEANING AND USE OF SYMPTOMS. Expressions of reaction; perverted reaction; classes and grades; analysis or interpretation; finer evaluations; allocation; the personality of symptoms and the symptomatic personality; submerged and partly submerged symptoms; suppressions.
4. REMEDY SELECTION: Basis of selection; consideration of symptoms in relation to certain patients; to individual patients. Repertory aids. Boenninghausen repertory as an indispensable aid to the Hahnemannian concept of the practice of similia.
EFFECTS OF THE REMEDY. What to expect; modes and directions of reaction; aggravations; late aggravations; duration of effects of remedy; prognosis.
5. REPETITION. Rules for repetition; observation.
6. CHANGE OF REMEDY. Rules; sequences and complements; inimicals.
7. PATHOLOGY. Consideration of pathology and its functional modes; its obstructions; its uses and dangers in prescribing.
8. THE MIASMS. Psora; syphilis; sycosis; lesser miasms.
At first glance this bill of lading may appear heavy or complicated, but if the directions of vitality in health and disease are kept in mind, all lesser modes fall into line; all other issues and solutions develop naturally so that any question asked concerning the practical application may be answered at once. Homoeopathic philosophy thus furnishes a good illustration of the advantage of understanding, in comparison with detailed information only.
Homoeopathic philosophy is the light that reveals and selects the paths through the symptomatic forest of the materia medica. Is its mastery worth while?.
What momentous consequences depend on an understanding of homoeopathic principles! For instance, what enormous waste, suffering, disease and death from not realizing the outward direction of vital energy and not knowing how to utilize it. Not only is relief or cure withheld but t hat worst and least recognized of all conditions, suppression, is often unwittingly produced. Nonrecognition of this outward direction also mistakes effects for cause, trying to make the tail wag the dog. “Its your liver,” your tonsil,” “your appendix,” etc., instead of recognizing the wholeness of the organism and treating it according to the law of its vital operation.
First of all, as aforementioned, there must be a rightful test and conviction, a sense of truth. Next there must be decisive action. For if there be only conviction and not sufficient determination to climb the ascent, the ignominy of inefficiency is increased.
When the climb is begun there is no need for the least discouragement if some find it more difficult than others; this goal is to the strong if not always to the swift. Some who make the slowest beginnings or who have been must opposed become the most deeply in earnest and the most adept. It signifies the power of the spirit to attain mastery.
This attainment is the top of the profession, the quintessence of medical experience.
DR. PULFORD A. The only way I know of to master the point of view is to divorce ourselves from everything else and go right into homoeopathy. We cannot mix it with anything else and get the point of view.
Boenninghausen expressed a great truth when he said of homoeopathy: “Ever more glorious homoeopathy, ever more glorious with its hand in the firmament of fact! Ever more glorious will she show her wonderful power if she is not decked in any false or any borrowed attire or ornaments”.
Homoeopathy is an independent thing and every foreign admixture is to her detriment. If we will go to work and divorce ourselves from those things and go right into homoeopathy, we will get the point of view that Dr. Hayes has so ably expressed.
He has given us a wonderful paper and if we were all to study and work out that point of view, homoeopathy would prosper, and we would all grow.
CHAIRMAN SPALDING: Dr. Hayes said in starting that he really summed up the things that have been said before but he has, nevertheless, presented it in a new way, and an old, old story can be told by different individuals enough differently so that it helps somebody else. I think it is very much worth while.
The best specialty for the homoeopathist is to study each case specially, that is to say, individualize and find out what is peculiar, special or characteristic, in each case. When the patient is sick enough to need medicine, the vital force is sure to cry out for help in such a way that no intelligent homoeopath can fail to understand its meaning. The best of all specialists, then, is the physician who understands the Organon and has the ability to apply the rules laid down therein for the healing of the sick. A.G. ALLAN, M.D., 1889.