[Read before the I.H.A., June 9-11, 1932. For the full text of the Presidents Message see The Transactions of the Fifty-third Annual Meeting of the I.H.A.].
The hour has struck, bringing another year to its close, and we, as members of the International Hahnemannian Association, are gathered to take a final inventory of our achievements and failures as humanitarians and Hahnemannians; after which our books will be forever closed, as we turn them over to the great historian of life. Are we fully satisfied with our attainments?.
With malice toward none, but with charity for all, and with an eye and heart single only to the best development for humanity of the truths and art of homoeopathy, for which we individuality and unitedly stand, may I disclose to you my impressions of the experiences of the two years, which it has been my privilege and honor to serve you as President.
As physicians, we are all fellows of the great body of humanitarians. What does it mean to you and to me to be classed as a humanitarian? Is it a spontaneous outburst of a hearts sincere desire, or is it simply a business transaction? Philanthropy and medicine should, and are, joining hands, and the two professions are very justly hearing the call, feeling the kinship, and trying to work together. The true humanitarian must work with the educator, the psychologist, the psychiatrist and the sociologist, as well as with his colleagues.
The idealist very justly asks, why have but one large Association, as all medicine should co-operate, and the true humanitarian knows no creed or dogma. Ideally speaking, this should be possible, but professionally speaking, it is most difficult. With clearness of vision, let us examine closely the foreground, not gaze off into distance, over the heads of facts before us; nor on the other hand let us fail to grasp the full extent of the background our rich heritage from the pioneers of homoeopathy.
We are not the only humanitarians, but we are, or have professed to be Hahnemannian homoeopaths, followers of the philosophy and art of therapeutics, in all its simplicity and purity, as laid down for us by Samuel Hahnemann. If we are not believers in and exemplifiers of Hahnemannian therapeutics, let us withdraw and associate ourselves with those with whom we do believe. The true Hahnemannian, having complied with the requirements of the law, and having done his duty to his patient, and making his prescription, then leaves the results to the law which cannot fail. He may be in the minority, but as Charles Kingsley once said, “It is not the many who reform the world”. What we need is quality, more knowledge of and respect for and adherence to our law; more singleness of purpose and courage of conviction, rather than more members. Works and not words are needed to secure confidence of the people.
Emerson once said, “An institution is but the lengthened shadow of a single man”. In June, 1880, the International Hahnemannian Association was organized to illustrate and advocate pure homoeopathy, as that which has stood and still stands in its grand simplicity in the Organon of the Healing Art as given to us by Samuel Hahnemann. This was a sincere conviction on the part of our pioneers, fifty years ago, that there was a growing tendency on the part of many so-called homoeopathic physicians to discount or ignore the cardinal principle of pure homoeopathy.
Let us face the facts today. Are we sustaining pure homoeopathy triumphantly? Is it a vital matter with each of us, or is it largely commercial? In these days of general readjustment, we, as believers in and exponents of Hahnemannian homoeopathy, and being loyal to our Association, must evaluate anew our priceless inheritance. Are we doing all within our power for our Association, for our publication, The Recorder, for our Post- Graduate School, and for the unfolding, cataloguing and publishing of intelligent, concise and convincing homoeopathic literature, to place before the public and our younger Hahnemannian physicians, who will soon be taking our places?.
Hahnemanns foundations were most secure. Except for antiquarian research, there is scarcely a medical book, contemporaneous with the Organon, that is ever opened today. But the Organon stands, not improved by its critics, but as fresh, true, clear and explicit in its beautiful simplicity of the explanation of similia, as the day it was written. It has been and is the key with which we unlock the perfection of our art. Let us not only read and re-read, but let us study it intensely. We have proven the law, we also know that history affirms that all great enterprises and works of art have their initial rendering in the individual mind, still we fully realize the strength of organized numbers.
What we need is a rekindling of our courage, a breaking down of small barriers. We need to modernize, organize, systematize and fraternize our working forces, to re-enliven our spark of humanity, to deepen our spirit of brotherhood and co-operation and to expand our system of team work. To spread the truths and knowledge of homoeopathy by our lives, our practices and our precepts.
There is a growing nucleus of young, energetic and eminently successful physicians, who believes in and are practising pure homoeopathy. They should be with and of us as associate, and later, full members. Out position is unique, we have a work which no other can do. We must use our every power to teach the principles of homoeopathy and by example and precept further the practice of our art. We can appeal to those only who agree with us in our desire to further the philosophy and art of Hahnemann in all its purity.
It is remarkable that so few homoeopaths seem to understand the true nature of the law of similars. Thus we find this law often spoken of as if it were one of mans dicta, to be changed at pleasure. The law of similars must be a law of nature or it is worthless. Natures laws are as eternal as nature itself; they cannot change. Our knowledge of them, and our ability to use them, should continually change and improve; and it must be confessed that our knowledge of and our ability to apply this therapeutic law is almost in its infancy at present. Therefore let us develop this law, rather than desert it for each fanciful theory which mans imagination conjures up. EDMUND J. LEE, M.D., 1887.