Upon our view of life depends our attitude toward medicine. If we reason that life is a chemical process, or the result of chemical processes, and that there is no vital, formative and animating principle prior to these,we cannot go beyond the gross material of which the body is composed, for our basis of thought and action must be materialistic. But if we reason that life is prior to all material manifestations, and that it is life itself that builds and continually animates the body, we have another and quite different basis from which to reason.
Philosophy and art, in medicine, must dwell together as in a fruitful marriage, each supplying the others deficiencies, and together forming a perfect whole. Art of itself is limited by the sensual, while philosophy soars to the very beginning of things and supplies the links that join the immaterial world with the world of matter. It is a pity that science must ever pry these two apart, and while kneeling to the one gainsay the other. Yet there is a growing tendency with a few of the more illustrious scientists to take the long leap from the natural to the spiritual; to answer all unanswerable questions by saying with the celebrated Dr. W.R. Whitney: “The will of God, the law which we discover, but cannot understand or explain that alone is final”.
The word “imponderable” means without weight, more specifically, without sensible weight, and, as used in homoeopathic philosophy, that which is beyond the material. And it is that that we are now to consider.
Is there matter in our imponderables? In our high and highest potencies? Our first thought would be that there is not. A millionth potency is certainly so far removed from the crude drug that it seems ridiculous to predicate anything of it that can in the least characterize the crude drug. But, as a comparison, does anyone know how far the soul is removed from the red blood! Or the vital force from the latter! Or can any amount of division or potentizing of the red blood free it of all matter and leave nothing but the soul! Can anything that man may propose completely strip off the outer or ultimate degree of a substance and leave the inner degrees revealed and capable of producing any of the effects such as the whole could produce!
This is impossible. The red blood could not exist lacking the other degrees of its series, nor could the higher degrees produce their effects should the lower be wanting. An active without its passive can produce nothing. And as there are three degrees in every created thing, you cannot take away one without destroying the whole. Therefore it must be concluded that the highest potencies contain matter, or substance in the ultimate degree, or that they are nothing. Either matter can be infinitely divided or attenuated, or the attenuating process destroys it as an entity.
In an attempt to explain this phenomenon of indefinite attenuation, it has not infrequently been asserted that all matter has been eliminated and only force has been transferred to the attenuating menstrum. I cannot feel that this position is the true one; partly from what has been stated above, and partly for the following reasons:.
Perhaps one of our difficulties, in approaching this subject, is to regard matter and substance as identical, when they are not. Substance has a more universal meaning than matter, and includes not only the material or ultimate degree, but even the spiritual. While matter, according to the received notion of that state, is sensible substance; that is, it is always that which depends upon our scientific knowledge of matter, and not upon matter per se. That is, matter is a movable term; that which is not sensible today, may, by means of new instruments of precision or new laboratory methods, become sensible tomorrow. Therefore matter has a movable or changeable status, and is fixed only in the degree that the senses make it fixed. But who can prophesy the time when it will remain fixed!.
As an example of what has occurred in the past, and will recur in the future, let us take the limit of materiality placed upon our potencies by those who oppose their use. First, the sixth potency was found to be the limit of conceivable drug presence; chemical and mechanical methods failed to find a trace of the original substance beyond that point. Therefore that point was declared the limit of divisibility; beyond that point matter ceased to exist. Later the twelfth potency was declared as final, and again matter ceased to exist beyond. And so we may expect another limitation, and then another. Is it not ridiculous! We poor, deficient humans set the limit to the laws whereby we exist! And the limit depends, not upon the progress of our rational minds, but upon the progress and development of sensual methods.