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.
One of the essential attributes of substance is form. Form predicates existence, whether material or otherwise; and without form nothing exists. Suppose we had a potency of a remedy that was only pure energy; as it would be formless it could have no differentiating qualities from any other pure energy; then all of our high potencies would be the same, just so much pure energy or force without distinctive attributes. What would thought be without its brain, or sight without its eye? Neither thought nor sight could exist without their respective forms which are the brain and the eye. The organs of thought and of sight are the forms of substance, and thought and sight are their activities. They cannot be separated and continue in function; nor can their activities be transferred.
Some years ago Messrs. Boericke & Tafel, of Philadelphia, triturated a radium salt (radium bromide) with milk sugar until they had brought it up to the 60x potency. Using this potency of Radium they were able, after many hours of exposure, to obtain a well-defined photograph of a metal key, thus proving that there was an active force in this 60x potency. But was there any radium present in this preparation? No! say some; only radium emanations, but no substance, no matter. And yet these radium emanations are capable of producing effects similar to those produced by the crude metal itself. And I hazard that there is not only force and substance, but material substance in evidence.
Dr. Kent, in his lectures, mentions the case of a physician whom he knew in the early days of his practice, who could never carry rhubarb in his saddlebags without suffering from diarrhoea as a consequence; also, of a druggists wife, who lived over his shop, and who was so sensitive to the drug, ipecac, that nausea and vomiting were produced whenever her husband was making use of this substance in the room below. Emanations again, without doubt! And idiosyncrasy on the part of the recipients of these substances.
But we must not say that they received any real rhubarb or ipecac! Shall we say it was only a force, carried by the atmosphere or other menstrum? A force separated from everything except its menstrum! Shall we say that we leave physics behind when we enter the realm of the imponderables! It is perplexing; but to me all force is but the activity of substance which has form, and the two can not be separated and have existence. This is true even of the spiritual degree; for do not the orthodox declare the spiritual substance of the Creator from whom all activity flows forth!.
In the I.H.A. Transactions for 1901 there is a definition of “force” by Dr. Boger that places me much: “Matter is simply a projection of force, or its limitation to certain forms of use. Force is invisible and can become visible only when it projects itself in matter. “Which, I take it, is only another way of saying that force is the activity of a something, whether material or substantial, ponderable or imponderable.
But we have innumerable instance of the activity of our imponderables, some that will bear the rigid scrutiny of scientific dicta, and others that only the trained homoeopathic observer will accept. These latter, which include the action of our high potencies in both health and disease, need not be mentioned as you are all aware of their activity from long experience. Of the former I shall give some interesting examples extracted from our literature.
Very recently great light has been shed on the physical action of the imponderables by the work of Dr. Adolf Windhaus. Dr. Windhaus found that one three-billionth of a gram of the crystal form of vitamin D when administered to animals would correct and cure the tendency to develop rickets. He found also a marked reaction from a larger dose, for one fifty-thousandths of a gram was found to increase and develop the tendency to rickets.
Another illustration of the demonstrable power of the infinitesimal, is the result of plunging a stick of copper to the bottom of a glass container filled with water in which algae are present. When the copper is inserted sufficiently to touch the bottom of the container and immediately withdrawn it gives off enough energy to kill the algae in a short time. A still more startling proof of the power of the infinitesimal is that if the glass container is emptied and refilled with water and fresh, healthy algae placed therein, these algae also will immediately show signs of the destructive process until they too have been killed, showing the continued action of the copper.
This process may be continued for a considerable time, emptying the water and refilling the container with fresh water and algae; but so long as drops of water have been left on the edges of the container, there is sufficient copper in an imponderable state to kill the algae. This process will continue almost indefinitely unless the container is wiped dry before refilling, when the destructive action ceases. (Homoeopathic Recorder, Feb. 1932).
The limit of the divisibility of matter, or perhaps it should be said, the limit of the supposed divisibility of matter, is being ever pushed upwards.
Prof. Carl Oppenheimer, of Berlin, and Herman Junker, of Hamburg, in their experiments with very weak solutions of metallic salts have made some interesting discoveries. Solutions so weak that they cannot contain any molecules, nevertheless are able to affect the rate of growth of protozoa. The rate of concentration is one part of metallic salt to ten sextillion of the diluting menstrum, or written homoeopathically, the 22x.
In the matter of rhus poisoning without there having been any contact with the rhus plant itself, there is evidence in such abundance as to the truth of these observations that it is well established. I quote from H.C. Allen in the I.H.A. Transactions for 1901:.
A very sensitive friend of mine, is particularly sensitive to the action of Rhus rad., and its poisonous influence is particularly virulent during a damp spell of weather. Although there was a distance of at least ten feet between him and the plant, he was poisoned severely, so that he was confined to his room six weeks. Another patient was poisoned by Rhus on the 4th of July while fishing. On the 5th of July at 12:30 a.m., he was attacked by intense itching and burning of the upper lip and nose.
In a few hours his face was so swollen that he could not open his mouth and the nostrils were closed. Every 5th of July at 12:30 a.m. for four years, he would have that characteristic burning and itching. What was the size of the dose that caused this permanent effect? The dose was imponderable, invisible, tasteless, impalpable, and yet there was the positive effect that none but a blind man could avoid seeing.
Further, in the same volume, there are cited the experiments of Darwin, showing that the one thirty millionth of efficient matter when absorbed by a gland of Drosera transmitted a motor impulse down the length of the tentacle.
A gold coin was put into a glass of water and allowed to stand for 24 hours. This water was given in tablespoonful doses three times a day; there were five experimenters, scientists, not medical men. At the end of a month they compared results and published them, and lo! and behold! it simply verified Hahnemanns proving of Aur. met. Gold is an insoluble metal according to science, and because it cannot be explained, science will not believe this.
There are also records of salivation having been produced by placing a salt of mercury in a tightly corked bottle and hiding it beneath the patients pillow.
Science is slow to accept what she cannot explain; and how can these phenomena be explained on her material basis? Even that tiny particle called the “atomerg” can push upward the accepted limit of the division of matter a comparative trifle.
But when we turn to The Chronic Diseases of Hahnemann and read that “homoeopathic dynamizations are the true awakening of the medicinal properties, latent in the natural bodies during their crude state, which then are enabled to act almost spiritually upon our life, that is, upon our sentient and irritable fibre”, then should we not conclude that our high and highest potencies are something real on their own plane, and not figments of our imagination; that they have individual substance and activity, just as truly as does the vital force; and that though imponderable, invisible, tasteless and intangible, still they move and have being in their own world, and affect the world of gross matter only as that which is vital affects that which is of itself dead. To the philosopher divisibility is infinite, because to him all things have their origin in the Infinite.
DR. CHARLES L. OLDS: I should like to have an expression on the point I brought up about the force being transferred to something else.
DR. A. H. GRIMMER: I think you can tell it, doctor, better than any of the rest of us.
This is a very valuable paper in many ways. It brings out the idea of the continuous effects of our potencies as they step higher and higher up to the menstrum of alcohol or sugar of milk, and the idea that by contact this material imparts its energy. There is no end to what that is. As far as we know there could be no end to that divisibility, that ability of the medicine to impart its energy to new menstrums. It is something like what we recently heard of from the astronomers. They have discovered carbon dioxide planted in Venus, through the medium of the reflected light of the sun passing through the Venusian atmosphere, and they are able to tell that Venus now has carbon dioxide. These potencies are probably much along those same lines, merely something that is imparted by contact with this force or energy.
Is that what you wanted to bring out?.
If you give a new remedy when not needed, you spoil your case. Never prescribe for a moving image; wait till it rests. It is your duty to understand before you attempt to do. J. T. KENT, M.D.