It might seem unnecessary to make such an inquiry before a group of I.H.A. members, but personal experience leads me to ask it. Honest inquiries are made as to why some homoeopathic doctors use means which are not recognized according to homoeopathic philosophy by other homoeopathic doctors. Others ask what is this philosophy of which you hear an occasional doctor speak? We are told that Hahnemanns Organon is out of date, and it may well be considered so by those who do not give to it time and thought.
In this day when material evidence is demanded, great care is needed in presenting the truth dealing with an invisible, vital force. True it is that scientific investigation is leading students to think more seriously of unseen forces. That fact, in itself, suggests to believers in homoeopathic philosophy the need of clearly and honesty presenting the truth to those desiring to really know, and that in turn leads to a questioning of ourselves concerning our personal knowledge of it. Is it possible that we are allowing busy days to deceive us into thinking that we have not time for further study of the Organon?.
Dr. Kent used to say that, although he had been teaching The Organon for years, he never went over it “without discovering some new thought in harmony with the general teaching”. Today, as never before, thoughtful doctors are willing to listen to “principles that are at once plain and intelligible”. They are willing to consider cures, and to learn of those who are “guided by evident reasons”.
In asking is this philosophy practical, I mean, is it usable? Is it a philosophy that will bear examination and daily use? Will it stand the test to which practical, thinking people desire to put it? The question is asked with a hope of bringing out suggestions as to how we may interest inquirers concerning the philosophy.
What is there in homoeopathic philosophy that makes it practical? First, the fact that it teaches of a fixed law, a law holding good in all cases, a law to guide one in the study of the sick and in the study of the means to be used in curing the sick. With that law as a foundation one may confidently approach a new case knowing that with honest endeavor he may find the remedy that will cure, if it is a curable case. If it is incurable, that same remedy, together with others less similar, will carry the patient to the end of his physical life in a comparative degree of comfort.
Again, homoeopathic philosophy is practical because it teaches who it is that is sick. It teaches of that unseen force which in health quietly directs and controls the entire man; that force which in what is called disease, manifests its presence by failing to control the whole man, and disorder of the economy follows, and disease results.
It teaches also that in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms there are present unseen forces which, appropriated by man in health, are capable of producing symptoms similar to symptoms appearing in disease, and that the similar remedy given to a sick person will in a curable case cause the symptoms to disappear, thus restoring health.
Again it teaches that a cure brought about in this way does no harm to the individual but “restores health in a prompt, mild and permanent manner”.
Its teaching enables the physician to form the proper estimate of diagnosis. We need to remember that “diagnosis is not for the purpose of making a prescription”. After careful observation and questioning of the sick person, even though there may be a doubt as to the exact diagnosis, a diligent use of the repertory enables one to begin at once the treatment of the sick person.
Following the administration of the similar remedy the virulency of the disordered vital force weakens, the disordered vital force is changed into order, and gradually threatening tissue changes cease, and health may be restored even before the diagnosis has been made. Do not belittle the value of a most careful and accurate diagnosis but do not allow time to be lost by failing to begin the early treatment of the patient. Remember, that the man may be sick long before the results called disease are manifest.
That very fact that it is the man who is sick is appealing to thoughtful people more than in former years. No one can deny the haste and unrest of the days in which we are living. The very atmosphere in which we live seems charged with the aura of unrest. Laboratory tests are detecting the results.
It is the work of the homoeopathic physician to detect the threatening results before they appear and to bring about a cure. That is what homoeopathic philosophy enables us to do and that makes it practical. It should be needless to remind ourselves of the responsibility of the physician, but the daily newspaper, with its alarming suicidal reports, cries aloud for help which the honest physician alone has the opportunity of providing. Again, “let us hold fast our profession”.
DR. C. A. DIXON: Doctor Lewiss paper is an ideal one on which to start a discussion relative to what is homoeopathic philosophy. Why is it necessary, and why are its basic fundamental laws disregarded so flagrantly by so many of our homoeopathic graduates?.
Let us briefly outline an answer, my answer, if you please, because you may add to my list your own views and strengthen the case.
First, what is homoeopathic philosophy or law? I should answer in this way: First, the single remedy in the minimum dose. To me that is very essential, yet I know many a man, proud of his homoeopathy, who does not consider it as an essential to good prescribing. Yet you will find on close analysis that such a man does not read his Organon, does not take written case records, and does not use a repertory. Probably he does not own one and surely he does not know how to use it intelligently if he has one.
He may know his materia medica and use it to the best of his ability but he is missing the finer understanding that would be his if he really knew his Organon and his philosophy.
In the second place homoeopathic philosophy is a strict observations of the law of cure: How a cure comes from within outward, from above downward and how the symptoms disappear in a reverse order of their coming. That is the way a cure must come, and if your case does not present unmistakable evidence of it you may be sure it is something other than a cure that is transpiring.
Many a good first prescription is spoiled because the doctor is so lax in his philosophy that he fails to realize that the phenomenon he is witnessing is just a stirring up of old symptoms by his well selected first prescription. I believe this error is accountable for fully fifty per cent of our failures. These failures should not be charged up against homoeopathy. Charge them where they belong, against the physician who does not know, or is careless about the close adherence to the laws of cure.
There are many lessons to be learned from the Organon and Kents Lectures on Philosophy and I charge you, one and all, that you are missing the one great refinement that has raised every one of our noted homoeopathic physicians above the ordinary practitioner by failure to realize the worth of the philosophy which was theirs. It is what makes life worth while.
You know, life gives back what we put into it. It is like a bank. You cant check out happiness or money unless you first make deposits.
DR. A. H. GRIMMER: I think homoeopathic philosophy preeminently practical, for two reasons. First of all, you are familiar with the process of disease in which symptoms come and then, if you are a good observer, and note the way in which symptoms depart, you know whether you have made your right prescription or not. There can be no doubt about this, and, furthermore, in acute disease which are said to be self-limited by the friends of the old school, they say, “How do you know your remedy had anything to do with it?
How do you know the patient didnt just get well, a self-limiting disease?” Then if you know the philosophy and know the order in which the symptoms come, and if you have taken the case correctly you do know that order, then the departure of the symptoms, under the homoeopathic remedy is evidence that it is the remedy and not the unaided vital force of the body that cured the case.
Those are two very practical reasons for the philosophy. There are a great many others. The philosophy brings us into the higher forces and into the broader vision of life itself and we get a concept of life through the homoeopathic philosophy that no other system of medicine can give us.
DR. H. A. ROBERTS: There is just one thing I should like to emphasize in Dr. Lewiss paper and that is: Remember the early history of Hahnemann, go back to your history of Hahnemanns life. Hahnemann was a good man in the old school in his early life and he was respected and looked up to until he began to teach his philosophy, which was the essential thing that went with his work.
No one, I dont care who he is, can be a good physician who knows his materia medica only, unless he has the philosophy back if it and knows how to use his materia medica. Here is the point that I think we often forget. It was after Hahnemann developed his philosophy of therapeutics, his philosophy of life, that he was attacked and persecuted and sent out of Germany.
DR. C. M. BOGER: There is one practical point I wish to emphasize. It may not have as large a bearing as one might think, on the paper, but we are accustomed to look on certain remedies as being particularly dangerous in some diseases, such as Phosphorus and Sulphur in tuberculosis, and so forth.
After the pathological process has reached a practically incurable stage (or you think it has) or possibly after you have given a short-acting remedy in such a case and are afraid to take the next step with the remedy which seems indicated to reach to the roots of things because you are afraid it will tear things up and put the patient on the brink, give that patient a rather low potency of Lycopodium. Use a twelfth or a thirtieth, and give it by olfaction, and only one dose.
DR. CHARLES L. OLDS: Without the philosophy of homoeopathy, we would have nothing. It would be very much like having a bill passed by a legislature without an enabling act, without any financial support. Nothing could be done, and so it is if we do not have a philosophy that tells us what to do and what not to do. Except for the law we would have nothing, and we couldnt use the law.
DR. DAYTON T. PULFORD: I think the greatest misunderstanding about practical homoeopathic philosophy is that people think Hahnemann wrote his philosophy first and built homoeopathy on it. He discovered and developed his homoeopathy and the philosophy is an outgrowth of that.