In view of the reduction in the number of our homoeopathic medical colleges, the question has very often come to mind whether or not it is possible to train homoeopathic physicians from the ranks of allopathic graduates. It has frequently been said that there should be only one school of medicine and that homoeopathy should be taught as a special branch of. therapeutics. If homoeopathy consisted only in a materia medica and therapeutics different from those taught by the old school we could say that homoeopathy is only one branch of medical science and therefore it is possible to teach it as a speciality.
But to us, homoeopathy represents the only truth in the science of medicine and since it can be but one truth, there must be some philosophical and fundamental differences between one school and the other to establish the fact that one is right and the other wrong. Just what are these fundamental differences?.
Medicine is a Science, and every particular science must have a well founded philosophical background, for philosophy is “the knowledge of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and matter”. The philosophy of medicine then should teach the fundamental laws and principles dealing with the causes of phenomena pertaining to human life in the states of both health and disease. The true interpretation of these two states and the knowledge of how to preserve the state of health, and to successfully correct the deviations from it, which constitute disease, are the two basic objects of medical science.
Medicine, therefore, since it deals with the recognition of disease and its cure, is a natural science, not only for that reason, but also because Nature is the Master of all Arts and all Sciences. Medicine is only a part of the general science of biology.
If we accept this fact, we must conclude that medicine could not and should not be a speculative science, but that is necessarily has to be a positive science; in other words, a reality that has to confirm with positive laws, and positive laws are direct, definite, unchangeable.
If the natural laws, responsible for the function of the cell in the tissue, the function of the tissue in the organ and that of the organ in the body, and which result in the harmonious living of the whole organism in state of health, would by any chance be transgressed, whether knowingly or not, disease sets in and its symptoms are nothing else but manifestations of Natures effort to readjust such functional disturbances in a spontaneous tendency towards preservation. To follow Nature in this effort in the administration of ones help, is by all means the only logical, rational treatment of diseased conditions. This is what homoeopathy does.
Similia similibus curentur still is, and will always be the most reasonable corollary to Hippocrates aphorism, Natura morborum medicatrix.
Philosophers of all times have vainly tried to describe the nature of life. Spencers definition says that “life is the continuous adaption of the external to the internal relations.” Beclard explains it as ” the organization in action”. Lewis believes it to be ” a series of successive and definite mutations of both structive and composition at the same time, taking its identity”; and to Bichat it is “the totality of functions con jointly resisting death”.
The true essence of life is still unknown and will always be beyond the reach of human knowledge. But life exists, and is evident to our perception by its phenomena, many of which we can detect and define. These phenomena give us the basic idea of motion, of continuous action, of constant changes. This is why Gustave LeBon, the noted French medical philosopher of our day, has arrived at the conclusion that in life” nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything is transformed”.
If we are to consider the phenomena of life in the human being from the medical standpoint, we can well classify them into two groups: those in the state of health, the normal phenomena, and those of the morbid state or abnormal. Hence the necessity of a correct interpretation of both, health and disease.
The orderly harmonious functioning of our whole body, maintaining the integrity of tissues and organs, results in health; any changes of structure or functional disturbances determine the abnormal state. The proper conception of the former enables us to recognize the latter; and medical science at its present stage of development has obtained, with the wonderful aid of other science, mainly physics and chemistry, the knowledge of disease. The stethoscope and the X-ray, which increase the scope of our senses, and the chemical reactions in the laboratory, are today efficient means of diagnosis. We have succeeded in finding and isolating the pathological agents of most diseased conditions, although the etiology of others is still obscure; but we do not know as yet what intimate forces are set into action in the cell or in the tissue before symptoms and signs give evidence of natures efforts of defense.
All medical schools unanimously accept Natures reactions towards the preservation of normal functioning and correction of dysfunction. It is, then, in the innermost parts of our being, that the first steps are taken to effect a cure. Can we deny the indisputable axiomatic truth of the Hippocratic apothegm, Natura morborum medicatrix?.
The close observation of Nature reveals these facts; but facts alone cannot explain themselves. Experimentation may confirm the facts, but only reason can explain them. Positive sciences which enable us to observe and confirm the facts of life should then be not only complemented but supported by philosophy if we are to find the causation of these phenomena. A medical philosophy should be, therefore, the corner stone of medical knowledge.
The biologist should not be satisfied with the speculations of physicists and chemists; he much reach into metaphysics to explain in the phenomena of life what physical experiments and chemical analysis can not determine.
Permit me to quote the following from Dr. Frank R. Lilie, Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences of the University of Chicago and recently appointed head of the National Academy of Sciences and of the National Research Council at Washington, which is his answer of only a few days ago to the question of “What is the status of determinism in the biological sciences? ” He says:.
Determinism in the old sense plays an enormous part in biology, so much so that many biologists think that all there is are the physico-chemical reactions.
I do not agree with this idea at all. All physico-chemical analysis of living things are for the purpose of learning to control the functions of the organism. They leave the organism itself unexplained. What is this that you control? In this other side of the biological field physico-chemical analysis plays a smaller part.
The organism is fitted to its environment in a marvelous way. There are the various internal regulations. The animal becomes sick and then it becomes well. Its integrity is restored. Functions must be correlated for the good of the whole organism.
After all, there is a reality about living things that cannot be reduced to physico-chemical terms. Purpose, the higher values, aesthetic, social, family, political, and finally love of truth are curious phenomena from the physico-chemical standpoint. These are properties of the whole being. Destroy its integrity and you destroy these. They must be studied on their level, not through physico-chemical analysis. I do not mean that the determination of the physical sciences cannot be applied at all to these problems, but it cannot furnish the real solution.
We may say for science that man is the measure of all things. All science is necessarily relative to the powers of the human organism. Knowledge is relative, in the old philosophical sense, not absolute. It depends on the limits of the powers of sensation, on our own sensory equipment.
Whatever it is that in reality surrounds us, all we know of it is that which is made available to our senses. But there is no telling how far our limitations will be removed by technical improvements in sounding the unknown universe. Mankind existed thousands of years before the discovery of cosmic rays and radiation. We are limited to the senses in the realm of science, however much we may magnify them.
There are certain things that never can be known through science. These are the greatest of human interests: the field of theology and metaphysics which cannot be approached by the scientific method. The human species has not reconciled itself to the limitations of science. It never has and never will. This must be approached by the method of philosophy.
The exact and logical interpretation of Nature and life as given by the biologist fully corresponds to the standpoint of the homoeopathic physician. We view Natures modus operandi in disease as the first step taken towards restoration of health, and far from interfering with those efforts, we supplement them with the action of our remedies. We regard fever, congestion, inflammation, vomiting, cough, pain, etc., as the manifestations of those efforts of the organism towards preservation. To attack these symptoms with the purpose of modifying or suppressing them is not only illogical and unwise, but even dangerous.
The allopathic physician believes with us that these morbid processes are nothing but the mechanism of defense of the organism, yet in his practice he opposes these efforts with antipyretics, antiphlogistics, etc., and frequently combats a single symptom with a palliative measure. While interpreting Nature correctly, he fails to imitate it in his practice.
This is the most fundamental difference between the two schools of medicine.
Let us consider now two others which are fundamental, namely: the Law of Similars and the curative action of the homoeopathic remedies. But in doing so, let us profit by hearing the authoritative voice of a Master of Homoeopathy, Dr. H. G. Perez, as he discusses the subject in his wonderful textbook The Philosophy of Medicine:.
When studying the concept of the homoeopathic principle, we find ourselves in the presence of a law and in the presence of a fact.
From the point of view of formal philosophy, the homoeopathic axiom is an abstraction that refers to a relation between vital dynamism and the dynamis of the remedy; and from the practical point of view, it constitutes a relationship of analogy between the symptoms of the remedy and those of the disease.
The FACT is the curative action of the remedies, and the LAW is the relationship of analogy.
This relationship is not one of identify but one of analogy. Identify can refer only to the nature of the individual within itself but distinct from the others; similarity or analogy refers to the resemblances presented by two or more distinct beings.
The analogy to which the homoeopathic principle refers is one of a group of symptoms, but not one of a single symptom. Hippocrates statement vomitus a vomitu curatur does not formulate a law, it only expresses a fact. Similia means similars, not similar.
Hahnemann deduced the precept, which fully symbolises his doctrine, from close observation of the nature of the disease and experimentation with remedies in the healthy according to the strictest rules of inductive logic. . . .
Homoeopathy, like every new science, passed through three different phases; one of hypothesis, one of system and one of doctrine. In the beginning Hahnemann was obliged to base his discovery upon a theory, in reality a very ingenious one; but he forgot that the doses given in disease were infinitesimal and would act only in the morbid state. He needed no theories upon which to base his assertion. The nature medicatrix and the vital dynamis give the explanation of the fact and logic of the truth which is a corollary of a more general principle which dominates in any curative system or method; the natura morborum medicatrix.
Hahnemann, by pure experimentation, discovered the method of helping the healing power of nature and gave the therapeutics genuine curative means and taught how to use and prepare them. And finally was able to state in three words, similia similibus curentur, the relationship that exists between the manifestations of the disease and those of the action of the remedy.
Dr. Perez concludes his chapter by stating that Hahnemann has given to posterity the invaluable bequest of the knowledge of the true action of the remedy and the principle of analogy between the disease and the remedy.
To excite symptoms similar to those that are developed in the organism during disease, is to help and imitate nature in her curative efforts, since morbid manifestations are nothing more than the effort with an instinctive tendency towards the preservation of life.
The study of homoeopathic philosophy enable us to understand and profit from the knowledge of these laws and principles, and unless we fully understand the healing power of Nature and the truth of the Similia, the application of modern laboratory technique in our daily practice will not suffice to accomplish the “highest and only calling of the physician, that is, the restoration of health to the sick”. A well equipped army will fail to obtain a victory unless the general possesses, besides the knowledge of military tactics, the exact knowledge of the enemy.
A number of allopathic physicians have been converted to homoeopathy; but only those who are profound thinkers, those with philosophically trained minds, are the ones who succeed in breaking away from the traditional prejudices to be illuminated with the meridian light of the Similia similibus curentur: and once they become in possession of the truth they hold tight to it. I often heard an old school, the statement that it is a crime to attempt the use of any other curative means, when one already has the knowledge of the healing power of Nature, and of the true action of the remedies in order to apply them according to the relationship of analogy with the disease.
The study of homoeopathic philosophy should occupy most of our time, for only with its help can we detect and correctly interpret the “rarest and most unusual symptoms” which, according to the Master, are certain guides for the exact indication of a remedy.
CHICAGO, ILL. and
MONTERREY, N.L., MEXICO.