PHILOSOPHY VERSUS EMPIRICISM IN MEDICINE


There will be a middle ground and homoeopathy will stand on the middle ground to take care of those that need more. We can really welcome these things because they are good. They are doing away with the drastic drugging, and I, for one, have no warfare with the Christian Scientists, outside of the fact that I cant accept their philosophy that there is no evil in the world.


Philosophy is defined by Webster as “the knowledge of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and matter; a particular philosophic system; and calmness of temper.” The same authority defines empiricism, “an observation or practical experience apart from scientific knowledge; the practice of medicine without the usual medicine training or qualifications, quackery”.

In the realm of healing, homoeopathy is the only therapy based upon natural law and that has evolved a comprehensive philosophy that governs every step in the application of drugs for the relief and cure of human sickness. The homoeopathic concept of life in relation to growth, development, health and disease on all the planes of nature, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical, stamps it as complete in the knowledge of health and the causes of its decline and loss, together with the means and methods to restore such loss back to normal states.

Perhaps in medicine, more than in any other human endeavor, must action and progress depend on philosophic procedures. Socially, economically and scientifically there is also need of the guidance of philosophic thought to insure success and progress. Man reaches his highest state of development under the philosophic urge. A social order or a therapeutic system built upon the tenets of empiricism is unstable and inadequate for satisfactory accomplishment. It involves too much of the trial and error formula wherein error prevails preponderantly over success.

Empiricism in medicine has produced more harm than good to the race. One so-called miracle drug after another has been tossed at the world in a constant stream to be tried on myriads of hapless human guinea pigs and then discarded as dangerous or unsatisfactory. Long after the dispensers of such drugs have discontinued their further use, the public remains free to purchase and abuse them to the most dangerous degree. Only after much harm and even tragedy has occurred are any warnings from medical experts sounded or legal steps taken to prevent wholesale poisonings.

Empirical medicine is closely ailed with commercial medicine. Annually large profits are amassed– millions of dollars– at the expense of a gullible public both from the standpoint of wealth and health.

The physician must know the cause of disease as well as the means to remove them. Since the realm of cause operates on the unseen planes of nature only, a philosophic approach alone will insure success in the restoration of health to the sick individual. Also, if the causes of illness are known, the physician through the process of laws discovered and known to him, will be able to prevent a great deal of illness thereby dispensing with the necessity of cure.

Empiricism may observe and learn some facts relating to life and occasionally produce some happy result but where one such result is accomplished, many other experiments turn out failures and disappointments. In the world of mechanics the trial and error routine, while expensive, may lead to an occasional success with the expenditure of much time and energy. Certain good effects in medicine may be accomplished only to be offset or neutralized by the evil results produced by the remedy used in the treatment.

To illustrate: the frequency of long lasting sufferings that follow immunizing doses of serums and vaccines are a matter of record. We need cite only the recent wholesale cases of sickness and death produced in the army recruiting centers after the yellow fever shots administered for yellow fever prophylaxis, given without the consent and against the wishes of many of the soldiers ad sailors, compelled to submit to such unscientific and purely empirical methods.

Also, we may note that the so-called curative effects produced by the sulpha drugs against infections are too often followed by blood changes and prolonged weakness and devitalization. The destructive effects of x-ray and radium therapy for the treatment of cancer and other growths together with many forms of skin disease, are among the common things met with every day and all to no purpose, because such agents, allopathically and empirically applied, never produce cure. The suppression of malaria chills with quinine and its derivatives and synthetic substitutes not only fail to cure, but complicate and aggravate the malarial patient with the development of liver, spleen and blood diseases as sequences which are more difficult to cope with than the uncomplicated malarial infection.

In the treatment of syphilis, empirical medicine has traveled from mercury to kali iod., thence to the arsenicals through the series from 606 to 909, thence to bismuth and the very latest, penicillin. They are still looking with longing eyes for the perfect specific that will cure all cases without complications or sequential effects by way of the ideal antisyphilitic that only exists in the imaginations of earth-bound empirical specialists who proceed by a common pattern always in circles, like lost wanderers with no compass or guide, no philosophic chart or habit of thought, no plan to show the way; only a blind incoherent haphazard march in search of the magic myth, a specific remedy for all in a given disease.

The bitter irony of it all is the fact that for the past one hundred and fifty years they have trampled upon and kicked aside the very object of their long arduous and illusive search. Like worn weary prospectors searching for virgin gold who have crossed and recrossed over the sought-for prize, but because they failed to recognize its presence in a strange though common form they lost it, and are destined to go forever in a vain searching, destitute and hopeless, doomed to perpetual failure.

Homoeopathic philosophy holds that magic key that unlocks the armamentarium of all specific medicine, as each individual case of sickness regardless of its diagnostic name, receives its own specific remedy, based upon unchanging law, confirmed by numerous cures wrought by many physicians from many lands and upon peoples of all races, who have suffered with every kind of sickness known and named by medical lore. The homoeopathic physician obtains his knowledge of the action of drugs by proving such drugs on healthy individuals of both sexes. These provings or symptoms produced make up the homoeopathic materia medica, a veritable storehouse of medical knowledge for the healing of the nations.

The proven Law of Similars is the basic foundation upon which the superstructure of homoeopathic philosophy is erected to give to the world an edifice of great beauty and use. Every well proven remedy– that is, every remedy tested on many individuals– constitutes an image of sickness; and in that image is reflected the power of that remedy to cure a like picture of sickness to be met in the field of disease. It is necessary to give that remedy in a potentized or attenuated form where cure is desired because if given in the crude or toxic form that produces sickness in the healthy, a severe aggravation or even serious harm may come before cure is obtained.

This method precludes all experiments on the sick and eliminates all consequential drug effects that almost invariably follow empirical medical procedures. For how can one measure and harmonize the reactions in the test tube with those of the human organism? Or how can the sufferings, emotions, mental end physical, of the guinea pig be known or applied to human needs? Surely not by the pathological end results known only after killing the guinea pig.

By and through the constant application of the homoeopathic law of cure to many cases of sickness treated by master prescribers and keen observers through the years, has the homoeopathic philosophy been built and expanded from time to time. Without the knowledge of this philosophy the physician might often be confused and fail to cure certain very chronic and difficult cases of sickness. Because sickness has an order of procedure, a direction in its symptomatology and a pace of action, all of which helps determine its nature, acute or chronic, relapsing, periodic, etc.

In the same way must the provings of our remedies be studied to ascertain their relation and application by their similarity to disease states and conditions. One of the most valuable observations to remember is the fact that the last symptoms to appear in any sickness are the first to disappear under the action of the indicated remedy; that symptoms get well in the inverse order of their coming. Another observation many times confirmed that patients get well of their symptoms and complaints from center to circumference, from which out and from above downwards, from more vital to less vital parts.

Whenever disease and symptoms take the opposite direction, there is suppression and danger for the patient. An eruption suppressed by powerful ointments or x-ray or radium applications often is followed by alarming asthmatic states or violent inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract or congestive headaches and violent neuralgias may supervene. Sometimes after rubbing powerful ligaments to rheumatic joints there is serious cardiac involvement with pain and dyspnoea.

Who can measure the stupendous harm that is now here and will increase in the future from the unlimited taking of the myriads of coal-tar drugs; to mention but a few, the barbitals, the aspirins, the anacins, the sulpha drugs, the acetanilids, pyramidons, and innumerable others that flood social life by way of radio, newspaper and magazine advertisements, where the public without hindrance or medical advice may procure unlimited amounts of these insidious poisons for the relief of pains of all kinds, insomnia and infections of every sort. Is it any wonder that heart and kidney disease together with cancer and many forms of mental and nervous diseases are increasing as never before?.

And what does empirical medicine say about these things? Nothing, because if it did, it would undermine its own very shaky position. It can not condemn the very methods it employs for the treatment of the sick. As long as millions of dollars are made by these harmful nefarious means, there will be no criticism from those who profit by such methods. And so long as commercialized medicine maintains its position in the world, homoeopathy will be opposed and ostracized by the dominant school.

With them the sacred precincts of the profit system in medicine must not be invaded or hampered. But in spite of opposition and selfish greed, homoeopathy will stay and contend for the right and true. Human progress has always come only through sacrifice and contention. Only those souls who love and value truth better than material things are the instruments chosen to carry the standards of progress to the citadels of a better order in the world.

The homoeopathic physician is such an instrument in the divine scheme of things. Touched by the power of the love of healing, no work is too tedious or difficult for him, no sacrifice too much if it but sustains and perpetuates the principles of his art and science. If need be he stands alone, unafraid and resolute in the face of ridicule and calumny.

If medicine ever progresses above the traditions and superstitions of the dark ages, it will come only by the light of the homoeopathic philosophy. The simple knowledge and application of the Law of Similars apart from the philosophy built up around it can do only simple and acute work; it can never fathom the complexities and persistence of chronic disease. We have seen several phases of the law practised under other names without the philosophic complement and they are far from complete.

Biers irritation theory of disease and its cure and McDonalds hydration concept of disease, while doing more good and less harm than regular medicine, do not approach the possibility of cure that obtains with the complete homoeopathic concept of sickness and its law of cure. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to the divine attribute of healing through the medium of the law and the philosophy of homoeopathy want our children and their children to be born and reared under the benign power of homoeopathic healing.

In no other way can a more healthy and better race with ideals and intelligence to banish from the earth the scourge of war and universal disease be brought into being. The homoeopathic potencies properly applied have the inherent power of touching and tuning into harmony the deepest centers of the human organism and they bring back the light of health from the darkness of disease.

To rationalize and control the emotions, to banish fear and instil hope, thereby purifying the life force of the whole being, that will enable it to build and sustain a more perfect physical body to perform better uses in a suffering world, is reason enough for our united efforts for homoeopathys perpetuation in the archives of medicine. And our efforts are only exceeded by an abiding faith that this benign doctrine of healing must live and grow with other great truths of nature in the hearts of men through time and eternity. CHICAGO, ILL.

DISCUSSION.

DR. WAFFENSMITH: This paper is full of meat for discussion and surely touches the heart of anyone who specializes in the homoeopathic treatment of chronic disease. We are inclined to think that it is only the homoeopath who realizes how serious drug toxicosis is, but let us not be deceived in this illusion.

In 1901 and 1902, which were the last two years, the junior and senior years of my course in the “old school” college from which I graduated, we had a professor in theory and practice of medicine, as the Chair was called in that day, who repeatedly impressed upon the class the maliciousness, the seriousness of shotgun prescribing, and he, in my estimation, was a real single- remedy man, not that he advocated homoeopathy. The fact is, I dont know whether he knew anything about homoeopathy, but let us not deceive ourselves by thinking that there are not many of the “old school” men who realize how serious this matter is.

After I had practiced for some six years, I also want to state here while I have the opportunity, I took a year of postgraduate work in Hering, and our good colleague, Dr. Grimmer, was assistant to Professor Kent during that year, so I am one of Dr. Grimmers “boys”, and this paper bears out fully what he and Dr. Kent taught us during that year.

Do we realize that today in England the question of sedation is the most important question that is facing the medical profession? Who can solve it but the real homoeopathician? That brings us to the validity and importance of the resolution presented by Dr. Wright Hubbard for us to get down to business and begin to investigate methods and ways to educate the medical profession– and I dont mean only in the homoeopathic profession but the medical profession in general and the layman in particular.

Dr. CARR: It was my good fortune to be in Chicago in the month of February, when the Chicago Medical Society put on a symposium and clinic for three days. I was deeply interested to know that the allopaths were trying to put a muzzle on them in the sedation proposition, for one paper was wholly on the effects of bromides and barbiturates in mental or psychiatric cases.

This doctor made a survey in his own hospital and he definitely had discovered over the year that they had entered in, admitted in that mental hospital, from twenty-five to fifty positive drug cases. He gave the symptoms from potassium bromide, also the symptoms of the barbiturates. Now, that is only one mental hospital in this whole United States. What it is in hundreds of hospitals that are being filled with drug bromides and barbiturates, we dont know.

We have them come in there in our own institution for confused mental states– impossible to put a diagnosis on them. You invariably leave them alone a week or ten days and they clear up of the mental state. We know it is bromides or barbiturates, and it is surprising that so many of the allopathic physicians of prominence are using bromides and barbiturates beyond the point of self-determination and realization of what it is leading the patient into, you might say.

DR. BOGER-SHATTUCK: I may not be in order, and I expect to be shot, but I wonder just what progress we really are making. Christian Science is going forward by leaps and bounds. I am not here to advocate Christian Science, but when men like Richard Cabot come out in favor of spiritual healing by the positive statement of God within us so created and asks us to deny the things and to reassert our power of dominion over the darker forces, and they are giving over whole wards of treatment of mental cases in our mental hospitals to Christian Science, which is going on the State of Massachusetts today, I am wondering just what we are actually accomplishing in lots of these cases.

As you know, I happen to have been in the war zone, and had to submit myself to a lot of inoculations. I not only gave a lot but I had to submit self to others, also. As I didnt have a homoeopathic armamentarium close at hand, I decided that I would try this positive statement of fact. I am very susceptible to all types of serums, or thought I was up to that time, but as I went up to be inoculated, each particular time I asserted to myself that I was a child of God and the thing would have no reaction whatsoever upon me, and despite the fact that I was inoculated time after time, three times in very short succession, I didnt get so much as a sore arm out of it.

The first time that my daughter was inoculated, I tried to talk this into her, but a child is very hard to talk it into exactly, but, having no homoeopathic remedy, Pulsatilla or other things, at hand, which I would ordinarily give– an antidote for a lot of these things– she tried it. Well, here tetanus gave her a terrifically sore arm, and the second time she said, “Mummy, I am going to try your way,” and went up and steeled herself. We waited in the long line to be shot, five minutes, and even though I went out and immediately started shooting other people with the hypodermics, she had no sore arm otherwise.

It has been my experience to treat a number of the barbital addicts and we are getting a tremendous number of them. Personally, I have not yet been able to find the right homoeopathic antidote, Stramonium being nearer to it than most other things, but in so treating these cases, if possible I immediately start them into the positive psychology of asserting themselves that they are Gods children and to claim dominion over this drug habit and over these so-called germs and what- have-you.

I may be introducing something which is a little too radical in calling myself a homoeopath, but I have had remarkable success in the treatment of this, in so doing in the past year.

DR. ROOD: Sodium succinate is the antidote for barbituric acid in my experience. Twice my own brother was unconscious for twenty-four hours after a long anesthetic given in the veins. This new Sodium penthatol was given and he only became clear in his head after Sodium succinate given nine days later in potency, the 1M., by powder on his tongue.

DR. WAFFENSMITH: Where did it come from?.

DR. ROOD: I borrowed it from Dr. Harriet Knox. He was in Bay City Hospital.

DR. FARRINGTON: I dont know how much time we have for this discussion, but as the essayist said, he does not say anything new. But he emphasized some of the old things, so that they appear to us in a new light. One of them was that this philosophy is a complete one and that is not found anywhere else.

The point I especially want to make is this: We dont have to go to the old school to find empirical prescribing. We have it right in our own midst. It is the easy way. How many times have I wished I could give a dose of quick acting drug and not have to rack my poor brains to dig out a remedy for some difficult and intractable case. Routine prescribing and keynote prescribing and keynote prescribing are for the most part empirical.

Several years ago I stood on the shores of that beautiful Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. It was just before sunset and the suns rays came up over the mountains in glorious colors, giving the lake and its water, and the cliffs around it, a soft, beautiful, misty tint. I looked on one side of me; there was a painter painting a box; probably to be used as a fire alarm or something of that sort. He was painting it a brilliant vermilion and doing a very good job of it, too. It looked beautiful, smooth and red.

Then as I turned the other way there sat an old German with his easel and a canvas on which he was putting just the final touches. He had caught that marvelous and elusive thing that artists always seek, “atmosphere”. His tints, his blending of colors, gave a perfect picture of what was there.

To my mind good Hahnemannian prescribing is represented by what that mans art was putting down on canvas. The painter was doing something useful and very nice, but that is all.

DR. GRIMMER: I should like to answer the good doctor over here. I cant let that go unchallenged, because long before Christian Science was discovered, Hahnemann spoke about the desirability of faith in Divine Providence and the spiritual side of our nature, and recognized that it is very important and we all have sense, every good homoeopath, but we know that psychology comes along in some cases– in many cases they will do just what the doctor has prescribed, but you take these deep psoric or even other inheritable conditions, and you have a great deal of difficulty to psychologize them out of some of their mental fixations.

A. H. Grimmer
Arthur Hill Grimmer 1874-1967 graduated from the Hering Medical College (in 1906) as a pupil of James Tyler Kent and he later became his secretary, working closely with him on his repertory. He practiced in Chicago for 50 years before moving to Florida. He was also President of the American Institute for Homoeopathy.
In his book The Collected Works of Arthur Hill Grimmer, Grimmer spoke out against the fluoridation of water and vaccinations. Grimmer wrote prodigeously, Gnaphalium, Homeopathic Prophylaxis and Homeopathic Medicine and Cancer: The Philosophy and Clinical Experiences of Dr. A.H. Grimmer, M.D.