THE NECESSITY OF LAW IN MEDICINE


Hahnemann has, in his writing, given full credit to Hippocrates by quoting him, and every other medical writer since his day where there was to be found any conscious or unconscious acceptance or use of the principle of similars, only taking to himself the credit of seeing clearly for the first time and enunciating fully and completely what had been so dimly perceived before him as to result in practically nothing.


The commemoration of the 10th April, the Birth-Day of the Founder of Homoeopathy, is an attempt at the perpetuation of the life and work of Samuel Hahnemann, the originator of that system of medicine, of the truth of which we are firmly convinced not merely from personal practical experience, but also from scientific experimentation, the discoverer of the Law which scientific experiments (the “provings” as we call them) have proved to us to be not only a Law but the great Law of therapeutics.

Nor is the celebration of this auspicious anniversary an unnecessary one. The simple fact that Hahnemanns great and unparalleled genius, as an original observer, as a patient and careful therapeutic investigator and as a scientific thinker, are recognised even now by a sheer minority of people, renders this occasion all the more important, since it reminds us, year after year, of the duty which we homoeopaths owe to him in setting forth his true status as conspicuously the greatest medical hero of the modern age.

When I say this I do not detract from the greatness of other medical innovators. But when I call Hahnemann the greatest medical hero I have an invulnerable and irrefutable reason for it. Not that Hahnemann had had the highest education and the highest diplomas that Germany could give him in medical science – such as it was – and the collateral science of Chemistry, nor that he was a linguist, knowing German, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, etc.; nor even that he was well known in general wide reading, but that his genius led him to enunciate a new principle of treatment, a law in therapeutics based upon elaborate and long- continued experiments on himself and his friends.

There are some critics who would give no credit whatsoever to Hahnemann – nay, they are so bigoted and blind-folded that they would stoop so low as to call him “an uneducated man and a charlatan” (vide Times of April 15, 1881). History cannot forgive such gross ignorance of and misrepresentation of facts which are as clear as broad daylight.

There are others who, while they admit there is a certain measure of truth in the Law of Similars, endeavour to undermine Hahnemanns genius and labours by asserting that the law was no discovery of his but that it was known to HIppocrates (460-357 B.C.).

Hahnemann has, in his writing, given full credit to Hippocrates by quoting him, and every other medical writer since his day where there was to be found any conscious or unconscious acceptance or use of the principle of similars, only taking to himself the credit of seeing clearly for the first time and enunciating fully and completely what had been so dimly perceived before him as to result in practically nothing.

Many other scientific discoveries have been “seen through a glass darkly” by workers whose modicum of genius prevented their going beyond a certain point, till some genius of a higher order caught the great idea, as if by an inspiration, and science is at once revolutionised. Was Newton the first man to see an apple fall? Certainly not. Everybody must have seen stones, apples and other objects, if let loose, fall to the ground. Yet it was Newton to whose genius it occurred that the falling of the apple was an illustration of a law: the great Law of Gravitation, which was till then unperceived.

Exactly the same is the position of Hahnemann with regard to the Law of Similars. Hippocrates states that some diseases are cured by likes and some by contraries. He notices a fact, and there is an end of it. His genius, though high, did not go so far as to suggest to him that possibly the cures by likes which he regarded as mere coincidences were examples of a law which affects the essential relation between disease and drug. It was reserved for Samuel Hahnemann to see the existence of a great law in medicine, to work out the law in a calm, logical manner and point out the way of practically availing ourselves of its guidance in the treatment of disease. His great book the Organon of Medicine is expressive of the greatest genius at work. It is truly a marvel of erudition, thought and logic.

The question arises: If Homoeopathy claims to have a law, the law that likes cure likes, what is the standpoint of other schools of medicines? On what principle, if any, do they claim to treat diseases?.

The advocates of the old schools of medicine raise the superstructure of the medical edifice on the slender and uncertain foundation of mere observation and empiricism, which may be both uniform and multiform. Mere observation, or the counting of instances of so-called cures, be it ever so extensive, cannot form the basis of such a noble science as medicine. This method of depending upon mere experience or counting of instances is known in logic as the method of simple enumeration and is regarded as too weak a method of establish a scientific induction. The mere enumeration of instances of cures, as they are called, by a certain medicine or medicines and thus arriving at the so-called specifics, does not possess any scientific or logical value, for one negative instance is enough to shatter the whole hypothesis.

Let me make it clear by an example. A negro of Africa who has never been to any other country and has seen only black men may, on the basis of his observation, begin to believe that “all men are black.” This seemingly general proposition is only an empirical fact and will be blown to pieces when the negro sees even one white man. There is, in this proposition, what is called “an inductive leap” from the known to the unknown but this leap is based on a loose application of the principle of Uniformity of Nature and not on the strength of any scientific connection.

And now to apply it. Why does an old school doctor prescribe quinine to malarial patient, salicylates to a gouty patient or sulfa medicines to a suppurating patient? Simply because he or others of his school have, in many or all instances, before found their administration attended with advantage under similar circumstances; and this observation satisfies them and gives them confidence is using them indiscriminately again and again until they chance upon a better remedy which they begin to use or abuse on the same principle of Simple Enumeration which, as I have said, is only empirical and not truly scientific or logical.

That there should be in medicine no law possible or no law actually existing in unthinkable in the presence of a belief in a benefit Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Wherever we turn our eyes in the universe, we are brought face to face with law. The heavenly bodies, so infinitely numerous, are so regulated by law that any deviation from it would be fraught with inconceivable disaster. Our own earth, wherever we turn, shows nothing unregulated by law in its structure, rotation or revolution. Chemical salts show constant reactions and they crystallise uniformly in one form peculiar to each.

The vegetable kingdom in its growth, structure, habits and infinite species is a marvel of law; while the animal kingdom and especially our own bodies are the most perfect examples of beneficent law – law which, if interfered with by accident or neglect, at once makes its existence felt by the physical troubles that ensue.

Now while our bodies in health thus obey laws which keep the marvelously constructed mechanism in working order, harmonising each organ with another, is there not ample reason for a law regulating disease also? Can Provident Nature treat medical science in such a stepmotherly way? Is such an important science dealing with the ill-health of man, the crown of creation, so haphazard? And can this noble science be like a floundering ship with no captain to regulate its course? Certainly not.

There must be a law regulating disease and there is a Law, a law of Nature, as immutable and certain as any other law of Nature is. It is “Similia Simibilus Curantur,” in plain language “Likes cures like,” meaning that diseased conditions are curable by the administration of such drugs as would, if the conditions were healthy, produce symptoms similar to the disease itself.

It follows from this, as a natural corollary, that homoeopathic medicines must, of necessity, be administered in smaller doses than will produce disease. Hence the method of attenuation of a drug. The more we attenuate of a drug, the more potentized does it become and the more effectively can we use it against a malady.

The discovery of this law was the great glory of Hahnemanns genius. He it was who saw clearly, for the first time, the parallel pictures of drug-action and disease and the natural law connecting and harmonising the two. He was thus the honoured instrument in Gods hands for pointing out the existence of law, beautiful in its simplicity, in a department of nature, where, till then, law was unknown and where even at the present day, men are found who are inconsiderate enough to assert that law cannot exist. Truly, if a man does not wish to see the light, no process is so easy as shutting the eyes.

All that Hahnemann has told them again and again is: “Come forth with an open mind, put Law of Similars to the severest tests and publish the failures, if any.” Why dont they do it?.

In the end, I will make an earnest appeal to the Government of Pakistan to confer official recognition on this most profound system of medicine, the Homoeopathic Science. The Government of India have recently acknowledged the efficacy of this system of treatment and have recognised it in their Dominion. Why not we?.

Hafiz Mohammad Shafi