Guy Beckley Stearns
That master prescriber, Wm. P. Wesselhoeft, describes a case which is classical in epitomizing the art of homoeopathy. A man had suffered from impotence for six years. Wesselhoeft treated him for a while, but all he succeeded in doing was to reduce the patients extreme tendency to catch cold; the impotence remained untouched. At length Wesselhoeft referred the patient to A. Lippe of Philadelphia. Among other things, Lippe found that ten years earlier the man had had diphtheria which had alternated sides, eventually settling on the side where it had started.
Since that time he had never really been well. All his colds showed this alternating characteristic. Finally, the impotence had supervened. Lippe gave Lac caninum CM. There was no record of impotence amongst the proved symptoms of the drug. Nevertheless, impotence, colds, everything disappeared, and the patient became the father of two exceptionally healthy children, The whole case will be found in H.C. Allens Materia Medica of the Nosodes. Allen, himself a master, considered Lippes prescription a classic.
To those who are familiar with the homoeopathic method of practice, the case will seem as classical as it did to Allen. To physicians unfamiliar with the homoeopathic approach, it can only appear unbelievable. The idea of dogs milk as a remedy for diphtheria and its after effects appears fantastic. Action from a remedy so greatly diluted appears impossible. And the giving of a drug to correspond with a condition which had existed ten years earlier appears the most incredible of all. But Lippe sought out- and obtained-the keynote of the patients constitution. To him the patient was a continuum, and the drug had to be matched not against a single phase of the disorder-the impotence-but against the entire disorganization as it had begun and progressed over the years.
Lippe, as was his wont, had grasped the reality of the situation.
Hahnemanns was the first organized approach to reality in medicine and Lippe was his worthy disciple. By describing an invisible, dynamic vital force and an analogous imponderable in potentized drugs Hahnemann at once characterized the objective aspects. Such factors exist independently of our opinion or our ability to denote them instrumentally. How to unlock the reality, how to make it accessible to healing, he discovered in the Law of Similars. Because the understanding and application of that law depend on mind, interpretation and intuition, they represent the subjective aspect of this approach to reality.
The whole Hahnemannian teaching is a closed system passing from an extreme pole to another-from objective to subjective-and back again, in a perfect synthesis. All the master homoeopathists caught the essence of Hahnemann s words. They worked in a region unattainable to the average physician. And this sublime practice of homoeopathy, requiring a special attitude and comprehension, is rarer today than it used to be. Slowly it seems to be passing away. It does not fit the temperament of contemporary times.
The crux of the homoeopathic approach lies in the utilization of symptoms as an expression of body needs. The homoeopath takes the case. He searches into all the patients peculiarities. He is anxious to discover how this patients individual constitution is expressing the disease, instead of how the disease in this patient resembles the same disease in others. The pathological end-products interest the homoeopath least. But the subjective symptoms have deep significance. They represent a response to disorganization of an autonomic mechanism. Symptomatology is the outcry of this autonomic mechanism adjusting the body to an abnormal condition.
The effort is always to restore normalcy-that is, health When, for some reason, the autonomic fails to achieve this, chronic pathology results. Such pathology is usually obstinate since it represents a new habit acquired by the body against the abnormal condition. Pathology, manufactured as an end product by a primary reaction in the body, is comparatively useless to homoeopathic prescribing, because pathologies of a given type, in general, resemble one another too closely to permit of differentiation, and without differentiation, it is impossible to decide which of several similar drugs to prescribe.
In cases of advanced pathology, there are often few distinguishing symptoms. Since the symptomatology is only one of several expressions of the autonomic mechanism, the absence of symptoms must be amended by study of some other autonomic expression. This takes us out of the province of pure homoeopathy. Fortunately, homoeopathy is not the only approach to reality in medicine.
What is this autonomic mechanism? As we have chosen to use the term in this paper, the autonomic mechanism is far more than the bare involuntary nervous fibres. It is the sum total of intelligent, purposeful, integrated cell-activity. It is the adaptation of the total body to conditions, an adaptation in which, more or less, all tissues, all organs, all functions take part. It is the sum of the factors through which the single- celled beginning of each individual develops into a complex living creature. Within the original fertilized cell lie the influences carrying hereditary traits and responsibility for the manner in which the new individual will evolve.
Such exist long before the elaboration of the individual is not less specific because of this lack of the involuntary nerves. To this total of governing and directing forces, of which the involuntary nerves are but one physiological expression, we have given the name of autonomic mechanism. And just as each person is different from every other person, so each autonomic is different from all other autonomics. Indeed, it is the difference in the autonomic total which is responsible for the physical and temperamental differences of people.
Just as any person, when struck, cries out from a sensation of pain common to all people, but always cries in his own voice, which is quite different from anyone elses voice, so the subjective symptomatology of a patient is the crying-out of the individual autonomic mechanism. It is an unique expression never duplicated by another living creature. Conversely, the absence of symptoms indicates the smooth and satisfied working of the autonomic.
Pathology results from the autonomics failure to correct disease; pathology, indeed, represents tissue run out of the autonomics control. In a literal sense, this autonomic mechanism knows best what is good for itself. The maintenance of health and the effort to regain it during illness, both autonomic processes, show how autonomic activity is in the direction of optimum physiological states. Left to itself, the autonomic is all-knowing, a sort of demigod.
Some autonomic expressions are capable of easy external observation. These are reflexes extending directly from one phase of the autonomic mechanism, the involuntary nervous system. The fluctuation of the pupil of the eye in response to variations in illumination belongs in this class. Much can be told concerning circulatory activity by taking the pulse or listening to the heart-beats, two different involuntary activities. Organic and other tissues are impregnated with small muscle fibers which contract and expand under involuntary direction. These muscles give to the tissues what is called tonus.
If parts of the body are percussed, changes in tonus-i.e.,loosening or tightening of these involuntary muscles-manifest themselves as changes in the percussion-note, just as a taut drumhead gives a different sound from a drumhead that has worked itself loose. Here then are three expressions, all part of the complex autonomic mechanism, easily observed from the outside.
If, for instance, the abdomen of a person is percussed over one of the resonant areas, something very remarkable takes place under certain conditions. The resonant percussion note turns dull when another individual approaches.
The exact distance at which this takes place varies with the participating individuals. The same response occurs when plants or drugs are brought close to the subject under percussion. In each case the approaching person, plant or drug establishes its influence over a short distance, three to a dozen feet or so, with no physical contact between it and the percussed subject. If this subject happens to be ill, one or two drugs will be found to exercise their influence at much greater distances-up to a hundred feet.
These drugs appear to act over great distances only because the subject is specifically sensitive to them; just as a victim of hay fever detects the presence of pollens to which the ordinary person in insensitive. A single drug can always be found to act at a greater distance than any other. Much clinical experience has established such a drug as curative if prescribed to the patient. The effect can be observed especially in potentized drugs, even in the highest potencies like 50M. or CM.
Evidently, the autonomic is sensitive to all external influences. But it is more than generally sensitive. In the case of a drug which the disordered body needs to reestablish health, the autonomic is specifically sensitive. To such a drug, the autonomic will react when patient and drug are separated by relatively great distances, like a hundred feet. Once more is revealed the unconscious intelligence of autonomic responses. The fact that the responses occur unknown to the individual is of great significance. Organic functions are equally unconscious. They are all part of the integrated autonomic mechanism. And they represent the profoundest levels of living activity.
Thus percussion alone yields much valuable information. A drug which changes the percussion-note at a great distance will also affect the pupil of the eye. When the drug is brought close to the patient. the pupil dilates. The same drug modifies the pulse and the corresponding changes in the heart beat have been observed with the fluoroscope. In fact, all of these techniques supplement one another. Singly or together they may be used to select a curative remedy.
In addition, these responses reveal how sensitive is the autonomic mechanism to influences that produce no conscious impression. That is why, in its role of director and coordinator, the autonomic mechanism is in a position to indicate what is best for the individual. So far, we have learned to read only a few of these responses. We can watch them react to environment. We can watch them select the bodys medicine. It is a new approach to reality, a more intimate approach than the orthodox homoeopathic. Whereas symptomatology is an autonomic effect, it is better to observe the autonomic operations directly-i.e., functions directed by the involuntary nerves.
Originally, the discovery that reflexes could be utilized therapeutically was made by Dr. George Starr White and Dr. Albert Abrams. Each utilized the phenomena in some-what different ways, but it is interesting that the percussion technique was a favorite with each. White explained the abdominal changes in percussion-note by calling in the sympathetic part of the general involuntary nervous system. We have gone farther than he by giving the involuntary nervous network a place subordinate to a remoter and deeper integrator of bodily functions which we have called the autonomic mechanism. But the work with the reflexes mentioned in the previous section-the reaction to persons, plants and drugs-would never have taken place had it not been for the earlier discoveries of White and Abrams.
Abrams in particular specified and elaborated these autonomic reactions. He found that dull spots on the abdomen could be induced by various external influences; for instance, by the presence, without contact, of diseased tissue or of a diseased person. Moreover, he found that different kinds of illness tended to elicit these dull spots in characteristic and constant areas. Finally, he found that a few drops of blood from a patient caused the same dull areas to form on the subjects abdomen as the patients presence.
In ordinary living things there appeared to be a radiant factor capable of influencing the abdominal reflexes of a subject. The next step was to devise some sort of instrument that would tune these radiations selectively, so that they might be admitted to the reagent-the subject-singly instead of together. In this manner the abdominal responses became more sharply defined and clearer. Since different types of reflex responses indicated different conditions in the blood or patient under analysis, it was possible, after years of correlation with clinical states, to build up a system of diagnosis.
This new approach to reality was called “electronics” in the mistaken idea that the electron was the basic factor involved in the phenomena. At that time the electron seemed the ultimate particle of matter. Today we know that at least half a dozen ultimate particle exist, each as important as the electron. This mistaken premise, and lack of physical knowledge on the part of those who developed the instruments used by “electronists”, led to inconsistencies that finally engulfed the whole movement. Despite his errors, however, Abrams made one of the profoundest discoveries of modern times. We are just beginning to fit it into our mosaic of natural sciences.
Another significant approach to reality has been worked out by Dr. Wm. E. Boyd of Glasgow. Like the “electronist”, he analyzes blood radiations. But he uses a special tuner developed by himself, the emanometer, which differs from the Abrams instrument. The emanometer, when properly used in conjunction with a human subject, is one of the most sensitive detectors ever developed.
In principle and delicacy it differs more from the coarse tuners used by the “electronist” than a modern thirty-tube differs from one of the original crystal sets. Contrary to statements often made, Boyds instrument is an independent, unique, and thoroughly scientific approach to the problem of blood and drug radiations. It distinguishes, by its tuning system, from different potencies of the same drug; further, it discriminates amongst potencies identical except for the number of succussions applied to them.
It does not diagnose disease as such: it analyzes bodily states. By much clinical correlation Boyd has learned that generally certain analyses are apt to coincide with specific clinical states-cancer, tuberculosis, inflammation, infiltration, and so forth. When the blood picture is abnormal, he tests a series of drugs until one is found which, when placed in the emanometer circuit together with the patients blood, restores a normal picture by canceling out the energies indicating disease and raising the intensity of energies representing the vital factors of the patient.
The physical basis for these phenomena are the interference effects which can take place between radiations. Interactions occur between the blood and drug energies. The abnormal blood energies, those representing unbalance and disease activity, are neutralized. The correct homoeopathic remedy will accomplish this neutralization if placed in the emanometer circuit. This shows that Boyd and the homoeopathist are approaching one fundamental reality from different directions.
These approaches to reality have opened channels for the mind so that it can sense a new aspect of symptoms. They lead into the field of autonomic functions and broaden this field beyond that of the autonomic nervous system so that it includes every hidden aspect of life as it has expanded from the beginning. But these approaches have shed no light on potentization. Hahnemann bequeathed it to posterity as a “spirit-like force”. Korsakoff and Fincke advanced the idea that potentization is a sort of contamination process. Their intuition was correct but they could present no definite proof. Recently however, this factor has come into the field of reality.
This approach was made by E. Pfeiffer of Dornach, Switzerland. He had observed that frost patterns on the windows of different stores were unlike. A florists window gave curving, plant-like forms, a butchers window angular arrangements of the frost crystals. Pfeiffer made artificial frost patterns whose formation he found he could modify by adding various foreign substances.
He then abandoned these water crystallizations for salt crystallizations-and the salt he finally settled on as the most satisfactory was copper chloride. It invariably gave a characteristic crystal formation, provided the environment was kept constant. But the presence of impurities, of minute quantities of plant tinctures, caused the formations to change characteristically. The addition of belladonna, for instance, always gave a recognizable crystal pattern not duplicated by any other substances. Finally, Pfeiffer found that blood also influenced the crystallization. Different animal bloods gave characteristic patterns.
So did human blood. In fact, blood from a sick person gave quite different effects from healthy blood. And the kind of illness further modified the crystallization. In this fashion. Pfeiffer arrived at a method of diagnosis. By crystallizing copper chloride to which a patients blood had been added, he could tell from the crystal configurations the general type of ailment, much of the past history, and the localization of such pathology as tumors, inflammation, and the like. Still more remarkable, Pfeiffer found, independently of Boyd, that if the patients remedy were added to the copper chloride solution together with the blood, the resulting crystal pattern would be normal, showing none of the crystal forms indicative of disease.
What more proof could be desired that the right potentized remedy, by whatever method chosen, actually tends to restore the normal tissue and functional structures of the ailing body? Here again are the evident the objective and subjective aspects, the objective blood and the process of crystallization; and the subjective evaluation and interpretation of the crystal formations. Here too the autonomic lurks in the background as the conditioning agent of the blood-that which allows the blood to express the nature of the patients affliction. A completed blood crystallization is a changeless monument to natural forces working from a remoter plane into the world of perceptible phenomena.
Moreover, Pfeiffer found that successive dilutions of a substance, each time in the ratio of 1 to 10, caused a change in the crystallization pattern up to the 30th such dilution. Beyond this he did not go; but the highest dilution still gave an effect. It is interesting to note that no molecules of the original substance could have persisted beyond the 18th or 20th dilution.
Thus Pfeiffer confirmed the intuitions of Korsakoff and Fincke that the effect of a potentized drug is transmitted from one vial or vehicle to the next long after the drug molecules have disappeared. The ability of a high, ultra-molecular potency to produce a change in crystallization should settle for all time the acrimonious disputes between those who have known that high potencies contain the qualities of the original drug (not necessarily the original molecules) and those who did not believe it.
Here are four approaches to reality. Had he known of them, Lippe could have made his prescription of Lac can. with whichever he chose to use. There was an objective relation between the drug and the impotent patient. Any approach to reality should have indicated the relation. Lippe solved the problem by a study of the symptoms. He might have observed the autonomic responses. He might have worked out the case on Boyds emanometer. Or he might have determined the remedy from Pfeiffers crystallization.
Thus all these approaches converge to a common centre. Each represents a separate ideology until they are viewed together. Then they fuse perfectly, and a new structure emerges, each part separated yet all uniting into a perfect whole. Examine this structure and you will observe that wherever there is a gap in one part it acts as a mortice into which fits a tenon from its adjacent part, just as the parts in a frame building fit together. Through them are explained the two main aspects of homoeopathy: on the one hand, drug potentization as elucidated by Pfeiffers crystallization work and, on the other hand, the rationalization of symptoms by relating them to the autonomic mechanism.