When I was a very small child, we had a homoeopathic doctor who had twinkling, smiling eyes and gray curls hanging all around his neck, a long curly beard, too, and a sympathetic understanding of children and grownups. Ten to one he would have one or two of us in his lap while he questioned by mother as to our ills. His long black bag on the floor aroused our curiosity; perhaps we each received a little bottle of pills. There was no thought of asepsis.
I am not arguing that asepsis and physical tests are unimportant. I would have both. I am emphasizing that the heart of the doctor was there, that his patients perceived that fact and responded with openhearted recital of symptoms, so the doctor could, almost by intuition, see the characteristic of the indicated remedy. That is, he could if he were a student of materia medica seeking the heart of his remedies.
Three years later in another city I had severe whooping cough complicated by lobar pneumonia because I had taken cold during the prodromal period. We then had another homoeopathic, doctor, a different type, a silent, quiet man with the same penetrating sympathy in his eyes but not the jollity. He came and sat by bed by the hour, watching, counting pulse-beats, counting respirations, listening to the cough, estimating effect of hard paroxysms on heart and vitality. He would go away for several hour, come back and watch again, day and night.
There were no clinical thermometers then, no blood pressure apparatus, no blood typing, no specifics for this or that type of pneumonia only the patients themselves to watch, effects of changes in behavior to estimate. I grew worse and worse, went along to a typical crisis, then turned to slow convalescence. I nearly died but I can remember that calm, friendly silent man by my bed watching and giving me courage.
Now, it seems to me Homoeopathy is like that, full of student minds, full of patients, eager to become acquainted with personalities and then to watch reactions of remedies prescribed according to homoeopathic principles. In the old days this sort of work was all the doctors knew and they made excellent reputations for themselves and for Homoeopathy.
Gradually in the intervening years, study of diseases as such grew in importance until today homoeopathic prescribing is snubbed and scoffed at. Medical students are advised to let it alone.
It is relevant to notice that while this development is going on and most of the genuine subscribers are old people, the thought of the deepest students in basic sciences, philosophies, social studies, religious groups is turning more and more to homoeopathic principles without these students recognizing the name of what they are thinking.
There is a meeting ground in all this and we hope to walk on it, just as we hope to find a meeting ground between our country and Russia.
The young homoeopathic prescribers in these days have been through thorough training in treatment of the patient as a physical machine. They search for specifics for diseases. Recently they are taught more of psychology and something of psychosomatic medicine. Whether they yet recognize that man is a triune being to be treated as a whole and not as a collection of parts is questionable, but they are on their way to a common meeting ground.
Homoeopathy, in my opinion, should walk along with these people; should acquire their medical education and then place Homoeopathy on top of it as a post-graduate study. Such homoeopathic physicians will then be read to use undergraduate methods for physicians of comparison only.
In order to reach common ground the regular physician must be willing to entertain a new concept with an open mind and the homoeopathic physician must be cordial to all phases of the thinking of the regulars. Homoeopathic principles will then be perceived in their true light and illustrations of them will be accepted.