Long clinical experience has conclusively proven that for the homoeopathic treatment, regardless of the type of the illness, the characteristic emotional and mental traits of the patient himself represent the most practical guide towards the selection of the effective medicine. In the experiment upon healthy individuals, that medicine must have reproduced not only a state similar to the physical illness but also a picture of the very emotional and temperamental traits of the patient. This verified empirical rule would imply that the happenings, both on the psycho-emotional, as well as on the organo-physiological level, are among the fundamental elements behind what to us presents itself as disease. In the sense that both psychic and somatic elements are involved, we may be entitled to look upon most every disorder as a psychosomatic one.
Thus, encouraged by our clinical approach, we may be tempted into the generalization that perchance every such disturbance could be dealt with simply by prescribing a medicine selected on the basis of its psychosomatic similarity; we may expect that medicine always to remove the whole pathology, both psychic and somatic, thus entirely doing away with the need for any psychotherapeutic approaches. Those claims have actually arisen in our midst and they are backed up by many instances of actual therapeutic success in mental diseases as well as in physical disorders with attending emotional symptoms. Yet, alas, life is not so simple that any one single approach could encompass the great variety of its phenomena.
Every prescriber who is but willing to admit to himself the unpleasant truth may look back upon a goodly number of patients who, with or without the guideposts of marked mental symptoms, have failed to show a lasting response to the similimum, both psycho-emotionally or physically. PArticularly, those patients who show a strong emotional background and thus furnish what we would consider the most excellent mental guiding symptoms for exact prescribing not infrequently shock us by this most conspicuous failure of response to the remedy.
It is as though their very psychological impasse presented a barrier to a permanent restoration of health, ever had again re-establishing pathology after but temporary improvements. Thus, we have to face up to an utterly paradoxical situation. The patients mentals,” namely his psychological status, in some cases furnish the foremost leads for a successful therapeutic prescription, yet in other cases these same “mentals” may be met as obstacles to recovery.
In order to gain a viewpoint from which these contradictory facts can be related to each other as differing aspects of one fundamental phenomenon, a basic consideration of the interrelation of biologic and psychic functions will have to be attempted.
When we think of the psyche we frequently tend to explain its function as purely biologic or physiochemical processes. The fact that our psychological biologic dynamism is so strongly motivated by basic instincts as hunger, self-preservation and sexuality, which, in turn, are dependent on hormonal and autonomic nervous activities, supports this attitude. However, in a similar fashion the life processes themselves are interdependent with physical and chemical processes in their turn and yet are not identical with them. Also life cannot be understood by considering it mere complicated chemistry; rather it has to be taken as a qualitatively different basic phenomenon in itself which is served by chemistry and in turn is dependent on its servant, but not identical with it.
Similarly, psychic processes are interwoven with biologic functions and instincts, but the peculiar human qualities of consciousness, of willing and thinking even against the instinctual demands, are new and distinctive entities. They evolve out of purely animalic life, yet follow different laws of their own. Even within the very psychic processes themselves an analogous further differentiation takes place, as modern depth psychology has shown; the unconscious and automatic functions become related to an ego center and thus attain an entirely new quality, consciousness.
Summarizing, we have a peculiar chain of facts: chemistry by becoming more complicated, borders into life. Life, on the one side, has the aspect of highly evolved chemistry; on the other hand, it represents an entirely different, new entity which is not chemistry. Biologic functioning, through hormonal and nervous activity, manifests itself in the instinctual drives which, on the one side, are highly differentiated biologic functions, yet in their psychic differentiation represent something entirely new and different.
Out of the instincts evolves psychic existence culminating in an ego consciousness, a cumulative refinement resulting in the emergence of a new quality. This chain of evolution we see further continued when we realize that even our ego consciousness finds itself confronted with an entity which we feel as contained in our soul, on the one side, and yet, on the other hand, superordinated and above our personal existence and thus different from ourselves. With varying names we have called it ethical, moral, divine, spirit, God immanent (as our highest evolutionary center) and God transcendent (as we experience it apart from ourselves).
Thus, evolution seems to advance, on the one side, in a continuous chain; on the other hand, by introducing ever new and diversified variations, on different levels. Each of these is distinct and unique in itself; and yet there are also repertory patterns, mutual interactions as well as continuous transformations of impulses and energies, from the various levels to each other.
This phenomenon of homogeneous continuity through discontinuous differentiated entities, like and yet different, might leave us in a hopeless logical impasse, were it not for the fact that we may profit from the experience of modern physic which successfully dealt with an analogous situation. The nearest example is the theory of light, which is considered to be of a continuous, is the theory of light, which is considered to be of a continuous, vibratory, yet at the same time of a discontinuous, corpuscular nature, these logically contradictory explanations proving to be mutually complementary in terms of mathematics and practical experience.
Applicable to our problem is the fact that long and short waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, Roentgen and radium (gamma) rays represent different and diversified qualities, yet, at the same time, are but variations of same basic, though, in its essential nature, unknown energy. Evidencing a continuous chain of phenomenal uniformity which we called spectrum, the various elements of the spectrum nevertheless represent essentially different qualities with different phenomenological laws and effects.
C.G. Jung [ C.G. JUNG: Der Geist der Psychologie. Eranos Jahrbuch, 1946, Rhein Verlag, Zuerich] first drew attention to the analogy between the above phenomenology in physics and the findings of analytical psychic elements, conscious psyche and representations of basic spiritual patterns (referred to as archetypes), all of them qualitatively unique entities yet on different levels, as it were representing analogous, quasi-repetitory phenomena.
As a practical working hypothesis, we might adopts this comparison with a spectral band and extend it through the whole of psychosomatic existence from an organic functioning through biochemistry, from biologic life processes through instincts and the realm of the psyche. Just as in the radiation spectrum the visible light is that part which alone is accessible to our direct perception, in the human spectrum, consciousness, like an isolated reception, in the human spectrum, consciousness, like an isolated island, borders on the “invisible” unconscious elements above and below.
As visible light flows into the invisible infrared and thence into short waves and long waves below, and into ultraviolet, leading to high frequency energy above, so the “visible,” conscious psyche flows below into the unconscious of the instincts which lead on to biology and chemistry, and above into the ethical and religious experience leading into the realm of the spirit. In a simplified way we thus may consider the physiologic functioning the bottom layer of the unconscious.
However, the human spectrum is not static and two dimensional but moves on in never-ending evolutional changes which include the space (central versus peripheral manifestation) as well as time factor (coexistence of past factors as well as future trends in a given symptom picture). This fascinating quality of four dimensionality would however, exceed the limit of our subject were we to discuss it now.
The evolutional changes are characterized by slow progressions and regressions, as well as by rather tempestuous concentrations of energy, alternating with phases of comparative calm, Ever and again, there is an emergence of what we may liken to storm centers of accumulated energy with subsequent release of tension, when a forward step has been enforced or the strength of the impulse has spent itself. To our subjective experience, such storm centers present themselves as physiologic or Psychologie disturbances. Their symptoms depend upon the area of the “spectrum” in which they stir as well as upon their intensity, which results in various degrees of extension into the adjoining regions.
Like in a model experiment, we can study the peculiar spread of the disturbances of an energetic field by watching what happens when a stone drops into the the water. The intensity of the spreading wave ripples diminishes with distance. When the spread is blocked by an obstacle, the waves are reflected; turning back, they add to the original disturbance and confuse its pattern. In analogy, the energetic disturbance, created by a storm center in the human “spectrum,” tends to spread into the adjoining areas in ratio to the intensity of the central field, diminishing with the degree of spread. When the extension meets a barrier the energetic flow is intensity; turning back, it adds to the original disturbance, changing its pattern and bringing forth expressions in different directions. In this way, the empirically so-well0known symptomatology of suppression is accounted for.
For instance, a “storm center” situation in the “area” of hormonal and autonomic regulation will affects the directly adjoining field of organ functions and biochemistry, perhaps giving rise to circulatory or rheumatic disorders. the upward extension would affect the instinctual sphere and hence produce mental symptoms, typical perhaps for menopause or puberty. According to our hypothesis, a blocking of the extension in one direction should intensify the flow of disorder into the opposite one. Actually, we have observed that thwarted organic expressions (stopped discharges or rashes, removal of organs, etc.) may often be followed by more serious disorder, even by mental disturbances. Conversely, mental repressions of instinctual conflicts preventing their extension into consciousness, lead to disturbances lower down in the organic sphere, as confirmed by the psychosomatic literature of recent years.
Obviously, the optimal therapeutic approach depends upon the correct diagnosis of the “location” of the focus of the turbulence and, secondly, upon the understanding of how the various therapeutic methods affect those different areas of the “spectrum.” The homoeopathic provings seem to suggest that the potentized medicine exerts its main effect upon the lower part where chemistry and vitality meet. From there, a further downward spread of its action affects gross chemistry and organic structure; the upward extension of its energy reaches into the instincts, desires, aversions and temperamental traits.
The more material effect of allopathic dosage, chemical and mechanical therapy (infusions, surgery, etc.) centers even further down towards gross chemistry and substance structure. The psychotherapeutic approach, in turn, acts directly upon the upper sphere where our consciousness is in interplay with the unconscious instincts on the one side, and the unconscious spiritual life; its downward extension, through instinctual and hormonal nervous regulation, may affect the physiologic and biochemic organ functioning.
Probably the main difficulty in diagnosing the central focus of the energetic disturbance is accounted for by the fact that the patients awareness of symptoms is determined by the “wave ripples” which happen to reach his little island of consciousness. In registering these we cannot the sure, at first, where they originated and whether all the waves actually reached our observation point. Many a storm may be subjectively asymptomatic by not reaching our consciousness island at all; many messages are received only indirectly from secondary manifestations.
For instance, a condition manifesting, let us say, as cholecytopathy may, in one instance, be the extension of a constitutionally inherited hormonal, secretory and autonomic nervous imbalance and thus require a constitutional medical approach. In another case, the same picture may arise from an unconscious repressed psychological conflict situation of which, at first, we perceive only the organo-physiologic reverberations. In turn, one case with predominantly mental disturbances may represent a deadlocked psychological conflict; another one with similar symptoms may arise through organic imbalances.
At this point, two short case histories are offered which, by their comparative similarity, illustrate the difficulty of deciding for the best therapeutic approach.
Mrs. M.L. age 49, for 10 years suffering from weekly attacks of severe migraine. The attacks are left-sided, with pains that feel like piercing the eye, attended by a globus sensation in the throat abdominal cramps and vomiting. The patient it irritable, over sensitive, easily offended, cries easily, feels worse before the period, worse from exposure to the sun, worse from approaching thunderstorms, chilly but better in open air and craves sweets. She is married to a much older, very fickle man by whom she is utterly dominated and seemingly not too well treated. Her emotional attitude being of a still rather adolescent character, she cannot cope with her situation, except by fits of rage and despair.
Under Sulfur and Sepia there is a general constitutional improvement along with prompt control of intercurrent acute disturbances; yet, over a period of six year, the migraine tendency persists. At the end of this time, an analysis of the unconscious is started. As she becomes aware that in her marriage relation she unconsciously still lived her childhood and adolescent pattern towards her also quite domineering father and succeeds in acquiring a more mature emotional outlook, she succeeds in holding her own in her present relation. A new modus vivendi is established in her marital situation and now, for a year, there has been neither any recurrence of migraine nor of any of the other frequent acute disorders that formerly plagued her.
Miss J.C. age 24. Attacks of unexplainable compulsive terror and apprehension, seizing and almost paralyzing her when walking in the street. Feels as though she would faint, with cold perspiration, heart palpitations and trembling all over. She is irritable, impatient, cannot cry, feels better during her menstrual period. She is unhappy and frustrated in her relation to her fiance whom she thinks she does not love; however, neither is she able to deny herself to him or to effect a break. she cant say “No,” to a man.
Also, here, an immature emotional attitude is confirmed by her dependence on a domineering father with whom she still lives and from whom she can not tear herself loose. Sepia 1M, single dose, completely removes the, to her, so threatening symptom complex; this in spite of the still persisting personal difficulty. For several months there has been no recurrence, though, in the face of the general background, there are doubts about the future. Here, apparently, a basic, hormonal autonomic nervous liability was responsible for the excessively upsetting effect of a fairly average personal problem, thus justifying a medical approach.
An understanding of this intricate and contradictory soul body relationship may protect us from the mistake of considering a case incurable or of changing the remedy when a correct prescription does not seem to work. The difficulty may simply lie in the fact that one particular approach had, for the time at least, reached its limit of practical applicability.
Undoubtedly, our understanding is still extremely fragmentary and our auxiliary hypothesis may perhaps appear rather complicated and far fetched. We ought to remember, however, that our position is similar to that of physics, in respect to unclear research, where we have progressed to that point where the utterly abstract and complicated findings cannot be made clear except by means of structural models which are but pictorial analogies or symbols. Also the atom model does not represent an actually observable reality, but, like our “spectrum,” is the best possible way of expressing something unperceivable, by means of a comparison or symbolic representation.
Such are our stumbling attempts, also, in medicine to proceed from a static, mechanistic approach to one that reckons in terms of fluctuating energies. Physics has outgrown its mechanistic childhood. so has, in part at least, the still comparatively recent science of psychology. It is time, also, for medicine now to shoulder the difficult task and free itself from the shackles of the mechanistic thinking which was the heritage of the nineteenth century.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK.
DR. ROGER A. SCHMIDT [ San Francisco, Calif.]; This paper finished the day with appropriate fireworks. This is another paper for mature minds. Dr. Whitmont has brought us another valuable paper in exploring this so keenly and analyzing in scholarly terms some of the problems that baffle all homoeopaths.
There are some of us who believe that recognition of homoeopathy will be achieved by explaining it through physic. Dr. Whitmont, given time, will get it through psychology. Dr. Whitmont is a good semanticist, and he proves it by approaching these interrelated four-dimensional problems and exposing their complexity and relativity. The human beings is indeed very different from animals, and the keynote of the difference is consciousness. We all have had these neurotic cases loaded with hundreds of mental symptoms, and fail to individualize them because the symptoms are common and it is almost impossible to select and grade them.
Repertorization in such cases should be based on characteristics in other sphere and must be in the detection of causal factors if the successful medicine is to be found.
Dr. Whitmonts attempt is to be commended. His paper is an inspiration, and I look forward to seeing it published, and having an opportunity of scrutinizing it more closely.
DR. MARION BELLE ROOD (Lapeer, Mich.]: I should like to ask Dr. Whitmont, remembering some of his very charming papers on Phosphorus and on Calcarea carb., showing the tendency of Calcarea to oval shapes, and so on, the shape of the oyster shell, which is related to it, and the corresponding mental states which is some other example, say rock salt, which makes a cubic structure in its crystal, and shows radiation in the infra red which it emits and equally absorbs-where are you going to correlate those facts with the consciousness of the patient who needs salt, Natrum mur., for his long-lasting grief, a fact so well-known to every homoeopath and even recognized, it seems to me, symbolically.
Lots wife was turned to a pillar of salt for looking backward and mourning for the past. Just where does Dr. Whitmont locate the consciousness, which is studied so elaborately by the psychiatrist and his psychology, with what, so far as I know, only homoeopathy has contributed to medicine, some correlation between the drug provings and the emotions of the conscious self?.
DR. A.H. GRIMMER [Chicago, Ill.]: All I want to do is to thank Dr. Whitmont for bringing this to us. It is a very deep and well- thought-out paper, and it goes to the very heart of things in homoeopathy. There is nothing I can add to what he has said. I thoroughly endorse it because he touches on things that are so vital. Unless we take those things into consideration, many of our mental states, many of our mental wrecks, we will be unable to help. He gave us key to that in this paper.
I should really feel more like discussing if I, like Dr. Schmidt, had a little more time to read it over and think it over. There is a lot of meat to it. I thank the Doctor for bringing it to us.
DR. EDWARD C. WHITMONT (closing); If I attempt to answer Dr. Roods question, I am afraid we will spend some time here; however, I should like at least briefly to attempt this. The correspondence is there and the correlation lies in what we might call a law of correspondences.
You see, if we go back to the comparison of the spectrum, this comparison is more than a comparison. I think it is an actual basic phenomenon that we have caught here, that is really a practical working hypothesis. In the spectrum you have different levels. You have, you might say, the radio wave, the light, and you have the gamma rays, and the all the certain phenomena in common, yet perform these phenomena, as it were, in different languages. It is, in other words, as though you said the same word in French, and in Chinese, and in English. It has the same meaning but it sounds entirely different, and to the one who is not initiated in languages, it will look like three different words, but the meanings of those words correspond.
Now, the language of chemistry, of biology, and of the psyche are three different languages but corresponding phenomena occur in them, and you might compare that situation with the one when you strike a tuning fork. You hear the tone, but another tuning fork, having the same tone an octave higher, will also start vibrating; however, not with the same intensity. A tone struck on one level will always meet a relation in the octaves. These are the correspondences.
Now. A certain entity on the chemical level may mean all that we know, lets say, about the activity of Sulphur, the yellow shade, the oxidating power, and so forth. The same phenomenon in the language of biology you will find in disturbed oxidation processes and congested circulation. Maybe congestion and oxidizing will always burn up products, and you find cases so typically in slag, and so forth. It is the same phenomenon on a Psychologie level which means a person never finishes anything, who has a hundred thousand ideas but never can burn them up sufficiently. You have, three times, the same thing but expressed in three different languages.