Clarke J H
WE have had illuminating articles in our pages of late on Homoeopathic Progress in France, and again on Homoeopathy in Germany, and now we have received a lengthy document in the form of a “Memorandum” from an eminent member of the British Homoeopathic Association, which may be regarded as the apologia pro vita sua of that institution. The document is too prolix for publication in full, so we will make a few salient extracts. “Our whole problem,” says the writer,” is to attract QUALIFIED men,” The capitals are the writers. The supposition appears to be that having been once “attracted,” duly qualified medical persons will immediately be consumed with a devouring appetite to be taught the art of curing homoeopathically.
“How are we to induce them to come?” That is the “next” problem if it is not in reality the same and we are told that we must be “careful” not to bait the trap set to catch the unwary graduates, with “abuse”; which we do not suppose any sane person outside the B.H.A. ever thought of doing. Another thing we are told is that “boasting” will not catch them; and we never imagined that that would “attract” anybody either; but the B.H.A. seems to think that it might.
What then is the all-potent “attraction” guaranteed to draw the qualified? Here it is: “Steady work and infinite patience, with quick grasping of opportunities.” And we are told which is news to us that “That is Natures way.” We have seen and heard a good deal of “Nature,” but we have never observed her on the “grasp,” or on the grab, as our friends of the B.H.A. seem to have done.
“Will advertising do it?” Yes; the “right kind,” of course; that is to say advertisements in the orthodox medical papers! These advertisements pay the papers very well indeed, and do them no sort of harm, the sight of its own advertisements of its medical course “in column with the rest of the Medical Schools” fills the super-modest breast of the B.H.A. with a most ecstatic glow. Indeed this “has entirely changed the status of Homoeopathy in this country”.
The result of this change of status is that “we have now got the largest staff of homoeopathic physicians that the L.H.H. has ever known.” But it seems there is a “bitter cry” from somewhere that London is served whilst the provinces starve. Nevertheless “with us” by “us” we presume that the Council of the B.H.A. is meant “Homoeopathy has always been the aim even world-wide Homoeopathy never London Homoeopathy”.
The chief agencies in producing this happy change apart from increasing the advertising receipts of the allopathic journals are the Sir Henry Tyler Scholarships and the Paid Clinical Clerkships, the result of which is that the country is flooded with fully instructed men (and women, we suppose, though this is not mentioned) “very keen, and doing excellent work”.
This is all news to us, and we hope it is true. But there are other signs of victory: “For the first time in history one of the leading medical journals a couple of years ago “ASKED FOR” note the capitals! “ASKED FOR and published a paper on Homoeopathy.” If the sky didnt fall on that tremendous event it surely ought to have done!.
After such a glorious piece of patronage and condescension it is only fair that the Allopathic journals should be still further placated by sending them more and more highly profitable advertisements profitable, that is, to the journals. The London University having scornfully rejected Lady Durning-Lawrences bequest, the money is still to go into allopathic offers, thanks to the “turn the other cheek” policy of the B.H.A. This is how it is to be done:
“With the Durning-Lawrence money, no need to stint advertisements because of their cost.” Certainly not!.
Now, what does all this amount to? We can call it nothing else but snobbery of a peculiarly nauseous kind. The custodians of Truth prostrating themselves before Established Ignorance, licking its boots until not a particle of blacking is left in sight, with the aim of attracting a patronising smile, if not an embrace!.
The basic fallacy and folly at the root of all this is a quasi ecclesiastical notion that “Established Medicine” has some divine right embodied in it which homoeopaths are bound to respect; that the General Medical Council has a divine mission to keep the morals of the profession pure.
The G.M.C. has its uses, very important, not to say essential ones. But it has no divine inspiration behind it such as our B.H.A. friends seem to imagine. It is, in fact, nothing more than our own creation the child of our votes. We can tell a little story of the G.M.C. which illustrates the point. A good many years ago a friend of ours had been informed against by a homoeopathic member of the Medical Ogpu of the day, doubtless consumed with zeal for purity in professional life, as having been guilty of the heinous crime of “covering” an unqualified practitioner.
The G.M.C., as in duty bound, came down on the delinquent like a thousand of bricks in the usual way. The reply of the culprit was that a slight error had been made in drawing up the indictment. The practitioner whom he was accused of “covering,” though not registered was not “unqualified,” he being possessed of a foreign medical degree. Moreover, the patient on whose case the criminal consultation was held was the said practitioner;s own wife!.
Neither the G.M.C. nor its Ogpu informer had anything to say after that. The explanatory letter of the criminal was never acknowledged, the G.M.C. not having even the grace of a telephone girl to say “Sorry you have been troubled.” But the morals of the profession were safeguarded, for which we ought all to be truly thankful, as we have no doubt the B.H.A. devoutly is. Our friend did not take the trouble to find out the name of the puritanical brother who had denounced him.
Another true story will illustrate the basic fallacy at the root of all the B.H.A.seasonings, and operations. Their notion seems to be that you have only to “attract” practitioners to believe in homoeopathy in order to make good homoeopaths out of them. You might as well expect to make Beethovens out of the masses by inducing them to listen to a few symphony concerts. Or, you might expect Trades Union Rules to build modern cathedrals like those miracles of Art in stone which are the wonder of the present age and which grew out of the genius of the workers who were all artists from the humblest masons to the highest designers.
Homoeopathy is an Art, and not one art only, but a countless number of arts, and every practitioner of it must master the one his own genius selects. But if a practitioner has not the holy spirit of genius to inspire and inform his work he will be far wiser to confine himself to the kind of work for which he has the requisite talents.
And now for our other short story. Many years ago we met at dinner at the house of a homoeopath a young Guys student from the West Indies, the son of a lady who was a very clever lay- homoeopath, and whose advice was eagerly sought all over the island. We naturally asked the boy if he was not going to study homoeopathy. He replied that he was not. Indeed, his mother had enjoined him not to: “Dont you think of studying Homoeopathy, William,” she had said, “you are not clever enough.” The mother was quite right, and the boy understood it. He became a very worthy and capable allopathic doctor. Clearly there was more wisdom in that good ladys “unqualified” little finger than in the entire possecomitatus of the B.H.A.
There are qualifications and qualifications. Hahnemanns genius did not run to the repertorial arrangement of his materials. But the “unqualified” Jahrs genius filled the gap and out of Jahrs work all the Repertories since his time, including Kents, have grown. Jahr died in poverty. Another Repertoriser of genius was that brilliant practitioner Baron C. von Boenninghausen.
But, Boenninghausen was also academically “unqualified,” although inspired by the holy spirit of the art of cure. Boenninghausen was granted authority to practice by a Cabinet order of King Frederick William IV of Prussia. Thus it comes about that both these pioneers of Homoeopathy, on whose works we are still building at the present day, had no qualifications for their lifes work except those which were bestowed on them by their Creator; and as these cannot be measured, or tested in examination halls, they are naturally of no account with G.M.C.s or B.H.A.s.