GENERAL INTERPRETATION by Stuart Close
The Philosophy of Homoeopathy rests upon the following general interpretations of the System of Nature which Science universally recognizes as fundamental.
1. The laws and ways of Nature are uniform and harmonious.
2. Effects follow caused in unbroken succession.
3. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
4. Action and reaction are ceaseless, equivalent and reciprocal
5. Motion is ceaseless and transformation continuous.
6. Matter is indestructible and infinitely divisible.
7. Force is persistent and indestructible.
8. The quantity of action necessary to effect any change in nature is the least possible.
*The following propositions, slightly modified from the original are drawn from Von Grauvogl’s Text Book of Homoeopathy. (Nuremburg, 1865; London, New York, and Chicago, 1870. Trans. by George E. Shipman, M.D.)
The aim of all science is to set up in place of the contingent that which law makes *necessary, and to refer every particular to its universal.
These two predicates connect science with things.
We must hold fast intellectually to the useful things which the past has produced. We must gain *space in *time but *living space. Not by the empiric accumulation of facts *perceived (the facts of perception), but by their well weighed *appreciation, according to the eternal laws of nature, is their existence secured for all time. Facts which this criterion rejects are worthless scientifically.
Hence in homoeopathy we strive not only to separate the contingency from the event, *i.e. to determine the causal succession from what has taken place, but also to become master of that contingency which makes our judgment uncertain. The Contingency of our judgment of the facts, arrived at experimentally by the process of analysis, must be removed synthetically by connecting the laws of nature with the facts, so that we may be able to show their interdependence and act accordingly. In this synthesis, or connecting of our perceptions, conducted simultaneously with experimentation, consists the Art of observation.
All conceptions of our inner being, as well as external things, are based primarily upon the perceptions of our senses (including consciousness, or the “inner sense”) But the formation of our ideas, judgments and conclusions must result from determinate, objective laws, inherent in the things themselves and their constitution, and not from caprice.
Every event in the circle of natural phenomena has a * conditional necessity, since it can only result from its precedents and depends upon them. This conditional necessity results from the primary *unconditional necessity of the fundamental laws of nature and their absolute truth.
Laws of nature are the forms by which the constant course of natural phenomena from given causes and conditions may be expressed.
Laws do not cause the existence of events or phenomena. By virtue of the laws we may explain to ourselves, intellectually, not the existence, but the connection of phenomena, and so come to understand their development and conditions.
We understand phenomena, not by any apparent properties of the phenomena themselves, but by intuitive perception or immediate consciousness of the fundamental laws. Such laws as the law of cause and effect, the equivalence and contrariety of action and reaction, the constancy of matter and force, are intuitively perceived to be the ultimate reason of which we can have any knowledge.
Laws of nature, in general, are deductions of experience and observations with regard to the necessary course of events or phenomena from given elements the ultimate course which lies beyond physical science in the domain of metaphysics.
That which *changes the regular course of states and events, however, results in consequence of causes which may be determined by physical science by considering the fundamental laws of nature.
Every change of state or event has a number of causes, known as primary and secondary causes, or as cause and conditions.
A spark of fire, put into a barrel of powder, is the cause of the explosion that follows. The chemical composition of the constituents of the powder and their mode of combination supply the necessary *conditions for explosion to occur.
Every change implies or presupposes something constant, that is something with at least two opposite tendencies. Chemistry,*e.g. rests upon the law of constancy of bodies and forces, the law of chemical affinity and the law of definite proportions or equivalence.
In accordance with the law of constancy of bodies and forces, all bodies remain essentially the same under all circumstances. Chlorine remains chlorine, and hydrogen remains hydrogen always. Only as they are combined according to the laws of chemical affinity, and certain definite proportions do they change *their state and become hydrochloric acid. The cause of this result lies in the art of the chemist. The conditions lie in the specific affinity of these bodies for each other and for other bodies. The effect is to change their two states into one in the form of hydrochloric acid.
The cause of tuberculosis is the tubercle bacillus.
The necessary conditions for (secondary causes of) the action of the bacillus are the peculiar bodily constitution, predisposition, susceptibility and environment of the patient. Without these concomitant conditions or causes, no one would ever have tuberculosis.
Thus in order to explain by science or accomplish by art a complex result, many laws must be considered, *but especially the law of reciprocal action.
All changes in nature are the result of the reciprocal action (action and reaction) of bodies and forces. But here an important distinction must be made between animate and inanimate bodies and forces; between living organisms and machines.
Reciprocal action is mediate and immediate. Within the living organism, bodies and forces act immediately the one upon the other, by virtue of the living fellowship of all its parts. In a machine they act mediately.
The motion of all parts of a machine depends, at every moment, upon the force of the external cause alone, the machine remaining constantly passive to the action of the force.
The machine cannot supply itself with oil, repair the losses it suffers from rust, friction, etc. nor reproduce itself in whole or in part. It knows no need and feels no necessity for any of these things.
The living organism, on the contrary, does know and feel its need and seeks to supply it. The living organism also receives external substances and their forces into itself, yet they are not the sole causes of its motions, but only for the nourishment of the constantly active parts.
Substances taken into the organism from without remain *passive within the organism, while the organism towards them is active. Food does not pass spontaneously into the blood, nor is the blood changed spontaneously into bile or urine, but these things occur by virtue of *living, intelligent, reciprocal causes and effects residing and taking place within the organism, according to determinate specific laws. Hence a machine is the complete opposite of an organism.
Science derives its knowledge of Life from a consideration of the facts of observation and experience in connection with the laws which express the form of their necessity, in accordance with which they occur. The facts and the laws stand together with the same objective value.
In considering the succession of two different states of the same living body, such as health and disease, the law of causation teaches that no internal effect can arise without an external cause, and that the effect itself may in turn become a cause of further changes.
The law of vis inertia teaches that all internal changes of bodies in nature are the results of an external cause, for without this all bodies would remain in the same state in which they were placed. The *state of the body must be known before any change in it can be known. The cause or reason of the *state of the body, therefore are the *conditions under which it can be changed by any external cause.
In Medical science and especially in therapeutics, rigid discrimination must be made between the two relations of *state and *changes according to these two laws (causation and *vis inertiae): since the action of the curative agents introduced into the body external causes, for the purpose of changing a state of disease into a state of health, can only be determined by paying due regard to the conditions of age, sex, constitution predisposition, etc., as manifested by symptoms or phenomena.
Regard must always be had for the differences which exist between that which is constant and unchangeable in the life of the organism and that which is changeable. The constant and unchangeable are *the laws of its specific form, as shown in cells, connective tissue, etc. Forms are transmitted by parents. The *changeable are the chemical and physical properties of these constituents of the organism, which are derived from the external world, and the functioning of the organism itself. Pathological form elements *must be like the physiological, since the organism can form nothing within itself against its own unchangeable laws. According to the law of specification, every change of form or function in organism is accompanied by a corresponding changed combination of matter. Hence when we observe any physical phenomena undergoing a change in the organism we know that chemico-vital change are going on at the same time.
Two things thus constitute disease: first, the *qualities of the organism, which constitute the conditions for the disease; second *the external causes of the diseases.
Forms of disease also obey a fixed law of constancy. Entire groups of disease, chronic and acute, and externally the most various, arise from the same morbid cause and form a unit in their *succession, although one form occurs in childhood, another in youth and still another in advanced years. Syphilis and tuberculosis are striking examples.
Instead of seeking the cause and character of a presenting from of disease only in that which is immediate and near at hand, we should seek the more remote cause which have manifested themselves in the sequence of disorders and disease which have preceded the present form. Upon the adoption of this principle depends the power of prevision and progress, as well as an efficient prophylaxis and therapeutics.
All functioning of the living organism depends upon a constant reciprocal action between the different constituents of the body within itself, and of the organism as a whole with its environment, the external world and its constituents.
According to the laws of causation and *vis inertiae, every part of the whole is at the same time active and passive or in a state of approximate equilibrium of motion or rest. Disease, strictly speaking is neither an action nor a reaction, but only a new or changed state of the organism caused by the interaction of an external cause with the internal constituents of the organism, resulting in a new form of the whole of a reciprocal action in which cause and effect are ever conjoined.
Physically speaking, forces are properties of substances, or bodies. They may be divided into *changeable and unchangeable forces. Only those properties which are specific of bodies under all circumstances, which are necessary and constant, which isolate them perfectly from all other bodies and give each its individuality, can properly be called forces. Such, for example, are the specific gravity of each separate body; the property of a body which determines the constant equivalents of its combination with hydrogen or oxygen, or the specific individual qualities of organic forms.
Any change in bodies produced by an external cause takes place only within their changeable forces or properties, as in their volume, density, color, or manner of chemical combination.
The basic or unchangeable forces of matter which are the properties of its masses, are divided into forces of *repulsion or *attraction. Both may operate at the distance or by contact. Since every action in nature is a reciprocal action between bodies, such a basic force does not belong to the body alone, but belongs to it *in the ratio of its relations to other bodies. Here we find that the like repel and the unlike attract each other.
Thus, every who exists under the conditions of the combinations of its parts; the combination of its parts creates a dependence of the parts upon each other, and upon the specific form of the whole; and the whole exists in reciprocal relations with other forms in the external world.
Hence, in the organic world, there are no simple bodies, but only the simple, primary substance (the incorporeal life substance itself) of which in combination with the chemical elements, all living organized bodies are formed. Even living cells are not simple, since physically they are composed of chemical elements, the fundamental forces of which differ according to their form and composition and their reciprocal relation with the life force of the organism.
Within the cells, among their constituent chemical elements, exist the basic forces of attraction and repulsion, acting reciprocally with the inherent life force of the organism, derived from the incorporeal life substance itself.
Physical science has come to regard all matter as “condensation” of the universal, intangible, interatomic ether, which is thus acknowledged to be a fundamental substance. But physical science cannot account for *life and *mind or intelligence without acknowledging that life and mind are also substantial entities, having their existence in the being and existence of the one ineffable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Supreme Being.
Relations of Science and Art. Art and science are inseparably bound together. Every art has it foundation in science, and every science finds its expression in art.
Consciously or unconsciously the artist or the craftsman at work is applying principles and laws, formulated and systematized knowledge of which constitutes science.
Exceptionally an artist, by virtue of inherent capacity and genius may not be aware that he is applying scientific principles in his work. The “Art Instinct”, when powerful, may express itself spontaneously and naturally by force on an internal feeling or native impulse, grasping principles intuitively and subconsciously and developing its own methods of technique through individual experience. But such endowment is rare, and even the greatest natural genius does not reach his highest development until he has awakened to the existence of theories, laws and principles and viewed his work consciously from the scientific standpoint.
When an artist reaches that point of development, philosophy begins to interest him. His eyes are opened and his vision is clear. He now wants things explained. Thenceforth, his field is broadened and his power of expression increases in proportion to his determinate development in that direction.
The scientist on the contrary never or very rarely, proceeds by instinct. His eyes are open from the beginning. He knows exactly what he want to do. He works deliberately by established rules and methods, based upon principles deduced from ascertained facts. Reason and logic, rather than feeling and emotion, are his guides from first to last. Not that the scientist may and does not have his moments of inspiration and high emotion as his imagination leaps forward into new fields opened up before him, or some new discovery rewards his studies investigations and researches; for he certainly does have such moments and the greater the man, the more, frequently does he experience them. When the artist becomes a scientist and the scientist becomes an artist they meet on the mountain tops of human experience and share alike in the joys of conscious creation.
Homoeopathy is both an art and a science. The successful homoeopathician must be both an artist and a scientist. His work must be both artistic and scientific. Theory and practice must go hand in hand. Technique must be governed by definite principles. Performance must be consistent with profession.
Some knowledge of the principles which are common to all sciences and arts is essential to a correct understanding of the special art and science with which we are concerned as homoeopathicians. Study of the relation of homoeopathy to other arts and sciences has been neglected and the standards as well as the morale of the profession have been lowered in consequence.
Homoeopathy has been regarded too much as a thing apart; a wanderer without friends or relations; a sort of medical Topsy: “Never had no parents jes growed” The fact is that homoeopathy was the logical and legitimate offspring of the Inductive Philosophy and Method of aristotle and Lord Bacon. It is the highest development of modern therapeutic science and as such stands intimately related to the sciences of Logic, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology and other sciences. The broader and more accurate the knowledge of these relations, the higher will be the respect for and the warmer the enthusiasm in the practice of the Hahnemannian Art.
Fundamental conceptions of matter and motion; energy and force; spirit and life; mind and body; health and disease; cure and recovery and their relations to each other which are embodied in the Organon of Hahnemann and which I shall endeavor to interpret in the light of modern science and philosophy are not only the profoundest subjects of human thought, but they are an integral part of homoeopathy.
Realization of this fact should arouse interest. It stimulates the kind of thought and study which develop the scientific spirit. It is the most powerful factor in the creation of the high *morale which is so essential to the progress and perpetuation of the science of therapeutic medication. The highest loyalty to principles, consistency in practice and perfection of methods can be attained in no other way.
A carpenter who is content to know his steel square only as a tool by which he can measure or draw a straight line across a board and tell whether the angles of a frame are true, will never become anything more than a mere day laborer. But arouse his interest in the mysterious lines and figures on that wonderful instrument; induct him into the mathematics of the square; teach him its higher uses and the possibilities of his development and progress are almost unlimited.
So the physician who knows only a little rudimentary materia medica and therapeutics in addition to his medical-college- knowledge of general medicine, and is content with that knowledge, will never be anything but a routinist and a medical misfit.
Homoeopathy a Science.- Homoeopathy, or Homoeotherapy, is the department of science in general medicine which has for its principal objects the observation and study of the action of remedial agents in health and disease, and the treatment and cure of disease by medication, according to a fixed law or general principle.
Homoeopathy was founded and developed into a scientific system by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) under the principles of the Inductive Method of Science as developed by Lord Bacon, Its practice is governed by the principle of Symptom-Similarity, which is the application in medicine of the universal principle of Mutual Action formulated by Sir Isaac Newton in his Third Law of Motion; “Action and reaction are equal and opposite”.
Homoeopathy, as a science, rests fundamentally upon four general principles; Similarity, Contrariety, Proportionality and Infinitesimality, reducible to the universal principle of Homoeosis, or Universal Assimilation. (Fincke.)
“Science is Knowledge reduced to law and embodied in system” “Knowledge of a single fact, not known as related to any other, or of many facts, not known as having any mutual relations or as comprehended under any general law, does not reach the meaning of science.”
“A science in its development is 1. A collection of exactly observed facts: 2. A correlation or generalization of these facts, forming a system; 3. A formulation of these generalization as laws; 4. It proceeds to some principle or force accounting for these laws; hence, exact knowledge of proximate causes”. (Condensed from The Standard Dictionary.)
Law, in the broadest sense, is the observed order or relation of the facts. It is not required that the cause of the order or relation be known. As mathematicians and astronomers, accustomed to deal with the highest order of facts, are content to accept the law of gravitation without explanation of the cause, so physicians, if there be a law of cure, may accept it without explanation of its cause. But the tendency of modern physical science is toward the more complete generalization, its goal being the discovery of a universal principle which shall connect all physical phenomena.
Specifically, in the scientific sense, a law is the connecting link between two series of phenomena, showing their relation to each other.
“There are two tests of the validity of any law that is claimed to be a natural law or law of nature.
1. That it is capable of connecting and explaining two series of natural phenomena.
2. That it is in harmony with other known laws.
In optics, for example, we have the phenomena or properties of luminous bodies, and the phenomena of light receiving bodies. These two series of phenomena are connected and explained by the law of the diffusion of light.
In physics the phenomena of the sun, as regards density and volume, are related to the phenomena of the earth by the law of attraction or gravitation.
In chemistry the properties of potassium are related to the properties of sulphuric acid by the law of chemical affinity and definite proportions, in the formation of a new compound, potassium sulphate”. (Abstracted from Dunham, Science of Therapeutics.)
So in Homoeotherapy, we have the phenomena of drugs related to the phenomena of diseases by the law of mutual action, under the principles of similarity, contrariety, proportionality and infinitesimality; reducible again to the principle of Universal Assimilation or Homoeosis.
“Therapeutics is that department of medical science that relates to the treatment of disease and action of remedial agents on the human organism, both in health and disease.” (Standard Dictionary.)
Since it conforms to every requirement of these general, authoritative definitions of Science, homoeopathy has been defined as The Science of Therapeutics. No other method or system of medical treatment conforms or even claims to conform to all of these fundamental requirements.
But while it can easily be shown that the curative action of any agent whatsoever used in the treatment of disease, mental or physical, conforms to the fundamental principle of Mutual Action, in the narrower or more practical sense homoeopathy must be defined as *the science of therapeutic medication, since it commonly uses medicines or drugs alone to effects its purposes.
Homoeopathy is not, strictly speaking “a system of Medicine” as it is often inaccurately called, using the word medicine in its broad general sense. General medicine is made up of a number of distinct sciences, including General Therapeutics, which covers all the therapeutic resources known to man. It makes use of many agencies besides medication for the alleviation of human ills.
Homoeopathy, therefore, is a department of general medicine, like anatomy, physiology and pathology.
Homoeopathy an Experimental Science.-Like chemistry or physics, homoeopathy is established under the principles of the inductive method in science. Considered as a science, it consists of two series of phenomena, independently observed, collected and studied, connected by an underlying law or principle of nature. Its elements are: 1. The phenomena of disease; 2, the phenomena produced by drugs when administered to healthy persons; and 3, the general law of mutual action, otherwise known as Newton’s Third Law of Motion and as the Law of Similars, which connects the two series of phenomena. The phenomena of disease constitute its pathology, the experimentally derived phenomena of drugs, its materia medica and the application of its materia medica under the law its therapeutics.
Experimentally, in the construction of homoeopathic materia medica, medicines were administered singly, in various doses, to healthy human beings for the purpose of eliciting, observing, recording and comparing their effects. Comparison shows that the symptoms thus produced by drugs are similar to the symptoms of disease. Any symptom or group of symptoms of disease may be duplicated from the materia medica record of drug symptoms.
Experimentally also it has been proven that under certain conditions, to be stated hereafter, medicines cure diseases by virtue of their similarity of symptoms; that is, medicines cure, or remove in the sick, symptoms similar to those which they have the power of producing in the healthy. From this fact of experience was deduced the law of cure and medication, known as the “law of similars”, which is found on examination to be a statement in other words of the general Law of Mutual Action, variously termed the law of equivalence, the law of action and reaction, the law of balance or equilibrium, the law of polarity, the law of compensation and Newton’s third law of motion.
Homoeopathy an Art. – Homoeopathy works in perfect harmony with all necessary rational, non-medicinal and mechanical therapeutic agents. Surgery, obstetrics, hygiene, dietetics, sanitary science, chemistry (so far as it is applied in the preparation of medicines and in ejecting and antidoting poisons) and psycho- therapy all find in homoeopathy their congenial and most powerful ally.
Homoeopathy is opposed in its constitution and principles to all forms of treatment by direct or physiological medication, and to physio-chemical treatment or treatment based upon chemical theories.
Homoeopathy is opposed to the use, under ordinary conditions, of drugs in physiological doses for mere palliative purposes since its primary objects is always the cure or obliteration of disease and complete restoration of health.
Homoeopathy is opposed to the methods of vaccine and serum therapy, although it is claimed by many that these methods are based upon the homoeopathic principle. It grants that this may be true so far as the underlying principle is concerned, but opposes *the method of applying the principle as being a violation of sound, natural principles of medication and productive of serious injury to the living organism.
It has been proven experimentally and clinically that such methods are unnecessary, and that the results claimed by their advocates can be attained more safely, more rapidly and more thoroughly by the administration of the homoeopathically indicated medicines in sub-physiological doses, through the natural channels of the body, than by introducing it forcibly by means of the hypodermic needle or in any other way.
Homoeopathy is opposed to so-called “pathological prescribing” and to “group treatment” of diseases, by which individual peculiarities are ignored and patients are grouped or classed according to their gross, pathological organic lesions and treated alike. Homoeopathy deals with the individual not the class. It treats *the patient, not a fictitious entity called the disease. Its prescription or selection of medicines is based solely upon individual similarity of symptoms, drug symptoms to disease symptoms, determined by actual comparison in each case.
Homoeopathy is opposed to all forms of external local or topical drug treatment of the external, secondary symptoms of disease, except in surgical cases. It directs its curative agents through the natural channels of the body to the physiological centers of vital action and reaction, which govern all functional activities in the living organism in disease as well as in health.
Homoeopathy is opposed to polypharmacy. It depends for all its results upon the dynamical action of single, pure, potentiated medicines, prepared by a special mathematico-mechanical process and administered in minimum doses.
In practice, homoeopathy bases the selection of the curative remedy upon the totality of the symptoms of the individual patient, including a consideration of the ascertainable causes of the disease. For the homoeopathic prescriber this constitutes the disease. Speculation as to the inner, essential nature or workings of the drug or the disease does not enter into the process of selecting the remedy. The prescription is not based upon the pathological diagnosis, or the name of the disease, but solely upon the likeness of the symptoms of the patient to the symptoms of some tested drug, determined by actual comparison.
As the experimental work in constructing the homoeopathic materia medica has been conducted with single medicines, and as each medicine has its own definite and peculiar kind and sphere of action, scientific accuracy, as well as the law of similars, requires that the treatment of patients be conducted in the same manner. Medicines are never mixed or compounded in homoeopathic practice but are given singly.
It has been proven experimentally that the sick organism is peculiarly and even painfully sensitive to the action of the single, similar medicine, and that curative effects are only obtained by sub-physiological doses. Physiological doses, instead of removing the symptoms of the disease, produce by their direct pathogenetic action the characteristic symptom of the drug. If the drug be not a similar the condition of the patient is complicated by the addition of symptoms having no relation to the disease and no cure results. If the drug be a similar the violent reaction of the organism to the unnecessarily large dose increases suffering, exhausts the patient and prolongs his disease, even if he eventually recovers.
The facts led, first, to the progressive reduction of the size of the dose to the smallest effectual curative quantity, and eventually to the discovery and formulation of the law of potentiation and the infinitesimal dose, which is one of the corollaries of the law of similars and a fundamental principle of homoeopathy.
The working principles of homoeopathy, therefore, may be briefly stated as follows:
1. The totality of the symptoms of the patient is the basis of medical treatment.
2. The use of single medicines, the symptoms and sphere of action of which have been predetermined by pure, controlled experiments upon healthy persons.
3. The principle of symptom-similarity as the guide to the choice of the remedy.
4. The minimum dose capable of producing a dynamic or functional reaction. Similia Similibus Curentur; Simplex, Simile Minimum.