Life, Health & Disease by Stuart Close
*Life is the invisible, substantial, intelligent, individual, co-ordinating power and cause directing and controlling the forces involved in the production and activity of any organism processing individuality.
Health is that balanced condition of the living organism in which the integral, harmonious performance of the vital functions tends to the preservation of the organism and the normal development of the individual.
Disease is an abnormal vital process a changed condition of life, which is inimical to the true development of the individual and tends to organic dissolution.
Vital phenomena in health and disease are caused by the reaction of the vital substantial power or principle of the organism to various external stimuli. So long as a healthy man lives normally in a favorable environment he moves, feels, thinks, acts and reacts in an orderly manner. If he violates the laws of life, or becomes the victim of an unfavorable environment, disorder takes the place of order, disease destroys ease, he suffers and his body deteriorates.
When organic vitality is exhausted, or is withdrawn, his transient material organism dies, yields to chemical laws and is dissolved into its elements, while his substantial, spiritual organism continues its existence in a higher realm.
Agents, material or immaterial, which modify health or cause disease, act solely by virtue of their own substantial, entitative existence and the co-existence of the vital substance, which reacts in the living organism to every impression made from within or without. The dead body reacts only to physical and chemical agents, under the action of which it is reduced to its chemical elements and dissipated as a material organism.
All reactions to stimuli by which the functions and activities of the living body are carried on, originate in the primitive life substance at the point where it becomes materialized as cells and protoplasmic substance.
Agents from without which affect the living body to produce changes and modifications of its functions and sensations act upon the protoplasm through the medium of the brain and nervous system. Food drink, heat, light, air, electricity and drugs, as well as mental stimuli, all act primarily upon the living substance as materialized in the cells of the central nervous, system, calling forth the reactions which are represented by functions and sensations.
*”Power resides at the center, and from the center of power, force flows”.
The phenomena of life, as manifested in growth, nutrition, repair, secretion, excretion, self-recognition, self-preservation and reproduction, all take their direction from an originating center. From the lowest cell to the highest and most complex organism, this principle holds true. Cell wall and protoplasmic contents develop from the central nucleus, and that from the centrosome, which is regarded as the “center of force” in the cell. All fluids, tissues and organs develop from the cell from within outwards, from center to circumference.
*Organic control is from the center. In the completely developed human organism vital action is controlled from the central nervous system. The activities of the cell are controlled from the centrosome, which may be called the brain of the cell.
The central nervous system may be compared to a dynamo. As a dynamo is a machine, driven by steam or some other force, which through the agency of electro-magnetic induction from a surrounding magnetic field, converts into electrical energy in the form of current the mechanical energy expended upon it, so the central nervous system is a machine driven by chemical force derived from food which, through the agency of electro-vital induction from a surrounding vital field, converts into vital energy, in the form of nerve current or impulses, the chemico- physical energy expended upon it.
As an electrical transportation system depends for its working force upon the dynamo located in its central power station, so the human body depends for the force necessary to carry on its operations upon the central power station, located in the central nervous system.
Any disturbance of conditions at the central power stations is immediately manifested externally at some point in the system; and any injury to or break in the external system is immediately reflected back to the central station.
In health and disease, it is the same, both being essentially merely conditions of the life in the living organism, convertible each into the other. In each condition the modifying agent or factor acts primarily upon the internal life principle, which is the living substance of the organism. This reacts and produces external phenomena through the medium of the brain and nervous system which extends to every part of the body. Food or poison, toxins or antitoxins, therapeutic agents or pathogenic micro- organisms, all act upon and by virtue of the existence of the reacting life principle or living substance of the organism.
Cure of disease, or the restoration of health, likewise begins at the center and spreads outwardly, the symptoms disappearing from within outward, from above downward and in the reverse order of their appearance.
Resistance to morbific agents is from the center when life reigns. Vital resistance is the defensive reaction of living substance to noxious elements and organisms and to disease- producing causes and agents in general, in obedience to the inherent instinct or law of self-preservation, which belongs to life in organism.
Metaphorically speaking, disease is resistance. Disease, manifested by symptoms, expresses in vital reaction and resistance of the living organism to the inroads of some injurious agent or influence. It is a battle a struggle, a costly and painful, resistance to an invader.
Strictly speaking it is not against disease that we struggle, but against the causes of disease. The actual causes of disease in the last analysis are from without. They do not exist in the life substance itself. They are “foreign to the spirit”, to man’s true nature. They become operative or effective in the organism conditionally, by virtue of the existence of the vital principle of susceptibility, reaction and resistance, and of a living organism in and through which action and reaction can take place.
Matter and Force. – Physical science declares that matter is indestructible. Matter is corporeal substance; the form of being or substance that is characterized by extension, inertia, weight, etc., or in general by the properties cognized by the senses. The constitution and mode of production of matter are traced backward from mass through molecules, atoms, and electrons to a vibratory or radiant state of matter supposed to exist in the interatomic ether of space.
Ether is a hypothetical medium filling all space, through which, in the form of transverse wave-motion, radiant or vibratory energy of all kinds, including light-waves, is propagated. According to physical science, all energy exists in the ether, and matter may be regarded as, in a sense, a condensation “a specifically modified from of ether”, as Lodge puts it. This is as far as physical science can go. Of the nature and source of the “Energy” in other words, of *what it is that radiates through the ether in the form of “transverse waves”, physical science can tell us nothing. In stating this conception science tacitly admits the substantial character of the ether, or energy in general, and of specific forms of energy in particular, although its phraseology is often vague and its terms contradictory. Physical science does, however, adhere to the general principles of the indestructibility of matter and the persistence of force. It is thus far in harmony with the more advanced position taken in the substantial philosophy. It is much to have arrived at that point in thinking. But of incorporeal living substance, or Life and mind and Intelligence as the primary source and basis of all energy current science has as yet only a faint conception; although more than one physical scientist has reached the conclusion that, in the last analysis all force is a manifestation of Will, and that every physical action is primarily a psychical action.
Biological science traces matter backward from organism through cells, nuclei, to the centrosome, an organ found in the protoplasm, but usually only occurring in close connection with the nucleus. When active the centrosome is said to be “at the center of sphere of attraction and a system of rays”. and is regarded as the dynamic center governing karyokinesis and cell division.
Biological science, therefore when examined closely is found to recognize, at least tacitly the existence of Life as a substantial, entitative, indestructible power. How or by what else could the vital force necessary to carry on vital processes be generated? How else could there be in the cell a “dynamic center? Dynamic center means “center of power”. Statically, power means capacity of a person or thing for work, for producing the force by which work is done. There must be a source from which force is produced or drawn, and that source must be substantial. Kinetically, power is the cause, force the medium, and work the effect. Power, therefore, considered either as an attribute or the thing itself, is actually a substantial, entitative being.
Since life can come only from life, biological science, in thus placing the centrosome at the center of “a sphere of attraction”, places it in a surrounding field of what can only be *incorporeal living substance, from which alone could it attract the wherewithal to construct the cell and endow it with the functions of organization growth and reproduction.
As the active agent and center of attraction of the centrosome is a medium, standing between the field of life on the one side and the field of matter on the other side, acting under the law of attraction or affinity, by means of which vital force is drawn from the surrounding vital field and converted or transformed into the physical or chemical force which acts directly upon the matter of which the cell is composed. The centrosome also, like the central nervous system, may be compared in this respect to a dynamo, which acts in a similar manner in the conversion of mechanical energy into electric energy or current.
Biological science as yet is neither explicit nor comprehensive in this matter. It places the centrosome “at the center of a field of attraction”, but does not define or enumerate all the contents of that field. Enumerating only the physical or chemical forces and the various forms of matter of which the cell is composed, it implies that these are all the field contains. Biology, the science of life and living things, thus evades the acknowledgment of Life as a specific power, principle or substance, and defines it merely as *a state of the organism, *a condition; or as arising out of physical and chemical elements and forces acting so as to result in some unexplained way in the evolution of the individual living beings and the development of the species.
Such a definition fails to explain some of the most important phenomena of living organisms, such as growth, reproduction self- repair and constant changes with continued identity (not to speak of consciousness, feeling and thought) because it leaves out Life, the most important element of all. It is like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out.
It is an axiom of biological science that life comes only from preceding life.
The surrounding field of “the sphere of attraction”, at the center of which biology places the centrosome, must therefore contain the life substance as well as the matter of which the cell is composed upon which the attraction is exerted.
Attraction is force exercised mutually upon each other by two or more bodies, particles or substances, tending to make them approach each other, or to prevent their separating.
As the active agent or center of attraction the centrosome is a medium, standing between life on the one side and matter on the other side.
The central nervous system, made up of innumerable cells, with their nuclei and centrosomes, has already been compared to a dynamo. So each individual cell with its nucleus and centrosome may be called a dynamo in miniature. A dynamo is essentially a converter of one form of energy into another. Standing at the center of the field of attraction and acting in all directions under the law of attraction, the centrosome, through the agency of induction from the surrounding vital field, converts the chemical energy derived from nutrient matter into vital energy.
In no other way and from no other source could the centrosome attract that ruling element by which the living human body and brain are endowed with their peculiar properties and functions of organization, growth, self-repair, reproduction, intelligence, reason, feeling and will.
Electrical science, in its theory of electro-magnetic induction and conversion, has thus paved the way for a clearer understanding of the *modus operandi of the life principle.
Physics and biology are in harmony with homoeopathics, the science of homoeopathy. Their basic principles are identical. The respective scientific explanations of the origin, constitution and transformation of matter and the laws governing the same agree perfectly as far as they go.
The explanations of physics and biology serve equally well for homoeopathy in its physical and biological aspects. Ionization, for example, the breaking apart of electrolytes into anions and cations by solution or other process, chemical or mechanical (the theory of electrolytic dissociation) is an adequate physical explanation of what occurs in the preparation by trituration, solution and dilution according to scale of homoeopathic high potencies. The much-derided and discussed “infinitesimals” of homoeopathy are found at last in the farthest advance of science, to be “common property”, under the general mathematical “Theory of Infinitesimals”, Physicists and biologists, as well as homoeopathists, have been led to the adoption of the theory of the infinitesimal to explain their phenomena, and of the infinitesimal quantity to accomplish their ends.
The amazing achievements of modern physical chemical and electrical science have been made possible only by knowledge of the powers, properties and laws of the infinitesimal.
Mathematics, greatest and most ancient of the sciences, opened the way with its Infinitesimal Differential and Integral Calculus, and laid the foundation upon which later coming sciences were built-homoeopathy among them.
The Nature of Disease. – It has been said of homoeopathy that it is not a theory of disease, but a theory of cure. It is a taking phrase, but like many other such epigrams it embodies only a half truth, and half truths are fatal to right thinking. It can easily be proved by reference to the writings of Hahnemann that a theory of disease lies at the very foundation of homoeopathy. This theory, based upon the general philosophical conception of the unity, universality and supremacy of Life and Mind, out of which grew Hahnemann’s physio-dynamical doctrine of the life force, was an anticipation by more than eighty years of the biological theory propounded in 1897 by Virchow, the great German pathologist.
Virchow’s Cellular Pathology, in which he summed up his long lifetime of research and study, was until recently the highest medical authority on the subject. Virchow reached the conclusion that “pathology is but a branch of biology; that is, that disease is merely life under altered conditions”. This conclusion was hailed as “the most important achievement of the nineteenth century” and to Virchow, in recognition thereof, almost royal honors were granted.
Eighty-four years before Virchow published his famous dictum, namely in 1813, Hahnemann, in his “Spirit of the Homoeopathic Doctrine”. and elsewhere in his writings, used the following expressions; “To the explanation of human life, as also its two- fold conditions, health and disease, the principles by which we explain other phenomena are quite inapplicable”. Again he says; Now as the condition of the organism and its health state depends solely on the state of life which animates it, in like manner it follows that the altered state, which we term disease, consists in a condition altered originally only in its vital sensibilities and functions, irrespective of all chemical or mechanical principles; in short, it must consist in an altered dynamical condition, a changed mode of being, whereby a change in the properties of the material component parts of the body is afterward affected, which is a necessary consequence of the morbidly altered condition of the living whole in every individual case”.
“Disease will not case to be (spiritual) dynamic aberrations of our spiritlike life, manifested by sensations and actions, that is they will not cease to be immaterial modifications of our sensorial condition (health)”.
Thus, in terms almost identical with those of his great compatriot, Hahnemann stated the present accepted biological conception of disease and in so stating it anticipated, by nearly a century, one of the profoundest conclusions of modern scientific thought.
There are other subject in which Hahnemann, by marvellous foresight and intuition, anticipated the conclusions of modern science. Among them were certain of the discoveries of Koch and Pasteur.
In 1883 Koch was sent by the German government on a special mission to India to study Asiatic cholera. He discovered and was able to demonstrate the presence, in the intestines of cholera patients, of a spiral, threadlike bacterium which readily breaks up into little curved segments like a comma, each less than 1/10,000 of an inch in length. These microscopical living organisms multiply with great rapidity and swarm by the million in the intestines of such patients. Koch showed that they can be cultivated artificially in dilute gelatine broth and obtained in spoonfuls. He also showed that cholera could be produced in animals by administering to them a pure, concentrated culture of these germs, although it was only done with great difficulty after many experiments. He therefore held that the germs were the cause of cholera.
Other investigators, however, for a time failed to duplicate his results and refused to accept Koch’s conclusion. Pettenkofer, of Munich, who did not believe that the comma bacillus was the effective cause of cholera, to prove his contention, bravely swallowed a whole spoonful of the cultivated germs. His assistants did the same and none suffered any ill effect. This somewhat spectacular demonstration did not impress others, however, many of whom realized that it must be necessary for the human intestine to be in a favorable or susceptible condition, an unhealthy condition, for the bacillus to thrive and multiply in it.
A little later Metchnikoff of Paris repeated Pettenkofer’s experiment. He swallowed a cultivated mass of the bacilli on three successive days and had no injurious result. Others in his laboratory did the same with the result of only a sight intestinal disturbance. But of a dozen who thus put the matter to the proof in the Pasteur Institute, *one individual acquired an attack of the Indian cholera which very nearly caused his death. That put an end to such experiments and conclusively demonstrated that Koch’s comma bacillus is really capable of producing true cholera, *when right conditions exist.
The announcement of Koch’s discovery made a furore in the medical world. Glowing hopes of cure were based upon it, soon, alas! to be disappointed. It seemed such a simple proposition in those days: “Kill the germs and cure the disease!” At last cholera was to be “stamped out!”
It was very easy to kill the germs in a test tube; but to kill them in the living organism of the cholera patient without killing the patient was quite a different proposition, as they very soon learned. In spite of all attempts at cure based upon such crude reasoning, cholera continued its ravages with undiminished mortality. Now hear what Hahnemann said more than fifty years before all this happened.
When Asiatic cholera invaded Europe in 1831 and began ravaging the population it was realized that it was of the utmost importance to learn its modes of propagation and extension. Hufeland, the great leader of medical thought in Europe at that period, believed and taught that cholera was of atmospheric- telluric origin, from which there could be no protection. Against this awful error Hahnemann protested in a vigorous essay on “The Mode of Propagation of the Asiatic Cholera”. in which he held that it was *”communicable by contagion only, and propagated from one individual to another”.
Illustrating and explaining its mode of origin and propagation he says. ” On board ships, in those confined spaces, filled with mouldy, watery vapors, the cholera miasm finds a favorable element for its multiplication, and grows into an enormously increased brood of those *excessively minute, invisible, living creatures, so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists”, He refers again and again to “the invisible cloud” that hovers around those who have been in contact with the disease, “composed of probably millions of these miasmatic *animated beings, which ar first developed on the broad marshy banks of the tepid Ganges, always search out the human being”.
Consider this amazing statement in which Hahnemann again, by more than half a century, anticipates the conclusions and demonstration of modern science.
Remember, Hahnemann had no microscope. That instrument except in its crude form as a magnifying glass, used as a sort of plaything did not exist. His conclusion was a deduction of pure reason from observed facts, which he states at some length in his essay. Moreover, Hahnemann by an exercise of that same thinking faculty which his wise old father had so carefully trained in his childhood and youth in the old home in Meissen, also discovered and announced the true curative remedies for the disease and that before he had ever personally seen a case.
It was reserved for Koch, who had a microscope, to demonstrate ocularly the absolute truth of Hahnemann’s idea. Whether Koch had read the writings of Hahnemann on this subject is open to question. They were published in book form and were to be found on the shelves of any great library, accessible to all students. If Koch and Pasteur had read and were familiar with the teaching of Hahnemann they were not so frank as Von Behring, who publicly acknowledged his indebtedness to Hahnemann for the idea of his diphtheritic antitoxin and declared that no other word than “Homoeopathy” would adequately explain its modus operandi.
I have dwelt somewhat upon this subject, not only because it shows Hahnemann’s priority and supremacy as an original investigator and thinker, but because we have in this cholera episode a complete illustration of the homoeopathic teaching in regard to the nature of disease.
The first proposition is that *disease is not a thing but only a condition of a thing; that disease is only a changed state of health, a perverted vital action, and not in any sense a material or tangible entity to be seen, handled, or weighed, although it may be measured.
Those who think that have been following me closely warm in their interest in the identification of the comma bacillus as the cause of cholera, are doubtless puzzling their brains to reconcile that identification and demonstration with the statement that “disease is not a thing but a condition of a thing”. Has it hot been demonstrated that the bacillus is a tangible thing? Those who think thus have overlooked an important point in may statement, and by so doing have identified the conditioning and the conditioned, which is a violation of the rules of logic.
The foundation is a condition for the house, but it is not the house nor the cause of the house. Much less is the house identical with the foundation. The bacillus is the proximate cause of cholera but it is not cholera, nor the sole cause of cholera. It is only one of several conditions necessary for the production and propagation of cholera, all of which must be considered if we are to form just conclusions about the nature of disease.
For instance, there are sanitary conditions to be considered, with all their numerous implications; there are social and moral conditions, including facilities and modes of transportation and inter-communication between nations, communities and individuals to be considered. There are also atmospheric and telluric conditions.It is to be noted that it was only after many trials by administration of the bacillus cultures that one individual was found who succumbed to the attack. With him there was a condition of individual susceptibility and that susceptibility was an essential condition for him as it is in all such cases.
Those who did not observe that point were caught napping as many others have been when dealing with such subjects.
We must discriminate between cause and effect, between power and product, between that which acts and that which is acted upon. We must also learn to realize that the power which acts to cause or produce effects is always invisible. We see the wonders of the realm of dynamics only with the eyes of the mind. We know the existence of force only by its manifestations and phenomena. We know gravity chemical affinity, electricity, life, mind, health, disease, only by their phenomena.
We must not let the phenomena which we perceive with our organs of sensation blind us to the existence of the invisible power which produces them nor think that the visible is the all of existence. The tumor, the eruption, the ulcer, the pain, or the fever which we see or feel, or the germ or bacillus which the microscope reveals, is not the all of disease. Back of these lies the substantial, all- pervading life principle of the organism, which primarily acts and is acted upon.
Functional or dynamic change always precedes tissue changes. Internal changes take place before external signs appear. We do not see the beginnings of disease. Neither do we see disease itself any more than we see life, mind, or thought; for disease, in the last analysis is primarily only an altered state of life and mind, manifesting itself in morbid functions and sensations, which may or may not lead to visible tissue changes.
All Action is conditional. No force or agent acts unconditionally. Our cholera illustration teaches that no pathogenic micro-organism acts unconditionally. No germ or bacillus is the sole or absolute cause of any disease, but only a proximate or exciting cause under certain conditions. Other predisposing, contributing, antecedent causes must exist before the germ becomes operative.
Numerous Klebs-Loeffler bacilli may be found in the throats of perfectly healthy people who have been in contact with a diphtheria patient.An examination of the nasal pharyngeal secretions of any one of us at this moment would probably reveal the presence of numerous pathogenic organisms from the inhaled dust of the street. But we are not thereby endangered beyond the ordinary chances of life, because nature has her own means of protection against all such outside, morbific influences.
They are harmless to us in our normal condition because the element of morbid susceptibility to these particular germs is absent in the great majority of individuals. The vital resisting power of the healthy individual in superior to the infecting power of the bacilli or any other form of infecting agent, under ordinary conditions. It has been well said that “the best protection against contagion is good health”.
It behooves us, therefore, to understand what Hahnemann means by “the sick” in the first paragraph of the organon, where he says that the first and sole duty of the physician is to heal the sick; and what he means in the third paragraph where he says that the physician should distinctly understand what is curable in disease.
In paragraph six he tells us that in each individual case we are to observe only what is outwardly discernible through the senses; that this consist of changes in the sensorial condition or health of body and soul revealed to our senses by morbid sign or symptoms and that these morbid signs or symptoms, in their entirety *represent the disease in its full extent; that they constitute the true and only conceivable from or picture of the disease.
In paragraph seven he tells us that the disease is the suffering of the *”dynamis” or the life principle of the organism; that the symptoms by which this suffering is made known constitute not only the sole guide to the choice of the curative remedy, but are in themselves all there is to be removed in effecting the cure. They represent “that which is curable in disease”.
In paragraph eight he states the general principle in logic. that when an effect ceases we may conclude that the cause has ceased to act. He says that when every perceptible symptom of disease or suffering of the vital force has been removed, the patient is cured.
Note carefully exactly what he says here. He does not say that when every tangible or visible result of the disease has been removed the patient is cured, but that disease is cured when every perceptible *sign of suffering of the dynamis has been removed.
The patient whose disease has produced a tumor may be perfectly cured by homoeopathic remedies and still have his tumor left, precisely as he may have a scar after the perfect healing of a wound.
The tumor is not the disease, but only the “end product” of the disease, as it were. The tumor is not the object of curative treatment, but the disease which preceded and produced the tumor. The tumor, in the course of successful treatment may or may not be absorbed and disappear. It depends upon the state of the patient’s metabolism.
If the patient’s vitality has not been too much exhausted by long illness and faulty living or treatment, and if his powers of metabolism are equal to the task, the tumor, or the effusion, or the infarctus or whatever it may be, will be absorbed as frequently happens in cases treated by skilful prescriber. I have myself seen this happen may time. But if the contrary is the case the tumor, or other morbid product, constitutes a merely mechanical condition which we may turn over to the surgeon for the exhibition of his manual dexterity and technical sill -after the patient has been cured of his disease.
There is another class of cases where medicine and surgery must go hand in hand because of lack of time; where, from seeing the case too late, mechanical conditions have come to constitute a menace to life. But even here skilful homoeopathic prescribing greatly lessens the danger of operating and increases the changes of a happy outcome in the cure of the patient.
The mere removal of the tangible products of disease by mechanical means as in the case of tumors, or of the external visible signs of disease by topical applications as in case of eruptions and discharges, not only does not cure the disease, but does the patient a positive injury and renders the case inveterate or more difficult to cure. Not infrequently it leads to the death of the patient from metastasis and the complications which result from such treatment. Disease is only *cured by the internally administered similar medicine, with due regard to the proper auxiliary psychical, hygienic and mechanical treatment.
Disease, then, is primarily a morbid disturbance or disorderly action of the vital force, represented by the totality of the symptoms of the patient. It is a purely dynamical disturbance of the vital power and functions, which may or may not ultimate in gross tissue changes. The tissue changes are no essential part of the disease, but only the products of the disease which, as such are not the object of treatment by medication.
Cure, from the homoeopathic point of view, consists in “the speedy, gentle and permanent *restitution of health, or alleviation and obliteration of disease, in its entire extent, in the shortest, most reliable and safest manner, according to clearly intelligible reasons” or principles.
To remove some symptoms of disease and palliate others is not to remove or obliterate the disease “in its entire extent”, nor permanently restore health. Whether palliation makes for the patient’s well-being or not depends upon the circumstances and how it is done. We may palliate symptoms and make the patient more comfortable by the use of well-selected homoeopathic remedies, or by a judicious and conservative surgical operation; and that may be all its possible to do in a particular case. Palliation is permissible and all that is possible sometimes. But there is a right way and wrong way to palliate. The wrong way of palliation often leads to metastasis to more important organs. That is always bad for the patient, because it leads to further complications and suffering. The right kind of palliation *is curative as far as it goes, i.e. it is achieved by the application of the curative principle; but in the nature of the case, or exigencies of the situation, cure in the complete sense may be impossible, because the case has passed beyond the curable stage. We must learn to distinguish between incurable disease and disease which has reached the incurable stage. There is no such thing as “incurable disease”. All diseases are curable before they have reached a certain stage; and that does not necessarily mean that we must “begin to treat a child three hundred years before it is born”. as Dr. Oliver Wendel Holmes humorously but pessimistically said.
“Suppression” or palliation of disease, is the removal of the external symptoms of disease by external mechanical, chemical or topical treatment; or by means of powerful drugs, given internally in massive doses, which have a direct physiological or toxic effect but no true therapeutic or curative action.
The “suppressed” case always “goes bad”. As an example of metastasis frequently observed and verified take the surgical obliteration of a rectal fistula resulting from an ischiorectal abscess in a tubercular patient, without having previously submitted the patient to a successful course of curative medical and hygienic treatment. What happens in such a case? The local, visible rectal symptoms are removed, the fistula is gone, but what about the patient?Presently the interior systemic disease which up to the time of the operation may be said to have been tentatively expressing itself in the rectal lesion, to the temporary relief of the organism and protection of vital organs, how breaks out in the lungs and hastens the patient to an untimely grave. A possibly curable case has been rendered incurable and a patient’s life sacrificed because the physician or surgeon has failed to recognize the true indications in the case. The abscess and fistula act as if they were the “Vent” or “Exhaust” of the disease, affording temporary safety to vital organs. Close the exhaust and explosion follows.
The practical bearing of the foregoing consideration appears when we come to the treatment of disease. If we regard the external tangible manifestations as the all of disease and make them the object of treatment, we are likely to lose sight of the logical relation between cause and effect, overlook important etiological factors, invert the natural order and direction of treatment and end by using measures which can result only in failure or in mere palliation instead of cure. Such treatment fails because it is one sided and superficial. It is not guided by knowledge of the true nature and causes of disease and their relation to its external manifestations.
Almost anyone may learn how to drive an automobile but without a knowledge of the nature, source and mode of application of its motive power and means of control he is likely to be left helpless by the roadside if anything goes wrong with his motor. Life is the power which runs the human automobile, and he who would run it successfully and be able to adjust and repair it when things go wrong must know the nature and laws of that power.