Potentisation and The Infinitesimal Dose by Stuart Close
*Homoeopathic potentiation is a mathematico-mechanical process for the reduction, according to scale, of crude, inert or poisonous medical substances to a state of physical solubility, physiological assimilability and therapeutic activity and harmlessness, for use as homoeopathic healing remedies.
The primary object of potentiation is to reduce all substances designed for therapeutic use to ” a state of approximately perfect solution or complete ionization, which is fully accomplished only by infinite dilution.” (Arrhenius.) The greater the dilution, the higher the degree of ionization until, at infinite dilution, ionization is complete and therapeutic activity *conditionally greatest.
For the reduction of minerals and inorganic substances and certain other substances, it employs mechanical trituration of one part of the substance with nine, or ninety-nine parts of pure crystalline sugar of milk, according as the decimal or centesimal scale of dilution is used. The process is continued long enough and in such a manner as to reduce them to an approximately impalpable powder, soluble in water. These and all other soluble substances it reduces to liquids, or tinctures which it still further reduces by dilution with water or alcohol in the same proportions of drug to vehicle (one to nine, or one to ninety- nine) to any degree determined upon, recording, numbering each step of the process in order that the degree of dilution and potentiation of each preparation may be known.
The resulting products of these operation are known as “potencies” or “dilutions.” bearing the name of the medicine and the number of the dilution.
Originally all homoeopathic remedies were prepared by hand, using the ancient and time honored mortar and pestle and the ordinary glass vial. Hand made potencies are still regarded by some are most reliable; but the products of time saving triturating and diluting machines, which have been invented and improved from time to time, are used by the majority of homoeopathic pharmacists or potency makers.
By this process the most virulent and deadly poisons, even the serpent venoms, are not only rendered harmless, but are transformed into beneficent healing remedies. Substances which are medicinally inert in their crude natural state, such as the minerals, charcoal, or lycopodium, are thus rendered active and effective for healing the sick. Other drugs, more or less active in their natural state, have their medicinal qualities enhanced and their sphere of action broadened by being submitted to the process.
Arithmetical enumeration of the particles or proportions into which potentiation is supposed to divide a given quantity of the drug is insufficient and misleading. The facts go to show that the result of the process is not only a division of the matter into particles, *but a series of differentiations and progression by which successive reproduction or propagations of the medical properties of the drug take place. The powers and qualities of the drug are progressively transferred to the diluting medium. Recognizing this fact, Garth Wilkinson proposed to call them “transmissions.:
Fincke explained the action and efficiency of infinitesimal doses by applying the “law of the least quantity,” discovered by Maupertius, the great French mathematician and accepted in science as a fundamental principle of the universe. That principle is stated as follows: *”the quantity of action necessary to effect any change in nature is the least possible.”
“According to this general principle, ” says Dr. Fincke, ” the decisive moment is always a minimum, an infinitesimal.” And to our therapeutics it will be perceived that the least possible is always the highest potency sufficient to bring about reaction and effect the cure, provided always that the selection of the remedy is homoeopathically correct. “The Law of the Least Action *(Maxima Minimis) appears to be an essential and necessary complement of the Law of similars ( *Similia Similibus) and co- ordinate with it.”
“According to this principle the curative properties and action of the homoeopathic remedy are governed by its preparation and application; in other words, *the quality of the action of a homoeopathic remedy is determined by its quantity. Consequently, the law of the least action must be acknowledged as the posological principle of homoeopathy.”
Potentiation and the minimum dose is a subject upon which it is exceedingly easy to form hasty and incorrect notions- no subject in homoeopathy is more so. It is one of those subjects upon which the average medical minds seems to have a peculiar natural bent for forming opinion without due knowledge and examination – in one word, prejudice. It may be said, however that when the philosophy of homoeopathy is understood, and its method of selecting the curative remedy has been mastered, decision as to the matter of the dose may be left safely to individual judgment, based upon observation and experience. The whole range of based upon observation and experience. The whole range of potencies is and should be open to every man. The beginner need be no more afraid of a thirtieth potency than of a third when he has decided upon the similar remedy; for he may be sure of this- *neither will cure if not indicated. No one can make up his shortcoming as an accurate prescriber by increasing the size or frequency of his doses.
The idea of potentiation, or dynamization, as it is sometimes called, did not like Minerva, spring “full armed and grown from her father’s brain;” nor was the idea, like Minerva, “immediately admitted to the assembly of the gods.” It was a gradual growth, a development. In some other respects, however the idea was like Minerva. ” The power of Minerva,” we are told, ” was great in heaven; she could hurl the thunders of Jupiter, *prolong the life of men, bestow the gift of prophecy and was the only one of all the divinities whose authority and consequence were equal to those of Jupiter.”
The greatest and keenest minds in homoeopathy, the minds which have possessed insight in the highest degree, have always recognized the vital importance and fundamental relation of the doctrine of potentiation to homoeopathy. It is at the same time the most vital and most vulnerable part, the very heart of homoeopathy.
To quote only one of many authors, Prof. Samuel A. Jones of Ann- Arbor : As long ago as 1872, when editor of the American Homoeopathic. observer, he wrote these prophetic words, which have since been literally fulfilled. ” Let us guard our homoeopathic heritage most jealously. The provings on the healthy, the simillimum as the remedy, the single remedy, the *reduced dose, may be and will be filched from us one by one and christened with new names to hide the theft. What will become of homoeopathy? It will live, despite, them *in Hahnemann’s posology. The very infinitesimal which many are so ready to throw away are all that will save us.
This is only the recognition that, in its highest aspects, the doctrine *and the fact of potentiation is one of those “mysteries of the faith” which have ever been the strength and at the same time the weakness, of every great church or school of thought; the strength because in their highest and broadest reaches they exercise the highest powers of the human mind; the weakest because they are the most liable to misunderstanding and perversion.
We may always rely upon our enemies to discover and attack the most vital and weakest part of our defenses. The proof of this statement lies in the fact that the doctrine of potentiation and infinitesimal does has always been the central point of attack upon homoeopathy by its enemies.
Homoeopathy was not created by the discovery of the law of similars. Many before Hahnemann, from Hippocrates down, had glimpses of the law, and some had tried to make use of it therapeutically; but all had failed because of their inability to properly graduate and adapt the dose. The principle of *similia was of no practical use until the related principle of potentiation and the minimum dose was discovered; and that was not until Hahnemann, anticipating by a hundred years the modern conceptions of matter and force, hit upon the mathematico- mechanical expedient of preparing the drug by *dilution according to scale in a definite proportion of the drug to inert vehicle. Homoeopathy became practicable at the moment that discovery was made and not before. But for that Hahnemann would have progressed no further than Hippocrates.
The tremendous scope and importance of his invention did not dawn upon Hahnemann at once. For a number of years in his original medical practice he had used drugs in the usual form and in ordinary doses. But as soon as he began applying medicine in such doses under the newly developed homoeopathic principle, he found that the aggravation and injury followed their use. Naturally this led him to reduce the size of the doses.
“Naturally,” we say, although no one up to that time had ever thought of so simple and apparently obvious an expedient to overcome the obstacles to successful homoeopathic practice. Finding that he obtained better results he continued to reduce the dose.
Hahnemann’s idea at first was simply to reduce the “strength” or material mass of his drug, but his passion for accuracy led him to adopt a scale, that he might always be sure of the degree of reduction and establish a standard of comparison. Under certain conditions he found, perhaps to his surprise, that instead of weakening the drug he was actually increasing its curative power. In reducing the density of the mass he perceived that he was setting free powers previously latent, and that these powers were the greatest and most efficient for their therapeutic purposes, *when the remedy so prepared was applied under the principle of symptoms similarity.
Struck by the idea of the development of latent powers through what he had at first considered merely as dilution, he ceased calling the process : dilution,” and named it “potentization” or “potentiation,” which it truly is- a process of rendering potent, or powerful, that which was previously impotent.
Familiar to all is the trend of modern scientific thought away from the crudely materialistic notions of the early physical scientists, toward a higher conception of the constitution of matter.
Describing his conception of the nature and constitution of matter, Sir Isaac Newton quaintly said : “It seems probable to me that God in the beginning formed matter in *solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, movable particles of such sizes and figures, and with such other properties and in such proportion to space as most to conduce to the end for which he formed them; even *so very hard as never to wear or break in pieces; no ordinary power being able to divide what God Himself made one in the first creation.”
To Newton, light consisted of a perfect hail of these minute material atoms thrown off from the light producing body. In the exercise of his scientific imagination he saw these little particles of matter flying in every direction at incredible speed.
Later came the conception of the luminiferous ether. Physicists think now of a ray of light as the pulsation or vibration of *an intangible substance which acts like a solid, but which lets ordinary matter pass through it without interference.
The marvels of electricity as developed in such inventions as the dynamo the electric motor, the electric light, the telegraph and telephone and the later the X-Ray and wireless telegraph and radio have done much to incline men toward the acceptance of a more spiritual interpretation of the universe. He who accepts without questions the operation of this invisible intangible force the real nature or which no man knows, to say nothing of the phenomena of radio-activity, gravitation, and chemical affinity, should not stumble over the homoeopathic high potencies he may make and demonstrate for himself any day.
Carl Snyder, in ” New Conceptions in Science,: points out how many advances in science and the arts have been made possible by the discovery of a *new mechanical appliance. That homoeopathy was thus made possible has not heretofore been recognized.
Snyder says: – ” The phrase, Mechanical appliance’ is used broadly, as including all that may contribute to exact measurement and to the extension of our primitive senses in any direction. In this sense the calculus, or the reactions of the chemists test tube must be reckoned as mechanical no less than the thermometer, the microscope or the balance. It also includes such aids to calculation as the use of the zero ( or more strictly speaking, a decimal system of counting); algebra, the inventions of fluxions, logarithms and the side rule.
“We have all heard the story of how Archimedes detected the alloy in King Hiero’s crown; how a certain weight of gold had been given by the king to an artificer to make over into a crown; how the King, suspecting a cheat, asked his friend Archimedes if he could tell whether base metal had been put in with gold; how Archimedes, sorely puzzled, stepped one day into his bath, observed how the water ran over forgot everything and ran home naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting, Eureka! Eureka!”
“Archimedes’ discovery was simply this; that a body in water displace a quantity of water of *equal weight, and not according to its bulk, as one might believe at first thought. With it he established the idea of specific gravity.
By this he not only exposed the tricky goldsmith, but was led to all sorts of investigations, and finally to the discovery of the Lever.”
In a similar way Hahnemann, groping about in his study of the action of homoeopathic drugs on the healthy human organism, perplexed by the aggravation resulting from ordinary doses, seeking to find a dose so small that it would not endanger life and desiring to accurately measure his degree of dilution so that he might repeat or retrace his steps, invented or adopted *the centesimal scale of menstruation. Immediately he found ready to his hand the means of solving the problem in which so many others before him had failed.
He had devised a process, simple in the extreme, by which with nothing but a mortar and pestle, a series of small glass vials and a small quantity of sugar of milk, or of pure water or alcohol he could not only modify toxic substances so that they were rendered harmless without destroying their curative powers, but develop and measure the inherent, latent medicinal energy of inert substances to any extend desired.
Substances which were entirely inert (physiologically or pathogenetically) in their natural state, such as the minerals, charcoal and lycopodium were by the newly invented process of trituration, solution and subsequent liquid potentiation, developed into medicines of remarkable power.
Homoeopathy, as a practical art thus became possible and Hahnemann passed on, leaving Hippocrates, Galen and all the other competitors in the race far behind.
And this was all brought about by the invention of simple mathematical scale of measurements. It is so simple that only very few, even yet, begin to grasp its tremendous significance. One of the greatest physicists who ever lived, after reflection upon, it said that the Hahnemann theory of potentiation would ultimately lead to an entirely new conception of the constitutions of matter. And so it has. Newton’s “hard, massy material atom” and even the atom of later physicists, is nor more as an ultimate conception. It has given place to the immaterial electrical corpuscle, or electron, infinitely smaller and more active than the atom.
Historically homoeopathic potentiation is a development of very old and very common pharmaceutical processes. The mortar and pestle are as old as medicine. Minerals and inorganic substance are commonly prepared for the therapeutic use by methods not only closely analogous, in its first stage to the homoeopathic method, but having their origin in the same fundamental necessity; namely, the necessity for rendering such substances soluble, capable of being taken up by the absorbents and appropriated by the sentient nerves of the living organism. Metals like mercury, lead and iron are entirely inert medicinally until they have been submitted to some process, physical or chemical by which their mass is broken up and rendered soluble, and their latent medicinal energy thereby set free. It matters not by what name we call such a process, it is essentially a potentiation and homeopathic potentiation is nothing more or less than a *physical process by which the dynamic energy, latent in crude substances, is liberated developed and modified for use as medicines.
Hahnemann, recognizing that the therapeutic action of a drug is the direct opposite of its physiological or toxic action, saw the possibility and necessity of extending this process, by perfectly simple, reliable and accurate means, so that it shall not only release the latent energy, but render it available for the higher purposes of healing by depriving it of its destructive or toxic action, while at the same time developing its purely therapeutic qualities and broadening its field of action.
It is perhaps not quite fair to imply that the dominant school has not recognized such a possibility. That it has done so is evidenced by its attempts to prepare certain morbid products, mostly of animal origin, for use as therapeutic agents by submitting them to a biological process which may be regarded as somewhat analogous to homoeopathic potentiation. I refer to the processes by which the various serums and vaccines and prepared. The old time vaccination in which the patient was inoculated directly with the so-called “humanized” vaccine virus, represents its first attempt in this direction. So many evil arose from the practice that it was soon discontinued, and the more modern method devised. By this method, an animal, usually a calf, was inoculated with pus from a fully developed human smallpox pustule. After the ensuing disease thus set up in the animal had developed, serum or pus from one of the resulting pustules was again inoculate into another healthy animal to undergo the same or similar organic modifications. This process having been repeated a varying number of times, through a series of animals, the final product was used to inoculate human beings. With many technical modifications and extensions this is essential the process use to-day in the preparation of the sera and vaccines.
The basic idea is to do so modify a primarily virulent animal virus, toxin or other pathological product, that it may be used safely for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes. In that respect it may be regarded as a crude analogue or imitation of homoeopathic mechanical potentiation.
Considered as a technical process such a method is highly objectionable because it involves so many uncertainties. The living organism is an infinitely complex thing, when we consider the almost innumerable mechanical, chemical and vital processes going on within its constantly changing fluids and solids. Many of these processes are very imperfectly understood. There are no means of accurately registering and measuring all these activities; no means of determining exactly what these changes are; nor how they are modified by the introduction of the foreign morbid substance used.
In comparing this method with the Hahnemann process it is only necessary to point out:-
1. The Hahnemannian process is purely physical, objective and mechanical.
2. It does not involve any uncertain, unseen, unreliable nor unmeasurable factor. Its elements are simply the substances or drug to be potentiated, a vehicle consisting of sugar of milk, alcohol or water in certain quantities and definite proportions; manipulation under conditions which are entirely under control and so simple that a child could comply with them.
3. The resulting products is stable, or may easily be made so; in fact it is almost indestructible; and the experience of a century, in its use under homoeopathic methods and principles has proved it to be efficient and reliable in the treatment of all forms of disease amenable to medication.
4. The process is practically illimitable. Potentiation of medicine by this method may be carried to any extent desired or required.
To argue about a question which can be settled promptly by the actual test of experience is a waste of time and energy, for nothing is gained by it and we must come to the test of experience in the end. To rehearse the theories, speculations, mathematical computations, illustrations from analogy and comparison with similar processes used in the allied arts and sciences, put forth by authors and disputants in discussing the pros and cons of the potentiation theory since it was first propounded by Hahnemann, might be interesting to some, but probably no one who has allowed himself to become prejudiced against homoeopathic high potencies would be convinced by all the arguments thus stated.
But when a sincere investigator sees an expert examine and prescribe for a case under the methods and principles taught in the Organon and witnesses, the therapeutic effects of the various potencies, he has seen a demonstration which he can repeat for himself until he is convinced that Hahnemann was right when he said; (par. 279) ” Experience proves that the dose of a homoeopathically selected remedy cannot be reduced so far as to be inferior in strength to the natural disease and to lose its power of extinguishing and curing at least a portion of the some, *provided that the dose, immediately after having been taken, is capable of causing a slight intensification of symptoms of the similar natural disease.
The results of the use of potentiated medicines have led careful students of the principles and conscientious practitioners of the methods of homoeopathy, to gradually rise in the scale of potencies until many have come to use most frequently the higher potencies. This is because they are found to act more gently. more deeply, more rapidly and more thoroughly than the crude drug or the low dilutions in the great majority of cases; and because it is impossible to cure certain forms of disease without them.
We have already seen how the idea of potentiation was made practical by the invention of what was essentially a new mechanical appliance, the centesimal scale of menstruation, Just as the mechanical performance of the mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division was made possible by the invention of the slide rule.
Unfortunately when this discovery was first announced attention was immediately focused upon the subject of *quantity rather than upon *quality proportionality and the laws of relation, under which homoeopathic medicines act. Objectors at once began to make arithmetical calculations of the *quantity of the original drug to be found in the various potencies and to be staggered by the size of the denominators of the vulgar fractions which were supposed to express that quantity. To arithmetically express the fraction of the original drop of the “mother tincture” contained in one drop of the thirtieth centesimal potency requires a numerator of one, over a denominator of one, with sixty ciphers added!
That such an infinitesimal quantity of medicine could have any effect was for some, unthinkable. Thus merely because of a seeming improbability, based upon *a priori reasoning without experiment opposition to the new doctrine arose.
It never occurs to such minds to study the *laws of relation nor to ascertain experimentally whether such a potency really does act when brought into proper relations with the living organism. They refuse to submit it to the actual test of experience. To a scientific mind such an objection is not worthy of consideration childish. On such grounds every notable invention of the last century would be rejected. What more improbable than the assertion that a man sitting in his office, could audibly converse with his friend three thousand miles away across the continent? But there stands the telephone on his desk ready for the demonstration.
The efficiency of homoeopathic potencies is not to be determined by calculation, but by actual trial upon the living organism. If one desire to be convinced that there is power in the thirtieth potency of Arsenic, let him put ten drops of it in a half pint of water and begin taking table spoon doses of it every three hours. Convincing proof of its power will be experienced inside of three days.
To the mind of the mathematician, the astronomer, or the modern physicist accustomed to think in the terms of the infinitesimal, such quantities present no difficulties, but to the unscientific mind, with its crude conception of the constitution of matter, they are unthinkable and incredible. It did not occur to the objectors to view the subject to view the subject from the standpoint of *the laws of relation under which such powers and quantities act, nor would their prejudices permit them to submit the matter to the simple test of practical experiment by which it could have been settled at once. Homoeopathy therefore almost from the beginning found its progress opposed by a prejudice based merely upon a seeming improbability.
The discovery a spectrum analysis, which revealed the presence of the drug as far as the twelfth centesimal potency, lent to the infinitely small quantities a significance not yet fully recognized in its bearing upon homoeopathy; but even this, while it confirmed the fact of the presence of the drug, could not explain the *relation of imponderable substances to the living organism.
The fact as pointed out by Ozanam, is that Hahnemann, by his discovery of potentiation, raised homoeopathy to a level with other natural sciences, since he created for it a method which is analogous to the infinitesimal calculus of mathematics, upon which is based the atomic theory of chemistry. It illustrates and harmonizes with the “theory of the interatomic ether of space” the “theory of the radiant state of matter,” the theory of the electric potential of present day physics, and with the chemico- cellular theory of physiology and pathological anatomy. It agrees with modern bacteriology in its explanation of the action of pathogenic micro-organism as being due to the infinitesimal quantities of their secreted poisons. It is in harmony with the latest conclusions of modern psychology.
Von Grauvogl has shown that ” the absorption of inorganic substances by the living organism regulates itself chiefly *according to the organic need, hence such substances are taken into the organism only in very small quantities and in soluble form. Iron offers a good illustration. The physiological school found by experience that the natural Chalybeate springs were most efficacious in chlorotic-anaemic conditions, and yet the very strongest of these contains less than a grain of iron in sixteen ounces of water.” In these later days, dependence is largely placed in so-called “organic iron” preparations derived from certain plants which contain very much less iron, and that existent in a highly vitalized or colloidal state.
A blood cell, among its other necessary constituents, contains a part or proportion of chloride of calcium which requires for its arithmetical expression a decimal of twenty-two places, corresponding to the eleventh centesimal potency. We are reminded by this of the remark of the celebrated physiologist, Valentin, who said; “The extreme minuteness and the immense quantity of the ultimate elements, everywhere engage our attention. The smallest image observable by the eye originates in millions of atmospheric vibrations. A grain of salt hardly large enough to taste, contains billions of group of atoms which no mortal eye can ever grasp. *Nature work everywhere with an infinite multitude of infinitely small magnitudes, Which become appreciable to our comparatively dull senses in their ultimate masses only.”
Baron Liebig, the celebrated chemist, denied and attempted to controvert homoeopathic principles, especially the doctrine of potentiation, saying that it was absurd to suppose that decreasing quantity would increase efficiency. But when he found that common salt does not become suitable as a function remedy until attenuated in fifty times its own weight of water, he in fact potentiated it as Hahnemann did. Liebig contradicted himself many times on this subject in his writings. In his Chemical Letters, he says: ” the heaviest manuring with the earthy phosphates and coarse powder can hardly be compared, in its effect with a *far smaller quantity on a minutely divided state, for from this latter, we have the effect that a particle of manure is to be found in all parts of each small bit of soil. A single root-fibre requires *infinitely little from the ground which it touches but it is necessary for its function and its existence, that this minimum *should be present at the very spot.”
Even the soil itself can only receive and yield its chemical constituents in the form of a solution. As Liebig says, “If rain water, which contain ammonia, potash phosphoric acid, silicic acid, in a state of solution, is brought into contact with the soil, then these substances leave the solution almost at once; the soil appropriates them of the water.If the soil did not possess this property, then these three chief nutritive substances *could not be kept in the earth.”
Thus, Liebig the great opponent of homoeopathy, gives involuntary testimony to the truth of the doctrine which specially excited his ire. Similar testimony abounds in all departments of science down to the present day.
The Relation of Inorganic Substances to the Living Organism.- Chemistry and physiology teach that many inorganic substances enter into the composition and structure of the living organism, and that the ordinary and normal source of these substances, as proximate principles, is the food and drink and the air and light which we take to supply the processes of growth, nutrition and repair. These processes depend upon the vital functions of respiration, absorption, circulation digestion, assimilation, secretion and excretion.
The inorganic elements or substances with exception of air, water and light, are not appropriated directly from the inorganic realm, but indirectly or mediately through the vegetable kingdom; or, once further removed through the animal kingdom. The animal organism cannot assimilate inorganic substances in their natural state. They must first be modified; raised to a higher plane of existence, as it were; rendered more *similar to assimilable to the substance of the animal organism before they can be appropriated. In other words they must be *potentiated, *dynamized or *vitalized- that is raised to the plane of life by passing through the intermediate vegetable kingdom. Homoeopathic potentiation is an artificial method of accomplishing this and for therapeutic purposes.
The living organism, vegetable or animal can only assimilate that which is similar to itself that is similar to the the elements of its own structure. The entire process of growth and assimilation as if progresses from lower to higher forms, is simply *like appropriating like; whether it be the blade of grass, appropriating like; whether it be the blade of grass appropriating the molecule of silica, the ox appropriating the blade of grass, or man appropriating the flesh of ox in the form of juicy beefsteak. Even the blade of grass can only assimilate the silica in the form of silicic acid, which is practically silica dissolved in rain water! These processes represent natural physiological or organic potentiation. Air and light being imponderable, and water being fluid, or semiponderable, represent an intermediate scale of natural potencies. We can hardly call them high potencies, because there are so many other potencies in nature’s realm of finer forces that are so much higher. They are high enough or far enough removed from the grosser forms of inorganic substances, however to be assimilable by the living organism and are rendered so by a sort of natural potentiation. We may get some idea of the relative importance of these degrees of potentiation to the living organism by recalling that a man may live forty days without food; he may live five to ten days without water, but he cannot live ten minutes without air.
Between each of the four realms of nature, mineral, vegetable, animal and spiritual, there is a chasm to bridged; so that the representative organism or of each realm consists of what might be called the machinery necessary for transforming the material of the next lower realm into the likeness of its own substance.
In all the these transmissions, transformations and progressions, the operation of the principle of *similia is discernible. We also see the operation of the law of potentiation, for each step or degree of advance from a lower to higher form or state of existence is in reality a potentiation – a development of the inherent powers and qualities of the elements. Under the transforming power of life in the blade of grass the inert molecule of silica is raised from the inorganic to the organic realm and *itself becomes living matter. The forces which were latent in the inorganic become active and radiant in the organic. Gravitation, cohesion and chemical affinity, which held the silica in their grasp, yield to the chemistry of life. And so when the succulent blade of grass is eaten digested and assimilated by the sheep or the ox, or when the nourishing grain or vegetable or fruit is assimilated by man; the process of transformation from the lower to the higher is always essentially a potentiation ruled by similia and medicated by the infinitesimal. Thus what we call “dead” of inanimate matter, by potentiation becomes living matter; for every particle of inorganic substances assimilated by the living organism is no longer dead but alive, and subject to the laws of life.
In a similar way, substances which in their natural state are unassimilable by the living organism, like the minerals, or substances which are toxic or destructive, are by homoeopathic mechanical potentiation. rendered in the one case soluble, homogeneous and assimilable and in the other case, not only harmless, but actually beneficent for the purpose of healing, when prescribed homoeopathically. They become to the diseased organism what food is to the healthy organism; that is, reconstructive, in that they supply an organic need, restore order and harmony to disordered functions and permit resumption of normal functioning.
The Scientific Foundation of Potentiation.- The researches of modern physical have confirmed in a remarkable manner the century old teaching of Hahnemann in regard to the divisibility of matter and the power of the infinitesimal in medicine.
When Hahnemann first announced cures of disease by extremely small doses of medicine, his statements were received with incredulity and ridicule. Such a course of procedure was contrary to prevailing custom and belief. It did not avail to point out that cures so effected were made by single remedies, instead of mixtures in common use; that the remedy for each case was selected under the guidance of a new principle in medicine; and that the remedies were prepared by a new process, by which their curative powers were conditionally greatly increased. Hahnemann’s appeal to the medical profession to test the new method and publish result to the world was met by active opposition. He was forbidden to practice and was driven from his home by relentless persecution. The opposition begun at that time has never ceased and the doctrine and practice have had to make their way against obstacles that would have been insurmountable to any but men who were firmly convinced that they were standing for a great and precious truth.
The use of the infinitesimal dose in homoeopathy was the outcome of experience, but as doctrine, it has its foundation in the truth embodied in the modern scientific theories of the conversation and energy and the indestructibility of matter.
In the doctrine of the *conservation of energy physical science teaches that the sum total of the energy of the universe neither diminishes nor increases, though it may assume different forms successively. Physics, in the law of the *conversation of matter teaches that matter, as such, is indestructible and that the total quantity of it in the universe remains the same regardless of the innumerable transformation and permutations constantly taking place in its component elements.
Mathematically, no limits can be assigned to the divisibility of matter. It is impossible to reach a division so fine as to be incapable of further sub-division. The smallest conceivable part will always contain *some of the original substances and consequently some of its power and qualities. it cannot possibly become *nothing.
Practical experience with homoeopathic high potencies in the treatment of the sick confirms these fundamental postulates of science. The highest potencies ever made by th Hahnemannian process of dilution, or by any modification of that process, have been shown to be capable of bringing about a curative reaction in the sick, when the remedy was homoeopathic to the case.
Hahnemann taught, over a century ago, that *”the effect of a homoeopathic dose is augmented by increasing the quantity of the liquid in which the medicine is dissolved preparatory to its administration.” Recent scientific study of solutions in working out in the laboratory the theory of dissociation of molecules, has verified the observation and confirmed and amplified the theory of Hahnemann.
According to the later theory of the dissociation of molecules a chemical when dissolved it dissociated into parts smaller than the atoms of which it was composed. These particles are called ions. It has been proved that *the more dilute the solution, the greater the number of ions and the fewer the atoms. Complete ionization and absolute dissociation are possible only in infinite dilution.
The following statement was made for the author by Mr. J. D. Burby, Chemist of the Electrical Testing Laboratories of New York.
“The Theory of electrolytic dissociation or, simply the ionization theory, was proposed in its completed form by arrhenius to explain irregularities in the osmotic behavior of certain substances, notably inorganic acid, bases and salts. The theory is briefly that :-
“All substances belonging to the class which in water solution conduct electricity are upon being dissolved in a dissociating solvent, dissociated into ions.: Such substances are called electrolytes. It is to be particularly noted that the passage of an electric current through such a solution is not the cause of the dissociation, but rather that dissociation takes place when the substance goes into solution and it is because the solution contains the ions that it will conduct electricity.
Regarding the quantitative side of the theory, it need only be said that the degree of dissociation or ionization is a function of the dilution. The greater the dilution is the greater the degree of ionization, until at infinite dilution ionization is complete.
Further, the reactivity of electrolytes in dilute solution is measured by the degree to which they are ionized. Each substance has the property of dissociating to a definite extent when the solution has a certain concentration. Thus if equi-molecular solutions of hydrochloric, nitric sulphuric and hydrofluoric acids are compared as regards the speed of reaction with a second substance, it will be found that the order in which they stand in this respect will be a measure of the degree to which they are ionized.
It would seem from this that the velocity of all reactions between electrolytes is greater, the greater the dilution and this is so with certain restrictions. Theoretically the relative reactivity is greatest at infinite dilution because then the degree of ionization is greatest. Practically, however there is a limit to this, because after a certain degree of dilution has been reached, the actual reactivity becomes too small to be of moment.
It should be further noted that the ionization theory applies particularly to inorganic acid, bases and salts and that most organic compounds are very little dissociated, as we understand dissociation. Also, other solvents than water act as dissociating solvents, and among other may be mentioned liquid ammonia, liquid sulphur dioxide, and certain organic solvents.”
In *chemistry a molecule is defined as the smallest part of a compound substance that can exist separately and still retain its composition and properties; the smallest combination of atoms that will form a chemical compound.
In *physics the structural unity (molecule) is distinguished from the atom, and applied to particles of gases in the kinetic theory, independently of their relation to the chemical molecules.
Lord Kelvin illustrates the size of a molecule as follows :
“Imagine a rain drop or a globe of glass as large as a pea, to be magnified up to the size of the earth, each constituent molecule being magnified in the same proportion. The magnified structure would be coarser grained than a heap of small shot, but probably less coarse grained than a heap of cricket balls.”
The smallest material things in the world, the last in the series of little things known to modern science, is *the electron, or electric corpuscle. It is supposed that the chemical atoms are composed of a collection of electrons having orbital motions in a sphere of positive electrification. The electron is conceived to be billions of times smaller than the atom. A French scientist compares the electrons in the atom to gnats in the dome of cathedral.
It was formerly supposed that the atom was the smallest component part of matter. For a long time the atom had only a theoretical existence, its existence being assumed in order to account for the chemical combinations which take place between different elements in certain proportions. Even the ultra- microscope, which enables us to see and count particles of gold in ruby glass averaging six millionths of a millimeter in diameter, failed to reveal the atom. It remained for Rutherford, studying radium with his electroscope to identify and count individual atoms, Zeeman of Amsterdam, studying light through the spectroscope, split the spectral line of a flame by holding the flame between the poles of powerful electro-magnet, proving that light is an electric phenomenon, and showing a close relation between the activities of atoms and the origin of light itself.
Langley of the Smithsonian Institution invented *the bolometer, which measure variations of temperature of one hundred millionth of a degree. This represent a change of temperature about equal to that produced by a candle five miles distant.
*Light, travelling through space at the rate of 186,000 miles per second has been found to *exert a distinct push or pressure.
Hence, radiation the force opposed to gravitation, must be considered in studying the movements of matter in a state of infinitesimal subdivison. The pressure force is measured by the radiometer, invented by two American physicists, Professors Nichols and Hull. It is used in connection with bolometer, in measuring the rays from radio-active substances.
Pfund of Johns Hopkins University, in 1913 perfected a still more sensitive instrument said to be capable of measuring a degree of heat equivalent to that given off by a *candle sixty miles away.
Finally ether, the all pervading, space filling entity, is regarded as something which is neither matter nor energy, but which serves as the medium through which both matter nor energy, are transmitted. Science regards the ether as an intangible or immaterial substance, which acts like a solid, but which allows ordinary matter to pass through it without resistance or disturbance. When it is caused to vibrate at a certain speed or rate it becomes visible as light. Light is defined as ” an electro-magnetic disturbance of the ether.” Ordinary light is defined as the result of electric oscillation (or vibration) in the molecules or atoms of hot bodies, or sometimes of bodies not hot- as in the phenomena of phosphorescence.”.
Sir Oliver Lodge says, “the waves of light are not anything mechanical or material, but are something electrical and magnetic – they are, in fact, electrical disturbances periodic in space and time, and travelling with a known and tremendous speed through the ether of space. Their very existence depends upon the ether their speed of propagation is its best known quantitative property.”
Speaking of the ether, Lodge says :- ” The ether has not yet been bought under the domain of simple mechanics – it has not yet been reduced to motion and force,, and that probably because the *force aspect of it has been so singularly elusive that it is a question whether we ought to think of it as material at all.” * * *” Undoubtedly, the ether belongs to the material or physical universe, but it is not ordinary matter, I should prefer to stay it is not `matter’ at all. It may be the *substance or substratum, or *material of which matter is composed but it would be confusing and in convenient not to be able to discriminate between matter on the one hand and ether on the other.” He further says, – “we do not yet know that electricity is, or what ether is.We have as yet no dynamical explanation of either of them; but the past century has taught us what seems to their student an overwhelming quantity of facts about them. And when the present century, or the century after, lets us deeper into their secrets, and into the secrets of some other phenomena now in course of being rationally investigated, I feel as if it would be no merely material prospect that will be opening on our view, but some glimpse into a region of the universe which science has never entered yet, but which has been sought from fat, and perhaps blindly apprehended, by painter and poet, by philosopher and saint.” ( Lodge – The Ether of Space.)
As a summary of present knowledge, Sir Oliver defines the ether of space as “a continuous incompressible, stationary *fundamental substance or perfect fluid with what is equivalent to an inertia- coefficient of 10 power 12 grammes per c.c., that *matter is composed of *modified and electrified specks, or *minute structures of ether, which are amenable to mechanical, as well as to electrical force and add to the optical or electric density of the medium; and that elastic-rigidity and *all potential energy are due to excessively fined grained ethereal circulation, with and intrinsic kinetic energy of the order 10 power 33 ergs per cubic centimeter.”
A. Wilford Hall, Ph.D., LL.D., Founder of the Substantial Philosophy in The problem of Human Life, had proved logically as early as 1875, that all the fundamental forces of the universe, including life, electricity and the ether of space or *substantial entities, incorporeal, intangible and invisible, but capable of being perceived, measured and weighed.
Modern science has practically accepted this conclusion, for today we have Sir Oliver Lodge, the greatest living correlator and interpreter of the facts of science, defining the ether of space as the most tenuous and refined substance known to science, and submitting mathematical computation of its physical properties.
Having anticipated the theory and conclusions of the chemist and physicist by clinical experience with high potencies in the treatment of the sick, the followers of Hahnemann are in a position to maintain, with authority that the curative power of a drug is not lost when it is diluted to such a degree that a dose represents an amount of actual drug substance so small as to be practically an unassignable quantity – in other words, an infinitesimal quantity.
But the doctrine of Potentiation and the infinitesimal Dose has another important application in medicine.
Fincke (On High Potencies ) says : “Disease originates in the specific action of noxious matter which is either produced within the organism, or brought in from without, and it is always carried on by a process of assimilation.
“Assimilation, everywhere is accompanied by *potentiation by rendering the infinitesimal particles of matter susceptible and active according to their inherent affinities.”
“As homoeopathic remedies are obtained by potentiation, that is by comminuting and refining drug matter, by means of a vehicle easily assimilable; so nutritious matter appears to stand (act) as the vehicle in the *natural potentiation of those noxious materials which the organism itself prepares as remedies for its own self-preservation” (antitoxins, antibodies. etc.).
“As the whole organism draws upon digestion, as the source of its nutrition, so every part and particle of the organism draws upon the various materials successively worked out by the different processes of animal chemistry for its own proper nutriment, and assimilates them for its own particular use and subsistence. Thus, the lacteals draw upon the chyle prepared by digestion; the lymphatics upon the transudation of the capillaries, the blood upon the fluids of either of these; and the nerves upon the blood.”
“Those parts of the organism which do not satisfy their wants and requirements by this intra-organic nutrition alone, assimilate from the outer world whatever is necessary, not only for their own existence, but also for their co-operation with others and for the self-preservation of the organism. Thus the blood assimilates oxygen from the air; the eye, light; the ear, sound; the nose, olfactory matter; the tongue, gustatory matter; the brain and nerves, phosphorous, etc.; the mind (thought or) the operations of other minds by means of the senses, and so on; the organism continually assimilating from the Planet and the Universe as long as it lasts. Consequently the whole organism is the product of assimilation of matter, *and its action is the result of potentiation of matter. And so is disease. And so is health. And so is all life.”
“The hypothetical ether is, possibly,*infinitesimal comminuted matter, forming as it were the *reservoir of the high potencies required for the Universal Assimilation or Homoeosis which is continually going on and mediating all life in the world.”
These words were written prior to 1865- more than fifty years ago. Does it not increase our respect and reverence for our Dr. Fincke as a philosopher to find Sir Oliver Lodge, the foremost philosopher and scientist of Great Britain substantially endorsing his view in his work, “The Ether of Space.” published in 1909?
Lodge says :- “The question is often asked, is ether material? This is largely a question of words and convenience. Undoubtedly, the ether belongs to the material or physical universe but it is not ordinary matter. I should prefer to say it not” matter” at all. It may be the *substance or substratum of material of which matter is composed, but it would be confusing and inconvenient not to be able to discriminate between matter on the one hand and ether on the other. If you tie a knot on a bit of string, the knots is composed of string both string is not composed of knot. If you have a smoke or vortex ring in the air, The vortex ring is made of air, but the atmosphere is not a vortex ring.
“The essential distinction between matter and ether is that matter *moves, in the sense that it has the property of locomotion and can effect impact and bombardment; while either is *strained and has the property of exerting stress and recoil. All potential energy exists in the ether. It may vibrate and it may rotate, but as regards locomotion it is stationary- the most stationary body we know; absolutely stationary, so to speak; our standard of rest. All that we ourselves can effect in the material universe, is to alter the motion and configuration of masses of matter. * *
“But now comes the question. How is it possible for matter to be composed of ehter? How is it possible for a solid to be made out of a fluid? A solid possesses the properties of rigidity, impenetrability, elasticity, and such like; how can these be imitated by a perfect, fluid such as the ether must be? ”
The answer is, they can be imitated by a fluid in motion; a statement which we make with confidence as the result of a great part of Lord Kelvin’s work.
“It may be illustrated by a few experiments.”
“A wheel of spokes, transparent of permeable when stationary, becomes opaque when revolving, so that a ball thrown against it does not go through but rebounds. The motion only affects permeability to matter; transparency to light is unaffected.”
” A flexible chain, set spinning, can stand up on end while the motion continues.”
“A jet of water at sufficient speed can be struck with a hammer and resists being cut with a sword.” * * *
” If ether can be set spinning, therefore we have some hope of making it imitate the properties of matter, or even of constructing matter by its aid. But *how are we to spin the ether? Matter alone seems to have grip on it.” * * *
” But you can vibrate it electrically; and every source of radiation does that. An electrical charge, in sufficiently rapid vibration, is the only source of ether waves that we know; and if an electric charge is suddenly stopped, it generates the pulses known as X-Rays, as the result of the collision. Not speed, but sudden change of speed is the necessary condition for generating waves in the ether by electricity.” * * *
“The universe we are living in is an extraordinary one, and our investigation of it has only just begun. We know that matter has a psychical significance, since it can constitute *brain, which links together the physical and psychical worlds. If any one thinks that the ether, with all its massiveness and energy, has probably no physical significance, I find myself unable to agree with him.”
“The earliest conception of ether regarded it as simply a medium for conveying radiation. Faraday’s experiments and investigation led him to believe that it had other perhaps more important uses and properties. He conjectured that the same medium which is electromagnetic phenomena, and this conjecture was amply strengthened by subsequent investigations.”
Lodge now says : – “One more function is now being discovered; *the ether is being found to constitute matter.”
Prof. Sir. J. J. Thomson says :- “The *whole mass of any body is just the mass of ether surrounding the body which is carried along by the Faraday tubes associated with the atoms of the body. *In fact all mass is mass of the ether; all momentum, momentum of the ether and all kinetic energy, kinetic energy of the ether. This view it should be said, requires the density of the ether to be immensely greater than that of any known substance.”
Thus we see that the difference between Dr. Fincke’s conception of the constitution of the ether and that of Faraday and the later scientists is mainly verbal. There is no appreciable difference between the ether as; “matter in a state of *infinitesimal fineness of division,” and the ether as the “substance of which matter is composed.” Comprehension of either idea depends upon the ability to understand the meaning of the word infinitesimal as used in the mathematical sense. ” Infinitely small,” denotes a quantity conceived as continually diminishing so as to become less than any other quantity having an assigned value. There is no limit assigned nor conceivable. It is finite thought carried to the utmost limit :and then some.”
The philosopher, the physicist and chemist, each in his own way, analyzes divides and subdivides matter until he can go no farther, and then finds himself confronted by a mystery, incapable of solution by physical means. Shall he stop there and hush the question that will arise in his mind when he has penetrated thus far? Something within him rebels at the arbitrary limitation of thought. Aspiration intuition reason, analogy, the logical faculty, all urge him forward. Up to this point his investigation has revealed what can only be regarded logically as secondary causes. The primary cause eludes him.. The physician and pathologist also has his mystery. The microbe, the bacillus, the bacterium, all forms of micro-organisms and all other proximate causes of disease, carried back even to the formless bit of protoplasm or living matter, must themselves be accounted for. That which lies beyond cannot be seen by the microscope. At this point, it is necessary to substitute the telescope of intuitional reasoning for the microscope of physical of physical demonstration.