Geo. E. Dienst, M.D., Aurora, Ill
Some of the hardes problems in life are easy of solution when solved by the law of case and effect. To say a thing is wrong, that it cannot be accomplished, that it is inexplicable simply sense. It is folly based upon ignorance.
Suppose, when you came down to breakfast little Mary, 8 years old, also came down, complained of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and feeling quite ill. She wants no breakfast, has no desire for food. You look at her a moment, you see she is ill and you give her a few granules of Ipecac 30x and accompany the family to breakfast, expressing the hope that Mary will feel better soon. Before you have finished your breakfast, to your surprise, Mary comes to the table calls for food and eats a hearty breakfast with relish, Ans says “I feel quite well.” Was she sick as she said, or was she feigning? Had the remedy anything to do with the recovery? What do you say? The question of Mary’s veracity is not at issue, she never did such a thing before. The question of the small dose, its rapid and safe action is neither improbable nor absurd, but a verification of the law of Similia – and an exemplification of the law of cause and effect.
There are many objections raised against the law of Similia. In this particular instance the objection is the inadequacy of the dose and the potency of the remedy, declaiming it inert and incapable of removing symptoms of disease. We are, however, dealing with cause and effect, and it is not sufficient to say that “the patient is certainly better but it is contary to common sense that so small a dose of medicine can prove curative.” Let us study this objection as it will cover the field of homoeopathic therapeutics to a marked extent.
First, the objection is merely an assertion.
To say that the dose is inert, the cause is inadequate to the effect is not reason, it proves nothing, is not good sense. Assertions, opinion devoid of proof, are worthless and lead us to certain conclusions, viz:
(a) Such assertions dre made in ignorance.
What dose the object or know of the matter? Nothing. What are his experimental investigations? None. What time and energy has he given to the subject of the small dose and the law of Similia? None. He does not even profess to have studied the subject; would not condescend to do so; calls the practice quackery; says it is humbug; he has too much sense to waste time on the inquiry. Assertions may be based upon various premises, but knowledge must be based upon truth. Would you believe a blind man who says there is no color? Or a deaf man who denies the existence of music? These have not seen, neither have they heard, hence are ignorant of color and sound and their evidence, or rather assertions are of no value because of ignorance. He who has never tried the remedy in potency, watched its course and observed its affects is no judge of the remedy because of his ignorance. To deny, therefore, the action of certain phenomena which man has not seen nor heard is gross ignorance. The discoveries of Galileo were positively denied by many, but this denial did not invalidate the discoveries. This is true of nearly every discovery, and yet it is by these discoveries that truth is made manifest.
(b) Again, to deny the value and the virtue of the law of Similars and the minimum dose is a denial made in indolence.
One writer tersely remarks that “every medical man engaged in the actual practice has opportunities of putting both the principle and the dose of homoeopathy upon trial every day.” Let any practitioner resolve as I and others have done, to look at the questions with his own eyes, and he can immediately do so. Let him begin with those drugs with whose poisonous action he is already well acquainted, and, in fairness, till he has more skill, with the lower dilutions. And when he has become more familiar with their use, give the higher and the highest dilutions.”
Such indolence as leads a man to pronounce off-hand sentence of condemnation against a statement largely affecting human interest, because it is novel and startling, admits of no apology, when it is in his power to put the statement to a practical test. Those who will deny the efficacy of the single remedy in an infinitesimal dose – have you tried it? Do you speak from experience or prejudice? Does indolence control energy and common sense in the proving of this vital matter?
(c) To deny or declare false the law and practice of homoeopathy without a through and impartial trial is folly.
Men who do this remind me of a statement made by an ancient sage – “he that answereth a matter before he hearth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” When a man speaks of homoeopathy as a humbug it is pertinent to ask: how many months have you given to the impartial study of homoeopathy? How many sick people have you treated with the potentized homoeopathic remedy according to the strict principles of homoeopathy? None? Then you pretend to pass judgement on a law and its practice without proving it. Yes. Then please study Solomon who describes you with accuracy.
(d) Assertions opposing homoeopathy are made in enmity to the principles it proclaims.
Men refuse to have anything to do with it. The subject is repugnant and the name is exasperating. Why? Hatred based on ignorance, indolence and folly is condemning a thing in anger! Who has not heard such condemnation? And yet, homoeopathy is the medicine of mercy; it emancipates the suffering from every disagreeable, harsh, and cruel practice to which the human family has been so long exposed; it professes to be able to cure more quickly, safely and pleasantly than is possible by any other means, and proves it; it promises to the physician himself, the satisfaction of a true scientific method, always dependable, in place of vague and often fatal experiments. In all this it appeals to the common sense of mankind. Permit me to emphasize the fact that no man has a right to condemn or hold up to ridicule the principles of homoeopathy until he has given them an impartial and prolonged trial, and without this trial he exposes himself as an ignorant, indolent and foolish fault-finder.
Let us forget for a moment this opposition to a commonsense principle and let us hear what some of the witnesses in its favor say. A witness whose evidence is of value must be first competent and secondly the evidence must be sufficient to cover the point.
First, a witness of value must be a competent one. He must have the gift of impartial and persistent study, accurate in reasoning and thoroughly acquainted with his subject. The first witness whom we shall call to the stand is Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy. His long study, his conversion from the lod school practice, his manifold and marvelous provings of remedies and the law which he made clear make him the most competent of all witnesses. For proof of this statement I invite you to study with care the Organon and his Lesser Writings.
The second is another convert from the old school. Dr. Chapman, of London. Hear him: “It happened that during my absence from Liverpool some of my patients had been induced to try the homoeopathic treatment. Some of the cures could be explained away, but several of them could only be honestly accounted for by admitting the full efficacy of the treatment that had been pursued. It will be sufficient to mention one of these. A gentleman had been subject to hemorrhoids for some years, and the loss of blood was sometimes fearful. His bowels were habitually and obstinately constipated, and any medicine but the most gentle laxative brought on the hemorrhoidal flux. Astringents were of no use during the discharge; they produced mischief when taken internally. He had been under the care of several eminent men of London. And had tried many medical men in Liverpool. His condition was made rather worse than better by the efforts of all and each of us to relieve him. His life was a misery. Two or three months after he had been under homoeopathic treatment I met him one day in the street, and was astonished at the alteration in his appearance. From being emaciated he had grown stout, and was altogether in excellent condition. I asked him what he had been doing, and thereupon he told me of his having swooned away in London, from the loss of blood; that a homoeopathic physician had attended him; and that he had suffered no loss of blood since; that his bowels were regular, and that he no longer suffered any inconvenience from the trying, and, in his case, dangerous complaint he had suffered a dozen years or more. This and several other concurrent cases of my own patients successfully treated by this method at the same time, induced me to lay aside my prejudices against the apparent absurdity of the doses, so far as the test by actual experiment their efficacy and value. I was immediately convinced that the doses were efficacious and conviction of the truth of the doctrine followed. Many urged their eager remonstrances, but my duty was plain so soon as I became convinced; and it was the sincerity of my conviction which gave me the courage to persevere.”
A common sense procedure converted a strong opponent. He speaks of “eminent” physicians of London and Liverpool who could not cure a hemorrhoidal flux. Them, in what were these gentleman eminent? In their failure to cure? They all made this masn “rather worse than better” by their efforts. Again we ask, in what were they eminent? And here is proof that a despised homoeopath did in three months what “eminence” in London and Liverpool could not do in twelve years – cure a case of hemorrhoids and convert Dr. Chapman.
Listen to just one more. Hear Dr. H.V. Malan in the following account: “After having lived for some years in the house of a homoeopathic physician in Germany, and seen his practice and heard him speak and teach I went to Paris in 1840 and located myself near Hahnemann’s residence; I called on him almost the next morning. And told him at once that I had come to him with the desire and intention to study and know thoroughly homoeopathy in order to write, if possible, the best book against it. He received me and listened to me most kindly, and immediately put me in the way of the best studying, but he added, with his usual benevolent smile – you never will write your book. Most generously he directed my studies for more than a whole year, and I need not add his word was true – I never wrote the book, though I had begun it and laid materials down for it, before seeing Hahnemann.
“My conversion was not an easy one; I was fresh from the allopathic benches, and flushed with the victory of allopathic honors. I adopting homoeopathy, I roused the whole faculty of my native city (Geneva against me and caused no small uproar.”
Some of the reasonings against homoeopathy remind me very much of the story told of a backwoodsman who, when told of a locomotive engine said, “such an engine is impossible, no man could ever make one.” To convince him that such a machine did exist he and his wife Mandy were driven to a railroad station where an engine under full steam at the head of a train of cars was standing. He looked, was convinced; he said “there is such a machine but they can never start it.” The engineer was in the cab, his hand on the throttle which he opened gently and slowly, the wheels began to turn, the engine began to puff and gather speed and soon the train was in rapid motion, and as it passed out of sight around the curve he turned to Mandy and said, “There is such a machine, they can start it, but by gosh, Mandy, they’ll never stop it.”