Page images

ists we are making our specialty subserve the common store of medical knowledge and the alleviation of the sufferings of our fellowcreatures. But while reiterating and rejoicing in this fact, we must yet ask ourselves, what progress has homeopathy, the therapeutic specialty, made in the last twenty-five years, that is at all commensurate with that made by the majority of the specialties already named. Understand, please, that I do not mean by “progress” advance along the lines of public appreciation or pecuniary success, but progress along the lines of broadened therapeutic resources. It is much that our remedies applied under our law still so largely hold their own, approving themselves by their success in curing diseases. When we compare this truth with the fate of the remedies twenty-five years ago so highly vaunted by our brothers of the Old School, and to-day, by so high an authority as the president of their national association hurled in a mass into the waste basket of dishonored oblivion, we have no reason for despondency. As homeopathists we have no reason for despondency that other specialties have out-run our own in relative progress in a half-century, since all those other specialties are our gleaning-fields, our personal resources when we think of ourselves primarily as physicians. Every progress made in medicine is our progress, since by it we may profit in equal measure with any of our brethren, in our work of healing the sick. There have been periods when factions have held that a homeopathist was false to his calling, if he employed in healing the sick, any other resources than those offered by the drug administered under the law of similars. Those periods have fortunately passed; those factions practically no longer exist. However the not yet extinct prejudice of our brethren of other schools may vehemently deny it, we are essentially at one with every educated physician, whatever his specialty in medicine. We need not talk of “amalgamation” with the mass of the medical profession as a future possibility, dependent on our yielding our special medical title. We are amalgamated with the true healers of to-day and of all time past and to come, when we claim as our own all knowledge that physicians can possess in common, and the right to employ all means that time and science may reveal for lessening the sufferings of humanity. Is there any one calling himself a homeopathist to-day who will claim that the use of a drug alone administered along the line of similars, will cure every diseased condition as quickly and surely as any other means known to the medicine of to-day can cure it? I venture to say there is not. If there be. he must find himself ill at ease indeed in the American Institute of Homeopathy, so much of whose time is profitably occupied with the deliberations of special societies

which exist to cure diseases by means not primarily those of drugadminsitration. Is there any homeopathist to-day who claims that he can select a drug, under the law of similars, which will achieve the results of the fresh-air treatment in tuberculosis; of surgery in pathologic conditions requiring the knife; of saline injections in collapse; of diet in diabetes, gout and scurvy; of antitoxin in diphtheria ; of the desiccated thyroid in myxædema ; of adrenalin in hemorrhage; of psychic therapy in certain forms of neurosis; of hypnotic suggestion in certain hysterias; of the X-Ray in epidermoid cancer, and lupus; of manipulative treatment in certain muscular affections? I again venture to answer, No; and to assert the necessary corollary of this admission that there are few homeopathists indeed who would ignore the obvious duty, when faced with a case of any of the abovereferred to maladies, of adding to whatever benefit he was achieving for his patient by the use of the carefully selected homeopathic remedy, the immeasurably more assured benefits of the treatments above referred to, each in its appropriate field of action. Would the homeopathist in doing this be advertising the inefficacy of his own specialty? It is hardly conceivable that such a claim can be made. Surely no one, outside the advertising circulars of a vender of quack remedies, claims to-day that for every disease there is a single cureall. In admitting the limitations that we share with every other specialist, we assert the privileges we share with every other physician.

Is it a matter for regret that in the ever-widening history of medical specialization, what I have already called the segregating process should so continually obtain? From any sane or far-reaching view-point, emphatically no. Spencer's famous law of cell-growth and reproduction may well be believed to apply to the cells of knowledge as well as to those of more material sort. Says Spencer:

“A cell increases in bulk, as the cube of its diameter; in surface, as the square of its diameter.”

The obvious outcome of this inevitable process is that there comes a time when the demands of the bulk exceed the power of the surface to supply. The consequence must either be death or segmentation. Two bodies take, by segmentation the place of one, each unit with a surface of its own. Is not this entirely true of the bulk of knowledge ? Slowly growing, from within outward, there comes a time when seg. mentation takes place, and two bodies stand where one stood. This is inevitable, if all the truth which was developed is to have means of manifestation. Hence differing religious creeds. Hence differing medical denominations and specialties. Disruption as a means of growth is nothing to lament. So that no part arrogates to itself the

title and privileges of the whole the process of segmentation, of specialization, is wholly beneficent in result. Our ancestors in medicine, when the moment of their segregation came, found no recognition of their right to a life separate from that of the parent body. That was and is regrettable. What would be infinitely more regrettable, would be for us, their descendants, to emulate the unwisdom that refused them that recognition. Let us, in this our day, watch the new processes of specialization with calm and acquiescent eyes. Let us ask of any medical specialist the one question: does it heal any form of sickness more quickly and more permanently than any method already in use Let us ask of any specialist: is he first a physician? Here, I take it, is the key to problems of medical legislation. To face with no dogmatic challenge curative systems that claim a right to prove their efficacy on whatever patients are willing to try their efficacy. Merely to demand of those who desire to practice such systems, that they be and approve themselves physicians, well grounded in the knowledge of the fundamental laws governing the life of the complex human body. This assured, admit them to the field of medical practice, and watch the results of their work. Surely the most radical defendant of the rights of individuals can see no tyranny here. The community demands that no man shall practice as a pharmacist unless he can show the license that proves his familiarity with the properties of the drugs he dispenses. It demands that no man shall practice as an engineer unless he can show the license that proves him master of his steam and his steel. It is more tyrannical for the community to demand of every one who would practice as a physician, a healer of the sick, that he first demonstrate his understanding of the laws governing the human body with which he asks to deal? To demand less than this, to admit fanatics and charlatans, ignorant of the bodies they are tampering with, into the field of medical practice, is to put the community at large into obvious peril. I need but to instance the risk to the community of allowing a case of small-pox or scarlet fever, or diphtheria to fall into the hands of those either too ignorant to recognize the character of the disease, or too fanatical to admit its existence. No; let us as physicians insist by every influence that we can command that none but qualified physicians shall have a right to recognition in the field of medical practice; and then as specialists in that field, let us accord respect and intelligent respect to the work of every other specialist in that field.

Is this too large a liberality to ask of you? Are there certain specialists I have already mentioned, to which you are doubtful if thinking men and women are justified in according any measure of credulity? Do you hesitate to admit, for instance, the claims of the almost innumerable varieties of psycho-specialists, because their methods seem too aerial and indemonstrable? Neither time nor inclination permits me to enter here into any lengthened argument for or against the possibility of distinctively psychic means for the cure of disease. But I cannot forbear a suggestion or two, which I leave for you to ponder at your pleasure. Has it ever occurred to you that any physician who knowingly gives a placebo to an hysterical patient, which placebo serves its healing purpose, has accomplished his cure by distinctively psychic therapy? Can you deny that this is the case? And when he keeps the knowledge of this fact from his patient, and in no infrequent instances from himself, is he the superior or the inferior of the specialist who treats his patient by distinctively psychic means, with that patient's full knowledge and assent? I but ask the question; in answering it, weigh the justice of ridicule or persecution of the habitual practitioners of psychotherapy, by those who employ the same therapy occasionally and unconfessedly. Is there here no possible gleaning by night in a neighbor's field, such as we agreed awhile ago we ourselves sometimes suffered from?

One more word in this connection, and a somewhat more serious one, to which I ask your serious attention and consideration. Is it not possible, I say only possible, that there may be rounds in the ladder of consciousness too elevated for ordinary sense to climb, yet to be scaled by senses of which not many of us are as yet practically aware? May there not be powers too high and subtle for manifestation to the ordinary sense, that can yet make themselves manifest to specially cultivated sense? The lowest of the recognized five senses through which the universe outside ourselves manifests itself to our consciousness, is that of touch. Touch is our ability to apprehend, by means of its direct and material contact with certain nerve fibres, a form of energy manifesting itself through a solid mass of matter. This is the lowest round on the ladder of consciousness, requiring for its ascension only a material object and flesh with which to bring that object into contact.

The second round in our ladder of consciousness we call taste. Here indeed we have material substances still to be apprehended before the act of consciousness can be complete, the round of the ladder ascended. But note that this matter must be in higher form and manifested through a more subtle medium than that which appeals to the sense of touch. And now we climb, if not far, yet fast. For our next round is that we call hearing. Here we are emancipated

from matter altogether, as matter is ordinarily understood. Here the universe makes appeal to our attuned senses, through a medium of air alone; through mere energy in motion, manifesting as vibration. Brought into realization, have we not here a fine and wonderful thing, which yet is a most familiar experience? Have we not climbed fast and far? But we may make one more step yet, nor stand above our reassuring experience of every day. We climb the round of sight, Here we have energy emancipated from solid, from liquid, from atmospheric media; here we have as a medium only that mysterious thing called the ether; as far above the air as that is above the liquid, or that above the solid. Here we stop, or do we stop? Would it not be more rational, more logical, to say not, here we stop, but here we for the moment pause ? Are we prepared to say that at the sense of sight there ceases arbitrarily this wonderfully, subtly, exquisitely graded ascent, up which we have thus far been led? Has life energy lost its power of further, higher manifestation? Has humanity no senses by which that life energy in higher manifestation can be apprehended? Let us imagine a form of life which has not yet, in its evolution, mounted above the first round of our mystic ladder, whose sole sense is that of touch.

If it could be conveyed to such forms, that beyond touch there was capacity for taste, for smell, for hearing, for sight, what answer do you fancy that creature possessed of but the one sense of touch would make to these assertions of its own latent powers? Do you suppose it would make a widely different answer from that made by many of us, when we are asked to consider the possible existence of a sixth sense, a seventh, a thousandth sense which mount above our five senses, as they mount above each other?

Thus far in our talk, I have spoken to you largely as a physician to physicians. Now for a few moments, let me speak to you as a homeopathist to homeopathists. Let us, for a little, turn to our own special corner of the medical field, and talk of family matters. What are we, as homeopathists, contributing to the work of the medical field at large? What are we doing to justify our claim to be therapeutic specialists? We cannot escape these questions; and it is better that we should ask them of ourselves and of each other, than that the world outside our corner should ask them of us.

What are we giving to the field at large? We are giving what we have long given and we are giving it with the confidence in its worth only the testing of years can bring. We are giving remedies for whose efficacy we have scientific warrant. We are giving remedies whose worth we have tested by scientific methods, and tested for

« PreviousContinue »