Causes Of Professional Opposition To Homeopathy

On The Causes Of Professional Opposition To Homeopathy.



tranchee_britanniqueTHERE was a Presidential Address delivered at the British Homoeopathic Congress, held at Liverpool, September 13th, 1877, by Alfred C. Pope, M.D., and this Address has been published in several professedly homoeopathic journals in the United States, without comment. This Address, coming close upon the heels of the proposed surrender of our School and our principles, and an appeal to be admitted into the Medical Societies of the Allopathic School, proffered ostensibly in the name of the Homoeopathists at large by a Dr. Wyld, attracts more attention than it would do otherwise. Dr. Wyld presumed to represent the Homoeopathic School; Dr. Pope is presumed to speak the sentiments of this School. Dr. Wyld’s presumptions have been fully rebuked; and as his statements have found the Allopathists wide awake, were by them utilized, with the intention of bringing our School into disrepute, it was hoped that the colleagues of this man would embrace their first opportunity to set our side of the wide-spreading controversy right, show the utter falsity of his statements, and the folly of his overtures.

Dr. Pope has really not endorsed Dr. Wyld’s statements; he has mildly censured him, and has attempted to show a better way to accomplish a reunion. Dr. Pope does not represent the Homoeopathic School, and, for this reason, we shall now prove, by his own words, that far from representing the sentiments held by a very large number of Homoeopathicians, he also has uttered assertions not in accord with the School he is presumed to represent. And were we to remain silent on these points, were we to allow this Address to go before the world without comment, such a course would indicate that he was endorsed, and his Address approved of, by Our School.

We are told, « neither has the separation which has occurred been willful on our part. » We hold that the separation was « a necessity. »

From the very moment that Hufeland closed the pages of the leading Allopathic journal, which he controlled, to the communications made by Hahnemann, from that moment the separation began. On the one side, we find a conscientious and scientific searcher after truth laying his discoveries humbly before his professional brethren; and, on the other side, we find an arrogant scientific man, who declined to listen. As it was then, so it is now. Did Hahnemann, or his earlier followers, shrink from the dangers to which oppressive laws exposed them? Certainly not; and, suffering from the application of these laws, they never spoke of, never desired, nor humbly asked for, a reunion. An arrogant School which allowed the pages of their journals to be closed to a colleague because he hoped to be able to correct errors, and show a better way to cure the sick, would willfully indulge in groping in the accustomed darkness, would shrink from the light offered them; and, for that reason, the two so widely differing set of men were, by necessity, for ever separated. A reunion can only be accomplished if the friends of darkness creep out of it and accept the light offered them, or if men who have a glimpse of light, moved by selfish and sordid motives, voluntarily slink back into the old darkness. Is a reunion possible on any other than these two suggested methods? Dr. Pope is opposed to a meek submission to an intolerant majority, and in this he expresses the temper of the School of Homoeopathy; he clearly shows the duty of all who believe in Homoeopathy and feel the professional opposition to Homœopathy. It was the duty of our School to make known, by book and pamphlet, what Homoeopathy was, and how Homoeopathy should (Dr. Pope says « might « ) be practised; it was proper to establish Societies, Hospitals, Schools, and, finally, a Literature. Had this plain duty been fulfilled, had the Homoeopathists made known, by book and pamphlet, what Homoeopathy was, or, in other words, had they, by book and pamphlet, promulgated and explained the science of Homoeopathy, and how that science should be applied practically, showing how the Art of

Healing, relying on the science of it, must be practised; had they been true to themselves, the position they occupy in Old England would be a very different one from what they now complain of. The journals published in England this day have all, or almost all, the Homoeopathy they represent on the title-page; and when we find Dr. Pope openly caricaturing Homoeopathy, as we shall show presently, we may admire the ingenuity with which he applies the Law of Similars; first complaining that the Allopathists had caricatured Homoeopathy, he offers, as we suppose for curative purposes, another caricature of our Law of cure.

And he says : « Yes, we admit that we are homoeopathists. In so doing, we acknowledge that we regard the Law of Similars as the therapeutic principle which is best adapted for the selection of drugs to cure disease. We do not, however, assert that it is the only principle on which it is necessary for the physician to act in the treatment of every case that comes before him, or in every part of every case; neither do we deny that disease is ever cured by remedies prescribed on other principles. »

Hahnemann, the father of our School, and to whom alone belonged the indisputable right to define the principles of that School, tells us, in his great textbook, the Organon, and there, in paragraph 54, he says, dwelling on the three modes of employing medicines in disease (the Homoeopathic, Allopathic, and Palliative), « that the Homoeopathic method alone leads in a direct way to a mild, certain, and permanent cure, without either injuring the patient or diminishing his strength. » Even our Allopathic opponents have severely rebuked propositions of this kind, offered at times by professing Homoeopathists; and they truly say, that systems so diametrically opposed one to another, cannot be true, one in one case and another in another case; but one or other must apply, as Dr. P. has it, to « every part of every case. » The above caricature must bring down on Homoeopathy the sarcasm, if not the contempt, of all thinking men. If the Law of Similars is a Law at all; if it is a principle to guide the physician’s action in the treatment of disease; it must be true under all circumstances; if this Law or principle does not suffice to guide the physician’s actions in all cases, then it is not a Law, at all, nor is it a principle; and if not true always, then Homoeopathy must, by logical inductions, be declared a snare, an illusion, and a farce. To strengthen his assertion, Dr. Pope says : « While it is undeniable that some of his (Hahnemann’s) earliest followers, under the influence of that immense force of character which Hahnemann ever exhibited, did, in obedience to the stern demand he made upon them for unhesitating confidence in every theory he broached, accept as true much that investigation has since shown to be untenable hypothesis, it is equally true that it has been by others of his disciples that the fallacies into which he was betrayed were most completely exposed. We accept so much of Hahnemann’s teachings as experience has proved to us to be sound, unhesitatingly rejecting whatever in it we have found erroneous. »

The followers of Hahnemann, his earliest as well as his present followers, have accepted and do accept his teachings, and experience did and does prove that his teachings are sound. Hahnemann never offered a single hypothesis, never was betrayed into fallacies. He offered us infallible principles derived from his observations of natural laws; his development of principles are based on sound and incontrovertible logic; and while nobody ever claimed that he gave us a finished system of the Healing Art, his earliest and present followers claim that that system can only be truly developed by strictly adhering to the foundation laid by the Master, and that every step taken forward must be in harmony with his teachings. In the Healing Art, as in all other arts based on an established science, there will be men found who, apparently accepting the science, can not as successfully apply it in practice as do others. Dr. Pope seems to ignore the very large number of Homoeopathicians who, time and again up to the present day, testified that experience has proved to them the correctness of Hahnemann’s teachings; and if their testimony has been corroborated by every observing Healer who has followed the teachings of Hahnemann, what does Dr. Pope’s assertion amount to, that « there are others who unhesitatingly reject whatever in it they have found to be erroneous « It amounts just to this : there are men who deny the statements of others, who, true to their principles, claim superior successes, and have time and again illustrated their application of principles in practice successfully, and who judge the correctness of these infallible principles, which they designate as fallacious or untenable hypotheses, by their own failures to reach these results. Would it not be more consistent if these doubters would come to these, by them, ignored men, instead of offering to go back to the Allopathic Societies; and saying, with Dr. Pope, « We are ready and willing to co-operate with them (the Allopathists) in their efforts to promote the science and art of medicine; are anxious to learn from them, and discuss with them, the results of their observations; to communicate to them, and carefully examine the criticism they have to offer upon such conclusions as our experience may lead us to form? »

It would promote the true science and art of medicine (Homoeopathy) much more, if these doubters would seek to learn from the consistent followers of Hahnemann, to discuss with them calmly and liberally the results of their observations, and carefully offer their criticism of Hahnemann’s writings, discuss the principles laid down in the Organon, and definitely state by what mode of investigation they find one or more untenable hypothesis offered in that logical work. The causes of the opposition to Homœopathy, as taught by Hahnemann, which are the same now as they ever have been—an almost total absence of any information of what is meant by Homoeopathy; absolute refusal to ascertain what is understood by it; an unrelenting determination to suppress, by every possible means, every opportunity presented of learning what it really is, and how it can be practically tested—could thereby easily be removed; erroneous conceptions of his teachings could best be corrected by such a course as we propose. The Allopathic Schools are gradually coming over to us; they teach more or less Homoeopathy in their Schools; and if we but show them an unbroken front; if we, by superior successes, such as secured to the earlier followers of Hahnemann the confidence of intelligent people, gain the confidence and support of the community, we shall promote the progress of Homoeopathy much better than by an unsuccessful attempt to obtain admission into their Societies.

Dr. Pope further tells us, « There is no finality in Homoeopathy. One of the most thorough-going homoeopathists has said, ‘The Law itself may be but a stepping-stone to a wider generalization, which shall one day embrace both it and something beside, and which shall make clear some things which we now see darkly.’ ” (Homœopathy, the Science of Therapeutics.)

We fully agree with Dr. Pope, that there is not, and never will be, a finality in Homoeopathy; the progress forwards can not be checked by the men who habitually progress backwards and desire a return to the Allopathic Societies. The one of a few of the objectionable sentences contained in the otherwise very admirably-written paper, « Homoeopathy, the Science of Therapeutics », has been singled out by Dr. Pope, to show that prospectively we may set aside things we at present do not see clear, but darkly; that, if such clear-sightedness has been granted us, we may indulge in a wider generalization. As Homoeopathicians, we are bound to individualize; therefore the sentence in itself, even were it otherwise applicable under the prospective conditions at present, is not in harmony with our progressive School, not in harmony with Hahnemann’s teachings, not in harmony with the general tone of the papers it has been selected from. The fact is, the more we develop Homoeopathy, in the same ratio as our knowledge of it increases, the more will we individualize in every individual case. Progressive individualization leads us forward, helps us to develop the Healing Art; generalization leads no science forward—the least of all the Science of Medicine; and as for our Healing Art, its course would be but backward.

The causes of professional opposition to Homoeopathy will, to our thinking, continue till we, as a School, conquer, overcome, and annihilate the opposition by our superior successes. And how can we obtain these successes? Surely, in no other way and by no other means than by those used by Hahnemann, who generously and without hesitation showed us his way to obtain successes. Can any one by any sophistry claim to be able to obtain better successes in any other manner?

It seems that any such propositions as are here offered will be regarded as a display of an intolerant spirit. There seems to be no end to the apparently ingenious propositions to make our School more palatable to the Allopathists; to divest it of all progressiveness, -and, if possible, of the advocates of progress, and, attired in the Pathological livery,[1] to plead that Hahnemann has been found allowing the existence of certain specific diseases, always essentially identical, for which fixed remedies can be ascertained; and that, therefore, it may be hoped that the advance of knowledge has identified many more of the same kind. (Monthly Homeopathic Review, 1877, p. 673.) We boldly and earnestly contradict all such frivolous propositions, which are contrary to well-known facts. Whenever Hahnemann used pathological terms for diseases, they were invariably modified by conditions, such as he used in his preface to Aconite, and there and then gave the characteristic symptoms of this valuable remedy—characteristic symptoms NOT TO BE FOUND in the modernized Materia Medica, now perverted into « Pharmaco-dynamics. » We are not aware that Hahnemann ever spoke of certain specific diseases, always essentially identical, for which fixed remedies can be ascertained. The Organon contains no such propositions; the very first paragraph of this text-book of the Healing Art plainly and explicitly rejects the hypothesis of specific diseases, and throughout the whole work, nothing of the kind can be found; the very hypothesis of specific diseases being continually deprecated.

We are further told (Monthly Homeopathic Review, p. 674), « Our best hope of winning converts to our system from the Old School, and, which is still better, of obtaining its recognition from the profession as a legitimate therapeutic method, lies in the existence of the less distinctive homoeopathy I have described. » The causes of professional opposition to Homoeopathy, we are told, would be best removed by presenting to the profession a less distinctive Homoeopathy than was presented to them by Hahnemann, and is now presented to them by his faithful followers. A less distinctive Homoeopathy ! What is it? It is a perfect caricature, presented to the profession by men who were permitted to sport the honorable name of Homoeopathists, who were permitted to write in journals, even permitted to become members of homoeopathic societies, and to work in homoeopathic hospitals and dispensaries, under the erroneous belief that perfect liberty would the sooner bring them to accept the stricter method we all desired. It is this very. « less distinctive Homoeopathy », this very caricature, which prevents us from winning converts to our system from the Old School. The better Allopathic physicians, utterly dissatisfied with their therapeutics, read the Organon, and would, in most cases, be willing to try the experiment, if they did not find a large number of professing Homœopathists guilty of gross inconsistency, not adhering to the principles set forth in the Organon, but boldly resorting to auxiliaries, such as Palliatives habitually administered by the Old School, mixing and alternating drugs, and sending for their medicines to the ordinary pharmacies, even ordering larger doses than the boldest Allopathists prescribe; that is the less distinctive Homoeopathy spoken of, a caricature not even resembling any Homoeopathy ever taught by the founder of the School; and when the attention of the Allopathist, who has read the Organon, and is prevented from trying the experiment by finding professing practitioners of our School guilty of gross inconsistency; when his attention is called to the fact that there are also a goodly number of consistent practitioners among the Homoeopathists, he shrugs his shoulders, turns on his heels, and exclaims that they must be all alike, as they belong to the same distinctive medical societies, and that he does not think it worth while to try the experiment. Such is the order of the day; but IF suc1, a man does try the experiment, as a few exceptionally independent men have done, do they try the less distinctive Homœopathy’? No ! They have followed Hahnemann, and see what developments have taken place in later years; « they read the narratives of cures wrought by medicines selected because of minute symptomatic resemblance, and given in highly attenuated doses. »— (Monthly Homoeopathic Review, p. 674.) They then try the experiment, not first trying to find out whether Hahnemann was right in 1806, or in 1833 when he published the fifth edition of the Organon, or in 1839 when he published the fifth vol. of the Chronic Diseases; nay, they begin just where his true followers were, by him, found fearlessly developing the Healing Art in harmony with his early teachings; and this experiment does win converts from the Old School.

The less distinctive Homoeopathy is « No Homoeopathy at all. » But it may be something better, and if it is so, then the results must show it. The friends of this newer School decline to accept a « Higher Homoeopathy « ; they certainly take a new departure in a new direction, with the intent to fall in with the Old School somewhere and somehow; may they be happy. But accepting a Higher Homoeopathy, and believing in the progressiveness of Hahnemann’s teachings, we shall try and overcome the professional opposition to Homoeopathy by fidelity to principles and increasingly good results in the treatment of the sick. If the appeal to the profession fails,’ we shall follow the Master, and appeal to the parties most interested in, and benefited by, a progress of the Healing Art—THE PEOPLE.

[1] Pathological similarity must be better than no similarity at all.—(Monthly Homoeopathic Review, 1877, p. 674.)

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