The First Paragraph Of “The Organon Of The Healing Art”
By Samuel Hahnemann, As An Introduction To This Medical Journal.
BY AD. LIPPE, M.D.
THE appearance of this Journal denotes a new era in the history of the Homoeopathic Healing Art. Since Hahnemann gave the medical world his Organon, the true Text-Book of the School he founded and named, that School has been the victim of various progressive and multiplying departures. Hahnemann, like Hippocrates, observed, listened to the Laws of Nature, and was guided by these Laws in his actions. The emancipation from theories and dogmatic teachings was the master-work of Hippocrates; time rolled on, and the multiplying departures from his teachings found the Medical Art, after two thousand years, again enthralled by theories and dogmatic teachings, not in harmony with the Laws of Nature, and not governed by them. The School of Salernum had accepted and had developed the teachings of Hippocrates, but when an infusion of Saracenic medicine took place, the departures multiplied; the School itself, the pride of Medical Scientists, fell a prey to its own corruptness. Hahnemann resuscitated the simplicity of the Medical Art, he based his actions on the Laws of Nature by him observed, and, guided by them, he was enabled to reveal a new Healing Art. As simple and as comprehensible as were his teachings, there were now, as of old, men who wanted to theorize, who wanted to be wiser than nature, who claimed the ability to supersede nature, and, returning to long-exploded theories, tried to infuse them into Homoeopathy; there arose men who vied one with another who could caricature the Homœopathic Healing Art in the most plausible manner; their appeal was to the ignorant and credulous, and persisting in calling themselves Homœopathists, they practiced something else having no resemblance to the true art of healing, and, by their failures to obtain such results as followed a strict application of the principles governing the Homoeopathic practice, they brought great discredit on the School to which they professed to belong. It is not here the place to discuss the latest discreditable wild proceedings of “pretenders”; their names should be consigned to oblivion; but it is for reason of these departures, bringing discredit to the School, that the Homœopathists demanded, first a declaration of principles, and then an organ to disseminate and defend them. What Hahnemann did in his Organon for the restoration of the Healing Art to a subserviency to natural Laws, by basing his teachings on a clear discernment between the Laws governing inorganic matter and the Laws governing organic bodies, “THE ORGANON” is now destined to do; it will clearly show the infallibility of the fundamental principles governing our Homoeopathic Healing Art, principles derived from observations of the Laws governing organic bodies; it will, as Hahnemann did, expunge the errors attempted to be infused into our School, especially the old error which seems to have been the foundation of all departures of the past, that the Laws governing inorganic matter can be amalgamated with the Laws governing organic bodies, or that the Law of cure must be made subservient to the Laws governing inorganic matter; it will promulgate and develop the teachings of the Master.
The Organon is our Text-Book; in practical matters it must be looked upon as an authority by the faithful healer; it should be well studied, and will serve us as a guide if it is well understood. The student will find his first knowledge of the rational Healing Art in it; the earnest practitioner will find., reading it again and again, after long years of experience, that Hahnemann did not exhaust all his knowledge in this work, and frequently only showed the way to arrive at a higher art, a higher perfection, a higher development of the application of the infallible principles for the alleviation and cure of disease. The first paragraph of the Organon reads :—
“The physician’s highest and only calling is to restore health to the sick, which is called Healing.”
And, as if, conscious of a possible misinterpretation of this paragraph, Hahnemann explains it in a foot-note, which reads : —
“His mission is not, as many physicians (who waste their time and energies in the pursuit of fame) have imagined it to be, that of inventing systems, by stringing together empty ideas d hypotheses upon the inner obscure process of life and the origin of diseases in the invisible interior of the human economy, or the innumerable attempts at explaining the phenomena of diseases or their proximate cause ever hidden from their scrutiny, etc., find confounding the whole in unintelligible words and a mass of abstract phrases, intended to sound learned—intended for the astonishment of the ignorant—while the sick vainly sigh for relief. We have already too many of these learned reveries (they bear the name Theory of Medicine, and for the inculcation of which even especial professorships have been established), and it is high time that all who call themselves physicians finally cease to delude suffering humanity by idle words, and now begin to act—that is to say, to afford relief, and cure the sick in reality.”
So spoke Hahnemann in 1833. This first paragraph, with its explanatory foot-note, plainly indicates the further teachings of the Master; we see in it his logical arguments, the mode by which he treats his revelations as they follow, in this Master Work. We are told what has been done for the relief and cure of the sick, how and why it was badly done, and that we must do it differently and well. Had the physicians before him, and at, his time, relieved and cured the sick, there would have been no necessity for a better, safer, and reliable Healing Art. The fact that suffering sick humanity had been, and still was, terribly suffering, not only from diseases, but additionally from the effects of the means used to drive out of the Organism an imaginary disease, causing and sustaining something—to-day an acidity, to-morrow an alkalinity, an imaginary impurity—this fact became patent to every observing physician. We learn that the fault was with the system-concocting physician, who imagined he was able to create a hypothesis upon the inner obscure process of life and the invisible origin of diseases in the invisible interior of the human economy, with his various attempts at explaining the phenomena of diseases, or their proximate cause ever hidden from human scrutiny. We find here three distinct propositions : —
1- The inner process of life is not known to us; it was, and will forever remain, a hypothesis.
2- The origin of diseases in the invisible interior of the human economy is not known to us; it was, and will forever remain, a hypothesis.
3- The phenomena of diseases, or their proximate cause (prima causa morbi), is not known to us; it was, and will forever remain, a hypothesis.
The best proof of the unreliability of any one of these hypotheses, on which the fallacious and detrimental efforts to cure the sick were based, is the historical fact that every new generation offered a new hypothesis of life, and of the origin and the phenomena of diseases. That which to us never can be revealed, the interior processes of life in health and in sickness, became an ever-varying hypothesis; but the sick, treated to the delusive idle talk of men who desired to appear full of learning, were not only not benefited, but became victims to these varying hypotheses, guiding the physicians in their therapeutics and attempts to cure. Having stated, in explanation, these prevailing follies, the duty and the calling of the true physician became apparent. His calling, we are told, is to restore health to the sick. Is the physician enabled to restore health to the sick, following the plans proposed by Hahnemann in the Organon? We most emphatically answer this question in the affirmative. And if this is so, why has not the medical world at large accepted the teaching of Hahnemann? Why have not all medical men begun in earnest to afford relief and cure the sick in reality? It is, because they persist in knowing the inner processes of life; they persist that they know the origin of diseases, and the prima causa morbi. The very demand made by Hahnemann, that they should humiliate themselves and acknowledge their errors, was offensive to them; they would not become pupils and students again; they would not listen to the teachings of nature and accept the Laws of nature. Where do these blind
men stand now? What have they done for the relief of the sick by following the old bad and pernicious plan of System-making, of following but a hypothesis as a guide to physicians who professed to cure the sick? Nothing, less than nothing. With a few exceptions, they really do worse than the last generation; all their boasted advances in Physiology and Pathology have not improved their therapeutics at all; as a general rule, they become more pernicious day by day. The pernicious use of Morphia, to lull pain; Chininum-sulf., and Iron, in its various chemical combinations, as tonics; their febrifuges and narcotics, their, stimulants and sedatives, remain in vogue just as before; their boasted advances in the collateral medical sciences have brought no practical improvement to the Healing Art; they brought other hypotheses, but no relief to the sick. The culpable neglect of the vast number of physicians to even look at the revelations in the Organon, can only be accounted for by the indolence of a Trades’ Union relying on the credulity of the sick and suffering humanity. These men have seen, in the last half century, people travelling by steam, talking by electricity, and painting by the sun; there has been unparalleled progress in all Arts and Sciences; and why they prefer blindness and walking in the dark, inflicting untold misery on the sick, to the light offered them, will be a marvel to future generations. There are thinking men among the multitude of medical men who gradually accept the universal truth of our School, who teach individualizing, teach that the sick, not diseases, must be treated; they demand a physiological (to be sure, crude) proving of drugs, but these few honorable exceptions are not listened to; materialism and hypothesis-making is the order of the day. We will leave these unfortunate men to the future kind interference of Providence.
How is it with us as a School? A historical retrospect reveals the fact that there were medical men who accepted, not only this first paragraph of the Organon, but all other necessarily logical developments, and the principles derived from them; they applied them practically as the founder of the School enjoined them to do; they unanimously testified to the infallibility of the system of the
Healing Art so applied, and, to this day, a goodly number of consistent followers of the Master testify to the fact that fidelity to principles is positively necessary, if the favorable promised practical results are to be obtained; and experience has taught these men that a deviation from these principles is followed by failures to cure. But there were also other medical men who were convinced of the truth of Homoeopathy, who had seen the great results obtained by this new Healing Art, but who could not shake off old erroneous impressions of material diseases and material explainable causes of them; who, therefore, could not accept even the first paragraph of the Organon, much less the logical developments and the principles derived from them. The consequences of this refusal to accept this first paragraph of the Organon were repeated failures to cure, and with these failures, which were charged to an unreliability of the Law of cure, came other progressive and multiplying departures. We find today a misconception of the Law of cure, and diversified opinions about our School, the cause of which is to be found in a misunderstanding of this first paragraph of the Organon. We will now endeavor to show the necessity of accepting this first paragraph, with all its logical followings, if we wish to become “true Healers.” When we are told that our duty is “To restore health to the sick”, we are enjoined to look upon the sick as an individual; we are not told that “we must cure diseases.”
If we attempt to restore health to the sick, we are bound to individualize; if we attempt to cure diseases, we must generalize. From the very outset we depart from the old custom to treat diseases; and taking this first step, we cut loose from the Old School, and take a new departure. This very first step emancipates us from Slavery to Pathology, serving as a basis for our therapeutics. The first declaration of the founder of our School, given in the first paragraph of the Organon, becomes the very corner-stone upon which the whole structure rests; and it is for this reason that we must well see to it that this corner-stone is sound, that we can accept it as our corner-stone, before we go one step further. Before we even make an investigation of this proffered corner-stone, we must be perfectly satisfied that all former attempts to cure diseases, and not the sick, proved to be fallacious. Hahnemann so began his argument in the foot-note to this first paragraph of the Organon. The physicians before Hahnemann’s days, as well as their successors—with the exception of the true Healers, who have accepted the duty to restore health to the sick (the Homœopathicians)—have invented, and keep on inventing, systems; they string together what, to them, seem to be physiological changes, the results of diseases; the morbid phenomena, and what, to them, appear as the nearest cause of disease. Physiology, as they understand and apply it, explains the functions governed by the immediate essence of life; and Pathology, as they understand and apply it, explains the results of these disturbed functions, governed by the immediate essence of life. This, again, implies their knowledge of the immediate essence of life–their knowledge of the morbid phenomena, originating in the interior of the organism, constituting disease. They then treat that which, to them, is a specific disease. And at all this discovery of a specific form of disease they arrive by applying all those, to them, known Laws governing inorganic matter. Their knowledge of the immediate essence of life is but an empty hypothesis; their physiology, explaining the changed and disturbed functions during sickness, is but an empty hypothesis; their knowledge of disease is but an empty hypothesis; and an attempt to cure is based on another hypothesis, their guessing at the effects of drugs. To the observing and thinking physician, it is enough to examine for a moment what is disease or specific forms of diseases; can they be possibly treated as such? Can we so generalize? And, merely fort argument’s sake, let us grant them the knowledge of the immediate essence of life, the physiological changes caused by the disturbed functions—disease—they still could never treat a hypothesis, a specific form of disease, as such. The profession, to be able to do so, would imply, in the first place, that every case of sickness could be so classified as to belong to a specific form of disease; and, in the second place, that really every individual attacked by, and suffering from, a specific form of disease, suffers and shows like symptoms. Experience shows the intelligent physician that both these implied propositions are contrary to well-observed facts.
There are no two things alike in the organic world. There are no two persons alike; they are similar, but not alike; not alike in their physical developments and mental conditions; and being so unlike, can it be presumed that disease, even if we know her function-disturbing power, would attack all persons (who are not alike) in exactly the same manner?
There are differences of sexes and of ages, the prevailing climacteric influences, the seasons, which change the form of disease frequently. The fact, well known, that even epidemic diseases continually change their character as epidemics, and affect different individuals very differently, even in the same locality, and more differently still in different localities, shows conclusively that the treatment of a specific disease, only as such existing in the prevailing Pathology, is an impossibility; and the persistent practice of the Allopathic School of Medicine, which School bases its therapeutics upon the untenable hypothesis of a disease, must for ever be a failure. It is a proposition easily illustrated. Among the diseases most easily diagnosticated, we find scarlet-fever. When Sydenham gave his description of the then prevailing epidemic, with its smooth (erysipelas-like) eruption, Hahnemann found Belladonna (which, to his knowledge, had produced the same smooth eruption, and all the other concomitant symptoms frequently present in that epidemic) as the similar remedy, and with it cured many of the cases of that epidemic.
The scarlet-fever epidemics of late years, which appeared in different countries at different times, were never, or but rarely, similar to that epidemic so well described by Sydenham, and while the large majority of cases were then cured by Belladonna, its applicability in that form of disease became a rare exception, just because, not only had the eruption quite a different appearance, such as had never been produced by Belladonna, but all the other concomitant symptoms had changed. The generalizing Allopathists, seeing that scarlet-fever yielded much more readily to homoeopathic treatment than to their own treatment, ascertained that Hahnemann had successfully administered Belladonna during a scarlet-fever epidemic, and being sure that diseases must be treated, and that Belladonna forever and ever must be the specific remedy for just that disease, gave it, and are to this day administering it to every case of scarlet-fever, without obtaining the success following an individualizing homoeopathic treatment; and some of them want to prove the unreliability of Hahnemann’s statements, on the ground of their failures to cure all cases, or a majority of cases, of scarlet-fever with Belladonna. The observing Healer will hereafter, as before, find, that in every new epidemic, and in every other locality, different remedies will be required, and that each case must be treated as an individual case, if he expects to restore health to the sick. What holds good in varying epidemics, still holds good in such cases of sickness which have never before been observed, which are not known to the Pathologists of the day; in such cases of sickness the Old School finds itself utterly helpless. It becomes obvious, that the treatment of diseases as such will forever be an absolute failure; it becomes also obvious, that all possible discoveries in Physiology and Pathology will never change the present and past failures, as long as they base the therapeutics on a hypothesis of a disease. Men of distinction in our own School have time and again claimed that the progresses in Physiology and Pathology, elevating them to exact sciences, must modify the therapeutics of the Homoeopathic School. If these men will attentively follow the above argument, they will clearly perceive how impossible it is to change in the least our therapeutics, based on the treatment of the sick, which is our foundation-stone. Even if we were to admit, for argument’s sake, that Physiology and Pathology were no longer a hypothesis, but exact sciences, we must absolutely restore health to the sick, and must individualize for that purpose. Other men of celebrity in our School claim not only their right to adapt Pathology to Homoeopathy, but that even admitting that we do not know anything about the immediate essence of life, or of the origin of diseases in the interior of the organism, they say our present ignorance does not imply a perpetual continuation of it; that later discoveries will be made, setting all these, to us, as yet incomprehensible points in a clear and intelligible light, and that to claim the infallibility of homoeopathic principles in the still prevailing ignorance on our part as to the very essence of life and the origin of diseases in the interior of the human economy, is a supererogation. If these learned men, so hopeful to have our system of the Healing Art superseded by future revelations, will reflect, they will learn by our argument that we speak of the “Present”, and not of the “Future”; that if we even knew the prima causes morbi; if all they desired to know became known to them; we would still be compelled to individualize, if we desired to restore health to the sick. If all they desired to know was revealed to them, would that change in the least the different physical and mental differentialities existing among mankind? And surely our argument is strictly logical, if we express our conviction that it is one of the insurmountable impossibilities standing in their way of reasoning, that persons so differently constituted should by the same influences be affected just alike, amenable thereby to the same treatment for widely differing effects on their individuality, even were the affecting agent known to us. We are, furthermore, fully convinced of the correctness of Goethe’s expression, when he proclaims “Inns Innere der Natur dringt Kein erschaffener Geist” –Into the interior of nature no created spirit will ever penetrate.
From what we have tried to show, viz., the folly of basing an attempt to cure on the name of a disease which affects all different individuals differently, it follows, that Hahnemann was perfectly right in setting aside all hypothesis for practical purposes, and when he tells us from the outset what our duty is. As it is the first step by which we depart from slavery to the system-concocting Old School, as therefore it is the most important step for us to take, let us take it deliberately, but forever, and having taken it, let us reject every departure, ever so cunningly presented to us, which is not in full harmony with our first acceptance of our new duty “To restore health to the sick.” And let us cure the sick in reality.
October 3rd, 1877
 Hippocratis Aphorismi, section iii.