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pare it to the effect of a mild purgative like Rhubarb or Aloes in constipation; by means of this from time to time we can ward off many serious evils, although we do not cure the tendency to constipation, and in default of that the occasional purgative is a smaller evil than the manifold secondary disturbance from inaction of the colon.
But we should not be satisfied with that, and always aim at the radical and true specific cures. But as long as men are hindered by subsidiary personal motives from fairly and philosophically discussing all the possible actions, homoeopathic as well as other, of medicines, it is impossible that there can be any important or philosophical discussion of the subject between ourselves and the adherents of the dominant school. And yet the time has surely gone by when our opponents can afford to treat us as unworthy of professional courtesy when almost every improvement that has oflateyears been effected in old-school therapeutics has been merely a "crib" from the practice of the school they despise in words but in fact sincerely admire, if imitation be a sign of admiration.
ON THE NAIVETE INHERENT IN GERMAN HOMOEOPATHY* A CRITICAL MEDITATION.
By Dr. J. Kafka, Prague.
The attentive observer is sometimes disagreeably surprised when, in speeches, magazine reports, new books, or original articles, he gets to hear or read expressions, opinions, and views which are in direct antagonism with the judgment, experience, and aims of the modern school, betray a character of mere childish innocence, nay even of inconsiderate rashness, and expose themselves, partly through one-sidedness, partly through false conclusions, or mere deficiency of the judicial faculty; and all this from men at whose hands he expected energy, solidity, conscientiousness and scientific progress!
* Allg. Somoeop. Zeitung, Bd. lxxxvii, No. 25.
It is really sorrowful and disheartening to see how those who are rich in experience and natural gifts (and to a certain extent belong to the class who give the tone), yet partly venerate tradition, partly disallow, intentionally or unintentionally, the progress of modern times, get into contradiction with themselves, or with the positive experience of others, and thus damage, whether they know it or not, that very homceopathy whose banner they fancy they are waving aloft.
In my report of this year's assembly of the Central Homoeopathic Society at Vienna (No. 12 of this serial) I expressed my astonishment that the president, Dr. Gerstel, spoke in favour of maintaining the "conservative standpoint" in homceopathy.
Before he reached this stage in his peroration he had expatiated on the "value of practical medicine," and said that it is therapeutic medicine alone that gives value to the theoretic studies, which (apart from the collateral sciences) consist essentially, mainly, entirely, of nosology (including diagnosis) and the knowledge of the Pharmacopoeia.
Of Hahnemann's own "Arzneimittellehre" which he most truly called "Monumentum are perennius," he said, en passant, that this treasury of science first received its infinite appreciation, nay its very consecration to the service of therapeutics, through the method at the same time discovered by Hahnemann on the path of experience and observation how this real knowledge of the action of medicines should be brought into combination and due appreciation with the permanent positive sciences, pathogenesy and pathology, i. e., with diagnosis, in order to the real cure of the patients.
This practical point of connexion between pathology and materia medica, this nucleus of therapeutic science, is the fundamental law of healing discovered by Hahnemann, "similia similibns." It is, said Gerstel, the electric spark which elevates medicinal action to the rank of curative action in the morbid organism. So far I am in full accordance with our honoured president; for, as I long ago sought to make good, our knowledge of the morbific action of the medicines (i. e. of our materia medica) depends on our knowledge of pathology and diagnosis; because we are always directed to the comparison between medicinal and natural diseases, only in order to find out their mutual resemblances and differences.
Hence follows the necessity for all unprejudiced persons, who would systematically understand and duly value the homoeopathic Materia Medica, to be first thoroughly conversant with those indispensable branches, pathology, pathogenesy, and diagnosis, i. e., they should be first regularly trained and accomplished physicians, and then take homoeopathy in hand. In his further deductions respecting the importance and value of our Materia Medica, and of the law of similitude, which are announced as the only actual bases of homoeopathic curation, Dr. Gerstel at last comes to the conclusion "that we retrograde so much the more, under the reproach of ignorance and indecision, in proportion as we accommodate ourselves to the views of the dominant school, and are willing to give up the Mat. Med. Pura as the foundation of our curative indications, in order to substitute in exchange the evidences formulated in clinical practice." «
These words of Dr. Weber at Dursburg (compare Bd. 86 AUg. Horn. Zeit., No. 4), on which Gerstel supports himself and which he sets forth as his own view, stand in glaring contradiction to his own propositions above quoted, and form as it were a parody on my "progressive tendencies," in which I defined the physiological school as the very heart and soul of the totality of auxiliary sciences which embrace medicine as a whole, and I incessantly stood up for its appropriation by us. According to my idea, the physiological school is the very groundwork of the whole circle of theoretic medicine, and is the common property of all therapeutic schools; who, all alike, seek to utilise it for their curative purposes, according to their respective judgments, principles, and views. It ought not to be identified with allopathic therapeutics in particular, for allopathy represents not only the densest conservatism, the chronic dependence on tradition and prejudice, self-satisfaction with delusive effects, with unprofitable narcotising, depletion, and enfeebling of the constitution, &c., but she is to the highest degree intolerant towards us "into the bargain;" and, in her grandeur and high-mightiness, wilfully overlooks our splendid results, which she explains without exception as "spontaneous recoveries." It never could enter the thoughts of any educated and scientific homoeopath to lean on the " indications" of allopathy and value them for the purposes of our therapeutics. The physiological school has nothing in common with these excrescences of the old medicine; but teaches us to know the natural laws under which the various functions of the human body take place, gives us an insight into the phenomena which occur in health and disease, and leads us on those ways which show the possibility of a good result, both in a physiological point of view and also that of pathology and organic chemistry.
These are the true acquisitions of the physiological school, the indisputable signs of progress in every sense, which the homoeopathic physician has to appropriate to himself, and to utilise for his curative purposes. These alone have I tried to avail myself of in my treatment; and have, from this true standpoint, ranked homoeopathy with the physiological school, not with the allopathic therapeutics.
Unfortunately, there is still a great mistake prevalent as to the meaning of the "Physiological school," by which expression many of us understand allopathy itself! Wherefore there were many, and even the late highly gifted Trinks, who were alarmed at the title "homoeopathic treatment on the foundation of the physiological school," by which I understand not allopathy, but the newest advance of recent times in the sciences that lend their aid to universal medicine. Unfortunately, my honoured friend Gerstel belongs to the category of those who are caught by this error, otherwise he would not possibly have quoted the above words of Weber's with approbation.
Naif in the highest degree seems to me the grand finale of Dr. Gerstel's gala-speech, in which he emphatically says, "The newer researches of medical science ought to accommodate themselves to homoeopathy; they ought not to pay homage to their actual progress in homoeopathy, and they should not assume a conservative attitude towards her!" The newest researches in medical science are purely objective; they follow no therapeutic direction, but simply attend to the matter on which they are treating. Much does pathological anatomy trouble itself about curing the "subject!" If it ever does so, it is in general only to expose the blunders of the dominant therapeutic school, as was the case long ago in Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and even in London and Paris, where the clinical professors regularly found themselves more or less on a warlike footing with the post-mortem class. The physiologist, the histologist, the microscopist, the chemist, nay even the pathologist, the biologist, the epidemiologist, &c., follow their own path without any regard to curation. On the contrary it is the necessary task of therapeutics to estimate precisely the lessons of these departmental sciences, and to utilise them for their own curative purposes. That method of treatment alone rests on the modern standpoint, and possesses stability which appropriates the lessons of universal medicine, and supports itself on them, not on tradition or caprice.
Much we care whether our opponents are giving up their conservative standpoint or sticking to it! We have to care for ourselves and our future, for the permanence, the diffusion, and genuine scientific development of homoeopathy. If we abide on the old standpoint handed down to us by Hahnemann, without sharing the profits of the modern acquirements in pathology, physiology, nosogeny, diagnosis with all its aids, microscopy, &c., then the future of homoeopathy is very questionable, and its recognition by the scientific world can never be expected. As long as the psora, metastasis, and dynamization theories keep flitting about in our brains, so long are we occupying ourselves merely with the outer coverings of the symptoms, and not paying at the same time due regard to the pathological processes, and so long are we seeking power in the smallness