The Nature of Chronic Diseasesby Samuel Hahnemann
We have no means of reaching with our senses or of gaining essential knowledge as to the process of life in the interior of man, and it is only at times granted us to draw speculative conclusions from what is happening as to the manner in which it may have occurred or taken place; but we are unable to furnish conclusive proofs of our explanations from the changes which are observed in the organic kingdom; for the changes in living organic subjects have nothing in common with those taking place in what is organic, since they take place by processes entirely different.
It is, therefore, quite natural that in presenting the Homoeopathic Therapeutics I did not venture to explain how the cure of diseases is effected by operating on the patient with substances possessing the power to excite very similar morbid symptoms in healthy persons. I furnished, indeed, a conjecture about it, but I did not desire to call it an explanation, i. e., a definite explanation of the modus operandi. Nor was this at all necessary, for it is only incumbent upon us to cure similar symptoms correctly and successfully, according to a law of nature which is being constantly confirmed; but not to boast with abstract explanations, while we leave the patients uncured, for that is all which so-called physicians have accomplished.
*The work on the “Chronic Diseases” was originally published in five parts, and every part, except the second, had its own preface, discussing some questions of general interest to Homoeopathy. - Transl.
These physicians have made many objections to the explanation I have given, and they would have preferred to reject the whole homoeopathic method of curing (the only one possible) merely because they were not satisfied with my efforts at explaining the mode of procedure which takes place in the interiors of man during a homoeopathic cure.
I write the present lines, not in order to satisfy those critics, but in order that I may present to myself and to my successors, the genuine practical Homoeopaths, another and more probable attempt of this kind toward an explanation. This I present because the human mind feels within it the irresistible, harmless and praiseworthy impulse to give some account to itself as to the mode in which man accomplishes good by his actions.
As I have elsewhere shown, it is undeniable that our vital force, without the assistance of active remedies of human art, cannot overcome even the slight acute diseases (if it does not succumb to them) and restore some sort of health without sacrificing a part (often a large part) of the fluid and the solid parts of the organism through a so-called crisis. How our vital force effects this, will ever remain unknown to us; but so much is sure, that this force cannot overcome even these diseases in a direct manner, nor without such sacrifices. The Chronic Diseases, which spring from miasms, cannot be healed unaided, even by such sacrifices, nor can real health be restored by this force alone. But it is just as certain that even if this force is enabled by the true (homoeopathic) healing art, guided by the human understanding, to overpower and overcome (to cure) not only the quickly transient, but also the chronic diseases arising from miasms in a direct manner and without such sacrifices, without loss of body and life, nevertheless, it is always this power, the vital force, which conquers. It is in this case as with the army of a country, which drives the enemy out of the country; this army ought to be called victorious, although it may not have won the victory without foreign auxiliaries. It is the organic vital force of our body which cures natural diseases of every kind directly and without any sacrifices as soon as it is enabled by means of the correct (homoeopathic) remedies to win the victory. This force would not, indeed, have been able to conquer without this assistance, for our organic vital force, taken alone, is only sufficient to maintain the unimpeded progress of life so long as man is not morbidly affected by the hostile operation of forces causing disease.
Unassisted, the vital force is no match to these hostile powers; it hardly opposes a force equal to the hostile operation, and this, indeed, with many signs of its own sufferings (which we call morbid symptoms). By its own power our vital force would never be able to overcome the foe of chronic disease, nor even to conquer transient diseases, without considerable losses inflicted on some parts of the organism, if it remained without external aid, without the assistance of genuine remedies. To give such support is the duty enjoined on the physician’s understanding by the Preserver of life.
As I have said above, our vital force hardly opposes an equal opposition to the foe causing the disease, and yet no enemy can be overcome except by a superior force. Only homoeopathic medicine can give this superior power to the invalidated vital force.
Of itself this vital principle, being only an organic vital force intended to preserve an undisturbed health, opposes only a weak resistance to the invading morbific enemy; as the disease grows and increases it opposes a greater resistance, but, at best, it is only an equal resistance; with weakly patients it is not even equal, but weaker. This force is neither capable, nor destined, nor created for an overpowering resistance, which will do no harm to itself.
But if we physicians are able to present and oppose to this instinctive vital force its morbific enemy, as it were magnified through the action of homoeopathic medicines - even if it should be enlarged every time only by a little - if in this way the image of the morbific foe be magnified to the apprehension of the vital principle through homoeopathic medicines, which, in a delusive manner, simulate the original disease, we gradually cause and compel this instinctive vital force to increase its energies by degrees, and to increase them more and more, and at last to such a degree that it becomes far more powerful than the original disease. The consequence of this is, that the vital force again becomes sovereign in its domain, can again hold and direct the reins of sanitary progress, while the apparent increase of the disease caused by homoeopathic medicines disappears of itself as soon as we, seeing the preponderance of the restored vital force, i. e., of the restored health, cease to use these remedies.
The fund or the fundamental essence of this spiritual vital principle, imparted to us men by the infinitely merciful Creator, is incredibly great, if we physicians understand how to maintain its integrity in the days of health, by directing men to a healthy mode of living, and how to invoke and augment it in diseases by purely homoeopathic treatment.