On Potencies and Imponderables

IHA Transactions, 1886 pps. 88-98

Dr. Swan: This paper which I am about to read will touch on some subjects which the members of this Association have never given much attention to or thought much about, and I don't know that they will feel much like discussing it this afternoons but rather leave it for a later day. I will take the liberty of sending a copy of the paper to every member of the Association so they may think it over at their leisure. Potencies and Imponderables The potentization of drugs seems to be a great source of disquietude and distrust with many in the profession, and the reason given, is, that they don't believe there can be any medicinal vitality remaining in the products, and they cannot understand how there could be. there could be. The trouble is, they commence at the wrong end of the problem. How are they to be made to understand that which is not within the grasp of human knowledge or human reason, and how are they to be made to believe that which is unexplainable?

Those who use high potencies of drugs, are quite as ignorant as to how there can be any medicinal vitality remaining in the product; but they know there is, because when prescribed according to the Law of Similia, they uniformly get results in accordance with the provings of those drugs, that is, they find that the highly potentized drug, cures symptoms that have been caused by that drug when taken by healthy persons in a lower potency. Why should we refuse to use these potencies, which have shown curative power, simply because we do not know how the medicinal vitality remains. Such casuists, if honest, should not use the telegraph, for they only know that waves are transmitted of a power, of the nature of which they know nothing, or how it acts.

Suppose you say to Mr. Edison, I will never use your telegraph until I can understand how six messages can be sent from both ends of a single wire at the same time. He might reply, "but they can be and are sent continually, and what more do you need than that." Facts are solid things. The fact that highly potentized drugs do cure, is established in the mind of every man who has honestly tried them, anal if they fail in any one's hands, it is the fault of the prescriber. Still, it is natural to desire to know the How of things. Those imponderable electricity, magnet, north and south pole, were omitted from the Encyclopedia— although so well proceed by Hahnemann— because the distinguished compiler could not understand how the electric fluid could be transferred to sugar of milk, while the fact that it had been so transferred, could have been known by the trial.

It is a matter of regret that great physicians and writers do not know everything— but it is possible that there are some things which even angelic intelligence cannot solve, and even they have to accept the fact, and fall back on the promise, "That which thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter."

Potentization does not increase the volume of the dynamic force, but like the temper of a steel spring, better fits it for higher uses than the crude drug is capable of.

Hahnemann says (Lesser Writings, page 859): "For the living human organism shows an ever stronger reaction to the more highly dynamized attenuations, when they are used as medicines; it follows that such higher medicinal preparations must be regarded as stronger, inasmuch as there can be no standard for measuring the degree of dynamic potency of a medicine, except the degree of reaction of the vital force against it." And as no two individuals have the same vital sensibility, no real or fanciful notation can indicate the exact potency needed in a given case, and the observation and experience of the physician will be the only guide by which he can be governed in the selection.

In Esoteric science, as expounded by the Adepts, it is shown that the man on this earth is complex in form, being composed of seven bodies. "First, the physical body or external shell; Second, is the form of the natural vitality— the anima mineralis, anima vegetalis, anima animalis— the three in one. Involved herein, and operant through this second body is a Third body, the natural human soul, or body of desire; this constituting a natural self, proprium, in no sense spiritual, but earthy, and of the earth. We then discern, or should discover a Fourth body, which is not however, an organism in permanence; which has an impersonal identity of its own, neuter in character between good and evil, and entering into the character of neither; which has a specific function in the formation and direction of the life of the man, but which serves merely as a satellite; and which floats in its own habitat, with its own species, after the earthly shell is pierced and dissolved; this is the double, the geist, the shadow-form, the memory-form, the astral image. The proper man, good or evil, and for the most part commonly latent, resides within. Advancing inwardly we find a Fifth form, the first of a spiritual series; this is the spiritual self-ego or proprium image; the body of human self-will, self-desire, self-intelligence, se]f-delightÑself-life. The Sixth body is the soul of the spirit; the sensitive organism of the psychic personality, termed also the spiritual body, and is, while the psychic personality endures, not merely a body for it, but also its form of existence, its form of identity, its form of consciousness, or operations of delight. The Seventh body of the full series is that of the inmost, the psychic germ.

I have given tile complete statement of the Adepts, but it is only with the second body that I have to do in this illustration. That, as I have said, is the form of natural vitality, the anima mineralis, vegetalis, animalis. This, the Adepts say, " never dies "— and I refer to this as a possible explanation of the fact that the medicinal vitality of a drug remains in the potentizing medium, no matter to what extent that potentiation is carried. They say, "Its affinity for the grosser state of matter is so great that it cannot be separated from any given particle or mass of this, except by instantaneous translation to some other particle or mass. When a man's body dies, by desertion of the higher principles which have rendered it a living reality, the second or life principle, no longer a unity itself, is nevertheless inherent still in the particles of the body as this decomposes, attaching itself to other organisms to which that very process of decomposition gives rise. Bury the body in the earth, and its Jiva will attach itself to the vegetation which springs above, or the lower animal forms which evolve from its substance. Burn the body, and indestructible Jiva flies back none the less instantaneously to the body of the planet itself from which it was originally borrowed, entering into some new combination as its affinities may determine."

In the light of these statements, it is not difficult to understand how the medicinal vitality, as it discovers its former habitat disintegrated, finds a more congenial affinity in sugar of milk, or the alcohol, or the water in which it is triturated, and remains with that affinity till it meets a still more congenial one in the diseased tissues of the sick human body; and the higher the potency the quicker it reaches its affinity by pathways of nerves, perhaps too minute to be traced even with a microscope.

How the Jiva acts on the diseased tissues, is not known, but that it in some way corrects abnormal states and brings molecules into order— for we know that when taken into the healthy system it causes a disturbance, differing in accordance with its peculiar quality, from other vital forces produced by other products— these latter are provings— and show how the Jiva of each particular substance acts on the human frame. Pasteur has proved that the Jiva of hydrophobic poison acts as a preventive and cure in hydrophobia, but he has not learned that the poison virus of all animals lies in the gall, and does not require cultivation; and were he to use the gall of a mad dog given in potency by the mouth, he would produce more certain results and have no failures to record. The "cures" in South America use the gall of the serpents to cure the bite. The snake charmers of India carry their boxes of salve, prepared from the gall of the deadly cobra, which they at once apply to the bitten part and are cured. A traveler on the Desert of Sahara, found that the natives when bitten by a serpent, moistened the dried "gall bag" they always carry with them, and applied it to the wound and in a few hours were cured.

The same law of vitality applies to other diseased products in which the Jiva adheres and which when potentized cures the similar disease, and this has been proved by many physicians who have used the potentized Syphilis, Psora, Sycosis, Gonorrhea, Diphtheria and Septicemia.

The potentized saliva of a healthy person will produce abnormal symptoms in another healthy person— so will any animal product if potentized. The harmless and innocuous lining membrane of the eggshell, has proved a powerful and valuable remedy in heart troubles, hemorrhages, uterine troubles of various kinds, and brings round suppressed menstruation, curiously enough, always at full moon. All created products have their Jiva or life principle, and these when potentized react on other vital principles, and produce symptoms.

The Jiva of a morbific product is a diseased vitality— and when potentized and given to a healthy person will produce similar symptoms to those caused by the disease which produced it. Thus Psorinum MM taken by a healthy person, produced the characteristic itch vesicles between the fingers.

The potentized morbific Jiva, given to a person afflicted by the disease such as the morbific Jiva was derived from, will cure that disease if uncomplicated, in which case some other remedy, perhaps an anti-psoric, may be needed before the cure can be effected.

Some writers have thought that the morbific Jiva would cause the person taking it to be afflicted by the disease, in other words, poisoned by it; but they had probably never used these morbific products and consequently can have nothing but theory to base their opinion upon. Those who have used them, and they are not a few, do not coincide with these views. It is true that some provers, using tinctures and low potencies, have been so sensitive as to be profoundly affected for many years with the symptoms of the drug, but these are exceptions to the general rule, which is, that provings made with the 30th potency and higher, always benefit the general health of the prover.

It is a question if the symptoms that appear, are not the latent disease in the prover, wakened into life by the action of the drug. Man is a microcosm, and has within him all the possibilities of the macrocosm, and if the earth holds latent in its bosom the seeds of all vegetable life, may not man hold latent in his organism the seeds of all. diseases corresponding to the various poisons of the vegetable and mineral world; if so, they would be affected more by the drugs whose poisonous Jiva was similar, or corresponded to the latent poisonous Jiva within themselves; and as like cures like, the symptom of disease is cured by the symptom of the drug most like it, whether animal, vegetable or mineral.

This suggestion of the modus operandi, may direct your thoughts to the subject, and by provings and experiment you may ascertain if it is true or not. Studies in this direction may discover some truths of the law of heredity. An adept writes: "The principles and quality of every living organism are in its seed. What ever strains of sensation enter into the act of procreation, the offspring which ensues will partake of their character. Man, as the most complex of organisms, is stamped from the beginning as a coin is stamped by its die. The failure of the human race to procreate in order, makes the subsequent issue what it is— a creature of confused instincts, whose birth is the beginning of a life-long bewilderment.

That which is begotten, inherits from that which begets, with only this seeming modification: that the latent qualities, or the infused but unincorporated qualities in the parentage, may be revealed as visible and incorporated qualities in the offspring. Thus children may be procreated of a higher or lower, a more vigorous or feeble type than that of the direct progenitors. The inception of the infused quality causes the issue to manifest traits different from, or opposed to the leading qualities of the direct parentage. Thus a child may have one parent by the seminal germ, and another or others by the infused living molecules that are grouped around the germ."

Another extract from the "Wisdom of the Adepts," will throw some light on the imponderables, and show that they should be well proved, and used. "The real character of the fluid that passes under the name of electricity is almost unknown."

"Electricity is the base of the peculiar substance of the brain, and in its fleshy form, the base of all material bodily structure. It is a fleshy compound by origin; it is a substance that accumulates in the chemical action of human life. Nature holds it, because nature is simply a storehouse of accumulated energies, that are being evolved by means of the human life and human action throughout the vast system of the universe."

If this is so, electricity in its interrupted form, or galvanism in its constant flow, demand a more careful proving and study, in their relation to human diseased condition, not proved in their crude form, for we know already what harm they will do when thus applied, but proved in the 30th and higher potencies. In all the vast medical armamentarium of the Homeopath, is there one remedy in its crude form that will dissolve the human tissue painlessly? And yet the galvanic current will do it.

I wonder it has never been applied to cancers; but strictures, tumors, (and in one case the uterus) have been dissolved and dissipated. We cannot expect provings, or potencies, will show such effects, but whatever the crude substance will produce, the potentized substance will cure.

The Adepts declare that "the fluid known as electricity is a compound ether, and by different combinations can make earth and man fertile, and bring forth plenteously after their kind, all vegetable and animal creations, or in another combination, cause deadly pestilences that will destroy life down to the very germs in the soil, or of producing common madness among the people." If this be true, it may influence persons to commit suicide, or to commit murder and other crimes; it may possibly be the cause of sudden deaths, which are usually attributed to heart disease, or congestion of the brain. A distinguished scientist has found after a long series of experiments, that too much ozone in the atmosphere is favorable to the production of pneumonia, while some years since, during a severe epidemic of yellow fever in New Orleans, there was no ozone discoverable in the atmosphere. As this substance is one of the products of electricity and produces conditions favorable to these diseases, other combinations may be the cause of other epidemics, and an extended series of provings of electricity, galvanism, north and south poles of the magnet, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, in various parts of the country, on mountains and in valleys, by the lake, the seashore and the prairies, will furnish more and more valuable knowledge on the conditions of health and sickness than any other provings or other drugs, and all the provings should be made first with the 30th potency.

I have thus called your attention to these suggestions, trusting that the Association as a body, or some of its members, will feel sufficient interest in the subject to enter upon an investigation of so important a matter.


Dr. Butler: When a writer thoroughly imbued with certain subjects expresses himself with great positivity and sends it to a medical journal, it is brought before the educated physicians of the country and within his own school just as thoroughly as if it were promulgated in any other way. When a writer thoroughly imbued with the correctness of his theme makes certain assertions which may or may not be the belief of a body of men, if those men so associated together publish the ideas so treated of before them, and give them currency in their official journal they in some measure give their stamp of approval to them. I sincerely hope that the paper which has just been read dealing with matters which are in a great measure beyond our physical comprehension may not be published with the approval of this Society, and I sincerely hope that whenever anything beside Homeopathy or recognized scientific facts are furnished us upon the ipse dixcit of one man or one body of men, that such matter may not be published in our Transactions.

Dr. Brown: On a subject of this kind, I have no personal feeling, but for the benefit of the Society, for the benefit of the world, and that we may put the thought contained in that article properly before the world, I, as a member of this Society, want that published, because it shows a spirit of liberalism that we ought to be willing to receive from every man, and if we can appropriate it we should do so. For these reasons I want to see the paper published. There has been too much of ostracism and tyranny among societies of every class. Some men will always have ideas in advance of others and because their ideas are thus in advance is no reason why they should not be published. It is a very easy matter to write or talk so that the publisher will fall in with our commonplace ideas; but what we want, and what this Society wants, is ideas that are original and progressive, and when we elicit them, to publish them for the benefit of the world. When we have called for ideas and our request is responded to, and the paper presented differs from our accepted notion of things, I say that that man and his paper should be respected, and his paper published not only for our own interest but for the interest of all who read. I do not understand his article as he does, but I may some day, and I rise here to defend his position as a member of this Society.

Dr. Sawyer: I am very favorably impressed with the paper presented. The ideas are, very many of them new to me, and I am impressed with the idea that there are germs there which will some day be of great use to the medical fraternity. Under all the circumstances I think it is bad policy for this Society to publish anything of a medical nature that violates the principles that we shall prescribe medicines from their known effects when given in poisonous doses to the healthy.

Dr. Kent: The matter of publication of this paper is not in order at this time. That is for the publication committee to decide. The matter of the contents of the paper is alone open for discussion.