We have shown each of these to be governed by its own laws-Matter, by a Molecular law, Spirit, by a Psychical law, and Life by a Vital law. The great fundamental law, however, upon which these three all turn, is the law of Affinity. The molecular law is well illustrated by the phenomena of chemical affinity; the spiritual law has its outworking in the human sympathies-as also in taste and antipathy in esthetic connections; and the vital law has its manifestation in the assimilation or rejection of elements for which Life has affinity or antipathy.
Now health in man is that state in which all the affinities of each of these entities are acting in a normal direction. Matter, Spirit, and Life, have each a latent power of acting in any other direction whither their affinities may tend, and from this power comes the liability to disease. That which we consider a normal direction for the action of these affinities, is that which observation has taught us is most convenient for the untrammeled operations of the personality or individuality of the man.
The personality of an individual is the resulting entity following the contactal relation of his Spirit and his Body, through his Life. In other words, that which is made up from the products of the spiritual and material affinities, brought together as the mental possession of one living being, is proper to him only, constitutes him an individual, and gives him a peculiar personality. Now this personality-this individuality-this Ego-is the sufferer and the enjoyer, as also the reasoner and the doer, in and of all things and all events through which man is called to pass. It is the personality which is sick or well, as the case may be, though the cause of the sickness or health finds its way into the personality through the vital affinities of the material or spiritual entities, which go to make up the man's Ego.
While the affinities are directed normally, we are certain there are no affinities of a stronger character within the sphere of the personality, attracting it into abnormal directions. In cases of disease, other and stronger affinities have been admitted within the sphere of the personality, which have influenced the vitality as it exists in body and spirit, into directions more or less contrary to the normal manifestations. The result of this is, of course, to embarrass the operations of the personality or individuality of the man, and his selfhood is tortured from its proper assertion.
To illustrate this matter of vital affinity, let us consider the seed planted in the earth. It appropriates and assimilates to itself the elements suited to its nutrition, to the exclusion of all others. So also the bony structure in men and animals will appropriate from the currents of nutriment flowing through the system those elements which are required for the development of bone. In both these instances the vital affinity is acting normally, i.e., in the manner most conducive to the outworking of the personality of the plant and of the man. But suppose the affinity of the bony structure, or rather of the life which is in it, should from some cause or another change from the lime and the phosphorus to the elements of fat and cellular tissue. This must be considered abnormal, because it is incompatible with the legitimate outworking of the personality of the man. The law of affinity, under which this abnormal action occurs, remains intact, but the conditions of its manifestation are different. The change in the direction of these affinities is brought about by some unusual influence which has by some means found its way within the sphere of their vitality.
The character of this interloping influence, which we call morbid, is various-it may be spiritual, material or vital. If spiritual, it has entered into the sphere of the personality through the psychical side, through the passions and emotions, or the intellectual labors; if material, through the material or molecular element, such as the chemisms, and mechanical injuries; and if vital, it has entered through the Life, as we see in the specific actions of drugs, aside from their chemical properties, the influence of other personalities, and the specific actions of miasms-as fevers, exanthemata, &c.
Now in whatever way, through whatever channel, the morbid element may effect an entrance into the personality of the man, the manifestations of that taint are always such as involve the Life principle of the Ego. The symptoms of disease, in other words, are always dependent on the vitality, with the single exception of mechanical solution of continuity, and even in this, there is something secondary to the injury, which something cannot occur except under the involvement of the Life. Here then we perceive three methods in which a morbid element may come within the sphere of the personality, and as a matter of course, the morbid element must have contracted affinities for some one of the three entities which make up the individual.
The morbid element may be immediately and summarily ejected, or it may lie for a long time in the system, with no external manifestation. For instance, two men are exposed to the miasm of intermittent fever, the one, having already a certain affinity (which we call susceptibility to the poison), took a chill and fever the following day; the other was free from all external manifestations of disease, until two weeks after, when he drank excessively, and this so influenced his vitality-so changed temporarily its affinities-that their direction passed from the normal to the abnormal, and the disease, till then lying “perdu” was aroused and immediately manifested itself in chills and fever. The immediate and summary rejection of the morbid element gives us the immunity we possess, when in good health, against the thousand and one noxious influences which daily surround us. Our personality has not only no affinity for them, in either of the three directions, but an actual antipathy, and they are repelled.
The personality of man may be diseased, that is embarrassed in its proper outworking, as we have already intimated, in three directions. First, through his spiritual part. A man, for instance, is in perfect health, having, as the phrase good health implies, an absolute freedom of self-assertion in all directions, he can think well, he can digest well and he can act well. Such is his state today; to-morrow, he hears of his total pecuniary ruin, or of the distressing death of his dearest love; his spiritual affinities are at once so changed in their direction by the shock they have received, that instead of acting in their ordinary channel of intellectual labor in which he “thought well” yesterday, they run toward the contemplation of his loss; and the greatest possible embarrassment is experienced in the outworking of the self-hood of the man. Here is a diseased condition, and if it continues, the whole material man will become affected through the ground of communication which it has with the spiritual man, through the Life, as before described. The shock has driven the spiritual affinities of the Ego into unusual, that is abnormal directions, and the entire being is under a morbid influence. There presently occurs an involvement of the other members of this man trinity, and though the Soul is first affected, the body receives a sympathetic affection through the common Life in both, and the man may have apoplexy, or diarrhea, or dyspepsia, or sleeplessness, or any other one of the thousand ills which wait upon our human nature.
Now let us see how the Ego, the personality, the individuality of the man, may be affected through the material affinities. We have seen how a man becomes sick from the impressions which come to his Ego, through the portals of his soul, which are always standing so wide open for the entrance of any vital influence of a spiritual character, and now we wish to show the manner of the passage of morbid influences to the Ego, through the body or material part of man. And here we find the law to be the same in principle as that which governs the spiritual nature. A certain congeries of material influences are brought into contact with the material part of the Ego, and an affinity is discovered stronger than those other affinities previously existing. A union of these affinities occurs, and a morbid element is thus presented at the material gate-way of the Ego, or the personality within. At this point the morbid element may be met and expelled by the personality, which thus shows its right to the name by which it is often known, “Vis Medicatrix Naturae.“If the morbid influence is at once expelled, no symptoms occur beyond the material sphere; but if a struggle is necessary between the personality and the morbid element while forcing its way, under the law of molecular affinity, through the body, into the personality, then indications of the contest make their appearance, in the form of externally manifested symptoms, and the man is said to be sick.
A good illustration of disease occurring under the molecular law, that is of the entrance of the morbid element through the material part of man, is afforded by the phenomena attendant upon vaccination. A molecule of vaccine virus is brought into contact with the material molecules of the body and in consequence of certain properties possessed by both the parties to this contact, an assimilation of the virus takes place at once, on precisely the same principle as does the assimilation of the digesta in the stomach and intestines. There is something in the peculiar qualities of the vaccine molecule, which finds an affinity in the molecules of the body, when it comes in contact with them. All through the congeries of molecules which make up the body, the influence of this little vaccine atom passes, in obedience to the molecular law, which compels a response to attractions, the very response implying continued motion. The whole molecular structure becomes charged with the peculiar properties of the vaccine atom, and now the material part of the man has come under an influence which is embarrassing to the outworking of the personality, simply perhaps because unusual; that is to say, the man, acting in his totality-and because acting in his totality, acting through both body and spirit-finds one of the media, through which he receives and conveys impressions, changed in some manner, and finds consequently that an impediment exists to the outward manifestation of his entire and integral self-hood.
At this point, the personal Ego, the true Life of the integral man, rises to throw off, or to overcome the influence which threatens the destruction of those natural and normal relations of body and soul, through and by means of which the mentality is existent; and the struggle continues accompanied by the evolution of various symptoms, until either the Life of the integral man is compelled to change its material position, or the vaccine poison is thrown out of the system by the pustule. It will be appropriate at this stage of our subject, to glance for a moment at the manner of this pustulation, and at the influences which accomplish it. The law attaching to the vitality, ”Ubi irritatio, ibi fluxus,” determines the seat of the pimple; the amount of the poison in the system determines its size; and the Life of the personal Ego produces the formation of the pustule. The pimple once started in its growth, the rest of the material poison in the system is aggregated to it, under the action, it may be, of a similar law to that which governs the aggregation of those fiery particles which float in limitless space, under the name of “star dust,” and which by their attraction and cohesion formed the telluric mass, and are continuing to form other worlds like ours.
The vaccine poison thus located on the skin, after having been driven by the Life of the man from the innermost recesses of the frame, whither it had penetrated, and having been collected into a pustular mass by the law governing the aggregation of molecules, is hemmed in upon the surface by a barricade of coagulable lymph, which is thrown around it by the healing process of the man's Life. Here, surrounded by an impenetrable wall of hardened and organized Lymph, the vaccine virus poisons itself to death, so to speak, and rots into pus; and this is the end of the molecular affection. It is not, however, by any means, the end of the vaccine affection, as we shall see immediately, when we pass to the consideration of the third way in which Disease may enter the personality.
To rehearse a moment, we have found disease entering the personality through the spirit, by means of the thoughts and emotions; and we have found it entering through the body, by means of mechanical injuries and material poisons. It remains to speak of the third mode by which disease may enter the personality, which is directly through the personality itself, with no intervention of matter or spirit, by means of other personalities, which being above the law of matter are not governed entirely by it, and being below the law of spirit, are not governed entirely by it. And here we call particular attention to the term “other personalities.“We will define the term personality again, and in such a manner as shall be unmistakable. We shall use very nearly the same words as before, but the connection in which these words are used will show them to mean rather more than at first sight appears. The union of Soul and Body by means of the Life produces, what may be called in College phrase, a ”tertium Quid.“This is the personality; the synonyms which are used for this, being “The Ego,” “The Vis Vitae,” “He Phusis,” “The Vis Conservatrix,” “The Vis Medendi,” &c. Again, when we speak of the system as throwing off disease, we mean by system, this Ego, this personality, this specific something which makes man what he is, which gives him his individuality, and which preserves him in it.
The term “He Phusis” was first used by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, and its meaning is simply Nature. It is also the very term applied to that which is the cause of all the occult movements of the Cosmos. There is a sublime beauty in thus giving the same name to the influence which manifests itself in the Cosmos in its million ways, from the formation of worlds, to the gift of specific individual properties to the smallest atoms, and to that which manifests itself in the individual, integral, personal man. It is the Nature of Man to be what he is, in contra-distinction to every thing else; and Man is just what he is, for the simple reason again, that it would be contrary to his Nature, to be anything else.
Now there is a peculiar Nature in Aconite and Belladonna, in Silex and Sulphur, in Nux and Pulsatilla, as well as in Man. He Phusis in them corresponds to He Phusis in Man, and as He Phusis, Nature, in man is what constitutes him an integral person, so He Phusis in these drugs gives them also a personality, and in like manner He Phusis gives a personality to every atom in the Cosmos. The whole universe is made up of innumerable Egos, so to speak. Each atom is an integer, and as such has its specific properties.
We shall now be understood when we say that the personality of man may become the subject of disease through contact with other personalities. We mean that the personality, the specific property of a thing, whether it be a drug or anything else, may be brought into direct contact with the personality of man, and in a mode entirely distinct from any action of its crude material mass, or of its spiritual part. The “Nature,” ”He Phusis,” “the personality,” “the specific property,” “the Ego,” “The Life,” if you please, of any thing being brought into contact with the personality of the man, furnishes food for health or disease, as it is usual or unusual, normal or abnormal. The personality is either stimulated or embarrassed, according to the character of the personality opposed to it.
Now the fact seems to be that this specific quality of things whether drugs, or miasms, or anything else, requires for itself, (as does a mathematical point,) position, but not magnitude; and however small may be the atom in which it rests, it may be strong enough to produce, by its contact with another personality, symptoms of a striking character. The same law of affinity governs the personalities, as well as the molecules and the spiritualities of man. If an external personality is presented to the personality of a man, it is received or rejected as its affinities or antipathies command.
Now let us again refer to the vaccine pustule. Notwithstanding the material molecule of the vaccine virus has rotted out, and there no longer remains any thing of the material vaccine in the body, there is left behind a dynamic result, which is in fact the result of the very thing we have just described, viz:-the personality, or the specific property of the poison, has found its affinity in the personality of the man, and therefore clings to it, though the crude molecule of vaccine, in which it formerly lodged, has entirely disappeared from the system.
There seems no difficulty in understanding this matter. It is quite impossible that an atom of vaccine or any other virus should remain in the system as a material constituent part of it, but that its dynamic effect pervades the system for years, there is of course every necessary proof. The specific property of this virus has been transferred to the atoms of the body. The peculiar properties of the vaccine have changed their position, have attached themselves to other atoms. We believe the process of transferring the specific property of one atom to another contiguous one is accomplished by frictionization. It being now fully understood that the specific or vital properties of a thing cannot be inferred from any chemical constituent which may enter into its composition, it can make but little difference whether the contiguous atom has the same molecular or chemical attractions as has the atom from which specific properties are about to pass. By a process of rubbing together, as it seems to us, the two atoms are placed in a sort of electrical “rapport” and while in this state of electrical tension, the specific property passes from the one into the other. This frictionization, of course, occurs in the human body, as the fluids rush up and down the bloodvessels and nerves, (for the nerves have a certain fluid of their own), carrying in their current the atom of vaccine virus whose specific property is to be rubbed out of it. When we shall in future articles speak of attenuation, this transference of specific qualities of atoms by exciting electrical tension in the atom and menstruum will be more distinctly set forth.
This then is our theory of the inception of disease, which, to sum up in a few words, is as follows. Disease consists in that condition of either the spiritual or material part of man which interferes with the natural outworking of his individuality. It is at this point, that the popular fallacy-that disease may run its course-may cure itself-attracts our attention. The natural ultimatum of Disease is Death, and that it should cure itself is absolutely impossible. The personality, or the vitality of man, may sometimes throw off the incubus of the morbid taint, but that disease will leave the system, without being driven therefrom by an opposing force, is entirely out of the question. Nature cures disease, with or without the aid of stimulants, as the case may be; disease never cures itself, never runs its own course, but is always hurried or retarded as the influences brought to bear upon it are favorable or otherwise.
That there are many cases in which disease is cured without medicine, we make no doubt, but in these very instances the disease is cured by influences quite adapted to the existing state of things, influences derived perhaps from our surroundings, from the inherent power of our vitality, it may be, but never does disease cure itself. The affinities presented to the morbific influence are always sufficient to keep it out of the organism when antagonized by the “Vis Medicatrix Naturae,” and hence it follows that our duty as curers, is to furnish such stimuli to the powers of Nature, as shall strengthen her in the direction of recuperation.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 03, 1858, pages 97-106
|Theory of Disease.
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