Hahnemann’s View of Allopathy
As Seen in the Prefaces and Introduction to the Organon
Probably the greatest turning point in Hahnemann’s life occurred when he finally settled in Torgau [25 miles north of his home town of Meissen, also on the River Elbe] in 1804; for it was only then that he began writing down in detail every medical issue that had troubled his whirlwind travels of the previous 15 years. Perhaps in his wandering, Hahnemann resembles Paracelsus, who "thought he could learn more medicine by travelling and observing than from any library." [French, 148]
In 1804, with "this restless inclination for travelling," [Haehl, vol. 1, 47] finally expended, he settled in Torgau, "for seven whole years," [Haehl, vol. 1, 72] and began to write a series of important essays, commencing with the Fragmenta de viribus in 1805. All "his chief works were produced in the Torgau period," [Haehl, vol. 1, 74] within which every detail of his new system was taking shape: "the Wander-years…and Torgau with its literary results, until now, with a name well-known in all Germany, with a new and superior system of medicine to his credit." [Bradford] "He remained at Torgau until 1811, when he went to Leipzig." [Bradford] "It was during his residence at Torgau that Hahnemann gave to the world his great book…"Organon of Rational Healing," published in Dresden, by Arnold, in 1810." [Bradford]
It was while residing in Torgau, 1804-11, and into a series of essays, that he poured all his newly acquired knowledge about a true system of healing; writings well seasoned also with his unending, vitriolic, and detailed attacks upon the ideas and methods of the old school. The length of these venomous attacks, unfolding throughout his long life, reveals the emotional intensity of his sense of betrayal by allopathic methods; this enriches our understanding of the man. In Torgau, Hahnemann had, through his detailed and exhaustive studies, finally laid out a systematic and point-by-point demolition of every element in ancient and medieval medicine.
Hahnemann clearly describes how he came by his views and why he so thoroughly denounced the ancient allopathic medical art. The long journey of approaching homeopathy began with a departure from allopathy. As "I advanced from truth to truth...the more my conclusions...confirmed [that] the old edifice... [was] only maintained by opinions," [Organon, xvii] and was indeed a product "of fantasy, and of arbitrary speculation, the mother of pernicious illusion and of absolute nullity." [Organon, xiv] He considers allopathy as "merely developed out of the heads, the self-deception and the caprice of its professors," [Organon, xiv] and had not "been derived from nature," [Organon, xiv] like homeopathy had, that is a system rooted in observations and experiments, rather than speculative subtleties. In other words, it had been made rather than found.
He therefore derides allopathy as "merely a product of speculative subtlety, arbitrary maxims, traditional practices and capricious deductions drawn from ambiguous premises," [Organon, xiv] and though "it may reckon its age by thousands of years, and be decorated with the charters of all kings and emperors of the earth," [Organon, xiv] and though "it has been practised for these 2500 years by millions of physicians, many of whom were earnest high-minded men," [Organon, xiv] yet it is and has been nothing more than a vast deceit upon suffering humanity, a pretence that promises much but delivers only failures. Hahnemann felt that allopathy "spoke unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits," [Isaiah 30, 15] that "betrays instead of serving." [Burke] He had seen "many a promise sworn by royal lips, and broken," [Whitman] which had left him feeling "betrayed by what is false." [Meredith] He had become "beware of them…their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of lust," [Shakespeare] for it was the repeated demolition of his false hopes that had destroyed all his respect for and faith in such a medical system and that had made him into such an embittered and unhappy wanderer.
By contrast, consider homeopathy: "every one of its conclusions about the actual must always be based on sensible perceptions, facts and experiences... [for, it does not] deviate by a single step from the guidance of perception." [Organon, xiv] Precisely because allopathy is not founded in such real world observations and experiences, such empirical roots, so "it degenerates into empty speculation and phantasy, and produces only hazardous hypotheses...[which] by their very nature...[comprise] self-deception and falsehood." [Organon, xiv] Such is what Hahnemann describes as "the splendid juggling of so-called theoretical medicine...[rooted in] a priori conceptions and speculative subtleties...which were of no use for the cure of diseases." [Organon, xv]
Hahnemann states that for centuries, allopathy had gone about its business blithely "unconcerned...about the teachings of nature-guided experience," [Organon, xv] instead always professing to remain in strict "conformity with the methods of its practical authorities...[and] traditional prescriptions," [Organon, xv] but all the while oblivious or contemptuous of experiments, of how drugs really work and what gentle, true and lasting cure might really mean. Hahnemann boldly proposes that any "healthy, unprejudiced, conscientious examination," [Organon, xv] of this matter reveals that allopathy has all along been "merely a pseudo-scientific fabrication, remodelled from time to time to meet the prevailing fashion," [Organon, xv] even though it remained essentially "the same blind pernicious method," [Organon, xv] all along.
One woeful aspect of the old school that Hahnemann bitterly condemns, was its insistence on "arbitrarily settling what diseases, how many and what forms and kinds there should be," [Organon, xv] being blithely ignorant, he contends, of "the unforeseeable variety by infinite Nature in human beings…[which] the pathologist cuts down…to a mere handful of cut and dry forms." [Organon, xv] Such "wiseacres define diseases a priori and attributed to them transcendental substrata not warranted by experience." [Organon, xv] By contrast, for Hahnemann, like Paracelsus before him, "each individuum was wholly peculiar and…[for him] there were as many diseases as patients." [McLean, 170]
Here Hahnemann touches upon a valid point. The purpose of any classification scheme is "to name reliably and conveniently," [Bullock and Trombley, 858-9] but this inevitably also involves "a degree of resemblance that unites members," [Bullock and Trombley, 858] of the same category or group, such that members of the same category "are united by a basic similarity or ground plan." [Bullock and Trombley, 858] Obviously, some members of a group "are united by a somewhat closer degree of similarity," [Bullock and Trombley, 858] than others. Inevitably, also, any system of classification imposes restrictions, concerns the [real or imagined] relationships between different classes and categories and subtly shapes our perception of reality to suit its own purposes.
Inevitably, any taxonomic scheme to some degree is therefore "a system of idealised entities…fictions compounded out of observed uniformities…concepts and categories…conditioned by human aims." [Berlin, 301] Because all such systems are "a set of formulas, of imaginary entities and mathematical relationships," [Berlin, 302] so to the same degree it is always in part a false and abstract system imposed upon raw reality itself, an "artificial construction of our intellect," [Berlin, 302] that is not so much found but made. In reality, "nature is not a perfect machine, nor an exquisite organism, nor a rational system," [Berlin, 302] it is rather "a savage jungle: science is the art of dealing with it as best we can." [Berlin, 302] No truly natural system of disease classification exists, and may never be possible.
By overlooking "that the disease classification is man-made…[allopaths] assume…that disease entities somehow have an independent existence," [Wulff et al, 82] which of course they do not. They are human constructs with no more reality than pipe dreams. The "disease classification is still largely a mixture of disease entities defined in anatomical, physiological and microbiological terms," [Wulff et al, 77] which is indeed "a man-made classification of individual patients." [Wulff et al, 77] True and natural disease classifications do not exist. It is this apparently hair-splitting point of the arbitrariness of disease classification that Hahnemann had seized upon.
Homeopathy does not respect the use of broad disease labels, but treats each individual as a unique case of sickness. It regards that there are as many diseases as there are patients, and resists any temptation to clump together cases of a similar type or give them a name or treat them with the same drug, such as has long been the standard practice in allopathic medicine.
Allopaths also "pretended to possess an insight into the inner nature of things and the invisible vital processes, which no mortal can have." [Organon, xv] By contrast, Hahnemann insists that each case of sickness must be treated on its peculiar own individual merits, rather than upon the basis of some humanly-created system.
Hahnemann makes it very clear that he believed allopathy to "have been merely developed out of the heads, the self-deception and the caprice of its professors." [Organon, xiv] By contrast, he asserts that the true "powers of the different medicines in the materia medica," [Organon, xv] can only be reliably determined by testing "their effects on the healthy human body," [Organon, xv] and never "from their physical, chemical or other irrelevant qualities…their odour, taste and external aspect…from impure experiences at the sick bed…[in] the tumult of morbid symptoms…[or in] mixtures of medicines…prescribed for imperfectly described cases of disease." [Organon, xv] Here Hahnemann identifies the essence of the allopathic habit of erroneously deducing medicinal actions from guesswork or from their clinical use in the sick.
Hahnemann declares that the true actions of medicines reside in their "dynamic spiritual power of altering man’s health." [Organon, xv] Such is a power "hidden in the invisible interior of medicines," [Organon, xv] which cannot be reliably plumbed or discerned from considering any aspects of their external appearances—an ancient approach [doctrine of signatures] that he very roundly condemns. Indeed, as Hahnemann explains, what had been described about medicines had very largely been "inferred, ascribed, or imagined…in conformity with…[certain rules] and in direct opposition to nature." [Organon, xvi]
Hahnemann here criticises the entrenched rules of Galenic medicine, which impose their own form of order upon the natural world instead of deriving themselves from observation of nature itself. Such comprised "unnatural human doctrines…[and] illogical false deductions…welded into scholastic forms…as opposed to nature and experience as it is possible to conceive, a structure built up entirely of…opinions…an edifice of pure nullity, a pitiable self-deception, eminently fitted to imperil human life by its methods of treatment." [Organon, xvi] Being unnatural, so the doctrines of ancient medicine were human, that is constructed—made and not found.
As Hahnemann says, allopathy was ever "labouring under the curse of not being what it professes to be, and not being able to perform what it promises," [Organon, xvi] patients. When Hahnemann invokes "sober, unprejudiced reflection," [Organon, xvi] he contends that this would surely lead us to "accurate knowledge of the true powers of medicines…the proper dose…a complete true healing art…[compiled through] careful honest observations and experiments." [Organon, xvi] In his view, it is only by pursuing such a policy that a true and reliable system of medicine can be established, one that rejects "every falsifying admixture of arbitrary data." [Organon, xvi]
Vital Self-healing Powers
Hahnemann also invokes "nature’s self-help in diseases [vis medicatrix]," [Organon, xviii] that is "the instinctive, irrational, unreasoning vital force…ordained by the Creator to maintain functions and sensations of the organism in marvellously perfect condition." [Organon, xviii] Not only does he thereby clearly establish homeopathy as relying upon a vitalistic basis in nature’s healing power [Kent calls the vital force the vice-regent of the soul], but also, in the words ‘instinctive, irrational and unreasoning,’ Hahnemann identifies the chief difference between the vital force and the qualities of the conscious mind, which is powered by the opposing qualities—will-power, rationality and the power of reason. Such comments remain powerfully insightful two centuries later.
Because natural therapists regard all healing as either truly curative self-healing or suppression, then by their own definition, any ‘healing’ by non-innate vital powers tends automatically to be dismissed as merely a suppression. For example, when John Foley says, "only that nerve energy that runs through you and controls every function and autonomic process of your being every second of your life is capable of healing you. No drugs of doctors can do that. We can only facilitate it," [Foley] then he clearly echoes the vitalist views of homeopathy and acupuncture. When he further contends that "drugs, if anything, interfere with that innate ability to heal from within," [Foley] and that mere "covering up symptoms with pharmaceuticals has done little," [Foley] then he inclines towards the claim of homeopaths that drugs in crude doses do not cure but delay healing and complicate disease by suppressing symptoms.
Turning our attention to some of Hahnemann’s more detailed rebuttals and condemnations of the ideas and practices of the old school of medicine, it is clear that most if not all of these criticisms, are rooted in his own honest but failed attempts to obtain good therapeutic results employing the very system he is discussing and in which he had been trained. Other comments derive from his reading material during his literary pursuits [1783-1806 approx] in which he encountered numerous physician anecdotes depicting examples similar to his own dismally uncurative experiences. A host of other more illuminating observations concerning single drugs inspired him to devise his own experiments with single drugs for similar conditions and in the provings, which were partly inspired by accounts of accidental poisonings—thereby opening up an entirely new therapeutic pathway. In essence, he speaks authoritatively as an ‘insider’ critical of the methods of a system he himself was trained in and which he found to be consistently ineffective. Equally, he is also a serious student of the history of therapeutics and thus he is well aware of the minutiae of all previous medical doctrines and methods. It is into such a context that we must locate the ensuing comments.
Hahnemann states that allopathy often "presupposes the existence of excess of blood [plethora—which is never present] sometimes of morbid matters and acridities; hence it taps off the life’s blood and exerts itself either to clear away the imaginary disease-matter, or to conduct it elsewhere [by emetics, purgatives, sialogogues, diaphoretics, diuretics, etc] in the vain belief that the disease will thereby be weakened and materially eradicated." [Organon, xxviii] He here refers to the predominantly humour-expelling measures employed for hundreds of years. It also employs in unrecognisable mixtures by the "commingling of several such unknown substances in one prescription." [Organon, xxviii] Here he refers to its ingrained and longstanding polypharmacy habit, which he deplores. Its remedies tend to "suppress and hide the morbid symptoms by opposition [contraria contrariis] for a short time [palliatives]." [Organon, xxviii] Hahnemann is here referring to the non-holistic pursuit of local symptoms the eradication of which is not a true cure but merely a suppression.
Old school medicine considers disease as being "purely local and existing there independently, and vainly supposes that it has cured them when it has [merely] driven them away." [Organon, xxviii] Here Hahnemann means that it conceives each sickness both as a local affair and as a real entity independent of the sufferer. He deplores such conception of ‘driving symptoms away’ as ridiculous and misleading, as it tends to the treatment of parts rather than the whole person. Allopathy turns one disease into another [metastasis] and makes a bad situation even worse by using "corrosive sublimate and other mercurial preparations in large doses," [Organon, xxix] thereby "continually weakening and tormenting the debilitated patient." [Organon, xxix] It is indeed a "most senseless mode of treatment…[and a] mischievous so-called art." [Organon, xxix] After 1828, Hahnemann uses the miasm theory to explain the transmission of such maltreatments, suppressions and inheritable ‘disease residues’ in the human system, but here, in 1805-11, he mainly denigrates humour-expelling measures as fine examples of the harmful, uncurative and absurd practices allopaths routinely employ.
By contrast, Hahnemann portrays homeopathy as a gentle and curative therapy that "can easily convince every reflecting person that the diseases of man are not caused by any substance, any acridity…disease matter, but that they are solely spirit-like [dynamic] derangements of the spirit-like power [the vital force] that animates the human body." [Organon, xxix] Homeopathy therefore "avoids everything in the slightest degree enfeebling…[and] employs for the cure only those medicines whose effects…[are] capable of removing the natural disease…by similarity." [Organon, xxix] In this point, Hahnemann makes clear the harmless nature of homeopathy and its core principle of similia, hinting also at the hidden maxim of provings, because a homeopathic medicine must be able to cause in the healthy what it can cure in the sick.
Then he plays another trump card: homeopathy works "to remove the natural malady by means of the reacting energy of the vital force." [Organon, xxii] The drug merely acts to stimulate the body’s innate self-healing energies. This is very neat footwork on Hahnemann’s part and creates an impressively seamless web of connected argument. This means that "without weakening, injuring or torturing him…the natural disease is extinguished." [Organon, xxii] That it means no purging, no emetics, no mercurials and no bleeding, indicates the radical nature of Hahnemann’s break with the medical past. The remedy thus acts by stimulating and rousing into activity "the blind efforts of the instinctive, unreasoning vital force," [Organon, xviii] and such a gentle and harmless system stands in the starkest possible contrast to "the pernicious routine of the old school." [Organon, xxii]
Allopathy is demonstrably "the most opposite and the most senseless modes of treatment," [Organon, xxix] what he also calls "mischievous," [Organon, xxix] and "a pernicious practice," [Organon, xxix] for the reasons he also gives, primarily its harmful effects on the patient and its suppressive, complexifying impact upon diseases of all kinds. According to Hahnemann, ancient physicians were far too easily "led astray by their vanity…[and] sought by reasoning and guessing to excogitate the mode of furnishing," [Organon, 1] an effective mode of treatment. However, as far as Hahnemann was concerned, these "system-mongerers," [Organon, 1] were doomed to fail in that endeavour and delivered only harm to their patients, not cures. They did this by using complex mixtures of drugs in doses too strong and suppressing sickness by ‘driving symptoms away’ rather than curing the patient.
Hahnemann identifies the problem with all prior medical systems as not being "in consonance with nature and experience; they were mere theoretical webs, woven by cunning intellects out of pretended consequences." [Organon, 1] Such a medical art "pluming itself on its antiquity imagines itself to possess a scientific character," [Organon, 2] a title which he clearly feels it does not deserve because, engrossed in its own theories, it has consistently turned its back on nature and the very empiricism that are the hallmarks of any authentic science. By contrast, he claims, it is homeopathy—the only legitimate medical progeny of science and empiricism—that truly deserves such a title.
Essence of Disease?
When Hahnemann astutely argues, because "by far the greatest number of diseases are of dynamic [spiritual] origin and dynamic [spiritual] in nature…[therefore] their cause is…not perceptible to the senses," [Organon, 2] he means that sickness is always a dynamic [spiritual] derangement of the life-force. This is a central theme, which he emphasises by repeating endlessly throughout the Organon and several other essays. It therefore logically follows from this position that true cure could not be material or perceptible either, but must also be dynamic [spiritual] in nature; Hahnemann demands that the cure should correspond to the cause. Yet, when Hahnemann then examines allopathy, he finds no confirmation of this view.
Allopathy has always maintained that it can "draw conclusions relative to the invisible process whereby the changes which take place in the inward being of man in diseases," [Organon, 2] can be perceived and utilised in therapy. Furthermore, they have never deviated from the employment of material drugs to address dynamic diseases—a mismatch Hahnemann is eager to pounce on. They therefore proposed that "the internal essence of the disease, the disease itself," [Organon, 2] could be understood and defined. However, in Hahnemann’s view such a contention regarding "this imperceptible internal essence," [Organon, 2] was a delusion, a fabrication springing from a fevered imagination on the part of allopathic physicians: "a bogus prospectus, the child of an overactive imagination, like designs for a perpetual motion machine." [Berlin, 1979, 110] Hahnemann makes it very clear that he regards any alleged ‘internal essence’ of disease to be a fiction, a fantasy.
Nevertheless, as Hahnemann points out, enormous effort has been invested by old school physicians concerning "an internal invisible cause of disease…conjectures that have been dignified by the followers of the old school with the title of causal indication, and considered to be the only possible rationality in medicine." [Organon, 3] Hahnemann impatiently dismisses such ideas as preposterous "assumptions, too fallacious and hypothetical to prove of any practical utility…flattering…to the vanity of the learned theorist, but usually leading astray when used as guides to practice." [Organon, 3] It would be difficult to imagine a more robust dismissal of the very idea.
Hahnemann proposes that old school physicians had indeed based their whole system upon the removal of these imagined causes of sickness, and this is why he even considers this matter worthy of comment. He states that "the old school of medicine believe it might cure diseases in a direct manner by the removal of the [imaginary] material cause of disease," [Organon, 4] and as he further states, they found it "next to impossible to divest themselves of these materialistic ideas." [Organon, 4] One reason Hahnemann focuses on this topic is that he trained in the old school methods himself and has studied it in depth. He feels this makes him qualified to criticise it. Having failed to produce cures using those methods, he advises against them. He therefore concludes that those "functional vital changes, which are called diseases, must be produced and effected chiefly, if not solely, by dynamic [spiritual] influences and could not be effected in any other way." [Organon, 4] This is a pretty clear and unambiguous statement of Hahnemann defending homeopathy against any materialistic conception of disease cause and cure. He identifies very clearly his own view of the nature of homeopathy and of disease—both being dynamic in character, rather than chemical, bacterial, molecular or genetic.
When Hahnemann uses the words ‘direct manner’ he amplifies the meaning of this phrase in a footnote to the main text by saying the use of "violent, always hurtful evacuant drugs." [Organon, 4] He clearly wishes to sharply contrast such brutal and uncurative measures against the simple, harmless and curative measures employed in homeopathy. So as to clarify and extend his meaning, he also adds that in some cases a "dynamic origin" of a disease can mean "caused by mental disturbance [grief, fright, and vexation], a chill, and over-exertion of the mind or body." [Organon, 4]
Condemning Specific Practices and Ideas
While Hahnemann is at pains to condemn old school medicine in its entirety, he also singles out certain practices for specific condemnation, such as "all their varieties of blood-lettings…inflammations, etc." [Organon, 5] Allopaths, he says, "cannot refrain from bleeding in order to draw off the supposed super-abundance of this vital fluid…[in spite of] prostration of the strength," [Organon, 5] of the patient. In doing so, "they imagine…that their treatment has been in conformity with their axiom…[and that] they have done everything in their power for the patient." [Organon, 5] It is this "imaginary excess of blood," [Organon, 5] which they regard as "the main material cause of all haemorrhages and inflammations." [Organon, 5] Based on such assumptions, they thus regard blood-letting as an entirely rational form of treatment that the patient needs. Therefore, as Hahnemann insists, it is this theoretical a priori assumption that drives their desire to remove blood from their patients "by repeated venesection…[and] thus often bleed the patient nearly to death," [Organon, 5] in the name of a theory of disease cause that is so obviously bogus.
Hahnemann consistently depicts the old school mode of treatment as rendering the patient "worse than the original malady," [Organon, 6] and he feels this fact alone "ought to open their eyes to the deeper-seated, immaterial nature of the disease, and its dynamic [spirit-like] origin, which can only be removed by [an equally] dynamic means." [Organon, 6-7] As an example of its false and harmful treatments, Hahnemann gives the dominating idea of "morbific matters and acridities," [Organon, 7] which inspires heroic [vigorous] attempts to expel them "through the exhalents, skin, urinary apparatus or salivary glands, through the tracheal and bronchial glands in the form of expectoration, from the stomach and bowels by vomiting and purging, in order that the body might be freed from the material cause," [Organon, 7] of sickness.
Hahnemann consistently depicts such ideas as misguided and such doomed methods as both damaging and uncurative. Hahnemann smears such measures as akin to an attempt to let "a dirty fluid run out of a barrel through the tap-hole," [Organon, 7] in order to expel "bad humours and to cleanse the diseased body from all morbific matters." [Organon, 7] Hence the myriad old school remedies designed for "purifying the blood and humours, exciting diuresis and diaphoresis, promoting expectoration, and scouring out the stomach and bowels." [Organon, 7] Not only does Hahnemann depict these methods as futile, but he pours scorn on the ideas that drive them—which he summarises as a dominating belief in the material causes of all sickness, and which he denounces as absurd fantasy not rooted in careful observation or sound reflection.
However, as Hahnemann repeatedly contends, these are "all idle dreams, unfounded assumptions and hypotheses, cunningly devised…to remove the material morbific matters." [Organon, 7] Such are indeed "stupid baseless hypotheses," [Organon, 7] not even in accord with observation, and especially when one considers that disease is in truth a "spiritual, dynamic derangement of our spirit-like vital principle in sensation and function…[or] immaterial derangements of our state of health." [Organon, 7-8] Hahnemann goes on, "the causes of our maladies cannot be material," [Organon, 8] because "the vital principle everywhere present in our body never rests until," [Organon, 8] the merest splinter is expelled from it "by pain, fever, suppuration or gangrene." [Organon, 8]
Thus, all sickness is a mere dynamic, that is, an immaterial, derangement of the vital force. The very "idea of a material morbific matter," [Organon, 8] is a preposterous notion, in his view. Hahnemann states that "the champions of this clumsy doctrine of morbific matters…[have utterly] failed to appreciate the spiritual nature of life and the spiritual dynamic power of the exciting causes of diseases." [Organon, 9] Such are indeed, "false and materialistic views concerning the origin and essential nature of diseases," [Organon, 9] that Hahnemann unflinchingly condemns outright. Hahnemann would say that even if such morbific matters are present in the organism, they are merely ancillary phenomena of the disease process and should not lead one to view them as causes. Indeed, he is right to suggest that such an "absurdity…could only be imagined by minds of a materialistic stamp," [Organon, Aph 13] or even conceive such a hypothesis.
Hahnemann says, "the foul, often disgusting excretions which occur in disease…are excretory products of the disease itself," [Organon, 9] and should not be seen as causes of the disease. Those doctors who seek to "purge away the materia pecans…through the intestines by means of laxative and purgative medicines," [Organon, 9] have "degraded themselves into mere scavenger-doctors," [Organon, 9] by pursuing this absurd line of medical thinking and its attendant non-curative practices. Hahnemann continues at length in this vain, saying that "no disease…is caused by any material substance…but…is only a peculiar, virtual, dynamic derangement of the health," [Organon, 10] and thus any "method of treatment directed towards the expulsion of that imaginary material substance," [Organon, 10] is damaging, and always inflicts "monstrous harm," [Organon, 10] on the patient. Yet, he acknowledges that this very approach "was and continues to be one of the principal modes of treatment of the old school of medicine." [Organon, 11]
Thus, we can clearly see in these passages that although Hahnemann freely acknowledges the existence of material excretions associated with some types of disease, yet he refuses to draw the allopathic conclusion that such an association is causal or that the material aspects of a sickness are the root cause of the symptoms observed. Kent famously repeats exactly the same line of argument concerning bacteria and molecular aspects of disease. Both insist that the true causes are more deeply rooted, and are quite invisible aspects of organism functioning, viz, the derangements of the vital force.
As Hahnemann contends, the only thing achieved "by means of diaphoretic and diuretic remedies, blood-lettings, setons, and issues…irritant drugs to cause evacuation of the alimentary canal," [Organon, 12] is the expulsion of excretory products [morbific substances] admittedly associated with sickness, but not the causes of it. Even though this may transiently alleviate the suffering of the patient [the value of which Hahnemann remains very sceptical about] it still does not remove the underlying cause: the derangement in the vital force, which Hahnemann contends as being the true or root cause. Therefore, Hahnemann can see no sense in employing such palliative half-measures, which in any case are often harmful and were relied on to excess.
Turning next to the vital force itself, Hahnemann makes some illuminating comments on this important topic. He refers to "this irrational vital force," [Organon, 13] and also the "unintelligent vital force," [Organon, 13] indicating its automatic and non-reasoning aspects. He also refers to "crude, senseless, automatic vital energy," [Organon, 13-14] and as "crude unaided nature," [Organon, 15] to indicate how limited he thinks are its curative actions when left solely to its own devices. Yet "the old school, which arrogates to itself the title of rational," [Organon, 13] has little or nothing to say about the innate self-healing powers in the cure of disease. He considers it peculiar that the very aspect of life which homeopathic drugs seek to assist, stimulate and rouse into greater activity—the vital force—the old school remains resolutely silent about. This again reflects Hahnemann’s repeated contention that it is a blindly materialistic form of medicine that fails, unlike homeopathy, to acknowledge and utilise the spiritual nature of life and medical healing.
Hahnemann states that when left to itself, "the self-aiding operations of the vital force," [Organon, 13] are manifestly incapable of curing sickness. As he says, "the energetic but unintelligent, unreasoning and improvident vital force…[is incapable of creating] genuine relief or recovery," [Organon, 15] for many types of acute or chronic disorders. As far as he can judge, Hahnemann states that the old school has ignored or misjudged "the efforts of the crude automatic power of nature," [Organon, 15] that is the vital force. Instead of observing and learning how to enhance its power or enlist its help, they have largely ignored it. As far as Hahnemann is concerned, every treatment the old school can muster is one that damages the vital force, fails to cure sickness, harms the patient and thus makes a bad situation even worse. Their drugs do not cure, but merely shift symptoms around and harm the patient, while ever diminishing the innate healing powers as well. In Hahnemann’s view, this situation is a travesty of the title of doctor and of the once noble art of medicine.
Hahnemann says the "perturbing, debilitating, indirect modes of treatment of the old school are scarcely ever of the slightest use." [Organon, 14] They merely "suspend for a few days, some troublesome symptom or other…which…returns [in due course]…worse than before." [Organon, 14] They "silence in a palliative manner for a short time," [Organon, 15] some forms of sickness. Experience has shown, Hahnemann declares, "that lasting evil almost invariably results from a such a plan." [Organon, 16] In any case, as Hahnemann says, the vital force "is not guided by reason, knowledge and reflection," [Organon, 18] and cannot heal sickness unaided and alone. Therefore, the injudicious tactic of imitating her course—as allopaths do—is of no avail whatsoever. Hahnemann then continues with numerous detailed examples of sickness and how badly they always fare under regular allopathic treatment and the disastrous after-effects of such damaging treatments. He then leaves his readers in little doubt of his opinion of "the materia medica of the old school…founded mainly on conjecture and false deductions…mixed up with falsehood and fraud." [Organon, 22] Many of its drugs are "themselves of a very compound nature and the peculiar action of any one of which is as good as unknown." [Organon, 23] What possible good, he then asks, can flow from administering such unknown and dangerous concoctions?
It is very interesting to consider what Hahnemann chooses to condemn in ancient medicine, and why. He condemns it fundamentally for having no sound rationale founded in experiments and observational studies, and for being significantly based upon opinions and traditional authorities: it was made rather than found. Having already provided a solid rebuttal of allopathy in his essays of 1804-11, what he provides in the Prefaces and Introduction of the Organon, is a brief summary of those previous detailed essays. What of course he also provides is the practical basis of his critique—mostly in footnotes to the main text—numerous detailed examples of how old school methods