A piece of steel, after having been subjected to certain manifestations, will exhibit a certain attractive and repulsive force which we call magnetism; by the decomposition of water we develop another force which we call galvanism; and y rubbing a piece of amber or glass, or a stick of sealing-wax against some silk we produce a force which we call electricity. These three dynamic forces, together with light and caloric have been considered by some as different manifestations of one universal force. Be this, however, as it may, thus much is certain, that every one of them exhibits peculiar properties which enable us to recognise them individually. The magnetic current runs from north to south, the galvanic current from east to west, and the electric current perhaps in the direction of the diameter of the earth, so that they would correspond to the three dimensions in space, length, breadth and depth. Light and caloric, also, have each their peculiar actions by which they may be readily distinguished from one another. Beside these just mentioned dynamic forces which we might call universal or elementary forces, there are others which are more limited in their actions. They manifest themselves by the peculiar action of one substance upon another, as in chemical affinities, or in their specific action upon vegetable, animal and human organisms, or certain parts thereof, as we observe in the specific action of different medicines.
The prevalent opinion as to the nature of these dynamic forces is: that all of them are mere properties of material substances and that, consequently, they cannot exist apart from matter but must increase or decrease with its bulk.
It seems strange, that such an opinion should have been so generally accepted, when we consider that it has been abundantly shown by often repeated experiments, that the dynamic force of a material substance is not proportionate to its bulk, but to the extent of its surface; that for instance, a solid ball of brass will not carry any more electricity than a hollow one with the same surface, and that a cylinder of steel will be as strongly magnetic as a solid steel rod equally large in surface. Now, if the dynamic force of a given substance is not proportionate to its bulk, but to its surface, the former must increase, if the surface of the latter is increased, as is done by breaking the substance to pieces or reducing it to powder. This fact alone would be sufficient to explain why our medicines have their dynamic forces augmented by trituration, even if the above mentioned theory, “that dynamic forces are mere properties of matter” were true. But we shall go a step further and show that this theory itself is entirely erroneous.
We receive the knowledge of the outer world through the instrumentality of our senses. Every object in nature makes a certain impression on our senses of sight, of hearing, of taste, of smell or of touch, and these impressions are carried to the brain to be retained or deposited there, to serve as a material for our intellectual functions. To us such things only, as we are able to perceive with our senses, have any material existence, and as we become conscious of the existence of dynamic forces only by their action upon material substances, as we, therefore, are never enabled to see tm connected with matter, it is not so very strange that we have come to the conclusion, that those forces have no existence of their own, and independent of material substances. There are, however, persons — and their number is daily increasing — who are endowed with what has been called “the sixth sense,” or, “the power of second sight,” who perceive things that are invisible to ordinarily constituted individuals. They see those dynamic forces which are invisible to most of us, to them, at least, these forces are as real, as substantial, as material as any material substance can be to us. Reichenbach of Vienna, in his work on what he calls the “odic force,” mentions the names of not less than 180 sensitive persons, who saw that force and were unanimous in their description of it. Such an array of witnesses ought to convince the most stubborn skeptic. But there are unfortunately, a great many individuals so constituted that they will not believe anything, unless they can see it with their bodily eyes and weigh it and measure it with scales and rule. Such persons would not be convinced by the testimony of 1000 witnesses, unless they become sensitive themselves, a thing which is not very likely to happen. To them I offer the following facts for their consideration, which will enable them to see the dynamic forces, if not with their bodily eyes, at least with their “minds eye,” if they have got anything like that.
We call the dynamic forces imponderables, and the general impression is, that something which is imponderable must of necessity be immaterial also. This impression has, doubtless, its foundation in a misunderstanding of the real cause of gravitation. Dynamic forces, it is true, do not exert their force in the direction of the centre of the earth, but neither does hydrogen, and yet nobody will attempt to say that hydrogen is not a material substance, but a mere property of matter. We are just as unable to weigh hydrogen on scales as we are to weigh any of the dynamic forces, and if we had no means to confine it within some substance which is ponderable, we should never have been able to tell even its negative weight, that is, the weight it takes away from the ponderable substance in which it has been confined. The gravitation of material substances which enables us to weigh them on scales, consists simply in this: that substances will attract each other, which are equal in their specific gravity. So all substances, such as hydrogen, which are specifically lighter than atmospheric air, will not be attracted to the centre of the earth, but will rise in the air till they arrive at a stratum where the air is so rarified as to be equal in its specific gravity to their own. Just so if we drop a substance in water, it will either swim at the surface of it, if it is specifically lighter than water, or sink partly down in the water, or fall to the bottom if its specific gravity is equal to or greater than that of the water. The same thing will occur if we drop a substance in any other fluid, and, if the earth were fluid, we should perceive the same phenomenon; some substances swimming at the surface, some sinking more or less down, and some, the heaviest of all, falling down as far as the centre. There is actually no such a thing as a force of gravitation emanating from the centre of the earth. All substances have a tendency to arrange themselves according to their density, the most dense substances taking the lowermost place, which in a globe is its centre. The dynamic forces or imponderables being even less dense than hydrogen, we need not expect them to show any ponderability, they follow affinities of a higher order than that which is exerted by the dense masses of the interior of the earth.
But because they are not ponderable it does not necessarily follow that they are not material substances. The property of ponderability or imponderability is, as we have shown, no criterion as to the materiality or immateriality of a substance. A material substance is simply defined to be “a something which occupies space” Nothing more. Certainly some of the imponderables at least possess that property. How could heat, for instance, expand metals and other substances if it did not occupy space? We may deprive substances of their heat by mechanical pressure just as easy as we press the water out of a sponge. The lightning could not split rocks and trees if on entering them it did not occupy space. We can even see the flash of lightning well defined against the dark clouds, which would be impossible if the lightning had no shape or form, or in other words, if it did not occupy space.
Again, we know that light and caloric are subject to the same laws that material substances are subject to. Both light and caloric are reflected according to the same law, according to which a ball or any other elastic substance rebounds from a surface which it has been thrown against. We can bottle electricity like any other fluid and carry it away, but if we fill too much in the bottle, the electricity will, like other fluids, flow over, that is it will explode. The magnetic current also shows the same properties as a current of water. Suppose, for instance, two horse shoe magnets to be two tubes of water, in both of which the water flows in a certain direction; mark the direction of the current with arrows, and then lay the two magnets together in such a manner as to form a circle. You will then find that the two currents will form one continuous circular current. If we furthermore mark the poles of the horse-shoe magnets, the right one with S and the left one with N, we shall And that in order to produce a perfect circular current in one direction through both magnets, we have to connect the S pole of the one with the N pole of the o her and further, that if we connect N with N, and S with S, the currents will flow in opposite direction. Whether we presume water or some other fluid to flow through the two magnets, the effect will be the same; an attraction in the first position where the currents flow in the same direction, and a repulsion in the second position. This, by the bye, is the reason why unlike poles attract, and like poles repel each other.
From all these facts we may reasonably suppose that the so-called imponderable forces are in reality material substances in a certain state of aggregation, which we shall call the dynamic state, and if they are material substances they must have, like other material substances, an independent existence, they must be able to combine with other substances, or to leave this combination to follow other and stronger affinities, just like any other material substance.
It appears, moreover, from certain experiments, made by Davy and others that even ponderable substances, such as acids, alkalies, metals, etc., may, under certain circumstances, pass into a state of aggregation in which they assume properties peculiar to imponderables, such as flowing along a conductor with the same rapidity which is peculiar to magnetic, electric and galvanic currents. This most conclusively shows that the dynamic state of aggregation is not a peculiarity of those forces which we call imponderables, but that all material substances may pass into that state and by this means become more active, more efficacious and powerful in their action, than they are in their lower states of aggregation.
Are we using potencies or dilutions? I have, in opposition to the generally accepted theory, that “dynamic forces are properties” advanced here, another “that dynamic forces are substances” and I leave it to the homoeopathic physicians to accept whichever theory they please. If they accept the first they must of necessity consider their medical preparations as mere delusions, and follow the principle of our allopathic brethren, that the effect of a medicine is commensurate to the size of the dose; but, if they accept the second theory, they will experience no difficulty in convincing themselves, as well as others, that the prompt action of a remedy does not depend upon its ponderability, but upon its state of refinement.
In vindicating our potencies, however, I wish not to be understood as advocating the exclusive use of the higher or highest potencies, and to condemn the occasional use of lower preparations down to the pure tincture. There are certainly medicines in such an original state of refinement as to require very little, if any improvement by way of trituration or shaking. I think this mania of trituration and diluting, and potentising everything which is used as a homoeopathic medicine has done more to injure Homoeopathy, than anything else. I should just as little expect to raise young frogs from the 30th potency of frogs semen, or to cure small-pox by means of Vacinin 30, as to raise an oak by placing a globule moistened with the 30th potency of an acorn in the round. Caro vitulina and caro porcina 200, will be an eternal disgrace to Homoeopathy. On the other hand, minerals and other substances which produce very little, if any effect on the system in their crude state, ought to be potentized as much as possible, and ought never to be given in their crude state. I would concede to every homoeopathic physician perfect freedom in selecting and administering his medicines from the tincture up to the 1600th potency, according to his judgment, and I cannot help but consider all those who use exclusively high potencies or low potencies as deficient alike in common sense and sound judgment.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 02 No. 03, 1859, pages 105-110
|Potencies or Dilutions - Second Article.
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