The author of this is Professor Gustav Jaeger, M. D. Like every new discovery, it is still an object of doubt in many cases, especially for those who think that the science of to-day has already reached an infinitely high point and placed secure termini where knowledge and perception come to a termination and faith or superstition, the supernatural, have to begin.
In addition, those who in Prof. Jaeger’s theory of the soul perceived a contradiction to the teachings of religion felt called upon to attack him. Now, Prof. Jaeger, apparently without any justification, had employed the word “Soul” for quite other things—for odorous substances of different quality which are developed in our body, and which, partly within the latter, react upon our mental disposition, our mind, and influence it in the most different manner, partly, also, evolving themselves outwardly; and, though often not even sensually perceptible to our nerves of smell; yet act a peculiar part in the mutual attraction and repulsion of living creatures. Let us, however, consider that already in grey antiquity soul and spirit are distinguished, since the first was distinguished as the principle which animates our bodies and is independent of our will, but the latter designated as the immortal Psyche, which returns to its Creator after the body has ceased to live. Only in later times custom united these two conceptions, which evidently ought to be separated, and to designate the Psyche of the ancients “Soul” in our mother tongue. Prof. Jaeger ought to have considered this when making use of this expression for his quite modern theory, for thereby he would have avoided many an offense to every Christian, particularly he would not have drawn upon himself so many unmerited attacks from other quarters, particularly from such people as did not consider it worth their while to reflect over what he had written but in order to pass judgment on him picked out only a few separate quotations from his writings, often enough wrongly reproduced by the newspapers, and appearing paradoxical. We premise these few remarks because when we use the word “soul” in our dissertation upon Neural Analysis we wish to have it understood merely in the sense in which Jaeger uses it, and not in that of general colloquial usage, or in that of the tenets of our religion.
According to philosophical conceptions, Will is the relation of thinking to acting. By means of our volition we stop actions in one case; in another we direct them. Every action — an activity of motion — represents the legitimate solution of a tension occurring in our organs of thinking and sensation, and appears, consequently, in relation to this tension as a solving, delivering, in short, as a critical deed, which is necessarily succeeded by a shorter or longer relaxation (apathy). Now, the central organ of our will is the brain. The brain, composed of ganglia or nerve-cells and of nerve-fibres, is the seat of the mind, for numerous observations made on healthy and sick persons have demonstrated that our sensation and thinking is dependent upon a healthy condition of the brain—nay, even upon certain parts of it. We become conscious of the things outside of us only through changes brought about in these central points of the brain. The way in which such changes are produced is by the organs of the senses. The latter—optical nerve, auricular nerve, etc.—are affected by exterior influences, and the changes obtaining in them are transmitted by simple or complex nerve-connection to the brain. One impression received from without may leave us quiet; another, however, excites our volition, and may be transmuted into motion by the brain. Another way by which our mental apparatus may be influenced is by the blood coursing to the brain. Our mental faculties, dependent upon the brain and the exercise of will flowing from them, are consequently conditional upon relations of tensions in which we either voluntarily place this organ, or in which, without our will, it is placed by the anatomical arrangements of our body and the physiological occurrences connected with it (circulation of blood, etc.).
These relations of tension, now, are not always the same. They are subject to constant change. They depend partly upon the general chemical condition of mixture of the mass of fluids of our body, partly also upon impressions which our organs of sense receive from without and transmit to the brain. Prof. Jaeger is to be credited with having made the study of these relations of tension the main study of his life, for he is the first who has proved that they may be expressed in mathematical formulae, since for their measurement he made use of a chronoscope.
This instrument has been used in astronomy for years for the measurement of “personal equation.” Comets, planets and planetoids are, as is well known, observed from many observatories simultaneously, and in order to be enabled to observe accurately, the astronomer must determine the time, in fractions of a second, in which the celestial body enters the crossed spider-lines in his equatorial. The ascertained times must coincide with those of astronomers at other observatories, if the observations and the calculations based thereon are to be correct For the places of observation this time can be pretty accurately calculated. One part of the earth, chiefly Europe, has been very accurately measured, and the distances of the separate observatories from each other are accurately known. As to the astronomer the case is different, for he must mark the entrance of the celestial body into the crossed spider-lines by a pressure upon the key of his Hipp chronoscope; and this or some other instrument constructed according to similar principles is, moreover, connected telegraphically with the astronomical clock, and there also indicates the exact time in fractional divisions of a second; the astronomer has, therefore, touched the key at the moment when he saw the star in the thread-cross. Those who do not know this matter might opine that our astronomer had marked the correct time. But this is by no means the case. For from the moment when we notice an object with our eye, upon the retina of which the corresponding changes take place, until that moment when our finger, in consequence of the impulse imparted to it from the brain, presses upon the key, there elapses a certain time which we, following Jaeger, will call nerve time. Prof. Helmholtz, the well known physiologist in Berlin, likewise measured this interval of time several years ago, and ascertained it to amount, on an average, with different people, to from 100 to 150 mill-seconds. Now, although this is a very small interval, yet for astronomical calculation this statement of Helmholtz is not sufficient, for every astronomer knows that this nerve time is subject to a great change, a change amounting with the same operator to between 50 and 300 mill-seconds, i.e., in different nights of observation. As a practical man, the astronomer does not inquire into the causes of these considerable differences, but he is satisfied shortly before beginning his observations to verify his nerve time by measuring it 40 or 50 times successively and deducing the average value. This procedure he calls “personal equation.”
Physiologists, studying the functions of the human body, had, therefore, necessarily to face the question: Whence originate these differences? To have first attempted an answer to this question, and to have made a great number of experiments concerning it, constitute the great merit of Prof. Jaeger. He has published his ideas about all the circumstances to be taken in consideration in connection with it, not only in his writings but also in public assemblies. He has furthermore founded his theory of the “Soul” upon it. Yet, the thoughts pronounced by him were too new. They moved the termini of knowledge another distance outward, and the form in which this was done, on the part of Dr. Jaeger, not only led to contradictions of all that he had said and written, but to direct attacks upon his teachings, and even upon his person.
Considering the importance which the experiments instituted by Jaeger, have for homoeopathy, and in view of the stormy opposition they will presumably excite in hostile quarters, we are obliged, before discussing the experiments themselves, to make some remarks upon Jaeger’s person; for our readers would not otherwise be enabled to meet the objections raised by anti-homoeopathists. Professor Dr. Jaeger is an approved physician, but some years since he devoted himself to anthropology and zoology, and his name is honorably mentioned in both these domains of investigation. He discovered a variety of new things and is an active contributor to journals of these branches and an author of works in this line. The considerable fame which he acquired induced the government of Wurttemburg to offer him the professorship of zoology and anthropology at the Royal Polytechnicum, as well as at the Royal Veterinary School. He accepted it and has now been living in Stuttgart for more than ten years, esteemed both as man and savant. It is only for the last two years, since he proclaimed his theory of the soul at the congress of naturalists in Baden-Baden, that a peculiar agitation against him has arisen, which, in its excesses, might even be called vulgar and malignant. First, some detached sentences from his discourse delivered in Baden-Baden were arbitrarily dissevered from their context and scattered by the daily press. Then the agitation spread to the scientific journals by the endeavor to undo all that he had ever accomplished, and which had formerly been acknowledged, and by calling him nothing but the “Soul-smeller” and “Man-of-the-odorous-Soul.” The indecent tone of the journals was pushed to such extremes that most German papers were not ashamed to reprint the following item from a Wurttemburg newspaper: “The famous Dr. Jaeger, of the curious doctrine of Soul-odor, was run over by a locomotive at the station of Nordlingen and lost both his legs.” A severe calamity which had happened to some other Dr. Jaeger, was thus announced in a jesting tone, almost like a good thing, simply because they supposed it had to do with the “Man-of-the-Soul-odor.” The literary journeymen and the mob have taken hold of him for the last two years and everybody believes he can establish his adverse judgment about him by simply shouting “Soul-smeller.” No trouble is taken to read accurately what Jaeger wrote about the subject, nor is it considered necessary to make a single one of his experiments after him with the same apparatus and under the same conditions. Only in the latter case would there be any justification for contradiction, but never for derision. For even assuming the case that Jaeger’s doctrines form no complete whole, that they have but an embryotic stamp, still no fair-minded man will dare to mock an investigator who tries to contribute to the solution of the greatest enigma, represented by man, not in the speculative, philosophical way, but in that of the exact mathematic-physical experiment.
The manipulation of the neural-analytical apparatus pre supposes a certain practice. The object of optical perception with the astronomer is a star, at the appearance of which, in a certain part of its orbit, he exercises a pressure upon the key; whilst in the neural-analytical experiments of Prof. Jaeger, the beginning of the movements of the hands at the upper dial does duty for an optical signal. The key must therefore be cautiously pressed, and the pressure be at once stopped upon the movement of the index. With some energy and attention, however, this difficulty is overcome, and finally one works the apparatus so mechanically and in such equal intervals, that he obtains always the same or quite similar numbers in perfect mental and bodily rest, undisturbed by exterior and interior influences. Only after having thus obtained such familiarity with the instrument, exact neural investigations in the meaning of Jaeger can be proceeded with, and—as cannot be sufficiently emphasized—an objective judgment about the value or worthlessness of this new proceeding is not possible before that stage.
In order to measure, your own nerve-time, you sit down before the apparatus, note the position of both indices, place your left hand upon the key, set the clock-work going with your right hand, look with the greatest attention at the yet motionless hands and slowly press the key. At the moment when the current is completed, the hands rotate and in the same moment in which this is perceived, you quickly relinquish the pressure of your left hand upon the key, whereupon the index stops. The division upon which it stopped, is read off” and noted down, and the difference between the first-noted and the present position of the hands indicates the time which elapsed from the moment when we saw the hand moving to the one in which, by removing the finger of our left hand, we caused it to stand still; that is the nerve-time. This nerve-time is a something, only partially dependent upon the degree of intensity of our attention and our will, for although, by willing it energetically, we can shorten this time somewhat, yet each of the inward and outward impressions to be mentioned hereafter, may retard or prolong it; so that we must admit that the condition of the transmitting capacity of our nervous system has nothing to do with our will. For it occurs that, when a person intimate with the apparatus investigates substances which extraordinarily heighten his nervous susceptibility, the nerve-times become, not only very short and amount to but a few mill-seconds, but that the hand does not get into motion at all, so that only the noise arising in the clock by the attraction of the axis of the hand is heard and we sit apparently powerless before the instrument and often obtain again shorter nerve-times only after ten to twenty acts. And conversely certain impressions may considerably prolong our nerve-time.
The nerve-time is then, in the manner described above, measured at regular intervals of ten to twenty seconds, about a hundred times successively and the progress or the motion of the hands noted each time; for instance:
The average value of these ten figures amounts therefore to 55 mill-seconds; the divergences of the separate figures, 60, 65, 50, etc., marked upon a strip of paper ruled in square millimetres, seriatim in regular distances by points, distant from the upper ground-line as many quarter-millimetres as the nerve-time amounted to mill-seconds, and these points continuously connected with their neighbors by lines, gives a detail-curve. If the nerve-times at susceptible conditions of the nervous system are very short ones, the points are placed not far from the upper ground-line, the lines uniting them in zig-zag way run close to the edge of it, whilst with a lower energy, corresponding with the greater numerical values, they approach the lower ground-line and thus furnish a perspicuous image of the condition of our nervous system—for they present to us the change to which it is subject, in diagrams. By adding the average values of ten of these decades (constituting 100 acts) and dividing by ten, we obtain a decade average. To the latter we will return later on when discussing the numerical values for homoeopathic medicinal potencies as furnished by Prof. Jaeger.
The constitution of the detail-curve depends upon the total chemical condition of the mass of mixed fluids of our body, and everything that changes it produces also changes in the configuration of the curve; all substances that we eat, drink and breathe; the changes taking place in the digestive process, finally also all mental disturbances. But of quite particular interest for us, are the curves resulting from the inhaling of certain substances and the average values of them, for upon that the neural-analytical examination of homoeopathic medicinal potencies is founded. [Prof. Jaeger, moreover, found a great similarity to exist between the inhaled and the swallowed substance in the formation of the curves. He calls those obtained by swallowing, Genogram, those by inhaling, Osmogram. He gives the preference to the latter method since the inhaling of a substance can be intermitted at pleasure.] Most of our readers might presume from the beginning, that these, in their higher dilutions, have no other smell than that of the alcohol with which they are prepared; and yet the detail-curve shows a very considerable difference between the two. This is probably owing to our organ of smell, the nose, through which at normal inhalation the respired air passes, being with most people not very sensitive, or at least not making us directly conscious of certain things. Are there not certain asphyxating gases that we do not smell at all, whilst, when inhaled, they poison our blood and we become first aware of them by the incurred symptoms of disease? In a similar manner the changes of the neural-analytical curves at the inhaling of potencies or other things which according to Jaeger influence our nervous system characteristically, might be explained; taken up by the blood in the lungs they thereby influence the quickness of the transmitting capacity of our nerves—the nerve-time.
To obtain exact results, there is required, as with every other test of medicines, an extremely careful mode of living, to which Prof. Jaeger has devoted a separate chapter in his recently published book.
After you have now, as directed above, measured 100 acts in perfect rest, you pour a small quantity of the same alcohol with which the homoeopathic potency to be examined has been prepared, into a small glass vessel, and set the apparatus going again while at the same time inhaling the alcohol. The curve now obtained shows a very essential difference from that obtained in rest, even with persons that treat the apparatus as mere tyros. In spite of all trouble taken in spite of our strongest volition, it is not possible for any one to bring the nerve-times again into the normal balance. With some persons they are considerably lengthened, with others they are shortened, or they move (in the Osmogram) in a confused zig-zag up and down.
These figures, therefore, show a retardation of nerve-time; for divided by 20, we find it descended to 88 mill-seconds, hence a difference of 33, as compared with the state of rest Let us remark that our operator collected his whole energy and strength of will, in order to work as evenly as at other times at the apparatus. That he did not succeed we see by the figures. Evidently there appeared a slight intoxication by the inhaling of the alcohol, for his head was benumbed and some giddiness existed. After a lapse of 15 minutes, during which he had breathed fresh air out of doors, the experiment is repeated without inhaling alcohol and furnishes the following results:
Hereupon the experiment with the medicine is made, by inhaling a 15th potency of Aconitum Napellus prepared with the same alcohol, from a glass vessel for the space of two minutes and setting the instrument going again. Evidently the same alcohol intoxication as before ought to have appeared, similar figures as with the inhaling of alcohol ought to have been obtained. But this is by no means the case, for in this experiment we obtained the following figures:
Divided by 20 this number indicates the astonishing shortening of the nerve-time to 21 mill-seconds on an average; such an excitement of the nervous system that numbers like 5, 8, 10, 12, appear; and once only the lever-movement of the axis of the hands occurred, without moving the hands. Our operator continues the inhaling of Aconite 15 in 30 additional acts and obtains in the
Therefore continually the same nerve-time of about 21 mill-seconds. A deception or self-deception could not have taken place; for in our presence the potentizing of the tincture of Aconite; with the same alcohol that retarded the nerve-time so much, was performed, and moreover when the experiment was continued, in the same position and with the same pauses of rest between; inhaling alternately either the potency or the alcohol without the operator’s knowing what he had before him, an approximately similar group of figures was obtained as previously with the alcohol or the potency. Decidedly, therefore, we have to do with the effects of Aconite, this becomes additionally clear when a second operator experimenting in the same order obtained a reversed condition; for with him the nerve-time at rest amounted to 62 mill-seconds (on an average), and experienced an acceleration to 42 mill-seconds by alcoholic inhalation; and by the Aconite potency again a retardation to 52 mill-seconds, by which at the same time it is proved that alcohol and medicines act differently upon each organism. It might also be of interest to mention here that one investigator for the last ten years has temporarily lost the sense of smell so completely that he does not even smell camphor. This condition first made its appearance after diphtheria of the mucous membrane of the nose, and returns again when a running cold during which his nerve of smell is over-sensitive, changes into a dry cold, and when these experiments were made he had no sense of smell just then, so that it is a question of direct effects on blood and nerve merely, and the reproach that we homoeopathists endeavor to utilize Jaeger’s “soul-smelling” for scientific purposes may be fittingly refuted.
Now for Prof. Jaeger’s indicated purposes, a few such detail curves do not suffice, but first, after the operator is bodily and mentally composed and has manipulated the apparatus breathing freely, ten acts (one decade) without inhalation, then 90 acts with inhaling of alcohol are performed. These 100 acts constitute the first half of an osmogram reduced to 10 decade figures. Upon this 100 acts, (10 decades) under the influence of inhaling a potency follow. From the figures thus obtained the difference between rest and alcohol and between the latter and the homoeopathic medicinal potency prepared with it, is calculated in percentage. Upon this calculation rest Prof. Jaeger’s statements: that certain medicaments in certain potencies produce a difference of 40 or 50 per cent. as contrasted with pure alcohol. Each single average value of a decade is besides graphically represented in Dr. Jaeger’s book. As these diagrams are colored green and red we cannot reproduce them.
Finally Prof. Jaeger has not made all the examinations of homoeopathic medicaments in his own person, but the greater part of those communicated by him were undertaken by three students (Gohrum, Pantzer and Schlichter) who worked under his direction. This places the discoverer of these valuable facts beyond the reproach made from hostile quarters: that all that he maintained was only a spectre of his imagination or a hallucination. These gentlemen investigated the following medicaments:
Aconitum. This medicament in its mother tincture caused a retardation of the nerve-time of 14.7 per cent with Prof. Jaeger; in its potencies however an essential increase of excitability and an acceleration of nerve-time viz: in its 5th potency, 10.6%; 10th potency, 40 per cent.; 15th, 47.5 per cent.; 20th, 39 percent; 30th, 25.3 per cent.; 100th, 29.3 per cent.; 150th, 35.2 per cent. With Mr. Gohrum, tincture of Aconite produced an acceleration of 25 per cent. The 1st to 10th potencies did not accelerate it so much as the tincture; on the other hand the 15th potency caused 39 per cent, just as with Jaeger. Then the heightening of excitability was again decreased with the succeeding potencies, until with the 200th potency, there appears again a maximum of 36 per cent. With Mr. Schlichter the maximum coincided likewise with the 15th potency, and a new maximum made its appearance again only with the 100th.
Thuja. This medicament was tested almost exclusively by Mr. Gohrum in the 1st and 1000th potency. Here also the maximum of excitability coincides with the 15th potency with 70.6 per cent. Yet already the 1st potency produced 40.7 per cent. From the 15th potency onward the effects become weaker and stronger only in a few potencies, without however attaining this maximum; for we find with the 30th potency, 61.6 per cent.; with the 300th, 67.6 per cent.; with the 400th, 42 per cent.; with the 100th, 63.6 per cent. This is in accord with our own experience. With us too the maximum with 62 per cent. was in the 15th potency; an increase of excitability of 57 per cent. already in the 3d potency, and the 30th produced 28 per cent. only.
Natrum Muriaticum, tested from 2d to 2000th potency by Prof. Jaeger and Messrs. Gohrum and Pantzer. The 2d potency caused with Prof. Jaeger an increase of excitability of 10 per cent.; the 10th, 19 per cent.; the 15th, 38 per cent.; the 30th, 25.8 percent.; the 100th, 25 per cent.; the 200th, 43 per cent.; the 500th, 47.5 per cent.; the 1000th, 28.8 per cent.; the 2000th, measured for greater security’s sake three times, 60, 56 and 55.3 per cent. Therefore here also a first maximum is situated in the 15th potency, the 2d in the 200th; the 3d in the 500th; the 4th in the 2000th. The 200th and 1000th show weaker effects than the 15th.
Since it is shown by Spectrum Analysis that the atmosphere everywhere contains atoms of Natrum Muriaticum, it would appear at first sight that the heightening of the effects was not owing to the medical substance employed for potentizing, but that the alcohol whilst being shaken in the flask absorbed atoms of this substance from the air. A potentizing of pure alcohol up to 100 was therefore performed, consequently shaken up with air. The curves obtained with the alcohol thus shaken showed the error of this surmise, for between the alcohol-figure and that of the potentized alcohol there was a difference of only 7 per cent.
That, for the rest, in this medicament idiosyncrasy performs a quite particular part, may be seen from the fact that the author of this article who uses this remedy with predilection wherever it is suitable and can record quite extraordinary results with patients, could not make any impression upon himself during his neural analytical experiments. The results obtained on different days in different experimental series differed but by few per cent. from the effects of alcohol.
Mr. Gohrum on the contrary obtained quite considerable effects from Natrum Muriaticum. For the 10th potency produced with him 71.6 per cent.; the 20th, 72 per cent.; the 30th, 20.6 per cent.; the 500th, 74.5 per cent.; the 2000th, 73.6 per cent. This may be owing to the fact that Mr. Gohrum possesses a highly developed sense of smell, and states in the most positive manner that he is able to distinguish this medicament in the 10th, 20th, and higher potencies from alcohol, without having recourse to the apparatus. Similar observations were likewise made by some other investigators with acute sense of smell.
Aurum. In the tests made by Mr. Schlichter the 5th potency produced 1.1 per cent.; the 10th, 9.4 per cent.; the 15, 18.2 per cent.; the 20th, 12 per cent.; the 30th, 21.4 per cent.; the 100th, 29.1 per cent.; the 200th, 37.9 per cent.; the 400th, 30.4 per cent.; the 500th, 32.9 per cent.
These figures of course have but an abstract value, for in an experiment made on another day with the same potency a greater or less difference may result from causes mentioned at an earlier stage. But a potency will always be distinguished in its effect from that alcohol with which it was prepared. Let that suffice us. We must refrain from further entering into Prof. Jaeger’s given explanation of this discovery which indeed almost approaches the miraculous, and which enlarges the former conceptions of the divisibility of matter and the effects of this matter diluted to infinity upon the human body—just as much as the telescope enlarges our conception of the magnitude of the universe.
We must reserve for future occasions the details of experiments made and still to be made by us with other homoeopathic medicaments, for they would not be suitable for this popular account. We limit ourself here to pointing out that by this discovery many things were confirmed that till now were theoretically supposed or deduced from practical experience. It refutes the assumption that extremely high potencies are ineffective. On the other hand the heightening of the effects which appeared with all operators up to the 15th potency and then the gradual weakening of the same to the 30th, does not at all justify the advocates of high potencies in looking down with contempt upon the adherents of low dilutions. Do we not, for instance, find an extraordinary heightening of excitability with Mr. Gohrum (so very sensitive to high potencies) even with the 1st potency of Thuja, and the strongest increase with the 15th? But if we know that idiosyncrasy with all patients plays so great a part in the results, and that different individuals are so differently affected by different medical substances, as the operators by the neural-analytical apparatus, we may in spite of the very gratifying results which Jaeger’s experiments in reference to high potencies afford, maintain now as before that he who through predilection treats his patients exclusively with the 1000th, 200th, or 30th potency, is not to be called a faithful disciple of homoeopathy, but that that physician is at all events the best who for use in his practice has the entire scale of potencies at his disposal.
To Prof. Jaeger and his pupils we sincerely believe ourselves to be most sincerely indebted for their services to the homoeopathic curative method. But to the adversaries of our cause who probably will endeavor to dispose of this discovery with theoretical reasonings or with defamations of Prof. Jaeger’s person, we will now exclaim in Hahnemann’s words: “Imitate it, but imitate it exactly.”
|Source:||The Homoeopathic Physician Vol. 01 No. 11-12, 1881, pages 538-546, pages 580-587|
|Description:||A NEW DISCOVERY IN THE SERVICE OF HOMOEOPATHY.|
|Editing:||errors only; interlinks; formatting|