The Alchemy web site on Levity.comOCCULT REVIEW 71 (3) Jul 1944, 75-77
A.C. Cockren (Article signed as A.C.C.)
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Unfortunately there are fashions in medicine as there are in hats - generally speaking, with equally unfortunate results. The medical profession has always been prone to run to death a specific treatment, assisted by a public equally culpable in its attitude of apathy and credulity, for the intelligent patient, alas, is as hard to come by as that other figment of optimism, the intelligent bystander.
We have progressed from the days when medicine was given on the hit-or miss principle in the hope that the patient might perhaps benefit - or survive his treatment by luck and the virtue of a strong constitution - to the era of synthetic drugs, golden age of the manufacturing chemist. Today; is the heyday of the synthetic; there is an enormous and widespread vogue, increased by the war, of synthetic vitamins and synthetic drugs of every variety, entailing a timetable regulated by series of small bottles, which bids fair to produce a synthetic race with synthetic ideas and synthetic bodies.
The unhappy state of affairs engendered by our present-day system of medical administration is this: the doctor does not understand the chemical side of the preparation of the drugs, and the wholesale chemist knows nothing of the clinical, or human side. Between the two, therefore, the unfortunate patient falls to the ground. For example, a few years ago a new drug came on to the market. It was a specific for headaches and was recommended up and down Harley Street until one day it was discovered that patients taking this particular drug had developed a certain form of anaemia. Subsequent experiment proved that it had a deleterious effect on the red blood cells - and it died a natural death. Until the administrative system is reorganized, therefore, these conditions will continue to prevail, and whether the much-discussed state control will prove to be the solution remains to be seen. We are a little chary of totalitarianism in any form these days.
For a few minutes let us look at the chief schools of medicine:
Allopathy, practised by the mass of the medical profession, believes in giving the maximum dose of a drug. There is very little either of art or science in this form of treatment. The patient is usually looked upon as one of a mass of cases, each of which can be allotted the same treatment, each of which will show the identical reaction. The possibility of diversities of temperament and sensitivity playing their part is apparently ignored, or given only very secondary consideration. Yet however much its behaviour belies the statement, the fact remains that humanity consists, not of a collection of robots which can be considered as a whole and accorded a stereotyped universal approach, but of a community of highly individual entities, varying enormously in physical and mental make-up, whose individual peculiarities and reactions must be studied if their lot is to be bettered.
The other school of medicine, Homeopathy, which, though still in the minority, has increased its following greatly in latter years, has made a real study of the effects of drugs on the human subject, and produced a number of books on the Drug Picture. Homeopathy was founded by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, in 1790. He discovered that a drug which produced certain symptoms when administered in large doses to a healthy subject was capable, when given in minute doses, of curing similar symptoms in a sick man. Prolonged observation and experiment led him to the conclusion that this law governed the action of all drugs, and he accordingly formulated the law of similars, Similia similibus curantur. For example. Belladonna in large doses produces heat, redness, swelling and pain; in minute, doses it cures the ills that show these symptoms. A teaspoonful of Ipecacuanha wine causes vomiting, while the fraction of a dose is one of the best remedies for sickness. Again, Iodide of Potassium in large doses produces a watery discharge from the nose, with soreness of the bones of the face, but a catarrhal cold with these symptoms is rapidly cured by this drug given in small doses, and so on, through the whole materia medica.
It seems that he gained his inspiration for such investigations from the teachings of Paracelsus, a famous alchemist who died in 1541, and whose writings on alchemy are world-famous.
As Homeopathy is not included in the medical student's curriculum, its. study, and the special technique of diagnosis which it requires, has to be undertaken by the doctor after he has taken, his degrees. As the majority have either not the time or inclination to do this, it is scarcely surprising that this method is not more widely used - and known. It is usually adopted by those members of the faculty who are dissatisfied with the results of Allopathy and are in search of a regular system which obtains excellent results where all else has failed. It is the intelligentsia of the profession, the genuine seekers in its midst who are drawn to explore the possibilities of this system.
The tendency in the past has been to deride Homeopathy on account of the infinitesimal dose administered, but modern medicine is slowly being drawn to the small dosage by reason of facts which are too definite to be scoffed at. Glandular extracts which have made the patient feel ill when given in 2 grain doses have had a decidedly beneficial effect when administered in the fraction of a grain. I heard a West End physician who was responsible for such a treatment remark that it. was the finest argument for homeopathic methods he had met In the case of vitamins, too, one can be poisoned by too large an intake,, whereas a small dose may be beneficial.
The only weak point in Homeopathy seems to me, to be in the diagnosis, and this, I would suggest, is where the failures originate. There is a division of opinion, too, as to the advisability of using one remedy at a time as against several in alternation. One doctor has written that to give several remedies in rotation is good medical practice if not good Homeopathy. In other words, his object was a rapid cure, and the administration of several remedies gave a proportionately greater, chance of success, supposing one of the specifics prescribed was found not to be effective. So in medicine too there is safety in numbers, and diversity of treatment may be trusted to cover paucity of diagnostic ability. It seems a pity, however, that a perfectly good remedy should fail through faulty prescription, and I feel that diagnosis should be concentrated upon a good deal more than it is.
A number of doctors have recently formed a society which they call the Medical Society for the Study of Radiesthesia. The members are all qualified doctors, and their method of diagnosis is by the use of the pendulum - the principle being the same as that upon which the water-diviner works. The Society was formed to give men and women of the profession the opportunity to exchange ideas, and share the benefits of their experience. Anyone desirous of imparting fresh ideas, on any subject bearing on medicine, is included, the qualification for membership being a medical degree, an open mind and a desire to learn. They give two main reasons for using radiesthetic methods, Firstly, that they become thereby more efficient physicians; secondly, that they believe they are so able to add to the sum of human knowledge. By these means they are able to test the various organs of the body and disease denoting bacteria. By the same method the specific remedy is found, which is always prepared by the homeopathic system; that is, by the trituration of gland, plant or metal extract to the 1000th or even further decimal.
Dr. Guyon Richards, the President of the Society, advocates high potencies of a drug for killing organisms such as the Bacillus Coli, Bacillus Typhosus, etc., and lower potencies to stimulate structures, organs and glands. And although these ideas must be heresy to the B.M.C, the fact remains that their successes are legion, many of them in cases pronounced incurable by the average physician.
All these more unorthodox methods, however, require a high order of mentality (not necessarily eccentricity), which is not inherent in the mass. Such great sensitivity as is undoubtedly required falls into the realm of clairvoyance, or a sixth sense. In point of fact, all diagnosis, whether conscious or unconscious, lies in the realm of this sixth sense, which mobilizes those latent powers of the mind unrecognized and unused by the general run of mankind.
There is just one other method of medicine I should like to mention: the despised and unacknowledged, but extremely ancient, system of Alchemy - the science derided by the age of reason, hidden by parable and metaphor, which has nevertheless persisted for over 2000 years in every corner of the globe - India, China, Persia and Europe. Counted among its devotees are such men as the Benedictine monk, Basil Valentine, the father of Modern Chemistry; Roger Bacon, chemist, linguist philosopher, inventor, prognosticator of many of the wonders of modern science; Raymond Lully; Paracelsus. These were but a few of the brilliant minds which sought its secrets.
The principle of Alchemy is simplicity itself, although its method of preparation is different from the practices of our drug houses today. The object is so to attenuate the metals or minerals that they become the physiologically much more active. This principle I believe to be very much in advance of any medicinal methods we use at the present day.
I believe that medicine is approaching a new era, if it has not already begun, when radiesthetic and alchemical methods will be combined to produce a more perfect system. This would serve to preserve the true essence of democracy - which is Individuality - by treating each sufferer as an individual entity, and not as one of a mass of a great, soulless unwieldy state machine.