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Lectures on Organon of Medicine – Vital Force in Cure – Understanding Aphorism 16 to 18

Listen To The Audio Lecture for Aphorism 16 to 18 (MP3/5.85mb)

In our last two lectures, we discussed the role of Vital Force in health and disease. Today we will discuss aphorisms 16 to 18 and explore the role of Vital Force in cure.

The 16th aphorism states:

§ 16 Sixth Edition

Our vital force, as a spirit-like dynamis, cannot be attacked and affected by injurious influences on the healthy organism caused by the external inimical forces that disturb the harmonious play of life, otherwise than in a spirit-like (dynamic) way, and in like manner, all such morbid derangements (diseases) cannot be removed from it by the physician in any other way than by the spirit-like (dynamic1, virtual) alterative powers of the serviceable medicines acting upon our spirit-like vital force, which perceives them through the medium of the sentient faculty of the nerves everywhere present in the organism, so that it is only by their dynamic action on the vital force that remedies are able to re-establish and do actually re-establish health and vital harmony, after the changes in the health of the patient cognizable by our senses (the totality of the symptoms) have revealed the disease to the carefully observing and investigating physician as fully as was requisite in order to enable him to cure it.

1 Most severe disease may be produced by sufficient disturbance of the vital force through the imagination and also cured by the same means.

Here Hahnemann reiterates that since our vital force is dynamic in nature, it can only be affected by the dynamic influence of the external inimical forces to cause disease. Similarly, this dynamic disturbance at the level of energy can only be corrected by the dynamic power, the energy, in our remedies. But how do our remedies affect the vital force? Hahnemann says that the energy in our remedies is picked up by the nerves which are present everywhere in our body. This means that the remedies just act as signals. They provide the body with some information to correct the disturbance and the actual work of restoration is done by the body itself.

Now as far as I know, we still do not know what these ‘signals’ are and how they are carried by the nerves and how they affect the restoration of health. There has been some inconclusive research on water memory and some nuclear-magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies, but we are still a long way from understanding the full dynamics behind the action of homeopathic remedies. But I still find it amazing that Hahnemann actually understood that if his remedies are ‘energy’ then the only way they can work is through the nervous system. Whether his assumption will hold true or not, only time will tell. But till now, we have no better explanation for the modus operandi of homeopathic remedies.

Now in the footnote to this aphorism, Hahnemann says that even serious diseases with advanced pathologies can be caused by the non-material {dynamic) causes. Today scientists have documented a whole range of diseases (like asthma, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, IBS, ulcerative colitis, Alzheimer’s etc) that are caused or affected by mental, emotional and environmental factors. Most of these are now labeled as psychosomatic. But Hahnemann did not speak only about psychosomatic diseases. To him, most diseases started at the dynamic plane.

Now let us move on to the 17th aphorism in which Hahnemann states:

§ 17 Sixth Edition

Now, as in the cure effected by the removal of the whole of the perceptible signs and symptoms of the disease the internal alteration of the vital principle to which the disease is due – consequently the whole of the disease – is at the same time removed,1 it follows that the physician has only to remove the whole of the symptoms in order, at the same time, to abrogate and annihilate the internal change, that is to say, the morbid derangement of the vital force – consequently the totality of the disease, the disease itself.2 But when the disease is annihilated the health is restored, and this is the highest, the sole aim of the physician who knows the true object of his mission, which consists not in learned – sounding prating, but in giving aid to the sick.

1 A warning dream, a superstitious fancy, or a solemn prediction that death would occur at a certain day or at a certain hour, has not infrequently produced all the signs of commencing and increasing disease, of approaching death and death itself at the hour announced, which could not happen without the simultaneous production of the inward change (corresponding to the state observed internally); and hence in such cases all the morbid signs indicative of approaching death have frequently been dissipated by an identical cause, by some cunning deception or persuasion to a belief in the contrary, and health suddenly restored, which could not have happened without the removal, by means of this mortal remedy, of the internal and external morbid change that threatened death.

2 It is only thus that God the preserver of mankind, could reveal His wisdom and goodness in reference to the cure of the disease to which man is liable here below, by showing to the physician what he had to remove in disease in order to annihilate them and thus re-establish health. But what would we think of His wisdom and goodness if He has shrouded in mysterious obscurity that which was to be cured in diseases (as is asserted by the dominant school of medicine, which affects to possess a supernatural insight into the nature of things), and shut it up in the hidden interior, and thus rendered it impossible for man to know the malady accurately, consequently impossible for him to cure it?

Here he describes what happens to the vital force and the disease process when the correct remedy is administered. In simple words, he says that the disease is caused by the alteration of the vital force. This alteration, leading to disease proper, manifests itself in the form of signs and symptoms that can be perceived by our senses. He says that when the signs and symptoms are removed under the action of a suitable homeopathic remedy, the vital force is also corrected and the health is thus restored.

I have earlier told you that some of his detractors used to say that under the action of a homeopathic remedy, the symptoms may disappear but the disease remains. To such people he again says, whatever the disease is, whatever the internal derangement might be, the physician has to remove the totality of the signs and symptoms to remove the disease. The disease manifests in the form of abnormal signs and symptoms and if you correct these, there is no doubt that the deranged vital force and the health are restored. Otherwise the symptoms would not go.

To such people he says that the sole aim of the physician is to restore the sick to health. He is not supposed to make declarations about the hidden dynamics of the disease that he hardly understands. He is not supposed to behave as if he has some supernatural powers and can see the internal dynamics of the disease process. In the footnote he says that the physician should not make predictions about the nature of disease or the time of death, because it is not possible to predict such things. Instead, he should focus on the signs and symptoms, the language of the sick body, and use these gifts of nature to help the sick.

In the next aphorism he reiterates this even more strongly. In the 18th aphorism, he says:

§ 18 Sixth Edition

From this indubitable truth, that besides the totality of the symptoms with consideration of the accompanying modalities (§5) nothing can by any means be discovered in disease wherewith they could express their need of aid, it follows undeniably that the sum of all the symptoms and conditions in each individual case of disease must be the sole indication, the sole guide to direct us in the choice of a remedy.

So he is saying that nothing except the totality of symptoms can be discovered in disease, nothing can be discovered in our body by means of which it signals the need for aid. I have earlier said that today we can discover much more through our extended sensory tools (diagnostic tools). But his statement was true for his time. But to a certain extent the statement still holds true. After all, the signs and symptoms are still usually the first reason for contacting a physician. The diagnostic tolls only enhance our understanding of the disease process. They cannot reduce the value of the signs and symptoms.

He again says that the sum total of all the alteration from health in a sick individual, should be our sole guide for selecting a remedy.

So if we summarize these three aphorisms, we can say:

Disease is caused by the dynamic derangement of the vital force and it can be removed only by the dynamic influence of our remedies. The disease process makes itself known through the externally manifested signs and symptoms. The physician has to use these signs and symptoms to select the suitable remedy. The removal of the totality of signs and symptoms means that the alteration in the vital force is corrected and that the health is restored.

Understanding the process of cure through Thermodynamics

In our last lecture we discussed that any physical, mental, emotional or telluric (atmospheric) stress can result in the disturbance of the equilibrium of our body’s thermodynamic system. When the system loses its equilibrium, it tries to increase its entropy, causing changes in normal physiology.

Since we still do not know about the mechanism of action of homeopathic remedies, we can only assume that they somehow provide the body information to correct the thermodynamic disequilibrium. It can provide the information to plug the energy leak from the system. We can only assume this for now. But we do know that homeopathic remedies work and we do know that there is no material substance in them. So if it is energy, it can affect our thermodynamic system. We cannot explain the process yet, but what is understandable is that when a suitable remedy is given, it first corrects the underlying imbalance. Once the biological thermodynamic system is restored to its equilibrium, the body is able to revert to normal physiological processes. The pathological processes, which are results of and thrive on a higher entropy state, stop receiving the supportive environment and the body’s normal defense mechanism is able to deal with them effectively.

So this is it for now. We have now completed our discussion on the role of vital force in health, disease and cure. I hope you have enjoyed this discourse. Do send me your feedback at [email protected].


  1. Hahnemann S. 1997. Organon of Medicine. B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
  2. Thaxton et al. 1984. The Mystery of Life’s Origin. Lewis and Stanley, Texas.


Dr. Manish Bhatia