The Case for Alternative Medicine by Algernon Blackwood 1891
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THERE are sure to be many struggles, some of short duration, others long and painful, as the warmth of the rays from this Eastern Sun gradually overcomes and melts away the strong prejudices of early religious education. The natural bias, which everywhere, and on every occasion, this materialistic age exercises over all minds, against the absolute existence of force and spirit in its thousand forms as opposed to matter, has to be slowly undermined before it can be hurled over and finally swept away. The wrenches are many, but the real and earnest seeker after truth will count them but gain, if their absence finally leave his mind open, unprejudiced and generously receptive to the influence of Truth.
Galileo, Kepler, Bruno, Paracelsus, Crookes, and a host of others, greater and less, stand out grandly to prove that the truly progressive scientist is an outcast and a martyr, while his discoveries are afterwards accepted with changed names. What more is modern science than a reflection of ancient lore; a reproduction of those thoughts that centuries ago played through the brains of the eastern philosophers?
A reproduction! aye—but a poor one at that. Mesmerism was hissed; laughed at; hooted off the stage; scorned! Hypnotism is now accepted by "men of science".
Darwinism—that gleam of truth from above—is militant against the churches. One day, we hope, the vast system of evolution, of which the Darwinian principle contains a distorted germ, will open out in all its grandeur before the eyes of deluded scientists, and they will gasp and groan as they behold what so long was hidden from them by the veil of their own blinding prejudice.
Science has made progress, true; groping amid the simpler laws of electricity, germs of truth have been discovered. But what scientist can apprehend the possibilities of the projection of the astral double; of telepathy; of reading in the astral light the history of our race and world; of those higher powers at the disposal of the true adept, wherein lie the possibilities of raising morally and spiritually the whole human race? Where is he whom Science will permit to even hear of such things? Truly we know not. Too well, alas, has an honoured expounder of the grand philosophy of Theosophy written:
"The empty laugh of the scientific nursling, or of the fools of fashion, has done more to keep man ignorant of his imperial psychical powers, than the obscurities, the obstacles and the dangers that cluster about the subject."
"The cautiousness bred of a fixed habit of experimental research, the tentative advance from opinion to opinion, the weight accorded to recognised authorities— all foster a conservatism of thought which naturally runs into dogmatism. . . . Few are the forces of nature which, when announced, were not laughed at, and then set aside as absurd and unscientific."
While noting with satisfaction and admiration the advance of modern medicine in a certain direction—necessarily limited—we cannot but deplore the thickness of the veil that its most able votaries voluntarily hang before their own eyes. Progress is debarred to all after a certain point, while such questions as insanity, soul-death, and nervous diseases are left to a treatment sorely at variance with what they demand, because the causes of such spiritual diseases are so completely misunderstood. At the very door of marvellous discoveries, medicine gropes for the lock and key on the boards of the floor instead of in the panels of the door itself. Let them look higher and they may find it. Even with such keys as the deeper mesmeric states, artificial somnambulism and hypnotic phenomena, now irresistibly forced upon the broader-minded medicals, they utterly fail to find the way to the only true study of man, psychically considered. So little do they seem to be apprehended, or their signification appreciated, by the doctors, that we doubt if the ladder thus offered to climb to heaven by, may not rather lead to that other place, where the loving orthodox so lightly consign non-believers to an eternity of torture. The wise words of Dr. Franz Hartmann are worth repeating :—
"What does modern medical science know of the constitution of man, whose life and safety are made to depend on that knowledge? It knows the form of the body, the arrangements of muscles, and bones, and organs; and it calls these constituent parts by names which it invented for the purpose of distinction. Having no supersensual perceptions it does not know the soul of man, but believes that his body is the essential man. If its eyes were open it would see that this visible body is only the material kernel of the "immaterial", but nevertheless substantial real man, whose soul-essence radiates far into space and whose spirit is without limits. They would know that in the life principle, in whose existence they do not believe, resides sensation, perception, consciousness, and all the causes that produce the growth of form. Labouring under their fatal mistake they attempt to cure that which is not sick while the real patient is unknown to thim (the italics are our own). Under such circumstances it is not surprising that the most enlightened physicians of our time have expressed the opinion that our present system of medicine is rather a curse than a blessing to mankind, and that our drugs and medicines do vastly more harm than good, because they are continually misapplied. This is an assertion which has often been made by their own most prominent leaders."
Dr. Hartmann goes on to say that,
"The ideal physician of the future is he who knows the true constitution of man, and who is not led by illusive external appearances, but has developed his interior powers of perception to enable him to examine into the hidden causes of all external effects ".
Of this we certainly entertain as little doubt as we do hopes of its fulfilment in the near future. Judging from the present attitude of medical science towards the potencies of mesmerism, which they might so advantageously use, it is to be feared that many years must pass before one "ideal physician" in a million will be produced. And yet to those unblinded by the poor prejudice of a groovy profession, it should be obvious that the most marvellous and astonishing cures have been performed.
But oculos habent et non vident. Even the master Hahnemann seems to be only partially understood by the majority of his followers. The homeopathists, though far nearer truth than their brother professionals, have not yet fully dived into the deeper recesses of their originator's teachings.
"Psychology has no worse enemies than the medical school denominated allopathists. It is vain to remind them that of the so-called exact sciences, medicine, confessedly, least deserves the name. Although of all branches of medical knowledge, psychology ought more than any other to be studied by physicians, since without its help their practice degenerates into mere guess-work and chance intuitions, they almost wholly neglect it. The least dissent from their promulgated doctrines is resented as a heresy, and though an unpopular and unrecognised curative should be shown to save thousands, they seem, as a body, disposed to cling to accepted hypotheses and prescriptions, and decry both innovator and innovation until they get the mint-stamp of regularity. . . . Theoretically the most benignant, at the same time no other school of science exhibits so many instances of petty prejudice, materialism, atheism and malicious stubbornness as medicine."
To the honest seeker after truth a system that solves logically and consistently the many intricate problems of the origin and destiny of man, must at least appeal with a force so tremendous, that, if unbiassed and unfettered by the errors of a grossly materialistic age, he may have every chance of at length becoming spiritually a free man.
The ancient philosophers, the eastern sages, the hierophants, the magi, gymnosophists, platonists and neo-platonists; the votaries of the once universal prehistoric wisdom-religion, and the initiates of the mysteries, had all probed far more deeply into the depths of psychical law than our modern scientists have into the most superficial workings of the external phenomena of nature.
It is the old story of man, the microcosm, within nature, the macrocosm.
The studies of the ancients led them to the very source of knowledge and gave them so astounding an insight into the mysteries of the real man, that those of nature herself were an open book to them.
The occult properties of stones, minerals, and plants were as fully known to them as those higher laws of magnetism and electricity, which form the basis of all magical operations and occult powers.
The modern scientist is so blinded by a certain proficiency obtained by investigations into minute superficialities of matter that he is utterly incapable of entering into harmony with the whole. He cannot see beyond his own horizon, and what is more, he does not wish to. Dr. Todd Thompson says somewhere that "the degree of scientific knowledge existing in an early period of society was much greater than the moderns are willing to admit; but it was confined to the temples, carefully veiled from the eyes of the people and exposed only to the priesthood".
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