WHICH IS THE REAL?

A NUMBER of years ago, a distinguished philosopher, Sir William Hamilton, discussed at some length the assertion that pain is possibly the real, and peace and pleasure merely negative, —its absence. The ordinary thinker would at once scout such a proposition, and yet when we come to present-day medical theory and practice we find a strong belief in the certainty and reality of evil, and deepseated doubt as to the reality and permanence of good; nor is this to be wondered at, when we remember that the most advanced courses in medical schools are devoted almost entirely to the study of disease in its most dreadful forms. The result of such study seems to be to impress the students with a conviction that certain diseases are incurable, a belief which is being shaken to its unreal foundations by the teachings and demonstrations of Christian Science. As a proof that this subject is being widely discussed, we have the following, from the New York Times of recent date:—

That curious resentment which doctors have so often shown to members of their own profession who announce the ability to cure diseases hitherto held incurable, is now directed from many and "authoritative" quarters against Dr. Denslow, as a penalty for saying that he has found the cause of locomotor ataxia and has learned how to remove it. Whether he has or has not achieved this triumph over one of the most terrible of maladies is not, of course, a question for our decision, or even one on which it would be seemly for us to express an opinion, but we cannot help seeing the similarity of the reception accorded his announcement and that which has been given to many a like disputant of accepted theories in the domain of medicine. . . . The fiercest of Dr. Denslow's foes dismiss his plea for consideration with the statement that locomotor ataxia is "known" to be incurable—than which nothing could be more rash, not even the statement made after applying the new treatment for a few months, that the disease is curable and has been cured. . . . We cannot ourselves see the danger of giving hope, even illusive, to the man or woman burdened by a deep despair. The reaction of disappointment may come, but it is not such a heavy price to pay for days or weeks or months of expectation of a happier fate.

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Editorial
THE DISPLAY OF DISEASE
October 17, 1908
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