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Is there a Vital Force?

  1. Oct 10, 2008 #1
    Hey guys, I really need your help here.

    Please don't shoot me down - I am homeopath. I would like your help in understanding something that is very important to me - Vital Force. What follows is a post that I made to a homeopathy forum, and someone suggested that I should post it here.

    As you read the post, I ask you to put aside the question of whether Vital Force exists - it may simply be a useful philosophical model for homeopaths. I would most like to know whether modern physics would define vital force as a 'force' or an 'energy', if such a force were to exist. Of course I am also interested in your opinions as to the legitimacy of defining 'life' as a force or energy.

    I respectfully request that you do not ridicule the concept - please help me try to understand it from the persective of modern physics. Of course, if physics says it is rubbish - i am prepared to accept that.

    Here's the post:

    How does homeopathic doctrine justify itself in light of modern scientific insight? Hahnemann struggled to describe his theories within the limitations of the language available to him at the time.

    Are we using the correct scientific terminology when we talk about homeopathy? Is it correct to refer to the Vital Principle as a force? Modern physics states that there are only four forces in the universe: gravitation, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear forces. All other energies are made from a combination of these forces, or as a consequence of their interaction.

    Are we maintaining that the VF is a force? Are we claiming that there are five known forces in the universe? Or should we revise our definition and refer to the VF as Vital Energy? Let me emphasise that my knowledge of physics is limited by the amount I have been able to read online in the last few weeks.

    To get things started, here are some of my thoughts on the vital force (the first part has been previously posted on HH). I am sure it will be contradictory in places, because I am still developing my understanding of the vital force. Please contribute with your criticisms, comments, observations, corrections and additions.

    The Vital Principle

    A homeopath knows that there is Vital Force, just like a physicist knows that there is Gravitational Force. An electrician works with electricity, a homeopath works with Vital Force. Like gravity it is not easy to measure and, like all forces, it is only possible to study it by observing it's effects, or influence, until we develop the specific technology which will enable us to study it more precisely.

    There is nothing mystical about Vital Force, or at least it is no more mystical than fire once was. Traditionally humankind has had a tendency to give mystical status to observed phenomena beyond our comprehension (a sufficiently advanced technology will seem like magic to a primitive culture). Vital Force has nothing whatsoever to do with Souls, or Spirits, or Gods. Does a blade of grass have a Spirit or Soul? However it may seem to be the same thing in humans, which is probably why science has failed to recognise Vital Force thus far, although it most certainly lies within science's domain.

    Vital Force is simply that which defines the living. A thing is alive only because it has Vitality, or Vital Force. Vital Force holds living things together, maintaining their integrity. It explains why living things do not break down and decay. In relation to an individual organism, it is an energy - like light, heat and radiation. Collectively, it is a Force - like Gravitational Force.

    Our planet is teeming with life, which is undeniably, a Force of Nature.

    We have always associated health and vitality in our consciousness. An individual who has a strong vitality is considered to be in good health. The sickly are considered to have a weak vitality. We can observe the vitality diminishing as a person approaches death. An individual's 'state of health' is clearly related to their level of vitality. The degree or quality of life force available to an individual influences their 'state of health'.

    Where does Vital Force come from?

    A single cell is the smallest unit of life - the cell is the generator of Vital Force. A virus, not being a complete cell, does not have vital force. It is no big secret how the cell acts as a generator of vital energy:

    "The Krebs cycle affects all types of life and is, as such, the metabolic pathway within the cells, which chemically converts carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and converts water [my emphasis] into serviceable [vital] energy."

    "The Krebs cycle concerns the second of three major stages every living cell must undergo in order to produce energy, which it needs in order to survive. The enzymes that cause each step of the process to occur are all located in the cell’s “power plant.” In animals this is the mitochondria, in plants it is the chloroplasts, and in microorganisms it can be found in the cell membrane."

    That's it. No more mystical than that.

    Although it is significant that water is converted into vital energy - a homeopathic medicine is known to 'charge' a column of water, on the instant that the two come into contact.

    Imagine billions of these cell generators, all plugged into each other, uniting physically to form the organism, and dynamically to form the Vital Force. Of course, as with the physical body 'the whole is always far greater than the sum of the parts'.

    Here's the link to the definition: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-krebs-cycle.htm

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2008 #2
    It's not a force, it's a system.
  4. Oct 10, 2008 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'll try, but I don't think you will find this site very useful. Simply put, homeopathy is not science, so if you believe in homeopathy, science doesn't have much to offer you.
    It doesn't. There is absolutely no scientific justification for it. It's just dark-ages superstition. Like bloodletting.
    No. There is no such thing as "the Vital Principle", so no, it isn't a "force". Btw, I put "force" in quotes because the way mystics use the word is not the way scientists use the word. Really, it's not the same word. Like saw, saw, and saw are three completely different words with completely different and unrelated definitions.
    Who is "we"? Anyway, you answered this question for yourself with what I quoted in the previous quote: There are 4 fundamental forces. The "vital force" isn't one of them. It doesn't exist.

    Most of what follows is just philosiphobabble, however:
    That should tell you something. If it existed, it would fall within the domain of science. Science doesn't recognize it. Therefore.....?

    I'm not quite sure what to do with this thread. For sure, it has no physics content. Nevertheless, you sound sincere in your question, so I answered it. But maybe I'm just in a good mood because the Phillies won tonight - the whole post may have been a spam setup. Anyway, I'm moving this to GD, but don't be surprised if someone else locks it.
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