By Vera Resnick
The following is a quote from the introductory address given by the British editors of this journal. The full text of the address is available here: http://www.homoeopathyinfo.com/forum/index.php?topic=4.msg6#new
(You may have to join the forum to read it).
In my view – despite the illustrious names attached to this journal and the solid content in the article itself – this quote signifies what was going wrong with homoeopathy at the time, and what has gone so wrong with the practice of homoeopathy in ours.
“HAHNEMANN, besides giving us several rules which apply only to certain forms of disease (e.g., his directions to give the remedy, in a case of ague, after, or in some specified cases, towards the close of the paroxysms—Organon 236, 237), has given us three principal and fundamental rules, which are of universal application; they are
1- The law of similars,
2- The law of the single remedy, and
3- The law of the dynamization of medicines.”
What constitutes a “Law” of homoeopathy? These writers only had three. In more contemporary articles which I won’t go into here, I’ve seen 10, perhaps even more. But what is a Law?
A law is commonly defined as “A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority”. If we understand the “laws of homoeopathy” stated in the above quote according to this definition, they are a collection of instructions developed by Hahnemann and passed on to his students. Further laws of homoeopathy were added by…well…anyone who felt like it. These laws could be accepted, rejected, expanded and expounded at will.
This is all well and good. But it’s not what Hahnemann was talking about when he used the word “law” in the Organon. He was referring to a “law of nature which was sometimes, indeed, vaguely surmised but not hitherto fully recognized, and to which is due every real cure that has ever taken place: A weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished in the living organism by a stronger one, if the latter (whilst differing in kind) is very similar to the former in its manifestations”. (Aphorism 26, 6th Organon, translated by William Boericke MD, italics in the print version).
A definition given for a Law of Nature is: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature.
A Law of nature is not a rule, something developed by mankind to ensure smooth functioning of a community, or correct methodology for a procedure. A law of nature is something that defines what happens in our world in the normal physical order of things. The kind of law that defines what inevitably happens if a person jumps out of a 6th floor window and tries to fly.
The confusion between laws, rules and laws of nature is clearly visible in the quote itself, where the writers use the words “rules” and “laws” interchangeably. They are not interchangeable, especially when one of the laws quoted is an unchanging law of nature, as opposed to rules which can be determined at will. This is muddy thinking which gives rise to muddled practice.
In the Organon, Hahnemann discussed an incontrovertible law of nature – the Law of Similars. That is really the only law of homoeopathy, by definition. Homoeopathy = Like Cures Like = Law of Similars.
All the rest is rules of practice. Hahnemann experimented with single or combined remedies, he experimented with dynamisation, potency, size of dose, frequency of repetition. Resulting from his experience developing the method Hahnemann taught rules of practice which boil down to “if you do it this way it works best”. But the basic Law of Similars stands alone and is the underpinning of all homoeopathic practice by definition.
By confusing the Law of Similars with rules of practice, it is clear that from Hahnemann’s time on, practitioners began to put more emphasis on the methodology than on the basic, unchanging Law “to which is due every real cure that has ever taken place” (Aphorism 26, 6th Organon).
This can be seen from therapeutic application of homoeopathy – giving remedies according to clinical experience with diseases rather than proving symptoms, and from the emergence of methods based on sensations, theories about the periodic table, analyses of the nature and chemistry of the substance itself, to name but a few. As long as a potentised remedy is given, these practitioners call their practice homoeopathy, thus defining homoeopathy by some of its rules of practice – and ignoring the natural law which is the only reason homoeopathy will work in the first place. This confusion can only lead to one outcome – poor results.
Hahnemann refuted some of these mistaken directions directly in his “Essay on a New Principle for Ascertaining the Curative Powers of Drugs” of 1796. This Essay can be found in Hahnemann’s “Lesser Writings”.
Homoeopathy without the Law of Similars is not homoeopathy. By definition. Remedies can only be investigated to see their usefulness in accordance with the Law of Similars through provings. By definition.
Therefore – all so-called homoeopathic practices that rely on sensations, periodic tables, meditations, psychological evaluations, without implementing knowledge of remedies through provings for their prescription based on the Law of Similars – are not homoeopathy. By definition.
As with every natural law, mankind’s progress can often be assessed in how we harness the laws for the improvement of life. Use of the Law of Similars is no exception.