……………………………………………………….When old ideas which are antithetical to Homeopathy (as defined by its founder) are promoted as the latest developments in the art, leaders may well feel obliged to speak up. and wonder, “…rather should we experiment and test what is true and effective in Homeopathy today?” I can’t resist responding to this question with another question: has something about disease and healing so fundamentally changed that today’s Homeopathy must be different from that of previous eras? What was this event, when did the change occur, and how must Homeopathy therefore change?
He asks, “how do we ‘know’ the medicinal action of homeopathic drugs?” and whether the Organon’s principles remain verifiably true. Many seem to be unclear about the
meaning and importance of Hahnemann’s inductive logic, relative to “other ways of knowledge.” The implication is that these principles are simply one man’s ideas, to be tested and improved in the course of time, along with the ideas of many other theorists and thinkers.
I would respectfully suggest that these concerns show a failure to grasp the true stature of this man and his work, and the extent to which recorded experience has long since verified his teachings.
Inductive logic makes Homeopathy unique
Inductive methods are indeed valued over others in Homeopathy, due to Hahnemann’s awareness of the long history of false hopes and dead ends in medical approaches which relied on other sources of knowledge such as deduction and intuition. The very relentlessness that makes his chastisements sound so harsh also drove him to painstakingly work out an inductive approach to healing which differs in logical type from any other before or since.
This fundamental distinction is the basis of its superiority over the standard medicine of his day (and of our own), and the reason that repeated attempts to amend it, lacking the inductive foundation, have never been acceptable as extensions of his work. Some ask whether “…we must reject and denounce the premises of Electroacupuncture by Voll, radionics, medical psychics, Jung, Whitmont, shamans, and Rife as folly and quackery?” I think the best response here is to quote Jesus: “By their fruits you shall know them.” Many traditions and individuals have touched on certain aspects of the territory, and of course conventional medicine has accumulated masses of fragmentary data.
Homeopathy, however, offers us something qualitatively unique: a comprehensive map including a system of principles that illuminates the energetic basis of disease and health, sets out an effective method of removing illness, provides a way to understand the process, and applies to every curable case.
200 years after Hahnemann’s discoveries, persistent and skillful application of homeopathic principles will still lead to genuine cures. If we know and understand the value of this system, if our work is Homeopathy, we are ethically obliged to rely on the principles, and on trustworthy information derived from them, rather than on intuition or hypothesis. Judges are bound to follow the law and the principles of justice, navigators must use the compass and map, and homeopaths must apply the truths of the Organon
The “advances” and “innovations” in question do not build on the principles, but ignore and contradict them. Hahnemann was well-acquainted with the medical hypotheses of his day, which included the doctrine of signatures and the use of compound chemical medicines chosen for the presumed activity of their constituents. He clearly repudiated both of these ideas as clinically unreliable and logically inconsistent with the empirical foundations of Homeopathy. This is not string theory, nor rocket science—it is more like trying to use mud and thatch to build a new wing onto a structure made of marble and granite.
“…in many published cases as demonstrated by Scholten and Sankaran, successful prescriptions were made of a combination salt such as Natrum arsenicum based on the indications of its constituent elements, rather than its recorded provings. How is this not inductive reasoning similar to that of Hahnemann?” This is an example, rather, of deduction—attempting to deduce the properties an unknown remedy from those of two others which have been proven, rather than building step by step on observation, from the ground up, as required by the inductive method Hahnemann taught. For instance, Calcarea sulphuricum and Hepar sulph. are both remedies containing sulphur and calcium; we know about their respective medicinal properties only through provings. “Synthetic prescribing” was unsound
when Kent proposed it 100 years ago, and it is still an instance of putting the theoretical cart before the empirical horse. “Hahnemann indeed provided us a true compass to find our way in healing humanity.
Though the principles of Homeopathy he expounded are not broken and are still reliable, it isappropriate to question their immutability and infallibility.” This passage strikes me as contradictory. Either the principles are reliable and fully proven, or not. How does one see it—“broke,” or “don’t need fixing”? Does the compass need to be verified again at each use, or can we count on it tomorrow, as we did yesterday?
The lure of novelty
Why has Homeopathy’s history been so marked by recurring conflicts between strict Hahnemannians and those who wish to redefine and transform the discipline? I suspect that there are three major factors which motivate the advocates of transformation: the search for short cuts, the creative urge, and self-promotion. None of these motivations are evil or unusual, but each puts “the physician’s high and only mission” at grave risk. Better education for homeopaths, grounded in the principles and promoting critical thinking and high standards, is urgently needed to act as a restraining influence on these natural tendencies. As a culture, we are entranced with newness. We confuse novelty with significance, knowledge and cleverness with understanding. We expect constant updates and revisions, the periodic appearance of revolutionary new paradigms replacing all that came before. The impact of this obsession is at least as problematic for Homeopathy as for other areas of science, technology, and the arts. While the data of Homeopathy will continue to be updated and revised, its foundation ofessential principles is deeply rooted in the bedrock of Creation. The law of similars, proving of medicines, potentization, single remedy, minimum dose, hierarchy of symptoms, miasmatic basis of disease—there’s very little need to revisit these points. We can count on them.