Read below two essays about Hahnemann the great founder of homeopathy
1. Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann; Reminiscence
2. Was Hahnemann the Greatest Physician Who Ever Lived?
Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann; Reminiscence
Dr. Deepu Keshavan MD (Hom)
For eighteen years I have departed from the beaten track in medicine. It was painful to me to grope in the dark, guided only by our books in the treatment of the sick, to prescribe, according to this or that (fanciful) view to the nature of diseases, substances that only owed to mere opinion their place on the materia medica; I had conscientious scruples about treating unknown morbid states in my suffering fellow creatures with these unknown medicines, which being powerful substances, may, if they were not exactly suitable or not, seeing that their peculiar, special actions were not yet elucidated easily, change life into death, or produce new affections and chronic ailments, which are often much more difficult to remove than the original disease. To become in this way a murderer, or aggravator of the sufferings of my brethren of mankind, was to me a tearful thoughts, so fearful and distressing was it that shortly after my marriage I completely abandoned practice and scarcely treated any one for fear of doing him harm, and as you know - occupied myself solely with chemistry and literary labours.
children were born to me, several children, and in course of time serious
disease occurred, which, because they afflicted and endangered the lives of my
children, my flesh and blood, caused my conscience to reproach still more
loudly, that I had no means on which I could rely for affording them relief.
whence could I obtain aid, certain positive aid, with our doctrine to the powers
of medicinal substances founded merely on vague observations, often only on
fanciful conjecture, and with the infinite number of arbitrary views respecting
disease in which our pathological works abound? A labyrinth in which he only can
preserve his tranquility who accepts as gospel those assertions relative to the
curative powers of medicines because they are repeated in a hundred books, and
who receives, without investigation, as oracles, the arbitrary definitions of
diseases given in pathological works, and their pretended treatment according to
hypothetical notions described in our therapeutic works, who ascribes all the
cases to death that occurs under his treatment, not to his own practice to
shooting blindfold at the mark, who does not attribute the aggravation and
prolongation of the acute diseases
he treats and their degeneration into chronic maladies, and the general
fruitlessness of his efforts when he has to treat diseases of longstanding, to
the uncertainly and impotence to his art. No! He ascribes death and ill-treated
disease and all, solely to the incurableness to the disease, to the disobedience
to the parent, and to other insignificant circumstances, and so accommodating
and obtuse is his conscience, that he satisfies himself with these excuses,
though they are in many ways delusive, and can never avail before an omniscient
god; and thus he goes on treating diseases (which he sees through his systematic
spectacles) with medicinal substances that are fast from being without influence
on life and death, but to whose powers nothing's known.”
"extracts from a letter to a physician to high standing on the great
necessity of a regeneration of Medicine" from Dr.C.F.Samuel Hahnemann, we
can visualise this inner repercussions, which compelled him to differ.
But pause for a moment, and shake your self out of the cocoon cultivated
around all of us for so long. This criticism is not significant for other
systems of medicine alone. It may be a startling truth, but when we introspect into the
system of Homoeopathy, his standards of differences may appear true to us as
easier to bark at the shadow of other systems without knowing the reason for it.
The great man, but only growled at it, with ample reason too. The repercussions
of that grunting is not dead yet. Actually we still reap from those old seeds.
He also had ample justifications to his disgust. For he produced an entire
system, gentle and at the same time very much effective as compensation. Now
what have we done with it? It is a question bigger than all of us think.
Hahnemann, who remained a fugitive throughout his life from the "Francoscianeum"
in Meissen to the solace in Paris, devoted his entire life and experimentation
to the field of Medicine. Had he
changed his track somewhere, as the renowned chemist Berzelins remarked,
"That man would have made a great chemist, had he not turned out a great
quack." As for him, the high and only call to a physician was to restore
the sick to health, and in this search for the art of curing, he not only went
through the logical ways of hygiene and the psychosomatic approach towards
diseases, ill understood and unexpected during his days, but also through the
frustration of the modern student, dragged himself though for a shorter distance
when compared to his followers like Dr. J.T. Kent, along the darker and
confusing lines of often illogical metaphysics.
an era, where the basic conclusions in medicine are constantly challenged by the
developments in the field of genetic engineering.
This is an era where the good old concepts on health are quite
pathetically viewed thanks to the ever increasing pollution, ever growing
population and ever glooming poverty.
concept of a permanent cure may forever remain (a far cry), a dream.
Genetics can work out the very basics of living cells but even that will
fail to reveal the mystery of the phenomenon of life. We may be compelled to dilute the accepted definition on
health again and again, but some of the principles highlighted by the likes of
Dr. Hahnemann, Paracelsus, and Boyle etc. will always retain their significance
throughout the history of medicine.
Samuel Hahnemann, outside the homoeopathic fraternity, is still considered as an
under achiever. Naturally there
would have to be some reason for that as well.
Perhaps, the fault lies with us, his followers. For we idolized him, we
dogmatized the principles and methods of treatment vindicated by him, we failed
to understand what is to be understood and we failed to do what is to be done
for him. We even failed to follow him in essence!
life was a struggle right from the beginning. By taking a retrospective on his
achievements, we can only wonder at the clarity of vision he held about his
surroundings. This is true not only
for the field of medicine but also about the socio-political arena. In his
‘Organon’, what he had predicted about a western conquering of Germany and
Germany's final resurrection came true, nearly about a hundred years later (of
course after Adolph Hitler had unified Germany which even Bismark was unable to
do and filled the German minds with pride and patriotism). The amount of
dedication and work he applied in the pursuit of truth is astonishing. Indeed,
many of the principles highlighted by him existed even before his time and many
of the physicians like Paracelsus and many of the scientists like Boyle have
strongly appreciated those principles. It is arguable how much he had achieved.
But the important thing is that he was able to effect a change in the attitude
of the physicians towards diseases and he was able, upto an extend to induce
simplicity in the practice of medicine.
Hippocratus, he also stood strongly for the regimen, which is emphasized not in
one place in his Organon. Astonishingly this correction of habits and diet is
still often wanting in the practice of medicine, even in this modern era of
high-tech medicine. Otherwise we could have quite successfully defended
epidemics like the ‘cola and the fast-food culture’ and the
invasion of 'the synthetics'. What is more interesting is that some
critics even using to say that Homoeopathy works only because it relies
on the hygiene and regime! You take away that only, and YES Homoeopathy
works because it relies on the hygiene and regime!
one of the early pioneers who went after the interactions between the body and
mind and the other processes attached with it in the evolution of illness.
Later, Sigmund Freud used the same method but in a different manner. Both had their obsessions, reasoning and defaults. Freud
adamantly refused to develop beyond the concepts of sexuality and aggression.
Samuel Hahnemann, who fought against theories and speculations, himself had to
fall back to hypotheses and often speculations in his description of the origin
and nature of the chronic diseases. But
please, his writings are to be visualized as an evolution and then there'll be
contradictions and under statements but there are always some sparkling
his descriptive method seems disgusting in today’s faster world, he'll be
remembered in the future for his denial of the errors in judgment and management
of the illnesses prevailed during his time, his highlighting of the
psychosomatic approach and his theories on individualisation.
The reason for which he is ignored nowadays may be the too much
highlighted vitalism and such other metaphysical hypotheses, instead of his
lesser known works on the interaction between the processes of body and mind,
related to the evolution of diseases. That also is mainly because the present
day science with its self-applied constraints cannot digest most of this high
Unfortunately there was some mistake from the part of Hahnemann too. What
confuse his followers are the striking contrasts in his literature. At times his
talent successfully parades through the logical conclusions on the multi
factorial approach towards the causation and progression to diseases but at
times he just over generalises the concept, quite unsuccessfully into syphilis,
gonorrhoea, itch, scabies and all such superficial, often wrong and highly
speculative narratives. These and
the like are the areas mentioned earlier when said we cannot do him justice by
idolizing him to a legend, by worshipping the icons or chanting the aphorisms. We can do him justice only by evaluating his life and works
and putting our self into the down streams of evolution. Then only do this
system bloom into a full fledged healing art.
In that process, we may have to blast off the icons, we'll have to
introspect deeper and deeper, and have to rediscover the essence of the
therapeutic system described by the great Master. In short we have to scrutinise
the system in the context of the advancements in different fields of science
the Homoeopathic establishment at large, the roles of the present day
Governments and the Homoeopathic medical colleges are practically a minimum in
the development of this system. We can only repent on our idleness when we look
at the way by which the academic curriculum in the homoeopathic medical colleges
is allowed to drag behind the fast developing fraternities. In this century of instant communication, while information
can be conveyed from one part of our globe to another distant one within a split
second, we can understand the frustration an average student feel when he was
compelled to go back to the 18th or 19th century. But even that can be presented in attractive colours if it is
put forwarded in its essence, emphasizing the real importance of the thing and
more over in a realistic manner.
the different research organizations, the less said the better! The master was
not only a scholar but a meticulous researcher too. Had he not there would not
have so many Homoeopathic provings, the beautiful merging of science and the
philosophy. If science is systematised knowledge, then homoeopathy still has a
long way to go, as we have to continue with the systematisation of the
principles and methods forwarded by Hahnemann. Like any other system of
medicine, it is high time for Homoeopathy to justify its existence. It is no use
to blame the immaturity of the scientific world and waiting endlessly for them
to grow up so that every body can understand Homoeopathy with ease. For so many
of us the thought of putting some research into the system is not even there in
the far away dreams. This positively means the system is well as dead!
said that a politician thinks to the next election but statesman, of the next
generations. In that aspect,
Hahnemann was really a statesman in the world of medicine. He was not for
opportunism, his broad outlook always believed in the capabilities of human mind
and body. Perhaps the number one reason why he was an outcast was his
understanding as well as adherence to the intimacy of the material body and the
ever indwelling mind. Even to such an extend that he foresaw the connection
between our sins, past and present with our sufferings. Which was very good when
spoken by a priest but alas the last good thing to come out from a physician.
era where the art of medical practice is degenerating into the art of skillful
cheating, we are always ready either to praise Hahnemann or to burry him. But
the true need of the hour is to understand and learn him; and to condense the
vast data that is Homoeopathy into a logical comprehensive form.
The mysteries clouded around Homoeopathy should be cleared through
extensive researches in biophysics. Researches and workshops are to be conducted
at the organizational level (where we can expect more honesty and more
dedication when compared to the present day establishments). The oedematous
physique of our literature is to be corrected and trimmed and then, only then,
can we claim that we are the flag bearers of a divine healing art, then only we
can claim that we're followers of science, then only we can claim that we are
the followers of Dr. Hahnemann.
over Britain there were thousands of incompetent doctors distinguished for
nothing but their stupidity and acquired capacity for bluffing their parents.
‘The Citadel’ p 27!
Was Hahnemann the Greatest Physician Who Ever Lived?
By Dr. Peter Morrell
To say Hahnemann was the greatest ever physician sounds rather grandiose, an exaggerated claim, but it derives solely from the pivotal position he occupies, a sober appraisal of what he did, the size of the problems he tackled and the magnitude of the solutions he arrived at.
To view homeopathy against the background of the whole panoply of medical history - is a grand and thus compelling task. It has not yet been sufficiently apprehended from the distance that history requires to integrate it fully and successfully into a broader context of medical reform commencing in the 17th century and enduring up to modern times. Such a noble historical task is made more difficult by those allopathically inclined ‘historians’ who exaggerate scientific developments and thus distort the historical evidence for the natural healing modalities. Until that changes, our fuller view of medical history will remain incomplete:
"If only more physicians would practise the history of medicine in a professional manner, their approach to the evidence could be more fully evaluated." [Weiner, 146]
The origin of homeopathy is a point of historical importance. It seems that Hahnemann created it as a monument to the reforming impulse of the 1600s, but was led down a completely different track from that which spawned modern medicine. Stripping medieval medicine down to its rude undergarments, and removing thick encrustations of Christian and mystical elements [mostly superstitious beliefs?], and finding only an ineffective form of Galenical medicine at its core, he then forged, on the anvil of reason, and from its central doctrines, the opposing axioms of homeopathy, further purified in the distillation of experimentation. Thus, contraries became similars, large doses became small doses, mixed drugs became single drugs; signatures and poisonings became provings. In the briefest terms - that is its origin. Hahnemann had no time for medieval obsessions like alchemy, astrology or signatures and expunged them all.
A range of hints and clues, scattered throughout his many writings, leaves one in little doubt that Hahnemann saw his work in the profoundly wider context of medical history. His extensive translation work, undertaken over a thirty-year period [1777-1805], meant he absorbed an incomprehensibly vast and detailed knowledge of the history of medicine - probably unequalled by any other clinician of his day. Many references to Sydenham, Brown, Boerhaave, Hoffman, Cullen and Stahl, reveal the depth of his knowledge of the various theories, practices and figures of medical history. His training in Transylvania with von Brukenthal, must also have deepened his awareness of the esoteric legacy of medieval medicine and alchemy. He was appreciative of the grand and serious nature of his task.
"Disease is a supernatural phenomenon governed by a hierarchy of vital powers...disharmony in these vital powers can cause illness. Thus, ancestral spirits can make a person ill. Ingredients obtained from animals, plants, and other objects can restore the decreased power in a sick person and therefore have medicinal properties." [Kale]
Before 1650, medicine was imbued with much theology and metaphysics - thick encrustations which had dominated medicine for about eight centuries. Although the rationalising force of the Reformation and the French Enlightenment combined to render medicine more mechanical, and scientific, such that it began moving in a modern direction, nevertheless, by 1800 it was severely hampered by the barbarity and general ineffectiveness of its methods.
Then, due to a pervasive lack of clinical certainty, a war of theories plagued medicine in the period 1700-1870, even further impeding progress. Any new, concocted theory that emerged could attract an easy audience of disciples for a time and could transiently guarantee winning some measure of support. These numerous, evanescent theories were either material [mostly mechanical] or metaphysical, and sprang from developments in other sciences and philosophy. Essentially, medicine became split into vitalist and materialist camps, modern medicine deriving solely from the materialist camp.
"...the old school of medicine believed it might cure diseases in a direct manner by the removal of the [imaginary] material cause of disease..." [Organon, 4]
Hahnemann [1755-1843] lived through most of this period of intense ferment, which seems to have been a necessary reconstruction phase medicine passed through in its transition from medieval theology onto a more scientific base. Speculation was finally laid to rest by unrestrained experimentation, laying the foundations for physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology. Ironically, no matter how hard Hahnemann strove to remove theological links, others would always find ways to put them back:
"You cannot divorce medicine and theology. Man exists all the way down from his innermost spiritual, to his outermost natural." [Kent]
Hahnemann ‘ploughed a lonely furrow’ through the ideas of the medical past with the sole intention of confirming or denying whatever others had said, alluding to others only as the source of an idea or technique, which he was studying at the time. Having been so sorely disappointed with the medicine in which he had been trained, he was looking for a new medical system with ideas that worked. His underlying motivation was to make sense of everything around him, to retain whatever was good and useful and to reject everything that was useless.
Having acquired an in-depth knowledge of the main tenets of all prior healing systems, Hahnemann then tried them out and pondered deeply upon them all, only to find in every case, the same dismal ineffectiveness of their methods and the paucity of their ideas. He was searching for some underlying principles for the practice and study of medicine. Principles that could be regarded as reliable and become true beacons to success, which would never sorely disappoint sincere and hardworking physicians like himself.
To locate such real and reliable principles, that must underpin all medical knowledge, he sketched out the main ideas and systematically worked his way through them. Realising that a sizeable mass of material in the medical past was mostly founded upon crude and unmethodical work, Hahnemann saw a desperate need for testing things through experiments. This was precisely the task he undertook with patient zeal, after abandoning medical practice in 1784 in Dresden and part-way through a 30-year phase of translations and research.
Consequently, he narrowed down his search to a number of key areas. These concerned the actions of drugs in health and disease - which formed his expanding databank of information. Second, the reports of various writers throughout history on the variable nature of diseases. Third, the data on poisonings, which he soon came to regard as a part of the drugs database. This later became greatly extended, forming the basis for his ‘provings’ of medicines on the healthy. Fourth, the minute changes brought about by drugs and poisons in their primary and secondary effects - an only partially investigated topic in medical history that he was personally to greatly extend. Fifth, the way diseases can displace each other. Sixth, the nature of cure or symptom removal, under varying conditions and by different means and their generally woeful consequences [suppression]. Seventh, the nature and actions of the life force or dynamis. These unsolved problems, inherited from medieval medicine, comprised Hahnemann’s ‘mission’.
He saw his task as one of clearing rough ground, collecting and testing a reliable database on drugs and diseases, and investigating through experiment whatever reliable principles he could find in the medicine of the past. He used medical history as a database of ideas and methods, to test for himself. Ransacking every nook and cranny of the medical past to drag forth ideas and observations, he tested them, both philosophically as ideas, against each other in careful analysis, and also by experiments. His writings are a monument to this gradual unfolding of ideas and techniques, packed as they also are with myriad references to the work of his medical predecessors.
"The organism is indeed the material instrument of life, but it is not conceivable without the animation imparted to it by the instinctively perceiving and regulating vital force..." [Organon, para 15]
From an early stage, he portrays as futile and dangerous the medieval Galenic methods of using crude and mixed drugs, based on contraries and in strong doses - these ruled themselves out as barbaric, unscientific and unworthy. Such methods do not cure because they are not holistic, they chase symptoms around the body like an elusive butterfly, dampening or suppressing the natural action of the vital force. For a short time they may supply the temporary illusion of cure [through suppression of symptoms], but then new illnesses spring forth redoubled in their power. Instinctively, from the dismal results of his own early medical practice, he knew this was the case, and searching medical history merely confirmed for him the same view.
Because diseases vary so greatly in subtle terms from one individual to another, Hahnemann resisted the then fashionable impulse to classify diseases in groups on general terms. Likewise, poisons and drugs affect people in broadly similar ways, but also with subtle variations of individuality. Although diseases do appear as generalised entities [as Sydenham amongst others had asserted], yet in reality they also affect each person in different ways, and such subtle disease phenomena fascinated him much more than they had anyone else in medical history. He could not accept that such individuality in the reactions to disease might be construed mechanically by regarding the organism as a machine. Rather, he felt, these minute variations were due to the individuality in the reactions of the life force, with which living beings are imbued, and which varies subtly and minutely in its action from one person to another.
"In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force [autocracy], the dynamis that animates the material body [organism], rules with unbounded sway..." [Organon, para 9]
"The vital force dominates, rules and coordinates the human body." [Kent]
Hahnemann soon realised that medicine had been moving along entirely the wrong tracks for many centuries, using mixed, strong drugs employed along the lines of contraries. Such crude methods do not work precisely because they do not enhance the innate healing power of the life force, damaging health to the same degree that they inhibit its natural healing action. This ‘Galenic medicine’ soon became the main focus of his attack and in this, he came close to the attitude of Paracelsus [1493-1541].
"These [allopathically conceived disease entities]...were all idle dreams, unfounded assumptions and hypotheses, cunningly devised for the convenience of therapeutics...the easiest way of performing a cure would be to remove the material, morbific matters..." [Organon, 7]
Being forced to look mostly at moderate doses of single drugs to find any sense at all, this inevitably raised the question of how they were to be employed - based on contraries or similars? The careful physician who gently imitates nature [Sydenham] and imitates the actions of drugs and the actions of diseases, especially in their minutest subtle variations, is able to gain control of the vital force and increase its power, rather than to impede it.
"Man cannot be made sick or be cured except by a substance as ethereal in quality as the vital force." [Kent]
Experiment endorsed only similars, moderate doses and single drugs. He was led down that alley entirely by experiment, and from which, as a system, homeopathy almost entirely springs. His observations also confirmed that suppression of disease harmfully multiplies and deepens symptoms, whereas the life-defending actions of the life force constitute the firmest and most reliable guide to good therapeutic action, to any sound interpretation of what the organism wants, or the direction it is moving in. Crude, strong drugs are harmful because they flood the vital force with excess stimulation, act in the opposite direction to its natural, curative efforts and suppress its innate and dynamic impulse to cure from within outwards [centripetally].
Ranting like a Biblical prophet of old, Hahnemann repeatedly repudiates the old school of medicine, their use of mixed drugs in strong dose and their assertion that disease is caused by chemical or material factors in the organism, such as morbific matter or impurities. He always asserts that such methods can at best give only temporary relief, but they always aggravate and intensify the malady in the longer run, which thereafter rebounds with renewed vigour.
"Let it be granted now...that no disease...is caused by any material substance, but that every one is only and always a peculiar, virtual, dynamic derangement of the health..." [Organon, 10]
He denounces the employment of medicines based on contraries, giving numerous examples of the folly of this approach and the superior employment of similars for every type of condition. He denounces old school physicians as lacking subtlety, deluding patients with a quick fix, and being ‘champions of a clumsy doctrine’. By contrast, he gives numerous examples of superior, permanent cures obtained through employing similars, both by natural similar diseases displacing each other and through the use of similar single drugs.
"The champions of this clumsy doctrine of morbific matters ought to be ashamed that they have so inconsiderately overlooked and failed to appreciate the spiritual nature of life, and the spiritual dynamic power of the exciting causes of diseases." [Organon, 9]
Like Sydenham a century earlier, he denounces theoretical medicine and speculative tendencies, laying greater stress upon careful observation of the patient, of drugs, of diseases and the action of the life force; that direct hands-on clinical experience is vastly superior to the often flowery excesses of book learning. He repeatedly denounces materialistic doctrines, portraying them as illusory and, though superficially attractive, they merely delude physicians into seeing diseases as externally invading entities that can be treated and removed on a localised basis with chemical drugs. He asserts that it is precisely this approach that intensifies disease of a chronic character, driving it deeper and causing it to multiply into diverse types and sprout into new forms.
"The microbe is not the cause of disease. We should not be carried away by these idle Allopathic dreams and vain imaginations but should correct the Vital Force.." [Kent]
"The Bacterium is an innocent feller, and if he carries disease be carries the Simple Substance which causes disease, just as an elephant would." [Kent]
Disease, he claims, is not, and must never be seen, as an external, invading entity, separate from the patient, nor a localised affair in space or in time, but a derangement of the totality of the whole organism - body and mind - arranged longitudinally in time and always and entirely part and parcel of the patient himself - a derangement of the life force.
"...Hahnemann invariably uses the term, vital principle instead of vital force, even speaking in one place of 'the force of the vital principle', thus making it clear that he holds...that life is a substantial, objective entity, a primary originating power or principle and not a mere condition or mode of motion. From this conception arises the dynamical theory of disease...that disease is always primarily a morbid dynamical or functional disturbance of the vital principle; and upon which is reared the entire edifice of therapeutic medication, governed by the Similia principle..." [Close, 88]
Treatment of parts and separate diseases are therefore illusions that should never be indulged. Disease of the whole organism should be treated solely with those remedies that impact upon the whole organism, which enhance the natural efforts of the life force itself and which act best in attenuated dose, employed through simile and as single drugs.
"Disease, then, is primarily a morbid disturbance or disorderly action of the vital force, represented by the totality of symptoms." [Close, 74]
Hahnemann successfully tackled all the unsolved medical problems inherited from the medieval period, yet a timeless reference lies behind his work. The same thorny problems about disease, vitality, drugs, dosage and holism are as alive today as ever. The philosophical challenge that holism and vitalism represent to modern medicine is as valid today as in Hahnemann’s day - possibly even more valid, as the uncurative edifice of allopathy is disintegrating - it is that which patients are fleeing, like rats deserting a sinking ship.
"...in the seventeenth century...the accent of therapeutics lay on expelling toxic substances from the body - by purging, sweating, vomiting, and the much favoured surgical technique of bloodletting..." [Porter, 1987, 14]
Desperate in their attempts to urgently stop the patient’s pain, the fever, the bleeding, the diarrhoea, the constipation, the discharge, etc, and failing to see that crude drugs only ever suppress symptoms and never lead to true cure, doctors generally down the centuries have repeatedly resorted to strong measures. Such strong measures [such as use of Opiates, emetics, purging, antimony, mercurials, senna, bloodletting, silver nitrate injections, and more recently, antibiotics, vaccines, hormones], do not cure, but bring only the illusion of swift relief, and, though better for a short time, sometime later comes the terrible physiological backlash, with more illness, more internal illness, more serious, more insidious and more frequent illness, a deepening dependency upon drugs and devices and permanently ruined health. This is the pattern Hahnemann observed and it has been repeated by most homeopaths, acupuncturists, herbalists, etc since. We see the same pattern today in all the most medicalised countries on earth. The adoption of ‘strong measures’ also means that physicians have abandoned any principles at all and so they come to believe that there are none.
"Metallic compounds began to be introduced into medicine on account of their violent effects on the body..." [Bernal, 398]
The body system ‘runs rapidly down hill’ through the deployment of non-curative crude doses, and chemical drugs never really cure. The reality of this ‘path of palliation’ endorses the vitalistic view of the body, because chemicals should logically be able to correct all errors in a purely chemical machine, and the curative value of all ‘nebulous therapies’ and even placebo would be impossible. That ‘nebulous therapies’ do work and that chemical drugs don’t, collectively endorses vitalism and holism, and suggests that the vital force represents a deeper and superior realm of disease causation [and cure] that lies behind the chemical machinery of the body. This simple fact infuriates those hardened materialists among doctors, who hate homeopathy and acupuncture and who set greatest store by the scientific belief that the body is a machine. Keenly aware of the underlying and damaging implications holistic and vitalistic therapies have for their pet theories, they refuse to believe otherwise.
"...no disease, in a word, is caused by any material substance, but every one is only and always a peculiar, virtual, dynamic derangement of the health..." [Organon, intro p.10]
Though gentler and less barbaric in its methods than its heroic predecessor, medicine today has changed little in its essential views. Less dramatically and more gently, perhaps, but it achieves similar results to the crude doses of the 1800s; it is still only palliating and managing illness symptoms - chasing illness around the body - keeping patients on extended programmes of dependency. It keeps illness going, creates new illness, and ‘side-effects’, and merely juggles symptoms, chasing the fictitious butterfly of ‘disease’ around the body, suppressing symptoms and moving along the mutating 'play' of disease from one body ‘theatre’ to another.
"...homeopathy...can easily convince...that the diseases of man are not caused by any substance, any acridity...any disease matter, but that they are solely spirit-like [dynamic] derangements of the spirit-like power [the vital principle] that animates the human body." [Organon, xxix]
Hahnemann wished to clearly elucidate the possible chain of errors that have led medicine to where it finds itself. In his day, it could not even control or palliate disease very efficiently. By contrast, modern medicine is impressively able to control, manipulate, manage and palliate symptoms, but still unable to cure disease, to eradicate a tendency to it or to elevate health above that at birth - which the holistic therapies do on a daily basis. Modern medicine acts just as uncuratively and as damagingly as crude and heroic ‘old physic’.
"When a person falls ill, it is only this spiritual, self-acting [automatic] vital force, everywhere present in his organism, that is primarily deranged by the dynamic influence upon it of a morbific agent inimical to life..." [Organon, para. 11]
Manifestly, modern medicine, just like its 18th and 19th century predecessors, cures nothing, and surgery is merely a supplement to admission of the failure to cure - if an organ doesn’t work, then whip it out. Extremely subtle perception of cases over long periods is required to confirm the views and observations that Hahnemann made and it is therefore little wonder that his system has remained as a minority in medicine, being far too subtle, gentle and patient for the average materialistic and hasty medical mind to apprehend.
Homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology, and nature cure, can and regularly do achieve such permanent cures and elevations in well-being. They do so by the same means as commended by Hahnemann - they subtly direct all their efforts not at the chemical level, but reach ‘behind the curtain’ to a deeper level, at the life force itself, which is the controlling principle behind the chemical machinery. They probe and eradicate the subtle causes of illness that lie in the life force itself. A realm invisible to, and firmly denied by, the conventional doctor who is not trained to look at cases so subtly and longitudinally. Not only is there a nebulous realm of cause in the organism, but also in the causes of disease and in the mode of cure [remedy]. It is this topic that especially fascinated metaphysically inclined homeopaths like Kent.
"There are two worlds; the world of thought or immaterial substance and the world of matter or material substance." [Kent]
"It is not the Smallpox crust that is so dangerous, it is the Aura which emanates from it." [Kent]
"Everything that is a thing, has its aura or atmosphere...each individual has his aura, or atmosphere." [Kent, 1920]
Hahnemann is the only physician in the whole of medical history who stands out as a really pivotal and revolutionary figure, who analysed and demolished every axiom of medieval medicine. He denounced strong measures to remove ‘impurities’; he denounced contraries and mixed drugs in strong dose. He repudiated the doctrine of signatures, astrology and alchemy, which were the very foundation of medieval medical theory. He denounced virtually every extant practice – including antimony and bloodletting, endless speculation about the nature of disease and disease conceived as an externally invading entity of a generalised type. He then formulated a completely new system based upon experiments and sound reasoning - a system that works in accordance with reliable principles and predictable methods.
Furthermore, Hahnemann is the only physician to have done this by basing his work upon a very thorough analysis of past systems. He also shifted the course of medicine away from generalised disease entities and back to contemplation of the individual patient - homeopathy treats patients, not fictional disease entities of a generalised type that have become ‘the norm’ in allopathy just as they are in science.
In Hahnemann were combined a brilliant modern experimenter, a first-rate thinking mind of great erudition and incomprehensibly vast knowledge, a superb observer and cataloguer of details, a brilliant linguist and the most meticulous historian medicine has ever known. Combine all that with his personal qualities of strong independence of mind, love of arguing and overpowering adoration of truth, and you can see why homeopathy is a philosophical marvel, an historian's dream, and a brilliant system of curative medicine that is totally grounded in experiment and clinical practice - it not only works, but it works according to predictable and reliable principles, forged through experiment, from the discarded carcass of medieval medicine - which had been picked clean and left for dead by the vultures of so-called science.
And when he is eventually appraised on the unique facts of his achievements, and the magnitude of the puzzles he solved, then yes, Hahnemann probably will be seen as the greatest physician who ever lived.
Bernal, J D, 1969, Science in History, 3 vols, Penguin, London
Close, Stuart, 1924, The Genius of Homeopathy - Lectures and Essays on Homeopathic Philosophy, New York
Hahnemann, Samuel, 1841, Organon of Medicine, combined 5th/6th edition of Dudgeon and Boericke, 1923
Kale, Rajendra, Education and Debate, South African Health: Traditional healers in South Africa: a parallel health care system, BMJ 1995; 310: 1182-85 (6 May)
Kent, James T, 1920, New Remedies, Lesser Writings, Aphorisms and Precepts, Jain
Porter, Roy, 1987, Disease, Medicine and Society in England 1550-1860, Macmillan, London
Weiner, Dora B, Medicine in the Enlightenment by Roy Porter, Book Review, Soc. Hist. Med., 11.1, April 1998, 145-6
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