SCIENCE OR NOT : DOES THAT REALLY MATTER?
Laying the finger on the faults in Hahnemann’s philosophy does not inevitably result in putting one in the company of Hecker or Hughes. For, had that occurred while one was meditating upon the philosophy and remained beyond a fault in itself, it only furthers philosopher’s cause.
Frankly speaking, neither I was fortunate enough to have read what Hahnemann wrote originally, nor I am capable of capitalizing the opportunity in case it arose. Nonetheless, I never found myself shy of addressing the crucial as well as critical issues embedded in the ORGANON. The language-barrier never threatened to blunt my ability to study what was presented to us by R E Dudgeon and Richard Hughes, the master translators of Hahnemann’s original works. Their authority remained undisputed.
Hahnemann offered objectivity, originality and independence in an era of medical arrogance. Disapproving one or the other fundamental of the prevailing knowledge (Science) with the strength one has gained from the TRUE knowledge of what then prevailed is not unscientific. Galileo, Einstein, Newton and their likes did that and were applauded for their moral fibre. And though with the passage of time as also the progress towards the knowledge, faults were marked in their theories; they are still praised for being ahead of their respective times. However, when Hahnemann did exactly the same, the ‘scientific’ community mocked at him for his ‘misdeed’! This inconsistency, unfortunately, finds its bearing upon the in-borne ‘strength’ of the so-called scientific approach – turning a blind eye to whatever it cannot perceive or foresee.
By arguing that allopathic system of prescribing the medicines was consistently making its takers sick; Hahnemann disputed the prevailing concept of cure:
“…The allopathy of the old school not only greatly overrated these efforts of the crude automatic power of nature, but completely misjudged them, falsely considered them to be truly curative, and endeavoured to increase and promote them, vainly imagining that thereby they might perhaps succeed in annihilating and radically curing the whole disease.”
((ORGANON: Introduction (page 15).))
“…Whilst most physicians of the old school, imitating in a general manner the efforts of crude, unaided nature for its own relief, carried out in their practice these derivations of merely hypothetical utility, just as they judged expedient (guided by some imaginary indication); others, aiming at a higher object, undertook designedly to promote the efforts of the vital force to aid itself by evacuations and antagonistic metastases, as seen in the diseases, and by way of lending it a helping hand, to increase still more these derivations and evacuations; and they believed that by this hurtful procedure they were acting duce natura, and justly claim the title of minister naturæ.” ((ORGANON: Introduction (pp 14-15).))
“…If we deduct the cases in which the specific remedy for a disease of never varying character has been made known to physicians of the ordinary school…If we deduct these, we find, that without almost any exception, all the other treatment of the old school physician, in chronic diseases, consists in debilitating, teasing and tormenting the already afflicted patient, to the aggravation of his disease and to his destruction, with a great display of dignified gravity on the part of the doctor and at a ruinous expense to the patient.” ((ORGANON: Introduction (page 26).))
However, by demonstrating the therapeutic power of a newly founded system of medicinal science of his own, he made it clear that he was not opposing the prevailing systems just for the sake of dispute – he meant business to the core of what could genuinely be defined as the true cure. The willingness to keep the mind open while acid-testing the potential of a true Hahnemannian prescription and the moral courage to publicly accept what has come out eventually leaves one with the only option of admiring homoeopathy. Hering’s and Hughes’ are however, the examples of the ultimate – the conversion! Even though Hughes left enough room to resolve whether he did justice to Hahnemann or not, as I have pointed out so often, it was the ‘result-aspect’ and not the depth of the philosophy at the first place, that led towards such conversions. One finds an unmistakable confirmation of that at the back of Hughes mind in the following:
“…He was seeking, not the consistency of a theory, but the success of a practical art: to him it mattered little whether a thing commanded itself or not to the speculative reason, his one concern was that it should be true.” ((THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF HOMOEOPATHY: Reprint edition 1994 (page 14), B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd.; New Delhi, India.))
Though one wonders if there is bona fide scope to enquire whether Hahnemann himself was a bit short of measuring the depth of yet to be developed the philosophy of his own; let me emphasize here that there are no inconsistencies in ‘similia similibus curentur’, the guiding principle of homoeopathy. On the contrary, the present-day science, which serves as the foundation of the Allopathic system of medicine, is full of ‘exceptions’. Thus, the true understanding about the mechanism (science) that governs every single Hahnemannian prescription would provide the answer to this difference. This is by no means, a small help as this enables one to comfortably address the humiliating inconsistencies, which the scientists often face.
The Conventional School bets on its experience and knowledge of physical and chemical identities of matter whereas the Hahnemannian School is founded upon its biological identity. ((Jyoti Prakash: Homoeopathy, Molecular strain theory, Mythology and Quantum theory; SHARING NOTES Vol. 1 No. 4 (pp 3-8), Rashmi Prakashan; Bhopal, India.)) Does this not have its corollary, which may be expressed as follows:
The term ‘exception’ was the outcome of the desperation of the so-called scientists to find out one or the other face-saving explanation for their lack of knowledge? The scientists, who are proud enough of viewing the invisible side of the Moon, need to probe this black hole in their textbooks. Hahnemann had offered them a helping hand in similia theory.
For, legitimately nothing that enjoys the privilege of being in existence could be beyond the laws of Nature. the hindu mythology has argued this consistently. In other words, the understanding of Hahnemannian science opens the window that enables one to probe if numerous hindu ‘myths’ were in fact, scientific statements! However, as plain a reading of organon as presented by Richard Hughes interpreted a symptom as the requisition generated from within. I wonder if that should not be termed as a critical error. Let me prove my point in the case. Here is a quotation from Hughes:
“…That everything, of a really morbid character…in a word, solely of the totality of the symptoms, by means of which the disease demands the medicine requisite for its relief.” ((THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF HOMOEOPATHY: Richard Hughes, Reprint edition 1994 (page 19), B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd.; New Delhi, India.))
Why should the ‘disease’ demand medicine for its own relief, in the first place? I find it impossible to grant what is implicit in the above statement. For, it plainly leads one to conclude that (up against all its honest efforts to see that it did not happen) the disease was (somehow) caged within an organism and that through the symptoms it was virtually crying and, in that sense, requesting (whosoever could do that) to free itself from the prison within the organism! I am afraid that this concept would find it hard to get a customer. For, these symptoms are in a word, the natural reflection of the internal affection – the unusual state that developed within the organism. Plainly speaking, they are superior to those that at times one records (while examining the morbid character in an ailing organism) through artificially developed tools. While one proudly calls these tools the ‘scientific equipments’; the old school fancies to term the interpretation of the information generated through such tools as the ‘knowledge of disease’.
However, beyond a shadow of doubt, the former are distinct and pure in their respective presentation. For, they are the findings displayed upon the inborn tools that were developed by Nature herself to demonstrate it live, the state of health of the organism. Their interpretation in conformity with Nature served the single purpose of gaining the knowledge regarding the disease that was attempting to overpower the organism.
Nevertheless, if I do away with an explanation here, the very purpose of what I have already written and what I intend to, regarding the similia theory and its propounder would be defeated. For, despite the fact that without the true knowledge of one’s sufferings one could not be cured, the term ‘knowledge of disease’ that I used here above in homoeopathic context is quite different from one that is in practice with the old school. One, who had read and grasped the aphorism number seventy in the organon itself, could have never missed that. Nonetheless, one finds that the underlined, crucially important, contents in the following excerpt from the same was missing in Hughes’ discussion in question:
“…That everything of a really morbid character and which ought to be cured that the physician can discover in diseases consists solely of the sufferings of the patient, and the sensible alterations in his health, in a word, solely of the totality of the symptoms, by means of which the disease demands the medicine requisite of its relief; whilst, on the other hand, every internal cause attributed to it, every occult quality or imaginary material morbific principle, is nothing but an idle dream.”
The above is the key to understanding not only Hahnemann’s philosophy but also his mighty confidence in the medical system of his own. Hughes could have critically defined it as ‘The enthusiasm of a discoverer’ ((THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF HOMOEOPATHY: Reprint edition 1994 (page 29), B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd.; New Delhi, India.)) and dared to denounce that as ‘An entire mistake’ but Hahnemann’s is the interpretation of ‘Automatic power of nature’. ((ORGANON: Introduction (page 15).))
Following from Hahnemann is only to offer the taste of the level of his faith in his own version of therapeutic law and the confidence in its unfailing effects:
“…For even the domestic practice of the non-medical classes of the community endowed with sound observant faculties has many times proved this mode of treatment to be the surest, the most radical and the least fallacious in practice.” ((ORGANON: Introduction (page 27).))
The well-marked trio of ‘logic’, ‘its application’ and ‘the unfailing result thereof’ suffices every single pre-requisite for recognizing homoeopathy as hundred percent scientific. Thus, an open mind finds no reason to refuse to grant to what Hahnemann maintained in the third aphorism of his organon of medicine, the honour of being the true philosophy that guides a medical practitioner.
Ever since I began thinking about the modus operandi of a homoeopathic dose, I had wondered if that could be defined as scientific. For, it never failed to possess logic for its administration. ((Jyoti Prakash: Understanding the mechanism of preparing and dispensing of a homoeopathic dose; http://www.rediscoverhomoeopathy.com; Philosophy; June 05, 2002.)) Hahnemann conveyed it time and time again that the cures were effected rapidly by means of medicines of homoeopathic power – that is to say; those were capable of producing a disease (In a healthy body) similar to the morbid state sought to be cured. He was proud and rightly so, to pronounce Homoeopathy – the only therapeutic law consonant with Nature. ((ORGANON: Introduction (page 27).))
Laying the finger on the faults in Hahnemann’s philosophy does not inevitably result in putting one in the company of Hecker or Hughes. For, had that occurred while one was meditating upon the philosophy and remained beyond a fault in itself, it only furthers philosopher’s cause. Gaining strength from Hahnemann’s confidence in matter-organism relationship, I have argued elsewhere that homoeopathy works on the premise of evolution. ((Jyoti Prakash: The theory of evolution; www.rediscoverhomoeopathy.com; Philosophy; May 15, 2002.)) Nevertheless, when I emphasize granting homoeopathy the status of science, it is not aimed only at benefiting its practitioner. On the contrary, it would benefit Science itself. Whether one accepts it or not, the way I saw it to be perfectly scientific is in its unfailing consistency in the premise of matter-organism relationship. Once we are open to accepting that, the possibility of zeroing the so-called limitations towards offering cure in any derangement of health seemed to be achievable. Would not that be the greatest service to the suffering humanity – if that could be?
(05 October 2013)
[Unless mentioned otherwise, all references to Organon, Aphorism(s) and Footnote(s) to aphorism(s) be referred to organon of medicine by Samuel Hahnemann, translated from 5th & 6th edition by R E Dudgeon, 1984 reprint, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi, India.]