A step forwards that makes sense – or a step backwards to the days before Hahnemann?*
An international discussion about modern trends, diversity of methods and genuine homoeopathy including contributions, comments and articles from:
J. Winston, A. Saine, J. Shepperd, J. Scholten, K. S. Srinivasan, D. Spinedi, J. Baur, R. Moskowitz, K.-H. Gypser, D. Chhabra, W. Buschauer, N. Tessler, B.D. Patel, A. Rohrer, H. Frei, P. König, Ph. Servais, D.H. Chand, J. Jacobs, P. Wright, R. Sankaran, G. Dimitriadis, F. Kusse, L. Fäh, J. Wichmann and approx. 70 other authors
A series of articles by the Society of Homoeopathic Physicians in Schleswig-Holstein and the Hanseatic cities, Germany.
Editors: K. Habich, C. Kösters, J. Rohwer
In recent decades we have seen homoeopathy spread on a wide scale – however, at the same time there has also been a considerable increase in schools of thought, trends and in attempts to develop homoeopathy. These various schools of thought differ greatly in part with regard to content. The only thing they seem to have in common is that they all go by the name of homoeopathy.
During our studies many of us were not even confronted with homoeopathy as practiced by its original masters during or directly following Hahnemann’s lifetime. A number of colleagues are in search of the best method and visit one seminar after the other, go from one teacher to the next. And following their search often lasting years on end, a lot of them lack orientation and the outcome of new methods has led to disappointment in practice.
Basically the same thing happened to Hahnemann, and in the end it was his own disappointment regarding the speculative methods of medicine of his time that initiated the search for new approaches. His main concern here was how to achieve certainty of cure. By applying the method of pure observation and pure empiricism, he succeeded in doing so during his lifetime and called this healing method homoeopathy.
This is why only such methods which treat according to the law of similars can be referred to as homoeopathy, when the respective methodic approach is able in theory and practice to lead to the same or greater certainty of cure, as does the method of pure empiricism and pure observation with regard to Hahnemannian homoeopathy.
In the December 2000 issue of the North American journal “Homeopathy Today”, editor Julian Winston asked following question: If the Materia medica is supplemented by concepts, theories and hypotheses, if cases are introduced whether they are based on meditation provings, the doctrine of signatures or theories, can these really still be designated as homoeopathy?
In a direct response, 21 internationally well-known colleagues (amongst others R. Morrison, J. Shore, N. Herrick, C. Hiwat, H. van der Zee, S. Sankaran, D. Collins) wrote a letter to the editor in which they urged Julian Winston to resign from his position as editor.
A debate followed in North American homoeopathic journals, which we believe should be engaged in by as many homoeopaths as possible on an international level due to its significance. We sent out 150-200 letters to colleagues around the world which included documents of this discussion. Well into the year of 2003 we collected statements and articles concerning this topic, which eventually filled up 400 to 500 pages.
One objection which we have often heard is that this whole debate is superfluous, since the question as to whether or not a certain technique makes sense, is ultimately settled at the patient’s bedside. Generally speaking, this is of course correct. However, this debate does not concern itself primarily with individual prescribing techniques, rather it deals with the fundamental principles of the method. How does our Materia medica evolve and how do provings of remedies work? – What we are dealing with here are development trends that do not directly reveal themselves in individual treatment results, and even if they did do so, they would generally not be recognized as a possible source of error, because they already belong to the unquestionable paradigmas of the individual colleague.
A lot of further questions could be raised: Do dream provings and other similar meditative approaches have the same reliability as classical provings of remedies? Just how valid are our provings of remedies on the whole? Is there even a way of checking the reliability of remedy provings? Can the doctrine of signatures be considered appropriate when it comes to a post hoc case examination or can it be permitted as a reliable method of gaining knowledge? Do we learn anything about whales from a proving of Ambra? Does it get us any further to deal with systematic considerations like “drug families” or the “periodic table of elements”? Can such considerations be made based on rubrics? Can treatment results serve as a permissible confirmation of hypotheses? Is it always so, that he who cures is right? Does homoeopathy have to develop its own theory of science and knowledge – or has it already existed for a long time? Does paying reference to a quotation from Hahnemann provide for sufficient evidence in homoeopathy? What about making reference to a hermetic world view and to the tradition of shamanism – does this constitute a basis for homoeopathy that makes sense or does it just shift problems towards a nirwana in the epistemological sense?
We do not consider this documentation as the end but rather as the starting point of a broad debate relating to the methodology and scientific character of homeopathy as well as to ways of establishing the validity of homoeopathy.
The articles read reveal a lot of very rational lines of thought and we learned a great deal from them. We hope this publication will encourage colleagues here and abroad to occupy themselves with the fundamentals of homoeopathy and that they will be more critical in dealing with new ideas and speculations which often appear promising at the start, but unfortunately often do not lead to any more certainty of cure in practice.
You can read up on this complete documentation on the web under www.Grundlagen-Praxis.de. A CD-Rom is currently being worked on, in particular for those interested who do not have access to the internet. Printed copies are also available on request.
Translation: Judith Widderich
Dr. Klaus Habich Curt Kösters Dr. Jochen Rohwer
Adenauerallee 1 Eggerstedtstraße 56/58 Schwartauer Allee 10
22297 Hamburg 22765 Hamburg 23554 Lübeck
Germany Germany Germany
e-mail: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]
*This information first appeared in “Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung” (AHZ 2004; 249:303-304), published by Haug Verlag in MVS Medizinverlage, Stuttgart, Germany (www.Haug-Verlag.de). It is presented here with kind permission of the publishing house