“Epistemology (theory) without contact with science (experiment) becomes an empty scheme; science without epistemology is, insofar as it is thinkable at all, primitive and muddled” Albert Einstein
Views of the remedy picture
Remedies are described in our Materia Medica's. Most homeopaths often accept those pictures as solid remedy pictures. But the longer one reflects about it, the more obvious it becomes that the descriptions are only approximations of what the real picture of a remedy is. The real picture is something abstract and a proving can only elicit parts of it. A new proving will change the description in our literature, but it won't change the remedy itself. It only changes our view of the picture.
So how do we know if a picture in our literature is correct and complete? The answer is that it’s impossible to be completely sure. We can only be more or less confident of (parts of) the picture. The development of the Materia Medica then becomes a process. It’s a process of making the picture more and more complete with less and less incorrect parts.
The start of this process can be and often has been a proving (for some homeopaths, this is the beginning and the end).
The next step is clinical application. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The cure of a patient with a remedy is a sign that the picture of the patient is the picture of the remedy. That’s the consequence of the Law of Similars. And this immediately refutes the theorem that only provings can lead to information about remedies.
The next step is to compare remedies and classify them. The Element theory as published in "Elements" is a good example. Classification is the first real step into science and theory formation. It's an essential step, as without classification all information is unconnected and cannot be put into a theory. In the homeopathic community the idea lives that classification is impossible or leads to false conclusions. Hahnemann has contributed to this idea with his paragraph 140 of the Organon. Hahnemann was afraid of the first part of Einstein's statement “Epistemology without contact with science becomes an empty schema”. He was afraid of mere speculation, without grounding it on facts. But Einstein makes it clear that the opposite is just as bad: “Science without epistemology is, insofar as it is thinkable at all, primitive and muddled”. Science in the form of just collecting facts, without considering theories about them is primitive and muddled. It leads to huge collections of facts where one doesn't know head or tail. One cannot see the forest for the trees. This is the case in regular medicine with their large collection of diseases and drugs, but the same can be said for the homeopathic Materia Medica. In order to progress as a science, homeopathy has to go to the stage of classification and theory formation.
Another important step in the development of remedy pictures is making sense of them. This has been done in many ways in homeopathy already. Examples are the essences of Vithoulkas, the primary Psora of Masi, the basic delusion of Sankaran and the vital sensation of Sankaran. I use the word essence. The goal is to find the most basic symptom from which the other symptoms and the whole picture can be deduced.
This process assumes that there is order in the symptoms of a remedy, that they are not just random. The premise of order is one of the two basic assumptions of science. Albert Einstein had a “deep conviction of the rationality of the universe”. This conviction assumes a logic in nature, and thus in remedy pictures. And the past 20 years in homeopathy have shown that it’s true, there is structure in remedy pictures, according to the successful examples of Vithoulkas, Sankaran and the Element theory.
In this book I've written down an essence for every remedy, but it's expressed in many different forms. The reason for that is, that language is not the best way to describe the essences. The essence is archetypical, to which language can only approximate to.
The different forms and expressions an essence can take are discussed in the chapter "Symbolic language".
It's normal that classification and essence thinking go together. The vital sensation of Sankaran turns out to be connected to families of Plants. The essence of the remedies in the Element theory is connected to Series and Stages. At first this might seem surprising, that two different approaches such as classification and essence thinking, converge, but departing from the principle or paradigm of order one wouldn’t expect anything else.
Thinking from the above principles, I’ve written the remedy pictures in this book. Starting from the proving I tried the remedies in promising cases.
Then I prescribed the remedies for patients and the successful prescriptions developed the pictures further. With the help of the Stages of the Element theory I developed the pictures further still.
In writing the pictures, I kept the patient in mind to get the feeling of the remedy and with the Element theory I ordered and deduced the picture. I tried to imagine how the essence could be formulated the best. I’ve tried to present it in such a way that the reader can grasp the essence of the remedy. I hope I’ve succeeded in this respect.
I've also described the pictures of some remedies where there's no case described. For some remedies, the case that I've seen was not good enough to be published because it was a bit unsure, of too short a duration, confused with other remedies or left out for privacy reasons. In some of the remedies there was no case at all, but I thought it good to describe the remedy, feeling it to be a correct picture. This has been done too in "Homeopathy and the Elements" and these pictures have turned out to be quite precise.
The information in this book comes from a mixture of sources. The first source is provings. Most provings in this book are meditation provings instead of classical full provings. To explain the legitimacy of this procedure I’ve added a chapter on provings.
The second source of information is patients. This is by far the biggest source. And it’s the most reliable in my view, as expressed in the saying “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
The third source is classification. Classification is almost as important as clinical information. The Element theory (see Elements) with its series and Stages has been applied with great success in the Lanthanides.
The fourth source is “meaning”. This means that the symptoms are seen from the point of their meaning in the whole context of the remedy. The meaning is also seen from the point of view of related remedies. As a whole this kind of thinking leads to symbolic language. The symptoms are seen as a symbolic expression of the underlying problem. This is explained further in the chapter “Symbolic language”. Mythology and signatures are forms of this symbolism. In the case of the Lanthanides there’s a strong parallel with the myth of Heracles and his labours, as explained in that chapter. To explain the legitimacy of this kind of thinking, chapters on science and homeopathy are incorporated in this book. Aside from the above four main sources, all kinds of sources have been used incidentally, including intuition, dreams, coincidences, feelings and the doctrine