"Timeless Quality Homeopathy"
Opening Speech by LMHI President Dr. Ulrich D. Fischer at the 64th Congress 2009, Warsaw/Poland, 26 August 2009
Dear colleagues and friends from all over the world,
Throughout these days we shall share our theoretical thoughts, practice experiences, clinical cases, and research results, as well as future projects under the Congress title "Timeless Quality Homeopathy."
But what are "timeless qualities..."? ...and what are "timeless qualities" with regard to Homeopathy ?
What do we mean when we use the word "timeless"?
Viewing pieces of art like the paintings from Fra Angelico in San Marco (Florence) or the sculptures from Michelangelo we easily get the feeling that those wonderful pieces of art are so complete and perfect, so beautiful, that they are made for eternity and will attract visitors even in the farthest future.
If we listen to the 9th Symphony of Beethoven or the operas from Mozart, we are sure that the perfection and the harmony in this music have an eternal character and will most probably be enjoyed still by an audience centuries into the future.
Literature from Shakespeare, Goethe or Plato has been read for hundreds of years and will continue to be read as along as this world exists.
These examples reflect also the deep human desire to rise above the transitoriness of life by creating something enduring, something standing the test of time, something being timeless and transcendental.
Looking at the term "timeless" from a philosophical point of view, we read in the books of the German philosopher KANT (who was contemporary of Hahnemann), - that he relates "timeless" -with eternity, origin, liberty, the thing itself, with truth, a priori, God and the Evil. (Rudolf Eisler, Wörterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe)
Kant defines Eternity as the "unlimited existence" of a thing. "Because before the world there is no time, the world exists "all the time". A beginning in the world is conceivable , but not a beginning of the world. Augustinus von Hippo (354 - 430) writes: "Something is true, if it exists, and exists in a way it appears or is visible to us". (verum est, quod ita est, ut videtur). Truth is eternal, timeless, unchangeable and unconditionable. (Rudolf Eisler, Wörterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe)
When he talks about the "Thing itself", Kant refers to the absolute reality, to something existing for itself, independently from all possibilities of experience.
Kant mentions "A priori" in relation to "eternal truths". Eternal truths do not depend on experience and are not limited to any conditions of time. They are -a priori- conceivable as inevitable truths. An a priori knowledge is exclusively originated through thinking and is inevitable as the starting point for any other knowledge or perception.
Laws are objective rules, homogeneous and universally applicable links. Special natural laws can only be found by experience. They can be formulated only by the application of fundamental and a priori existing laws of the pure intellect on the subject to be studied. The intellect is the "lawmaker" of nature; it is the principle of the production of homogeneous and lawful connections of natural phenomena. Everywhere and all the time laws can be found in nature; this is considered as a priori and absolute certain, because our intellect (mind) is unable to perceive objects without their being lawmaking and because without such a legislation objects of experience cannot be thought.
These philosophical concepts indeed form the practical foundation and the timeless quality of Homeopathy.
How does Hahnemann relate EXPERIENCE with LAWFULNESS (conformity with a natural law)?
In the writings of Hahnemann, we read that already, in the 1st edition of the Organon (1810) he relates experience with natural laws.
In the introduction to his 1st edition of the Organon, Hahnemann writes about the eternal homeopathic law of curing, in regard to the law of similars. (page XXXI, 1-st edit. Organon)
In the § 31, of the Organon, 1st edition, we can read the following:
" The big homeopathic law of curing, ...is based on the law of the human nature drawn on careful trials and pure experience...that a disease can be eradicated and cured only by a similar disease".
Josef Schmidt concludes in his book about the -"Philosophical background of Samuel Hahnemann in the time of founding Homeopathy"-, that only through his years of therapeutical experience Hahnemann was able -to define the naturally existing relation on which his method of cure is based, as a law of cure or even as a natural law (1810).
Moving on to the 6th edition of his Organon, Hahnemann refers to homeopathic natural laws in regard to the principles of homeopathy, to wit :
• the pure drug proving
• the law of similars and
• the special understanding of health and disease in Homeopathy
The following paragraphs of the Organon, 6th edition may serve as examples:
• In the § 111 we read "...that medicinal substances act in the morbid changes they produce in the healthy human body according to fixed, eternal laws of nature, and by virtue of these are enabled to produce certain, reliable disease symptoms each according to its own peculiar character."
• "This depends on the following homeopathic law of nature.., to which is due every real cure that has ever taken place..." ( § 26) ; ""...the sole therapeutic law of nature says: Cure by symptom similarity !" ( § 50)
• This natural law of cure manifests itself in every pure experiment and every true observation in the world..." (§§ 23, 28)
"The results of the drug provings on healthy persons two hundred years ago own the same validity and actuality as those drug provings realized nowadays (they might differ from each other perhaps in the accuracy of the observation). The advantage of the limitation on the (relatively) invariable substrate (healthy person) on one side and on the own five senses on the other side lies in a timeless (as we could say absolute) knowledge regarding the pure effects of the applied remedies." (J. Schmidt -"Philosophical background of Samuel Hahnemann in the time of founding Homeopathy page 421)
One more very timeless quality in Homeopathy is the special understanding of the disease in Homeopathy.
The philosophy of life from Heidegger can offer a possible and a good approach to the understanding of disease in Homeopathy.
Diagnosis in the sense of a scientific approach means and refers to the identification and to the assessment of the disease. The medical doctor whose diagnosis is based on such an approach understands the patient´s symptoms only as phenomena indicating something NOT showing itself. He tries to find the cause of disease in this area of something that does not show itself directly, that is, in the area of that which is measurable and calculable. A diagnosis -considered as a pure concept- e.g. hepatitis- without any subjective description in the sense of a complete symptom contains nothing perceptible and does not belong consequently in the area of experience.
To the contrary, Homeopathy, considers the being sick (disease) as something that shows itself directly (immediately) in the patient´s symptoms. Thus, we understand a symptom as Heidegger described the "phenomenon" - as something showing itself, as something that is, what it is.
Further the homeopathic physician recognizes that the being sick belongs to our real world, and understands that it is something, that we are living, experiencing and suffering. According to the homeopathic understanding, the phenomenon of disease means suffering (sufferance). This situation is often not easy to master for us homeopathic physicians, due to the fact that the sick person has such lack of objectivity to what he is going through and suffering, that he is not able to describe the totality of his suffering, due to the fact that he himself is the suffering.
In the same way the drug prover experiences in the pure drug proving -"sufferings" and puts them into words. We also know that, in the drug proving, not only is described what is experienced as suffering - sadness, depression, despondency- but also the concomitant conditions, as expressions of the rhythm of our real life: "Sad, mainly in the evening", "Sad and depressed, mostly walking at the open air". Or "Burning pain in the ulcer...". Not only is the ulcer itself important, but also HOW it is perceived/felt...the burning pain. Only then can we understand that skin symptoms are not only related to the periphery of the organism, but also to the real life of our existence itself. The drug prover -himself- is affected, he has to suffer and to tolerate the pain.
Hahnemann takes the patients symptoms in the sense that what shows itself is the disease itself. What shows itself is not indicative of something else, it is what it is.
"Now, as in a disease,....we can perceive nothing, but the morbid symptoms...and thus, in a word, the totality of the symptoms must be the principal, indeed the only thing the physician has to take note of in every case of disease", Hahnemann writes in the § 7, (Organon, 6.ed.)
The term "phenomenon" combines two important aspects: on the one hand all that which shows up in the patient (the patients symptoms) and on the other hand that which is real, what is or exists (the disease or the origin itself). "As many appearance, as many reality (existence)", writes Heidegger, in his book -"Existence and Time"-. (Page 36)
Therefore we can say that Hahnemann´s understanding of what we call "symptoms" corresponds to Heideggers definition of phenomena in his publication of "Existence and Time".
The publications of Heidegger are also quite helpful for any further interpretation of the term "phenomenon".
"The Greek expression phainomenon derives from the verb phainesthai, which means: appearing/showing...We can conclude that the meaning of the expression >phenomenon< can be defined as something that shows or appears in the thing itself, that is evident." (Existrance and Time, page 28.) Phenomena reflect the totality of all of that which is evident, what comes to light or what the Greeks identified sometimes as the "existing." (Existance and Time)
If we have taken the symptoms of the patient carefully and completely, we are already facing the disease, even before the search for the origin of the disease is started.
Concerning the concept of the understanding of disease Heidegger insists: „ that in medicine every human being has to be seen and understood in his whole reality he is living every day. Because it is exactly this reality which is essentially different from every other reality we know."
It is therefore not difficult to conclude that the timeless and enduring principles of Homeopathy have their foundation in the philosophical concepts of an a priori knowledge and in natural laws based on observation and experience. All further developments or modernizations in Homeopathy have to consider and to respect always these unchangeable and timeless natural laws without which Homeopathy would not exist.
To complete this introduction to the 64 th LMHI Congress I would like to add some words about the purposes of the LIGA.
According to the Statutes of the LMHI, the purposes of the association are
1) the development and securing of homeopathy worldwide and
2) the creation of a link among licensed homeopaths with medical diplomas and societies and persons who are interested in homeopathy
Relating these purposes with the work done by the Executive Committee during this last year we are glad that many of our goals could have been achieved.
LMHI provided support respectively, in political and in legal challenges to homeopathy in those countries where the Liga´s aid has been solicited by the national homeopathic organizations.
Further worldwide valid and accepted Homeopathic Medical Education Standards have been published.
High- quality scientific research in homeopathy and the exchange of results of homeopathic research have been promoted as we see in the publications of Michel van Wassenhoven: "Research in Homeopathy" and "Evidence-based Homeopathy". A LMHI position paper on the H1N1 flu and a document on the LMHI Congress Organization have been elaborated and published.
All these subjects and many others will be accessible on the new LMHI -website that is online for a few weeks and opens doors for the promotion of a worldwide homeopathic network, connecting national homeopathic medical associations and experts in all fields of homeopathy around the world.
Keeping the LMHI-Ligaletter as fundamental instrument to communicate with the LMHI members, the LIGA has published since May 2009, twice a year, an electronic LMHI
e-NEWSLETTER that will facilitate the fast and efficient spread of important homeopathic information around the world.
Another big step towards the professionalization of our organization was the decision to open, in collaboration with the DZVhÄ, a LMHI office in Bonn, Germany, with the aim to manage from there the LMHI membership administration, to publish the LMHI e-Newsletter and to take care of the LMHI website.
But the LIGA has one more essential function and without that all of the other developments and achievements that I have just mentioned would exist only in a kind of vacuum. That function is that of being the guardian or the preserving institution of the timeless qualities of homeopathy. The LIGA achieves this by promulgating excellent Homeopathic Medical Education Standards and by encouraging all schools and homeopathic medical associations worldwide and all of their members to provide the best possible homeopathic education to their members, never omitting the three fundamentals of Homeopathy, which are as follows
• the law of Similars
• the pure drug proving and
• the holistic and individual understanding of the sick person
In this sense I wish us all a successful Congress and
declare this Congress OPEN.
Dr. Ulrich D. Fischer,
President Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis