Creating Waves of Awareness
RINALDO OCTAVIO VARGAS’ REMARKS ON DIALECTICAL HOMEOPATHY
The denomination “Dialectical Homeopathy”
Definitively, to talk about “emerging vision or version of homeopathy” or to denominate an “emerging vision” of homeopathy as “Dialectical Homeopathy”, makes the debate about what homeopathy is and, consequently, the principle of similar suffering, i.e. homeopathy, more appealing.
Dialectics, however, until now, is not an attribute or quality of the similar suffering concept nor of the reality it refers to. Anyhow, it would be interesting to explore such a possibility. Probably this debate is not just coining a new term but a new paradigm. For instance, in 1887, the socialist Joseph Dietzgen coined the term “dialectical materialism”. But it was not just a term, it was a transformation of Hegel’s idealistic understanding of dialectics and history.
It could be of common interest, anyway, to explore homeopathy from the viewpoint of the dialectics method, i.e. thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Definitely, it could be of great interest to translate homeopathy discourse in terms of thesis (similia similibus curentur), which is then simply negates (antithesis) as a methodological reaction to the proposition, in order to reach a synthesis or solution of the conflict between thesis and antithesis by reconciling their common truths, and forming a new therapeutics proposition. Indeed, Hahnemann puts back on its antithesis the ENANTIOPATHIC palliative remedies principle of the school of medicine or its favorite axiom contraria contrariis curentur.
Hahnemann’s reasoning has been developed on somewhat dialectics basis. Dialectics, however, until now, is not an attribute or quality of the similar suffering concept nor of the reality it refers to. Dialectics is a method of argumentation.
In any case, it’s a step forward to open to a dialectical discourse on homeopathy since a dialectical discourse is based on dialogue between people who may hold differing views and yet wish to pursue an agreement. It would represent a step forward to overcome the debate (conflicting views trying to prove one another wrong) or the rhetoric (long oration delivered by a single person) mostly dominating the utterances concerning homeopathy.
Anyhow, a discourse to be dialectical has to be based on three abstract methodological principles to reach a conventional functional truth:
1. Everything is made out of opposing forces/opposing sides (contradictions)
2. Gradual changes lead to turning points, where one force overcomes the other (quantitative change leads to qualitative changes)
3. Change moves in spirals, not circles, sometimes referred to as “negation of negation”.
In case the proposal of attributing the feature of being dialectical is referred to the “substance or remedy”, it open too an argument of paramount consequences.
In any case, seeing the matter from a memes theory viewpoint, the use of metaphors such as homeopathy as ‘seed’ and dialectical homeopathy as ‘seedling’ is consistent with a romantic vision, a frame very popular in the collective imagination. Indeed, it’s a lovely modernist smart text that could really benefits the underlying stories to rethink or reframe homeopathy.
Last but not least, the worldwide community of homeopathy stakeholders, should unanimously meet, enthusiastically, the “dialectical homeopathy” as a way of reasoning to overcome or face the shortcomings of an epistemology that does not convince and does not assure the biomedical medicine nor the principles of the most established scientific models. A “dialectical negation [or re-negotiation] at large”, as proposed, could be a methodological way. It was high time.
It’s just a remark concerning the denomination.
(Remark on) The excerpt
“Homeopathy, as a specialized branch of modern molecular medicine, is the therapeutic technique of removing the molecular blocks and relieving the biological molecules from pathologic inhibitions (curentur), by selectively capping and de-activating the interactive groups of pathogenic molecules, utilizinging the three-dimensional complementary configurational affinity of the molecular imprints (potencies) of same or similar molecules(similimum)”
Regarding the excerpt, it looks like a paradigmatic transliteration of the conventional physiological definition of healing as the process by which the cells in the body regenerate and repair as removal and replacement processes. Of course, this is descriptive and analytical level in which the whole physiology of the body consists of molecular processes. Indeed, logically, one cannot avoid deducting and attributing the same mechanism to homeopathy. Indeed, it sounds to be a sensible reasoning.
Defining homeopathy as “specialized branch of modern molecular medicine”, a first sight, seems a challenging approach, since until now there is no models in homeopathy to describe molecular structures and mechanisms. Actually, the molecular medicine is understood as an approach that identifies molecular errors of disease and develops molecular interventions to correct them. Besides, rather than focusing on observational focus on patients, as until now homeopathy does, molecular medicine emphasizes cellular and molecular phenomena.
It seems also that this definition leaves out the non-molecular potencies in homeopathy.
Re-building homeopathy – A historical mission
It is a sensible claim, to ask for a radical exam of the system and foundation of homeopathy. It is necessary for the homeopathy stakeholders to know whether it is a matter of modernizing the system. It’s a necessary step start realizing that in homeopathy exists unscientific & metaphysical ideologies.
It’s an odd thing, however, that while modern science announced its crisis at the very beginning of the last century and opened post-modernity as the end of any ontological science, realizing science was a discourse producing just functional knowledge, some homeopaths discover now, that the modern physical sciences, the same that brought the scientific modern paradigm to its end, would rescue homeopathy, providing a scientific explanation of how homeopathy works and claiming a throne for it as the most advanced medicine.
A moderate approach could help to avoid ending being self-celebrative and too much self-confident about homeopathy possibilities. Even science is a human construction.
It seems inconsistent to claim the support of modern science since it has declared its own limits in the academic and intellectual avant-garde circles. In any case, the relativism, the crisis that the modern sciences inaugurate can be a beneficial environment for re-building homeopathy in a eclectic way. But homeopathy stakeholders need to understand what sort of modernization they are arguing for.
It sounds pretty odd to ask for attaining acceptability among modern scientific community without a first step: the one of examining homeopathy in terms of “rational methodology and vocabulary”. For such a community there is a “well proven and universally acceptable scientific methodology”: THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Does homeopathy stands any chance of going through this examination successfully?
In this modern era of scientific enlightenment and technological advance, we can no longer hope to proceed further ahead with Homeopathy, without the help of a well proven and universally acceptable scientific methodology. We can no longer hope to depend upon certain set of somewhat mysterious quotations and philosophical speculations inherited from our great masters. It is very important that Homeopathy has to be first of all dealt with as a subject of science, not as a religion or metaphysics. Essentially, the principles of homeopathy have yet to achieve the right to be recognized as part of modern medical science. To begin with, it has to attain acceptability among the modern scientific community, at least in terms of a rational methodology and vocabulary.
It’s high time the homeopathy world realizes that there is already an universally acceptable protocol: the scientific method.
It’s sensible to bear in mind the most wiki definition of scientific method to face successfully this way of institutionalization of homeopathy, i.e. techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
We cannot forget that in order to be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and MESURABLE evidence, subject to specific principles of reasoning.
It consist not only of a collection of data through observation and experimentation, it requires too, testing of the hypothesis and all of those activities are controlled mostly by mathematical models.
These identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. The scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible, to reduce biased interpretations of results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, given them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called FULL DISCLOSURE, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established. The full disclosure means to disclose all the details which are known and its philosophy is completely opposed to the idea of knowledge through obscurity.
To conclude: with J. Schmidt
The debate about what homeopathy stands for
A main issue in recent debates concerning homeopathy is the question of whether homeopathy should be considered a science or not. Actually, homeopathy evolved before the scientific method broke into clinical medicine on a large scale in the 19th century. Indeed if one recalls its origins these cannot be grasped with scientific categories alone. This definitely impacts on the status quo of homeopathy.
The more radical opponent views amounts to denial of homeopathy being part of scientific medicine. Homeopathy supporters claim homeopathy actually accomplishes the scientific method criteria but that the application of the later to the art of healing requires a adjustment of epistemological approach. Consequently, in order to demonstrate their compliance and compatibility with scientific standards, some homeopaths have adopted tools developed in and for the mainstream medicine of the past modern era such as randomized clinical trials, quality assurance & evidence based medicine. It seems homeopathy nowadays is conceived by its proponents mainly along these lines, as if it were nothing but a branch or speciality of the modern scientific medicine.
Regardless homeopathy is or not a science, there is even a more controversial argument: what homeopathy stands for? Indeed, from the very beginning there has been issues of principles which have never been fully resolved. Since the disputes between Hahnemann and his homeopaths colleagues concerning the limits of the principle of similar, there has never been a clear and lasting consensus within the homeopathic community as to what homeopathy really is.
Despite a general agreement on Hahnemann’s “Organon” as the ultimate reference there is great diversity of interpretation by modern homeopaths. Since the days of Hahnemann the face of homeopathy has changed from generation to generation. Given increasingly rapid succession of new approaches in recent decades, the latest state of discussion about what should be considered homeopathy cannot be checked only in traditional books but mainly in recently published articles on the Internet.
From a historical perspective, any change of approach or paradigm within homeopathy occurs in close interaction with concurrent changes of social, scientific and religious conditions. For instance, in a postmodern society, as today, it seems perfectly plausible to utilize concepts of quantum physics or chaos theory as models for an explanation of homeopathy, to apply computer repertorization and video supervision as tools for practice & education and even to resort to psychoanalytic concepts to understand the course of disease. However what any generation identifies as the essence of homeopathy tells us more about the mentality and values of the respective era or location than about what Hahnemann had in mind when he proclaimed homeopathy as a rational and charitable therapeutics.
Looking for a broader understanding of what homeopathy is or could be, it is necessary to remember that from a sociological viewpoint, any definition of homeopathy represents an expression of the interests concerning the subject who formulates the definition. Pretending to define a concept outside the context it lives in and of which it is an expression, represents an error in perception. Since there is a conflict of interest among different subjects engaged with the idea of homeopathy, there are many positions & definitions regarding it.
For this reason (conflict of interest & many positions), what homeopathy means changes from one generation to another, from one context to another. Even if its meaning as “healing with an artificial morbific similar a morbid affection” may remain as orthodoxy.
I would add
In history reality has never been decisive. Only and always the persuasion men have concerning reality has been decisive. If we are persuaded Jesus is son of God and that communism is the expression of justice amongst men, the so-called Christian and Communist society realities will be born. If we are no longer persuaded, those realities collapse since the persuasions create things and never things or realities generate persuasions. Things do not exist outside the interpretation we have of them.
If ever homeopathy, as any construct of human mind, is a fruit of a persuasion, as any persuasion it will have a history and will go through modifications that the different epochs in history will testify.