– An interview with Jan Scholten (R. Jackson)

Jan Scholten, the Dutch Homeopath, came to San Francisco in May of 1997 as part of a lecture tour following publication of his book, Homoeopathy and the Elements. This interview took place just prior to the seminar. He has a beautiful, lilting, Dutch accent, so if you can imagine it, try reading it that way.
 AH: How did you come to write the book? How long did it take you to write it?
 Scholten: Two years was the whole project. From the first, it is difficult to tell. There was a lot of background work. I got the basic idea of the spiral, especially the rising up and the fall, three years, five months ago, then it took me a long time to do all the work, test all those remedies. It was difficult to refine it, to make good differential diagnoses between all the stages, because at the beginning I had only the basic idea, but not exactly what were the differentials, the things between all the stages. I began writing two years ago, writing every day for four and a half months. I would see patients in the morning and in the afternoon and evening I would write, every day, even on weekends.
 AH: How was the process different from writing Homoeopathy and Minerals? Did you have the element book in mind then?
 Scholten: The first book was different, it was easy! I first started thinking I had to write some articles and then I realized that it was way too much, to explain the basic idea, so I thought to make a book of it. At that time I didn’t have the faintest idea of Homoeopathy and the Elements.
 AH: Are you familiar with Mendeleyev?
 Scholten: Yes, I studied chemistry for two years.
 AH: So you know how he structured the periodic table, leaving blanks to be filled in later as new elements would be discovered. Did you have that in your mind as a model in some way?
 Scholten: Not consciously, but it’s in the background. What I was thinking; many of the remedies in the earth must have a picture, even if we don’t know it, so for me it was quite clear that all those elements in the periodic table had to have a picture. The only thing was that we didn’t know them. By guessing the remedies for a few of the stages , and doing provings for a few of the remedies it came along. The provings on Zirconium and Tungsten gave us clues. Especially the proving of Zirconium. It helped me understand the point about the beginning, filling in the gaps, and if someone is further on than that stage, just try the next one.
 Most of what I learned was from patients, what they were saying, for both books, then, generalizing, of course. When Chromium has a thing, one patient who had benefited very well from Chromium, said that she had to prove herself, then Tungsten said it too, but in a different way. At first I didn’t understand it, but then you go on from one to the other and then with Molybdenum, I got a proving from Tominello in Australia, it was the link. There was a dream that clarified the daring, challenging part of it. A man was throwing a woman in the air and catching her again.
 AH: Giving greater weight to the question one would ask a patient, “What’s the matter?” How did you come to the idea of the stages?
 Scholten: It was a flash of insight. It was an inspiration. It gave me a kind of euphoria for two days because I felt it had to be that. Then it took two and a half years, giving the remedies to patients and seeing that they worked, like Scandium. We had no information about Scandium at all, it was inspiration.
 AH: What is your background?
 Scholten: I have a lot of backgrounds. My studies of medicine were quite uneventful, I just studied it. I saw what they did in hospital and didn’t like it so much, and had a feeling that at least half of those patients were better off not being there. But then I didn’t know much about homeopathy. I knew it existed but at that time I was more involved with herbology and naturopathy. Then I intended to go to work as a psychiatrist but had to wait five years to get into the program, so I became a general practitioner. I still had to wait a year to enter that program, which is when I began to study acupuncture and homeopathy, thinking I could do more than just give antibiotics. When I started studying homeopathy and heard those stories about people feeling rejuvenated, like their old self again, free, that kind of thing, I had a feeling that this was real curing; so I went on with it. It took me at that point.
 AH: Who has influenced you most?
 Scholten: At the beginning I studied at the school in Holland that was very much influenced by Hahnemann, Kent and Kunzli, and I also went to seminars given by Kunzli on a small island off the coast of Germany. I worked with that for a while, but it didn’t hold for me. It was too limiting, especially the amount of remedies was too limiting, as well as the way he was working with the remedies. I then heard, for the first time, George Vithoulkas, and he’s the one who has influenced me most, especially for four to five years, especially the way he worked with the essences and going into the mind. That was the main point I wanted to understand, not just working with the symptoms. I wanted to know what each symptom meant, why they were there in some patients and what the patient was expressing with them. He wasn’t just talking about symptoms, but making a living picture of it , more or less. That’s one of the main points that helped me as a homeopath.
 So, for many years I went to his seminars. But the last time in Celle he didn’t teach me any more, and it was finished then, more or less. He couldn’t teach me anymore. You know, at a seminar, you see a patient and you go, “Oh, that’s that one, now I understand when you have that kind of feeling, that the seminars are worthwhile, I had that at all his seminars at the beginning, but at the last seminar in Celle, it didn’t help me that much. I learned a lot from pupils of George like Roger Morrison, Alphonse Geukens, Vassilis Ghegas, but these people were teaching , more or less, the same things that George was and I couldn’t learn more. I still had patients with lots of problems.
 One other man who influenced me was Rajan Sankaran, especially with his idea of the basic delusion, situational materia medica, that you can understand the remedy the best when you can find the situation where the action of the remedy is like a talent to act in that situation, and that gives understanding, like gestalt therapy. You have a gestalt, not just a symptom here and there but a whole picture, and from that picture you can understand all of the symptoms, and from there remedies are easy to learn. Really understand that picture, that gestalt and be quite precise from it. He gives me a lot of pictures. The picture of Graphites that George taught is quite a rigid one. Sankaran gives the opposite, a very unstable one. So you see a more full picture of a remedy. Also, Whitmont did the same for me, in understanding the Magnesium’s in his book, Psyche and Substance, there was a whole good thing about the Magnesium’s. He taught me a lot. George had only one side of it, the pacifist side, but the aggressive side is much more stressed in Psyche and Substance there are two parts to the same thing.
 AH: Are you saying that one homeopath tends to give only one side of a remedy?
 Scholten: You don’t know, it’s a developmental thing. The future can only tell. You don’t know if it’s finished, the future can only tell. That’s also the same with my books.
 AH: Is there a spiritual path or tradition that you follow?
 Scholten: A lot, but not special. You know in a way, when Rajan talks about a basic delusion, in a way it’s like Buddhism, it’s all connected. When you talk about Milton Erickson and his psychotherapy, it’s the same as Buddhism. Someone has a kind of picture, you show him a picture and he says it’s a delusion.
 AH: Did Erickson influence you with the stages?
 Scholten: No, not with the stages, but the basic idea of what he does. In homeopathy, you give the same thing back. Do it and do it more. They call it paradoxical therapy, but it’s the same as homeopathy. He doesn’t do it with remedies but with interaction.
 AH: Do you see a relationship between your work with the tables and alchemy?
 Scholten: (laughs) The whole of homeopathy is alchemy. You know the whole way of making potencies is like alchemy. When you read the old stories about alchemy, you do it over and over again, you purify it more and more and more, it’s like potentization. What’s also a connection is that you use substances, but the real development is in the mind. It’s the same in homeopathy. And the body follows. It’s all the same.
 AH: You are making a system, Gurdjieff had a system where hydrogen was the principle component of the universe, and I was told that he and Mendeleyev were hanging out together in Moscow at the same time.
 Scholten: They had a connection.
 AH: And Gurdjieff had the idea that hydrogen was the substance that was holding the universe together and based a theory of evolution around it. Do you have a theory about your system reflecting the evolution of humanity?
 Scholten: More or less. I was reading a book of David Foster, I forget the title, and he says that evolution is the development of the growing consciousness, that it broadens, and I think that’s right.
 AH: Like the poem by T .S. Elliot, returning from where we began and knowing it for the first time.
 Scholten: Yes, but in a different way; we take with us the experiences we learned.
 AH: Do you find that development goes on in an orderly manner, like from stage 14 to 15, or would it go from 14 to 11?
 Scholten: Normally it goes orderly in the sense that in human life you find all the development normally; but someone gets stuck somewhere and he takes that being stuck with him all the time. So he can have phases when he can be stuck everywhere, but the system of development tends to be orderly. But then you go with the next lesson when you didn’t really finish with the first lesson, when you didn’t completely solve it, you only partially solved it.
 AH: Do you have any feelings about reincarnation?
 Scholten: For me it is the only thing that can be true. (Laughing) It’s stupid to think that it could not be true. It’s also the case that in Christianity, that during the time of Christ it was normal, all over the world, like in India, it’s normal, there’s hardly anyone who thinks differently. Also with Christianity it’s normal, but in the 6th century there was a council that decided that reincarnation wasn’t good, so they took it off the books. It had to do with the fear, you know, live a good life now so you won’t go to hell. The church would lose its power, it’s more a power thing, and politics, more than being in contact with it.
 AH: So, let’s say, hypothetically, you have a patient who is an Arsenicum at stage 14. You treat them successfully, do they become a Sulphur?
 Scholten: No, you cannot tell. All the elements are projections of possibilities, of talents and problems. I think that all the humans have all the possibilities in them, and those talents. But you can get stuck with that talent and so it can be that someone gets stuck in an Arsenicum kind of a problem, or make a problem of it. But the Sulphur is not a problem at all. So the next stage could be anywhere, could be Hydrogen again. What you see often is that you start with the latest problem, when they are in their adulthood or old age and they have a “director” problem. So you start with the Gold series and you see many times they go up to the Silver series or the Iron series. You solve that and they go to the Carbon series. It’s like the laws of Hering, you go back to your youth. That’s what I see happening quite often, but you cannot tell for sure. There are times when you have to give the Aurum or whatever. You always have to look at what’s happening. Forget about all the theories and look at what’s happening.
 AH: You talk about disease as creator.
 Scholten: The idea is that you create for yourself a lesson to teach yourself something, and for you, that needs a problem, otherwise there is nothing to learn. So you can compare it with a play in a theater. When you look at it from the point of view of the actor, he’s really involved in it. When you look at it from the point of view of the director, for him, it’s a creation.
 AH: You had said in Homoeopathy and Minerals, when you were talking about “meta levels,” that abstraction makes it possible to predict the picture of unknown remedies. By basing your remedies on the position of the elements in the chart, as well as its stages, are you being as careful as you would be in prescribing a remedy for someone as you would be prescribing a remedy that has had a full-blown proving?
 Scholten: For me that is not a question. The point is that I get a patient with a picture. Then there are a few possibilities; I know the picture, OK, so that’s not a problem, I can prescribe it. Or, I don’t know the picture, and then I have to look at some point to get a clue for it, look for some strange keynotes. But in a case where you don’t find any clues, or some cases where you try some remedies but they don’t seem to fit, and you don’t have the feeling “that’s it”, you have to find some other way. I have my way of analyzing in Homeopathy and the Elements and if it gives a remedy that fits completely, so why shouldn’t I try it?
 AH: To help the patient.
 Scholten: Exactly, to help the patient. This is the first rule. I have ten statements in my book. The first is, in an unknown picture you have to give an unknown remedy. It’s the Law of Similars. So when you try a known remedy like Sulphur, in a case you don’t understand, you have to fail, otherwise Homeopathy would be crazy!
 AH: Hahnemann felt that an important cornerstone for the practice of Homeopathy was the reliance only on medicines whose reactions had been determined by careful provings. I believe he wrote in the Organon that speculation on the action of medicines by using them on patients, without first knowing their true action, was unethical. How do you respond to the criticism of your book, by some, that it is promoting speculative, curative properties of unproven substances?
 Scholten: There is a lot happening there. I must go through it one by one. Hahnemann didn’t say that knowing the remedy by doing the proving was the only way of knowing the remedy. It could be that he said that provings were a good way of finding a remedy picture, and that is true, they are a good way of finding a remedy picture, but not the only way. Every science starts with pure empirical ways of thinking; just look at it and write it down, don’t think about it, just look at it and write down all you see. That’s what Hahnemann said, because in his time there was only speculation. No one was really looking at what was going on, so he was right, in that sense, but he could have meant only provings. Then, I don’t agree with him, there he’s false. Hahnemann is false in many ways in his Organon. It’s like a religious type of thinking that Hahnemann was the beginning one so he must be correct in everything. that’s crazy! He tried his best and made many mistakes. It’s not true that you cannot repeat a the same remedy twice, it’s crazy, it’s not true, everyone does it. There are many points like that in the whole Organon. It doesn’t mean I don’t respect Hahnemann, but it’s difficult to follow him blindly like a guru and note it all down exactly what he said, and never go away from it by a little point. That’s not science, that’s religion. Don’t think you are respectful to Hahnemann if you follow him that way because he was a researcher. He wanted to develop homeopathy because he felt it was a strong way of healing.
 After the stage of empirical science, look at what happens. Classification, making categories, making classification, just as Mendeleyev did with his periodic table. It was a classification of all the known qualities of those elements, even the discovery that they were elements was, in a sense, a classification. There is a whole lot of knowledge organized in the periodic table, it’s a classification of all those things.
 The third stage of science goes to theory, which is different from theorization and speculation, which is what Hahnemann warned us about. The difference is that in theories, you do a speculation and then you test it. You look to see if it’s true, and if it holds, how long it holds, how many cases, and if you can find cases where it won’t hold, and then look at it and see why it won’t hold in that case. That’s theory. It’s different from speculation because speculation and theorizing is about making up fantasies and not bothering about them anymore, not really looking in reality to see if it’s true or not. That’s the difference between the two.
 AH: And you feel you have enough data?
 Scholten: I have tested them and tested the predictions with my system with remedies like Scandium and Molybdenum, given them to my patients and they worked with my prediction, so it’s real science.
 AH: Does it sometimes not work?
 Scholten: Of course, that’s when I give Sulphur, and no one would object to that!
 AH: Apropos of that, can you generalize about the Homeopaths who criticize your work and those who applaud it? Scholten: What I see in general is that the Homeopaths who are newer to the field love it and the ones who are old in the field object to it, not all of them, but the ones who have a lot of experience with the old ways of training, they have difficulties accepting this new way of thinking. The criticism is also mostly from people who haven’t tried the system. The proof is in the pudding! You have to try it yourself before you criticize.
 AH: So the paradigm theory defined by Kuhn fits here, in that the old guard may be rejecting a change occurring in somewhat established practices?
 Scholten: That could be the case. It could be that I am wrong too (laughter), only time will tell.
 AH: What percentage of cases that come to you are element cases?
 Scholten: I can’t say if they are, (laughs) but I prescribe about 60% minerals. Probably 60% are mineral cases.
 AH: Do you think they come to you on “automatic sort” because you’re known as the “mineral man”?
 Scholten: No, most of my patients don’t know, it’s only the other homeopaths that do. Most of my patients come to me because one of their family members was helped very well and now they want to come. They don’t know about the book and they don’t bother about it. I give a lot of plants, 30-35%, it was also the same in the past, in the old repertories and materia medicas most of the pages are minerals.
 AH: Our environment is deteriorating. How is that impacting the prescription of remedies?
 Scholten: I don’t know. I do know that we now have to use a lot of remedies that have deterioration in them, DDT, penicillin, a lot of the medicines. It was the same in Hahnemann’s day. A lot of the remedies that Hahnemann developed were remedies we know from intoxication, and they were very much needed because a lot of people were intoxicated then. I’ve seen many patients who have needed penicillin, and you give the remedy and they are one level further. You need those remedies too. So, the problem is the more remedies there are, the more stuff there is in the world that can intoxicate someone, the more pictures we have to know about those kinds of things.
 AH: What is happening in Europe with Homeopathy, provings?
 Scholten: It’s developing very fast, but I think we are only at the beginning.
 AH: Can you elaborate?
 Scholten: What I’ve written down is just the beginning of the mineral kingdom, you can make all those combinations and even more than what is in my book. They need more cases, more provings. We need to develop keynotes of them, and then we have to sort out all those remedies, even the old ones. There are lots of symptoms that don’t even belong to some of the remedies. So, we have to re-evaluate and sift it out. Still to be done. And then go to the plant kingdom. There are two-hundred and fifty thousand plant species. I am also looking at the plants, my preference goes to the plants, not the minerals. Everyone thinks I’m the mineral man. It’s not true.
 AH: You’re not wearing a green jacket for nothing! How do European homeopaths view Homeopathy in America?
 Scholten: Nothing specific. They feel mostly that it’s one community. Everyone has some objection to one teacher or another, but it’s not an issue of America and Europe. The issue doesn’t live as far as I see it.
 AH: Is there a greater acceptance of Homeopathy by national medical governing boards in Europe?
 Scholten: It’s starting, more or less. In Norway they will probably get it into law. There was a big conference in Berlin and one Under-Minister of Health said that we have to change our policy and look at it more as a system of values. It’s difficult to tell what comes out of it. There are a few hints. Also, the European Parliament is going more toward alternative medicine than most governments, but you never know how it goes. There is also a lot of resistance by regular doctors.
 AH: There is so much resistance in this country.
 Scholten: That is why I don’t think you have to fight them, just cure all the patients you get. That’s the best way to do it.
 Cure 50% of all the cancer patients we get, imagine, can we be left out? It would be impossible. They wouldn’t do it for one, two, three years, and then it would turn around. The patients wouldn’t take it anymore. They will come to us. So, we don’t have to blame them, just do the job better.
 AH: In America there is a lot of the use of combination remedies. How do you view them in light of your combining elements that have never been combined before?
 Scholten: The problem is that we hardly know what we are doing. So, what a mess when you prescribe a complex remedy, you never know which substance is doing what! The difference is when I give Cobaltum Flouratum, it’s a salt, with its own qualities. You can make it, you don’t go out and find it somewhere. I’ve never seen Sulphur outside the laboratory. You don’t go out walking in nature and say “Oh, there’s some Sulphur,” and no one has any objection to it; so why object to Cobaltum Flouratum because it’s only in the laboratory. Complex remedies are just a mixture, it’s not a combination like a salt. Natrum Muriaticum is a salt. No one would say “that’s a complex remedy, you cannot give it.” So these substances all exist in nature. There are a lot of what we use that are man-made. Mercurius Iodatus Flavus is man-made, it’s all man-made, Kali Sulphuricum, I don’t think you can find in nature. You can make it and give it to someone. it’s the same with Plutonium. It didn’t exist 50 years ago, does that mean that you can’t give it?
 AH: Why are there so many rubrics containing Sulphur? Was it possibly that life began on metallic sulfides?
 Scholten: Hahnemann was an alchemist, and in Alchemy you have three basic substances, Sulphur, Salt and Mercury. Those are the most known remedies, and when you read Materia Medica Pura, and Chronic Diseases of Hahnemann, those remedies have the most symptoms. Hahnemann doesn’t state it so obviously, but he was an Alchemist. Or, he was very much, not in the sense that he was only an Alchemist, but he had a lot of things going on there. Those three substances are just symbolic, as substances in themselves, they aren’t more prominent than another one. When you look at it really, the most basic substance for life is Graphites, or any kind of Carbon, but not Sulphur.
 It’s the same with the metals. In astrology you have the seven old metals, they combine them with the seven planets. They still try to do it. You can’t do it, it doesn’t make sense, it takes you to the wrong direction. There are a few connections here and there, but first leave it, and maybe later look at it. It gives you better clues than going directly to it. I read an Anthroposophic book about healing with metals. I left it out because it’s rubbish. There are things that are there that fit our pictures, they took it from our pictures, but a lot of the things there are speculation, not looking to see if it’s true or not. Always go back to the patient. Go back to the experience. That’s what I always do. I speculate a lot more than I have written!
 AH: When were you born?
 Scholten: I’m a Capricorn. I was born in 1951.
 AH: So, you hit the Sixties!
 Scholten: I think the 60’s were a great influence in the world, a great liberation of all the rigid ways of thinking. We benefited a little bit and it was very needed. It’s needed even more now. Sometimes when I’m here in America it astonishes me, a little thing happens and it’s in the newspaper for weeks. I read where an Air Force woman may have to be in jail for years because she slept with someone; that’s ridiculous! There seems to be more rigidity now. But then, it comes in waves. There is nothing in rigidity, it’s empty, it doesn’t lead you to the next evolution, so the children aren’t educated to think for themselves but only by the rules. People are afraid that if people are free, the world will go crazy. That’s simply not true. The more different people are, the more free you have to be to live together, that’s how a city works. In a sense, every city is liberating and every countryside is restrictive.
 AH: So, to go back to the old model of the evolution of civilizations; family, band, tribe, city, country…
 Scholten: Universe! So, then you are completely free!
 AH: So that motion from a very small, restricting situation like a family, to a large, cosmopolitan one, like a city, requires the changes in consciousness to traverse it. Scholten: Yes, and that is the development everyone has to do, either in this life or another one. 

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Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
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