AvdM: When we asked ourselves in the beginning if homeopathy is science or art or shamanism or something completely different, we started with science and we now will talk about art. Is homeopathy art according to you?
AV: Almost every master called homeopathy art and science. We should ask ourselves what is artistic about it, because when homeopathy is an art, this has some repercussions.
AvdM: Which ones?
AV: To begin with: art requires talent, I think everybody will agree on that. One can go to the academy and practice a lot but without talent one is bound to fail. And talent, as difficult as it may be to define it precisely, is understood as a certain ability or even a gift. We wouldn’t consider talent indispensible to undertake a homeopathic training though.
AvdM: But it might help.
AV: In a way it always helps when someone can do what he is best at. This way you have people who are cut out to be the perfect nurse, while others have more talent to become a sales person or a mechanic. Each profession requires certain capabilities.
AvdM: And you don’t think homeopathy requires an artistic predisposition?
AV: No, I don’t think so. To me the main condition for successful prescribing is the faculty of discernment and the capacity to spot patterns and this requires a particular state of mind. We’ll go into that when we talk about case taking.
AvdM: Maybe homeopathy is called an art because we often encounter these ‘beautiful’ cases. Although I once read an article against this general experience, the writer was irritated by it and thought it was unnecessary and disturbing. We are aiming at curing sick people and all this raving about beautiful cases displeased him. His article though described the general experience among homeopaths.
AV: A welltaken case leads to a sure prescription; when all parts and pieces of the case are understood, they fall into place and are covered by the similimum. As homeopaths we then experience beauty because beauty is an element of rightness, justness and perfection. Good cases are always beautiful. But it’s a side effect of homeopathy, not the purpose and this gives us one more dissimilarity with art. Another difference is that the artist expresses his own most individual sensation while the homeopath tries to reach that inner stillness so as to let the other person express his most individual experience of himself and the world.
AvdM: I wonder where the similarities will come in.
AV: Maybe they are found mostly in the homeopathic training. In an ideal situation the art student is taught the theory and the technique and then he needs to practice a lot. The best teachings are from a personal master who can reflect back about what he did and encourage his student to correct or expand his skills. Another parallel is the fact that the art student also starts painting with a full palette of colors from day one, he doesn’t start to paint with one color and the second year with two colors and the year after with three. By training and practicing a lot he will learn more and more about colors and expand his possibilities. The homeopathy student also has to take note of everything at the same time: Organon philosophy with its hermeneutics drug pictures, rubrics, repertory, case taking, etc. since everything is connected to everything.
AvdM: I sure do remember that! In the beginning the training is overwhelming, you wonder if you will be ever able to understand all this. It’s not only about the bulk of data one has to get familiarized with but it also takes a paradigm shift.
AV: Indeed. And that takes time. It’s impossible to accomplish this in a few months because it requires a redrawing of the inner map.
AvdM: That makes it clear why a homeopathic training can’t be done in a few months or in a few weekends a year.
AV: I think it is possible that somebody could read and study a lot in a short time and in this way intellectually understand what it is all about. But I don’t think a thorough paradigm shift is obtained that way. That’s why it takes a close guidance to train homeopaths. The student has to do a lot himself, just like a music student who has to practice his piano or violin every day. Nobody can do it for him but the teacher must encourage and guide him along until he sees that the apprentice is ready to go his way on his own.
AvdM: The endless daily practice, that’s another thing art and homeopathy have in common!
AV: Practice makes perfect! Mastering an instrument takes daily exercise. Only when you master your instrument can you start to improvise. But I’m afraid that is not what is meant by the claim “homeopathy is an art.” Maybe we have a romantic vision of art; although almost every artist would agree art is 10% talent and 90% hard work or 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
AvdM: We can compare homeopathy to sports as well then!
AV: Yes, great, why not! It sure shares the necessity for daily training and determination. But so far nobody has mentioned that homeopathy was a sport, maybe because there are too few similarities and too many differences?