I first heard of David Little when Robin Murphy brought him to the USA a number of years ago to do a seminar about the LM potencies.
Then, in 1997, David began posting to the lyghtforce list on the Internet. It did not take much reading of his material to realize that the information he was providing was incredibly well thought out and accurate. I started a file called “Little” and put into it almost all the communication that came from him. When the on-line homeopathic magazine, Homeopathy OnLine, had a long piece about “Sequential Therapy,” the counter-point by David was an amazing exposition of Hahnemannian thought.
In January, 1998, David left Hawaii and returned to his home in India. Before he went, I was able to speak with him about his insights and experience in the world of homeopathy. I hope you enjoy his clarity of thought as much as I do.
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AH: Where did you start out in your early life? Where were you educated?
Little: I was born in Chicago, Ill. in 1948 and grew up on a lake in a small town near theWisconsin border. My education was one of constant rebellion against the status quo of scientific materialism. It was a good beginning for someone who would study the healing arts rather than orthodox medicine. In high school I wrote a controversial term paper for the most feared teacher in the school comparing the Buddhist view of Enlightenment to the Judeo- Christian doctrine. I was overwhelmed by oriental philosophy because it shows that there is more than one world-view. My professor was most impressed but everyone else thought I was a bit crazy to talk about Buddhists or Hindu yogis.
By this time the war in Vietnam was growing larger, the draft was introduced, and a clash of the old and new culture had begun. In those years being 18 years old was considered too young to stay out at night, to drink, get married, or vote -but not to be drafted. I decided that it was unconstitutional to draft minors to fight in an undeclared war, which was run without the consent of congress. My views were not very well received by the school authorities nor local establishment. By now I was considered to be a bit eccentric to say the least. This was my first big lesson in life and the beginning of my true education.
By 1967 I had moved to San Francisco and began what might be called my higher education. Leaving my little hometown and meeting the old beat generation poets, philosophers and diggers was a period of great expansion and wonderment. We were tired of the old mechanistic world-view with its materialistic one-sidedness and were looking for a new paradigm. Comparative religion and philosophy became my major interest and I wanted to travel around the world to learn from other cultures.
AH: What got you interested in Homeopathy?
Little: In 1969 I met the late great Dr. Manning Strahl who was a grand master of the healing arts. He had a deep knowledge of Homeopathy, Osteopathy, Craniopathy, Acupuncture as well as yoga and meditation. He lived in China in the 1930’s and traveled throughout the Orient. He was a close friend of Aldous Huxley and was physician to Swami Paramahansa Yogannada. He was part of the old L.A. alternative movement in the 1930’s through early 1960’s which was before the rise of the baby boom generation. At this time he was semi-retired living in a small town in northern California. I was very lucky to have known him. He introduced me to Classical Homeopathy. I am very grateful to him as he opened the door and put me on the correct path at an important point in my life.
AH: Where did you study? How did you learn?
Little: I began my study of the healing arts through the age-old apprentice system. Dr. Strahl and I became very close as we spent his last years together. He is my root teacher and we were like father and son. Very few people knew anything about craniosacral work nor Homeopathy in those years. At this time most practicing homeopaths were quite old and well trained. After Manning passed away I moved to Maui, Hawaii where I did my best to study further what the old healer had taught me. By the early 1970’s George Vithoulkas came to California and the rebirth of Homeopathy in the USA was well on its way. Since that time there have been many serious students of our art. Dr. Strahl’s generation are, for the most part, gone.
AH: When did you go to India? Why? When did you return?
Little: I first went to India in 1978. Ever since I wrote that term paper on metaphysics in school I wanted to go to India. I have always had the greatest interest in yoga and healing. I also heard there were great homeopaths in India and I wanted to deepen my study. Since that time I visited many homeopathic hospitals and clinics and have met many very fine practitioners. It was 16 years before I returned to live in the USA. One of my first exposures to this clinical environment was with Dr. Issac in Kerala, South India. He was a Kentian prescriber who headed a five-year homeopathic college and a large government hospital. They treated thousands in their out-patient department and had over a hundred beds for those who needed hospitalization.
India is a great place to study Homeopathy because you are exposed to the most virulent acute diseases as well as the most degenerative chronic conditions. In India we see everything from meningitis, malaria and cholera to hydrocephalus, diabetes, cancer, TB and madness. Homeopathy is considered a front-line medicine, not a fringe system to allopathy. Homeopaths have their own schools, boards, government hospitals and rural clinics which can be found even in some remote places. There is also a strong lay movement which follows the lead of the medical officers.
In India there are five recognized medical systems; Homeopathy, Allopathy, Ayur Veda, Urani and Siddha. The last three traditional systems represent the ancient Vedic, the Greco-Persian and South Indian Drividian lineages. Even in a populated and poor country like India the government and private foundations offer all these services for free or at minimal cost. We can only pray that such an enlightened healthcare system could happen in the USA. What is happening in the USA is shameful.
AH: What was it like to practice in India?
Little: India really tested my homeopathy and I quickly came to realize my western training was not sufficient for the clinic situations I was being exposed to every day. I knew that Hahnemann and early homeopaths treated very similar cases under similar conditions so I decided that I needed to review all of the old material very closely. I began my review of homeopathy with the founding classic, the Organon of the Healing Art. As I read the text I quickly began to see that much of the material in this book was totally different than the methods I had been taught. This was compounded by the fact that the pharmacy methods were those of the LM potency not the centesimals. I was confused by all this at first.
Slowly I realized that there were several editions of the Organon as well as The Chronic Diseases and that I was reading the 6th edition. I then read the 5th edition of the Organon (1833) and was surprised to find that it was fundamentally the same as the 6th edition (c. 1843). They both suggested that a freshly succussed liquid was a much more efficient delivery system then a dry pellet dose. This was my introduction to advanced Hahnemannian homeopathy.
I soon came to realize that the homeopathy I was practicing was that of the 4th Organon which was published in 1829. Why had we homeopaths overlooked the last two editions of the masterpiece? Why had no one put the aqueous delivery system into practice as both the 5th and 6th editions suggested? In 1984 while I was in Nepal I decided to try to reconstruct the methods that Hahnemann used during his last ten years and put them through a clinical trial stage by stage.
My first experiment was to make the medicinal solution as suggested in the 1837 preface to The Chronic Diseases and follow as closely as possible the new posology system of the 5th Organon. I immediately noticed that the aqueous solutions were different then the standard dry doses and that Hahnemann was on to something new that we did not understand. I found the succussed solutions were more powerful, yet if adjusted correctly, produced less aggravations. Under these conditions it was possible to speed the cure as Hahnemann had suggested in the 5th and 6th edition.
This was the start of a 12 year trial I ran while running free clinics in North India. I wondered what this mysterious potency Hahnemann was using in his last three years was, but no one had any of these 50 millesimal remedies. In tribute to Hahnemann’s psora doctrine, the first LM remedy I made was Sulphur 0/1. As I began to apply the few LM’s I made I could see that they had a different medicinal quality then the centesimal. This greatly expanded the therapeutic range of the Homeopathy I was practicing.
Fortunately, I met the late Dr. H. Choudury of Calcutta who had used the LM potency for 25 years. My studies with him were enlightening because he and his students loved to discuss various aphorisms of the 6th Organon. He supplied me with over 400 LM remedies in all the potencies. I was truly overjoyed and grateful.
AH: What are you doing now?
Little: I have been on Maui for over 3 years! I still have a house in Himachal Pradesh and will be returning there with my family in January, 1998. By the time this is in print I will be home. I am looking forward to seeing the Himalayas from my backyard again and working in the countryside. My mission in life is to understand Hahnemann’s full legacy and bring it up to date so that it can be utilized in a practical manner. There is really a lot of material there.
As it stands now, Homeopathy has stopped growing with the 4th Organon so the techniques associated with the 5th and 6th edition are little understood. Wenda O’Reilly’s rendition of the 6th Organon has helped by giving homeopaths a modern English translation, but the revised posology methods are thought to be only for the LM potency. Very few homeopaths really understand how to use the medicinal solutions with both the centesimal and LM potency. Rima Handley’s In Search of the Later Hahnemann has offered a great view of the Paris practice but the conclusions she draws from the material are open to question. She has made several fundamental mistakes in her theme. This is because she has not understood the methods of the 5th and 6th Organon in a practical manner. Without some practical experience it is very hard to understand the casebooks.
AH: What are some of the misconceptions?
Little: The major problem is that the Organon is not being understood in a practical manner. Ms. Handley’s book perpetuated the illusion that the 5th Organon taught the single unit pellet dose although the medicinal solution was first introduced in this work. She also wrote that Hahnemann kept his revised posology methods secret, yet the medical solution and split-dose techniques were published in The 5th Organon and the 1837 edition of The Chronic Diseases. She has also misread the notations for the dosages of the centesimal remedies. Finally, she goes too far by claiming that Hahnemann gave all his remedies “daily” which Hahnemann’s casebooks do not support.
To set the record straight I have obtained the microfiche film from the Robert Bosch Institute of all of Hahnemann’s cases between 1840 and 1843. These are the definitive years as they represent the period in which he wrote the 6th Organon. These cases paint quite a different portrait of Hahnemann’s final methods than the impression one gets from Ms. Handley’s book. To take up all the points is impossible in a short interview such as this. I have written a review of The Later Hahnemann for the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy which will be published in 1998. This deals with the major questions related to this subject. I will also be posting a more detailed review on my website on the Internet.
AH: What is the best way to understand Hahnemann’s casebooks?
Little: The only way to really reconstruct what Hahnemann was doing is to study the published works, read the letters he wrote, translate his casebooks and review the eyewitness accounts. Dr. Croserio, a close confidant of the Hahnemanns, who Ms. Handley called the foremost Homeopath in Paris, wrote the following in a letter dated 1844, just one year after Hahnemann died. It takes up the subject of the daily dose. I quote:
“Only in rare cases he [Hahnemann] would give daily a tablespoonful or coffee-spoonful of the first solution in 8 to 15 tablespoons of water.” If he gave a powder to be taken at once in a tablespoon of water, this was never anything else then sugar of milk.”
Dr. Croserio worked with Hahnemann during his last years and was one of his closest confidants. He was well aware of what the Old Master really practiced in his final years. His description of Hahnemann’s case management is much more consistent with the cases I have reviewed from his last three years and what is taught in the 6th Organon. This eyewitness account offers a further glimpse of the Old Master’s last years.
“He [Hahnemann] never prescribed two different remedies, to be used in alternation or one after the other, he always wanted to see first the effect of the one remedy, before he gave another, and this even with patients who he treated at a distance of two or three hundred miles. Nor would he change. Even in acute disease it was a rare case to see him allow the patient to take more than one spoonful in 24 hours.”
This paints quite a different picture from the impression Ms. Handley gives! The epoch around the 5th Organon was one of radical experimentation and constant transformation. Due to the limited number of proven remedies it was sometimes very hard to find a remedy that fit the totality of the symptoms in chronic cases. For this reason in the 1830’s Hahnemann performed trials with double remedies, remedies in tandem, remedies in alternation and remedies in series. As the materia medica expanded, the simillimums were more perfect leading to the use of less remedies. By the 1840’s, Hahnemann’s casebooks show that he left these former methods behind as he found more successful techniques.
As a practitioner of Hahnemannian Homeopathy, I am a little disappointed with the way Ms. Handley portrayed Hahnemann’s experiments in his Paris years in her books. She gives those who do not know any better the impression that Hahnemann preferred to use tandem remedies, alternations, the daily dose and gave everyone Sulphur. She mentions several experiments but does not offer the dates of the cases to which she is referring. There is a great difference between the methods of 1830, 1833, 1835, 1837, 1839 and those of 1840 to 1843. All of this information must be placed in a sequential order so one could understand the evolution of his revised methods to their final and most perfected form.
AH: Why has there been so much misunderstanding around Hahnemann’s final ten years?
Little: Without knowing the historical order of Hahnemann’s experiments, this period becomes confusing and contradictory. This is why some say that Hahnemann’s private practice was completely different than his published works so the Organon should be totally ignored. Others are using this misinformation to rationalize the use of combination remedies, alternations and frequent changes of the prescriptions. We even have so-called teachers of the Organon who profess mixtures of ultra high potency remedies chosen by an allopathic concept of etiology. All of this in the name of Hahnemann!
Much of this new material is misrepresented because it is misunderstood. The revised methods of the 5th and 6th Organon must be placed upon the strong foundation of the 4th Organon. The pretenders do not understand this! The single dose, wait and watch method, is the basis on which the careful repetition of remedies to speed the cure is placed. Hahnemann’s postulate that his revised posology has the potential to speed the cure to 1/2 or 1/4 the time of the old method must be put to the test by experienced classical homeopaths. Only those with such a deep background can understand Hahnemann’s more advanced teachings and use them in a practical manner. I am sure this is what the Old Master would expect of us.
Those who have access to the Internet are invited to join the Homeolist through the Homeopathic Home Page. This is an open international study group which is dedicated to Classical Homeopathy. Those seeking more information on the subject of Hahnemann’s final methods are invited to visit David’s Website at:
http://www. ioa. com/home/davehart/little. htm
and download the article Hahnemann’s Advanced Methods. Sometime in April, 1998 David’s writings will have a permanent home at http://www.simillimum.com
I first heard of David Little when Robin Murphy brought him to the USA a number of years ago to do a seminar about the LM potencies.