AvdM: Do we have more overlaps between science and homeopathy?
AV: There are very interesting results in the so-called Human Sciences.
AvdM: The science where humans are the object of research?
AV: Yes, a bit funny in itself because it requires a lot of mental exercise to make a human being an ‘object of re-search’ but it is a fascinating field! Psychology, sociology, pedagogy and anthropology are relatively new domains within the scientific curriculum. What is of most im-portance to us is that all their research demonstrates that complete objectivity is not possible, although this seemed to be an imperative for a lot of people when doing scien-tific research. They had to admit that the inner world of the researcher influences the object of research; object and subject cannot be divided.
AvdM: Just like quantum physics shows how the observer in-fluences the outcome of his observation.
AV: Yes, but remember what Bohm said: “Even this is cre-ating a schism into an intrinsic whole.” We can state that the way our brain works determines what we will experience as ‘reality’. There is no ‘objective’ reality as such. This is where phenomenology comes in.
AvdM: I was afraid so. I read about it in your books13 and you told me before, but would you mind telling me again? I have a hard time grasping this.
AV: Everybody has a hard time with it! I know it sounds too crazy to be true. Phenomenology is a philosophical school or idea launched by Husserl14. In short he says that
13 Anne Vervarcke, The Charm of Homeopathy, pp. 24-33.
14 Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), philosopher, mathematician and founder of phenomenology.
reality requires somebody to make or observe that reality, otherwise it is not there. This basically means that, when you turn your back, the thing you just saw, ceases to exist. That is the meaning of “It takes three to have a rainbow”: water, light and an observer. If one of the three is missing, there is no rainbow.
AvdM: While everybody would protest and insist that of course the rainbow stays where it is?
AV: How would you know? How can you prove it?
AvdM: Well, somebody can make a picture and show you afterwards.
AV: Indeed. We can look at pictures and movies of places and events where we were not physically present but this only proves what I just said, that we share a lot of what we call ‘reality’ with other people.
AvdM: Didn’t you just say that everybody has a different inner map?
AV: See the dangers of thinking!? One risks getting entan-gled in his own contradictions or rather paradoxes. Some people spend their life trying to solve these. And interest-ingly enough scientific progress often is the result. We came to a point where we see that everybody differs and has an individual outlook and understanding of reality and at the same time everybody shares the same reality because we all have the same holographic brain interpreting the ho-lographic universe.
AvdM: I wonder how you will work your way out of that…
AV: Maybe I need to introduce another research result. This one comes from the field of epistemology. To be able to com-municate there are several conditions. I talked about symbols before and I don’t think we need to go into that again15.
15 Anne Vervarcke, The Charm of Homeopathy: ‘Ceci n’est pas une Pipe’ and The Postgraduate Annual 2006: ‘Everything is Symbolic, so is this.“
The most important thing to keep in mind now is that language is a very sophisticated form of symbolizing. Human beings are very good at this! The main medium of communication is language, words. To understand one another we need enough information and knowledge in common. A professor in mathematics cannot make himself be understood to a ten-year-old boy. I would not understand a Chinese speaking person since I don’t speak the language. We also need enough difference in order to get new information, because otherwise every-thing that is said is already known. So, on the one hand we need enough similarity and on the other hand we need some novelty: then we are able to weigh the new informa-tion and accept it, add it to our inner map or reject it. It seems we all have enough common knowledge of the world around us to agree on ‘facts’. Within that frame there is enough space to add something new and match or merge with our inner map. We could say that the exam-ple with the Chinese is like allopathy. When somebody is communicating only already known facts it’s like isopathy and when there is enough common ground but some new information coming in, it resembles homeopathy. It has the possibility to add information to our inner map and by doing so expand our understanding and vision.
AV: Back to phenomenology. It seems we all have enough common knowledge of the world around us to agree on ‘facts’ and within that frame there is enough space to add something new and match or merge it with our inner map.
AvdM: I’m following but I’m not sure I can integrate the idea of ‘no observer, no rainbow’ in here.
AV: Maybe because I haven’t told yet that we acquire this common inner map by what we call ‘education’. From day one a baby, a child is taught how to become a human among humans. He gets the interpretation and the sense of all his impressions and experiences from his surroundings. His parents and later more people will imprint this on him by their reactions, examples and the meaning they give. When a baby is left with the wolves, it will grow up a wolf, we have cases of that. In general our education decides what meaning we‘ll give to the impressions and happen-ings. All this is imprinted in the first years of our life. And we know now those years are determinative for the course of life. The foundations for our psychological functions are laid out the first four years.
AvdM: And what can you conclude from this? What does this have to do with phenomenology?
AV: Since we have big parts of our inner maps in common, due to education or call it indoctrination if you like, and since we can only communicate if we have a whole lot in common and a little difference, we can agree on how real-ity is. The little difference is what we call the individual inner map. Phenomenology represents the philosophical idea that ‘reality’ as such doesn’t exist: it is an interpreta-tion of a brain trained in a specific way.
AvdM: A holographic brain for that matter!
AV: Indeed, if one puts these findings together, they some-how seem to enforce one another.
AvdM: And as a homeopath we experience every day the space that is left to ‘see’ or ‘experience’ that reality, which brings me to another of your one-liners: ‘Nature over nurture.’ Is it useful to bring this in too?
AV: It is, but it’s again a different topic altogether. It is one of the main questions for anthropologists: what is cultur-ally determined and what is universal in human behavior and societies? I don’t think they have to come to a final conclusion; there is always evidence for the one as well as the other, otherwise it wouldn’t be a question in the first place. Usually scientists end up by trying to be reasonable and rational by saying it is the one as well as the other, it is not a matter of “or” but “and”. Personally, I think this answer is unsatisfactory and incorrect. It is not water and fire at the same time and it is not a sign of intelligence to take that stance, on the contrary! While both nature and nurture have their obvious influences, one has to decide which one is decisive. On top of that: the first requisite for a homeopath is his faculty of discernment. This is what the homeopath needs above all things, but we’ll come to that when we’ll talk in depth about case taking.
AvdM: OK, back to our discussion: people share the majority of their inner maps by being educated a certain way and at the same time there is room for individual differences. Let’s continue with this first.
AV: Exactly! This means that at least a part of our homeo-pathic observations is supported by scientific evidence.
AvdM: I remember you mentioned that the empiricist and phenomenologist in you had a problem?
AV: Well, if on the one hand, you claim to be an empiri-cist who observes phenomena and deduce conclusions and on the other claim that the observer is the one who –by his very being- makes the phenomena, you find yourself in the same position as the anthropologist who can’t decide whether it is nature over nurture or the other way around.
AvdM: They both seem true, but it can’t be both. That’s the paradox.
AV: You see the problem!
AvdM: Hahnemann, our founding father, was known to be an empiricist at heart.
AV: It just seems to be the correct scientific attitude.
AvdM: But again, science, in this case Human Sciences, proved this to be incorrect.
AV: Which brings me to another one-liner: ‘there is no-body out there’!