– Organon of the medical art (W.B.  O’Reilly)

Wenda Brewster O’Reilly, PhD, has written what is likely to become one of the most important books on homeopathy in this century. It is the most precise translation and adaptation of the sixth edition of Hahnemann’s Organon, to date, using Hahnemann’s own intended imagery, coloration and texture to bring forth the dynamic experience, the kennen, of his monumental work. For the first time, Hahnemann’s profound teachings, which are the foundation of homeopathy, can be read and understood with relative ease. With Steven Decker’s scholarly translation and her own exhaustive yet delicately balanced adaptation to modern English, O’Reilly has produced what can only be called, in all senses of the word, a masterpiece.
 From Jeremy Sherr’s Foreword
 ‘Organon’ contains the word OR, which in Hebrew means ‘light.’ In the beginning God made light which, endowed with life and truth, fertilized life with the seeds of source. In the medical world, Hahnemann’s Organon represents this light. Here lies the organic origin, the creative core of true healing. Like rays of sunlight traveling to earth, Hahnemann’s truth shines through the mists of time to illume our way, brighten our thoughts, and warm our hearts. It would not suffice to say that Hahnemann was ahead of his time for that would imply that one day he may be behind it. Like the true simillimum, Hahnemann’s genius is timeless and his work is as relevant to all medical practices today as it was 200 years ago. Homeopathy stands firmly on his pillars of truth, which have been confirmed and potentized by daily experience. Universal law forms the basis of homeopathy. Becoming a homeopath does not depend on the study of materia medica. It is not defined by prescribing potentized remedies, nor is it reliant on remembering the repertory. It is the living and understanding of these laws which breathes truth and cure into our medical practice.
 On first reading the Organon, I shared the initial frustration of many homeopaths. It seemed at once too simple, too complex, difficult to understand, or stating the obvious. Yet, as with a chest of treasures buried in the deep, careful investigation and diligent study expose jewels of wisdom. Each reading reveals new gems, pearls of truth on which we may base our art of arts. Like good wine, Hahnemann’s teachings improve with time. It was recommended by the old homeopaths that the Organon be read twice yearly for the first fifty years of practice, and thenceforth once a year. As a teacher of homeopathy, I am regularly faced with many questions, most of which can be answered directly from the Organon. It seems as if Hahnemann experienced, analyzed and solved most issues facing the contemporary homeopath -from case-taking to epidemics, diet to second prescription, one-sided cases to obstacles. Provings and placebo, antipathy and antidote, mental illness and miasm -all are thoroughly discussed. This diversity has not led to complexity. The Organon is arranged in clear and well defined paragraphs, each linked to the next in a magnificent chain of logic. From the first paragraph’s calling of love, to the second paragraph’s ideal of cure, the path of reason spirals to the final discussions on alternative therapeutic approaches. This arrangement is not a linear one, but rather a wonderfully woven web of intricate meanings that encompasses the whole of medicine.
 From Wenda Brewster O’Reilly’s Introduction
 Over the course of a sixty-year career, from 1783 when he stopped practicing the medicine of his day, until he died in 1843, Samuel Hahnemann developed the homeopathic mode of medical treatment, which was as different from the prevailing medical practice as day is to night.
 During his long professional career, Hahnemann condensed his precepts on the philosophy and practice of medicine and the maintenance of health into successive editions of the Organon of the Medical Art. The first edition was published in 1810, and the sixth and final edition was completed in 1842, the year before he died. Hahnemann did not write the Organon only for medical practitioners, in fact, he prescribed the Organon to patients. The book itself is a remedy of the highest potency. Like other great works of art, it constantly reveals new marvels and mysteries, acting dynamically in relation to each reader, and acting differently with each reading.
 Over the past few years, Steven Decker and I have worked closely together to bring Hahnemann’s work of genius to light for modern readers. His goal has been to provide the most accurate translation of Hahnemann’s language and thought. Mine has been to adapt the translation in such a way as to make it as comprehensible and as accessible as possible. Steven Decker’s new translation of the Organon conveys more of Hahnemann’s meaning than ever before, preserving the primary sense of his words as well as their imagery, color and texture. He has brought to the translation not only his keen understanding of the German language of Hahnemann’s time, but also of Hahnemann’s underlying philosophy, which was shared to some extent by a few other writers and philosophers of his time. This small group (including his contemporaries, Johann Goethe and Samuel Taylor Coleridge) comprise the beginning of what may be referred to as a dynamic school of thought.
 Steven Decker’s translation (which will become available in computer format) includes two parts: an interlinear translation, in which an English word appears above each word of the original text; and a rendering of each of Hahnemann’s sentences into an English sentence which follows as much as possible Hahnemann’s original periodic sentence structure. I have further adapted each sentence by placing Hahnemann’s translated words into a modern English grammatical structure, often expanding his very condensed style of writing. In addition, I have delineated the structure of the Organon by dividing it into chapters and sections, and I have interpreted the text in side-headings and editorial footnotes (indicated with an asterisk). A glossary and index have also been added.
 The Glossary includes definitions of medical terms used in the Organon, as well as translation notes on specific words. Readers can now understand terms as Hahnemann meant them instead of having to guess which of an English word’s several meanings was meant to apply. Also found in the Glossary are definitions of concepts that are fundamental to an understanding of Hahnemann’s mode of thought.
 The Index allows readers to use the Organon as a reference work. It also organizes information on certain topics. For example, listed under ‘Homeopathic treatment’ readers will find every homeopathic use of a medicine or treatment discussed by Hahnemann in the Organon; under ‘Definition of ‘ readers will find Hahnemann’s own definitions of terms in the text.
 Steven Decker and I worked together to solve one of the prime difficulties in translating and adapting a text of such complexity as the Organon: the problem of consistency versus context. At every turn, translators must choose between translating a particular word consistently throughout a text or translating it according to context. Previous translators have opted primarily for translation according to context. However, one way in which readers come to understand Hahnemann’s precise meaning is by seeing how he uses certain key words in various contexts. Steven and I approached this problem from different directions. Steven drew on a wide selection of English words to find the particular one that could span the various meanings of a given German word. We then worked together to define key terms in the Glossary so that readers can fully understand the nuances to be associated with particular terms. In other words, through the Glossary definitions, we are giving readers the opportunity to assign the full meaning of a given German word to the English word being used to translate it. One example is the use of ‘malady’ throughout the text. ‘Malady’ is being used to translate the German word Uebel, which has two meanings in German; it means both illness and evil. There is no word in English that immediately conveys both of these meanings to the reader. ‘Malady’ has been assigned the task of conveying both of these meanings and has been defined as such in the Glossary.
 Another frequently encountered problem in moving from one language to another is that different languages carry different ways of looking at something, conceptually dividing things into smaller or larger units. Where one language may use several words, another may use only one. For example, English has the terms ‘curing’ and ‘healing,’ which originally had different meanings. ‘Cure’ referred to medical intervention while ‘healing’ referred to the human organism’s own efforts to recover from disease or injury. German, however, has only one term (Heil-) that covers both healing and cure, and which can refer to anything that is remedial or therapeutic. Any such differences between Hahnemann’s original terminology and the translation are presented in the Glossary. As a result, readers will be able to better know and understand what Hahnemann wrote and what he meant.
 In some cases, linguistic differences between Hahnemann’s German and modern English describe profound differences between his philosophy or world-view and that of most modern English-speaking readers. The structure of Hahnemann’s thought and writing in the Organon is functional, not linear. If one reads Hahnemann from a linear perspective, one misses half the story. Steven Decker’s new translation, and his definition of key terms, bring these differences to light. Readers can come closer to seeing as Hahnemann saw and thinking as Hahnemann thought. 

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Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
International Homeopathic Consultant at Ushahomeopathy
I am a Homeopathic Physician. I am practicing Homeopathy since 20 years. I treat all kinds of Chronic and Acute complaints with Homeopathic Medicines. Even Emergency conditions can be treated with Homeopathy if case is properly managed. know more about me and my research on my blog https://www.homeoresearch.com/about-me/
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