AV: When we want to heal or to “restore the sick to health” as Hahnemann writes, the first thing we have to ask ourselves is: ‘what is health’ and hence ‘what is disease’?
AvdM: The eternal question!
AV: Let’s put it that way: it is hard to be a homeopath and not formulate an answer to that question. If this is overlooked, the homeopath has no method, no system, no understanding and no criteria to evaluate the results, if any.
AvdM: Well, some people might think it is evident, everybody knows what health and disease are.
AV: That would be the first and cardinal mistake then. Who is this ‘everybody’ who knows? Which authority speaks? Are we still in the Newtonian age where health is defined as the flawless functioning of the physical body? Even the WHO formulates health now as a more general state of wellbeing of mind and body. Probably few would still hold the purely material position but there starts the problem. If health includes ‘more’ than having healthy body, what is the ‘more’?
AvdM: We spend a lot of time in our training meditating over these questions. Vithoulkas formulated a workable definition: “Health is freedom on the physical, emotional and mental plane.”
AV: Yes and then Sankaran came and originally defined disease as a “basic delusion showing itself by ‘conditions to be OK.’
AvdM: And where are we now? Is there still evolution?
AV: The basic homeopathic definition is: ‘disease is the result of a disturbed dynamis or vital force, showing itself by signs and symptoms on mind and body’. The understanding of these words evolves constantly, depending on the evolution of the homeopath. In my understanding, since disease is expressed in mind and body, it must be beyond. To visualize this, I use a fivelevel diagram to make it more visual. The idea that there is an even more profound level than the delusion level comes from Sankaran again but he works with seven levels and his scheme and mine don’t fully overlap, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a reason to make another one in the first place. Hence, I incorporated Sankaran’s ideas but if I would call my approach ‘Sankaran’s method’, his followers would say I don’t do it properly. And they would be right: I don’t do it properly and that is why I don’t want to teach in his name. I am not doing the same thing but I want to emphasize that he was my most important teacher.
AvdM: Now you are talking of disease instead of health…
AV: Yes. It is easier to start from that angle because when things are OK, there isn’t much to tell. When people feel healthy and happy, they don’t have much to say, do they? AV: I guess you are right.
AvdM: I’m familiar with it but maybe you want to pinpoint the most important features of it?
AV: Sure. It represents a model that helps us understanding what disease is and where it comes from. On top of that it navigates us throughout case taking and helps us evaluating the result of the remedy taken. In short, because I have written extensively about it, it is a model, a scheme and I’m sure many other schemes are possible.
I use five levels of experience because Hahnemann explained in his Organon 27that disease is nothing but a disturbance of the spiritlike dynamis expressing itself with signs and symptoms in mind and body.
AvdM: Or expressing itself by disturbances in sensations and functions of mind and body.
27 Aphorism 11: “When a person falls ill, it’s only his spiritual selfacting vital force, everywhere present in the organism, that is primarily deranged by the dynamic influence upon it…. This morbid derangement makes itself known by the manifestation of disease in the sensations and functions of those parts of the body exposed to the senses of the observer and physician…” Aphorism 19: “… as diseases are nothing more than alterations in the state of health of the healthy individual which express themselves by morbid signs and the cure is only possible by a change in the healthy condition of the state of health of the diseased individual…”
AV: Great, you remembered this well. And it is of crucial importance. You know: there is no topic in Homeopathy Land that is not a subject for debate with a lot of controversy, and as interesting as it might be for the colleagues in their gatherings, I’m more concerned about the overall ideas, the general principles. Instead of having these endless and boring discussions on the exact meaning of a correct translation of a German word, many times completely taken out of its context, I’d rather have a clear and general vision and understanding.
AvdM: I like that about you!
AV: Don’t get me wrong: it is important to be precise in all circumstances but this is just not my cup of tea. The ‘temporary’ conclusion I have arrived at today on my journey to knowledge is that since there is a disturbance expressing itself in mind and body, it means that the disturbance must be ‘beyond’ mind and body. It doesn’t come from the mind nor does it originate in the body. And contemplating the body and mind level of experience I came to the conclusion that they both have clearly separated aspects and can’t be reduced to only one.
Vithoulkas uses three levels: physical, emotional and mental. He distinguishes two mind levels, as Sankaran does. The latter though distinguishes two levels before that: the level of the ‘Name’ and the level of ‘Facts’. These are not really levels of experience because the ‘Name ‘ is not an experience but only a label. His second level ‘Facts’ is an experience in that it means the way the pathology is felt and influenced by circumstances. In homeopathy we call these ‘modalities’ which means ‘individualized pathology’. I can understand the reason he breaks the pathology down into two levels: allopathy doesn’t even individualize it and only treats the diagnostic label that is put on the disease,
without any differentiating. Hence, your migraine and my migraine would both be called and treated in the same way. But we all know and Hahnemann already wrote in his footnote of aphorism 8128 that no two pathologies are the same, not even in acute pathologies. He says there is no such thing as ‘yellow fever’ or ‘scarlet fever’ because it differs with every outbreak. The same applies to chronic diseases. So I suppose that Sankaran wanted to make this distinction but in my diagram the two physical levels are not the same he uses.
AvdM: Maybe you can go into similarities and differences and why you thought it was useful to make these distinctions.
AV: To answer your last question first: I worked with Sankaran’s insights for 15 years. As I was teaching in my own training center and abroad I saw a lot of people struggling with them and making the same mistakes. Where I thought, from experience with my own mistakes and failures, I could help and clarify, I adjusted his method. In the course of time more and more modifications were added, up to the point that I found myself in a position that I could not teach his method in his name. That’s why I work under my own name and responsibility.
AvdM: And do you claim to have the system improved?
28 Hahnemann’s footnote for aphorism 81: “… under each of which are included excessively different morbid conditions, which often resemble each other in one single symptom only, as ague, dropsy, consumption, leucorrhoea, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, apoplexy, convulsions, hysteria, hypochondriasis, melancholia, mania, quinsy, palsy, which are represented as diseases of a fixed and unvarying character, and are treated on account of their name, according to a determinate plan! How can the bestowal of such a name justify an identical medical treatment? And if the treatment is not always the same, why make use of an identical name, which postulates an identity of treatment? “…We ought to say the patient has a kind of Saint Vitus dance, a kind of dropsy, a kind of typhus, a kind of ague… we should never say he has the Saint Vitus dance, the typhus, the dropsy, the ague, as there are certainly no diseases of these and similar names of fixed and unvarying character…”
AV: That would be daring but, rather as does everybody else, I have my own style, my own life experience and the knowledge I gathered from clinical cases. My basic endeavor was to help the student homeopath to prescribe with more certitude in every case children, babies, taciturn or unexpressive people and improve his ability to find the similimum. The only thing I claim is this is the best I can do! And for years I do consultations in public, intakes and followups, so that everybody can see for him or herself how I work and how the results are.
AvdM: OK. Similarities and differences now.