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What's the Problem?

Homeopathy already recognises that people and symptoms are unique. Potential provers, often students, come from varying backgrounds and stages of life so that their proving experiences of any given subtance will vary substantially. A wide range of experiences can be a good thing if our main object is to get a vision of the widest and deepest range of symptoms a substance can produce. Normally this is close to what we want from a proving, but are the extremes of experience really what we need? Perhpas this is too much information?

Perhaps what we really need is a cross-section of healthy subjects who have been assesed using Sherr's MOPMEC scale? Lets consider what the results from such a proving would produce. There would certainly be some symptoms common to the group. These would be the "common ground" of the substance. Then there would be the ideosyncratic, odd and curious symptoms - perhaps some of these make up the modalities and S.R.P.s of the substance. Unfortunatly trials with healthy subjects are likely to miss a set of important results ... the curative results.

Affinity

So, perhaps what we really need is a group of subjects who's suitablity is defined by their probable affinity for the substance under consideration. How would we set that one up? Perhaps a preliminary test could be carried out on the substance by an experienced Homeopath who would be able to give some preliminary guidelines about the nature of the beast. Or, maybe we could predict some of its expected parameters using the doctrine of signatures combined with our understanding of the Families or Stages? Assume we have done some assessment of this nature and we are satisfied that we have at least some understanding of the substance. Next we match our subjects to these parameters. Easy-peasy.

Lets take an substance that isn't so well known, say Lutetium (Stg 17) as a hypothetical example. To determine its clinical benefit we need a subject who would be likely to respond to it favourably ... that's someone diagnosed with "Stg 17 Syndrome", for the arguments sake, say the profile fits a subject who's lost or abandoned their sense of inner power and feels resigned to taking an early retirement.

This subjects experiences would absolutely resonate with the substance and give us the depth of information that would be clinically useful. We would learn more about "Stg 17 Syndrome" and about the substance. We would be able to think about a Genus Epidemicus qualification for Lutetium - perhaps at level 4 - curative in at least one case. A good starting point for further investigation.

Polarity

Now lets give Lutetium to another prover; someone at the peak of their career - perhaps our (Aurum) College Director! What are they likely to report? Perhaps dreams of giving up their job and flying away, or perhaps a feeling that their work is done on this Eartly plane?

The question then comes, is that a characteristic of Lutetium? It makes you want to escape into retirement? Well the fact that we know it was our Director gives us a frame of reference from which we can evaluate the response. Logically you could say that if your are at the peak of your career you could experience indifference to work on taking Lutetium. So you want to submit the rubric...

"Indifference, business to"

Wait a mo' ... consider the first subject with "Stg 17 Syndrome" who was about to take early retirement ... would they report a change of heart? So much so that their experience was summed up by the rubric...

"Enthusiasm, business for"

Which rubric would you submit?

What we are looking at are the so-called POLARITIES of Lutetium. It is the lower extreme of the polarity that was curative. The higher polarity was damaging (at least to our Director).

Perhaps, at the very least, we should annotate the rubric to signify the polarities as either high or low... but you have to know the prover to do that. If our Director joins in the proving anonymously the frame of reference is gone and the both rubrics get published.

Then we study the rubrics and then start wondering if, clinically it will produce indifference or enthusiasm!

NB: This is a first draft for an essay on proving methodolgy. Comments welcome.

Views: 169

Comment by Vaikunthanath das Kaviraj. on January 2, 2010 at 1:34pm
"Assume we have done some assessment of this nature and we are satisfied that we have at least some understanding of the substance. Next we match our subjects to these parameters. Easy-peasy."

First of all, assumptions are no certainties. So we cannot be satisfied we have any understanding.
Also, secondly, what parameters? The ones we assumed they would have. Our assumptions could be completely wrong.
Thirdly, we do not match testers to theoretical models, but adapt these models to the realities in the test-subjects.

What you describe is a preconceived idea about the remedy. Hahnemann says you have to go in unprejudiced. You must go in there not looking for things - that is unscientific and it will be torpedoed by the quackbusters.

Your test subjects should be preferably sensitives, as Hahnemann says in the organon, because they will provide the largest amount of symptoms. Those sensitives must be assessed to their sensitivity first and there should be as many as possible.
There must be an equal amount of non-sensitives - common people from all walks of life. Students are excellent, because it will teach them observation. Nobody must have any idea of what the remedy is like and thus no leading questions can be asked - it is simply taking a case, in which you also know nothing till you have taken it. That is the most objective and any method you have been taught is useless in recording the effects of a proving - it is a cold, hard, dry reiteration of facts.

What needs to be noted is the location, direction, speed, time and intensity of each symptom. Next modalities, concomitants and periodicity.

That is the easy peasy part. Then you must collate them and determine the characteristics on the basis of your symptom totality. Then you highlight the keynotes and describe the whole as a sequential development in time. That is true materia medica. And all in the patient's language - not our own jargon.
Comment by Stephanie Nile on January 4, 2010 at 7:31am
Thanks for your valuable thoughts Vakunthanath,
Yes, the traditional approach in Homeopathy is that the substance is treated as a tabla-rasa (a clean slate). You don't try to predict. But I suppose there is a bit of evaluation and prediction going on when we select the substance, as in, "Oh, I'v heard so-and-so claim this plant is the latest cure for cancer". In that case it would be tempting to deliberately include a cancer patient in the trial.

I'm still trying to decide which approach is best and where to draw the line.
Comment by Vaikunthanath das Kaviraj. on January 4, 2010 at 7:52am
Hi Steph,

I would not go for any claims that "so-and-so claim this plant is the latest cure for cancer."

Homoeopathy is not like that at all - we have no latest cure for cancer. In my experience cancer is as individual as the common cold, for which we also do not have "the latest cure."
We have many cures for the common cold and as many for cancer. To assume this plant or that poison cures cancer is to ignore individuality.
What type of cancer does it cure and where is its location, its intensity, speed, direction, periodicity if any, and so on? Without these details it remains allopathic thinking. We should not succumb to that, because it is also prejudiced - "this plant cures cancer."

What if the included cancer patient does not answer to the criteria for that plant? Then you evaluate and say this plant does nothing for cancer - again, the allopathic approach. So this is not the way to do that - the quackbusters would easily demolish the report. And so would I, i am sorry to say.
Comment by Stephanie Nile on January 4, 2010 at 12:14pm
Hi Vaikunthanath,
I'm not being very rigorous. I was thinking of Mishas proving of Galium aparine (Rubiaceae). I would'nt like to misquote Misha but I think he chose to do the proving because there was clinical evidence of its help in cancer cases.

The signature is interesting in this respect because its a fast growing weed that soon overwhelms the area in which it grows... as can happen with cancerous growths.

So, in that case we would need the double blind procedure to eliminate that bit of excitement and expectation....
Comment by Vaikunthanath das Kaviraj. on January 4, 2010 at 12:23pm
Agreed. Double blind is what you always have to do anyway. So to eliminate all prejudice, the proving master is the only one who knows who gets what.

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