Creating Waves of Awareness
Dr. M. A. Usmani
Gina Tyler’s article on Sulphur is a delectable piece of writing. It’s after a long time that such a refreshing monograph came my way. She has awakened my memory of my long-written notes and reminiscences of Sulphur.
Sulphur is a gateway to understanding Materia Medica; and sulphur-personality is such a well-developed, multi-faceted personality that it can be taken as a prototype to make one understand how picturesque drug-personalities are drawn in Homeopathy.
The classical drug-picture of sulphur as a dirty-looking, shoddy personality, wearing tattery, worn-out clothes, with unkempt hair, is a portrait of yore. In modern times you won’t find such a beast among you or in your vicinity, except in lunar asylums. At best one can say that such a description of sulphur-personality means, in modern times, a person who does not care much about his appearance.
Sulphur, as a person, is nature’s finest specimen on earth: very original, innovative, always a leader, never a follower; a God-made philosopher, a prophet, a scientist, and an original writer, full of acumen. He is a rebel, like a prophet: a rebel with a constructive mind. Like prophet he rebels against the settled but nonsensical mores of his society, and their beliefs. He inculcates doubt against the deities and idols, which the society worships. Certainly the restraining forces, the elders of the society, create a concerted opposition to him. But he cannot be prevailed, nor daunted, for he is a ‘visionary’. How a visionary can follow the blind! He is born to lead. Among the few remedies for ‘courageous’, sulphur stands conspicuously.
It is his suchlike dedication and spiritual involvement that makes him negligent of his personal appearance, not the love for silly, shoddy and fanciful things, unless he is really a mentally deranged person, or a toddler with unbridled fancies. Such a toddler was once my patient, very bright in his school’s grades, but full of fancies for nonsensical things, with collection mania, for which I’ve concocted a term: ‘garnering instinct’. About this we’ll talk further down.
DEVELOPMENT OF SULPHUR PERSONALITY
We’ll now discuss the formation and growth of sulphur personality:
As a child, he is a cute specimen of humanity, with pointed features, very red lips; suffering very often from red glowing pinna of the ears. Restless acid baby, crying much at night: waking more than sleeping. His sleep is seldom deep. Choosy in foods. Appetite voluminous alternating with loss of appetite; the latter more often. Has a special liking for raw foods, vegetables, even onions and highly seasoned foods. Milk does not agree, especially later in life.
He looks very intelligent. Even in infancy you will find him behaving cautiously. If you, e.g., offer him something, he won’t grab it at once, but will first look into your eyes, on finding friendly looks, he will extend his hand to take it. Prone to diarrhea and vomiting with acid stomach, soon you’ll find milk disagreeing with him; and by and by he will start disliking milk. But he’ll go on taking milk because of the bottle (the feeder). The sooner you discard the feeder, you’ll find, to your dismay, that he hates milk.
When he starts crawling and stepping, it’s the time when his psychological makeup starts peeping through his deeds and behavior. You will find him less gregarious. The little company that he would like to have, and enjoy, will be of his parents and other grownup people. Among his age-group he will scarcely mix up, and will play for wee little time. You will find him a shade more serious than the children of his age. This seriousness will go on increasing as he grows up. You will always find him in real earnestness.
His inborn intellectual bent is revealed by his too early paging through books, when he doesn’t know the alphabets as yet. Such a child sometimes will show his diligence, in this field, by surprising you, by writing down a page or two of a book without knowing even the single letter of the script. This is, to the prying eyes, the first sign of a budding seed, that will eventually grow into a literary person. (This is the secret of his ‘stooped shoulders’, because he is a reading-writing personality, rather than a player or an athlete, from this tender age. He is more a desk-worker than a field-master.)
This toddler will reveal that he has a restless, investigative and a probing mind that wants to know, open and uncover everything that comes his way. But from his every seemingly disturbing action intelligence peeps through.
What fancy he may take of anything, we don’t know. The bet is that it should ignite his fancy. If somebody tells him any fanciful trait of any drab, but queer thing, he at once try to posses it; posses it not in one or two pieces, but as many as he can. I adduce a concrete example of one little patient, a toddler of four, one of his older siblings incited his fancies, by telling him that the rinds of pistachio were the bath-tubs for ants. This idea charmed him. He started collecting them in as many numbers as he could lay his hand on; garnering and tucking them in a beautiful box, and visiting them daily, counting them by throwing them on a colorful piece of rug. Now this ‘garnering instinct’ goes with sulphur the whole life; only the kinds of things garnered will go on changing according to the stage of life, and the development of his pursuits. In his first classes in school, he will collect story and word books. The kinds of books will go on changing, according to his field of interest, from novels to poetry, criticism, philosophy, history and religion. Whatever his interest at the time being, relevant literature will start pouring in. The place of the word-book which he loved in childhood will now be taken by dictionaries. The dictionaries and thesauruses are his life-companions. His love for languages is the deepest passion.
Now coming back to the sulphur toddler:
Any restriction or chastisement from his elders does not make him reactionary, but pensive, and morose. He has natural tendency to fantasize. In such circumstances he indulges in this tendency. The text has it: ‘indulging in fancies while lying in bed, with closed eyes’. Indulging in fancies, he may be musing on the unjust chastisement, with closed eyes. The parents taking him as fast asleep make him witness what they do when he is asleep. This unusual scene shakes him to the quick. He feels himself robbed of confidence. The sulphur being innately ‘religious and conscientious’, he feels nonplus in the face of this catastrophic knowledge about his parents_ the paragon of virtues for him. He has fallen into a painful psychological ‘love-hate’ morass. His world is shaken. He first feels this phenomenon at least shocking and shameless; then he passes a moral judgment, and brands this as sinful action, and his parents as wicked. But man is, like all life, a sexual being. Continuous ruminating and fantasizing the scenes gives him an undercurrent voluptuous titillation. A queer sensation of pleasure betakes him, to which he would never admit consciously. Repetition of visualization of these scenes starts creating a split in his ‘love-hate’ complex. The sentiment of love starts drifting, unconsciously, towards his mother, and the hate towards his father. This is a sort of Oedipus complex. And, from now onward, his fancies start getting a hue of voluptuousness and carnal pleasure, the universe of which is his mother. Sulphur has, as a rule, no amorous fancies, but when these become intensely sexual, there is always a tubercular taint behind the facade of sulphur. When tuberculosis and sulphur combine, lasciviousness is born. Sulphur supplies the fantasies and tubercular miasm gives it the myriad colors of sex. [Out of all the chronic miasms, the Tubercular Miasm is the most potently and violently sexual and lustful; full of sexual (libidinal) élan-vital, that gives intensely porno-lascivious coloring to sulphur reveries and fancies.]
A child who passes through such psycho-moral pangs as above, will certainly become, at this tender age, mentally and spiritually precocious. But we don’t find ‘sulphur’ under the rubric ‘precocity’, (cf. Murphy, Mind Chapter). Sulphur is precocious not only under the socio-sexual sense, but he is precocious roundly in all senses. How can a person with an inborn logico-philosophical mind, who is bound to becomes a literary person, later in life, in the fields of science, religion, philosophy and literature, be not be precocious as a child? I have entered SULPHUR, under the rubric ‘Precocity’ in my copy of Murphy. [P.S. On reading Murphy’s chapter on Children, I’m happy, he has mentioned Sulphur under Precocity, in black letters. (p.289). Murphy gives 9 remedies under this rubric, while Kent gives only one, i.e. Merc. Sol…Usmani]
I believe there are two kinds of personalities of Sulphur. One, the classical, which consists mostly of unlettered people as peasants, laborers and street urchins; and, also the somewhat mentally deranged literati, including freaky poets, artists and writers. .For them the classical picture is detailed in the books:
‘Lean, stooped shouldered persons who walk and sit stooped. Dirty and filthy people with greasy skin, and long, straight matted hair, prone to skin diseases. Child who cannot bear to be washed; emaciated, big-bellied, restless, hot and kicking covers at night, infested with intestinal worms’.
The other breed of Sulphur, the development of which we have followed above in so much detail, includes philosophers, scientists, religious magnates, great writers, poets and artists. They may also have some freaks or unusual traits, but their these freaks do not detract even an iota from their greatness.
A philosopher never ceases asking ‘why’ and ‘how’ even in settled matters, so is sulphur. His inquisitive and investigative mind never ceases doubting. His investigation can be linear, but, many times, it is multidirectional. He may be probing in many disciplines of knowledge at the same time. So you’ll find many threads of inquiry ‘abandoned’ which can be revisited, later on, any time. Suphur is in black letters for ‘theorizing and making many plans’.
If his multi-directional investigation does not grow into fruition in some concrete form of document, research paper or an article or a book, such a person is in danger. If the abandoned threads are diverse and deeply indulged into, then there is danger of mental derangement; or, at least, developing into a freak. Sulphur has such dangers lurking near.
Being ‘egotistical’ ‘over-critical’ and ‘censorious’ does not earn him many friends. Even long endured friendships come to a frustrated end.
With the sulphur background of knowledge, its intensity and vastness, it is natural for him to develop a sort of ‘pride’ or superiority complex, and, along with this a‘disgust’. This disgust is not for people, but for ignorance, stupidity and dogmatism. And when these latter traits embody a person or a group of persons, then it become a ‘disgust for people’also.
It is in the text that sulphur has ‘fanaticism’. True! But this trait is found in the classical sulphur. Those people have very limited horizon; and they live and spend their life according to their miniscule mores of culture and religion. But the modern sulphur, whom we are discussing, is a person of vast and universal horizon. He freely ‘speculates in matters of philosophy and religion’. (Black letters in both rubrics) The modern sulphur can neither be fanatic nor dogmatic, nor a follower of blind rituals. Religion for him is a matter of study, inquiry and speculation; not for indulgence.
He is accommodating and tolerant of contradiction like any really intellectual person, but ‘disputative’ where a real issue of knowledge is concerned and discussed, or misrepresented.
Expression of self-importance we find in sulphur since childhood. He has excessive self-esteem based on his feeling that ‘he is a great person’. He finds himself different from his friends. Even the teachers find this from his demeanor, and it is because of this that he is usually made the head-boy of his class. An ingrained feeling in him is that he is destined to be a great person in future. And whenever he is introduced to a celebrity, especially a divine personality, by his parents or relatives, and he find that no special notice has been taken of him by that divinity, he finds himself spiritually dismayed; and wonders why the eyes of that dignitary could not discern the future luminary in him. This is not a sort of grandiose delusion, but a sort of aspiration, because you don’t find a moment when you find a sulphur not whetting himself, or chiseling his personality.
This is also because of this feeling of his that ‘he is a great person’ that you will never find him oblivious of any insult meted out to him, when he was a little child, at the hands his teacher or a parent. The wound of that insult is always smarting. Sulphur is an important remedy under the rubric ‘Humiliation’; and ‘humiliation with indignation’ is Ignatia, and Staph. But ‘humiliation with mortification’ is Sulphur. This sub-rubric, I think, should be added to the Repertory.
In the rubrics ‘Impatience’ and ‘Hurry’ Sulphur stands out in black letters. Delay in the accomplishment of things near to his heart, can’t be tolerated. He is at the tenterhook of impatience if the expected thing is not accomplished in the expected time. This will rob him of his sleep and mental calm. For ‘sleepless from activity of mind, or persistent or tormenting thoughts’, sulphur is given in bold and black letters.
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