Marco’s question yesterday on how to find the rubric for the symptom that resolved Boenninghausen’s case got me thinking. You’ll find the question and my response in the article on the case here
Fact of the matter is, we’re really working backwards most of the time. I’ll explain what I mean.
Hahnemann and Boenninghausen knew remedies. They worked on developing forms of repertorisation in order to jog their memories about remedies that they knew, provings they were familiar with.
Hahnemann especially went through the arduous process of transcribing provings, deciding what symptoms to keep in, which to stress, which to leave out, which clinical or curative symptom to include within the proving. This in addition to knowledge of remedies where he had actually proved the remedy on himself
When added to the clinical knowledge from the use Hahnemann and Boenninghausen had made of the remedies, and to knowledge gained from viewing or treating cases of poisoning by the substances involved, we can see how they must have amassed several hard-drives’ worth of data, for which they urgently needed a search engine. Enter the repertories.
Boenninghausen built his repertories, culminating in his Therapeutic Pocket Book, from the bottom up, mainly from primary source material. This cannot be said of Kent, or modern repertories, which are essentially a patchwork of earlier works.
In Hahnemann and Boenninghausen’s time there was less commentary. They dealt with provings, poisonings, and some clinical experience. With all the tools we have today, in this respect they had it easier. There was less noise.
We tend to know more about what other homoeopaths have said about remedies, perhaps a little about poisonings, some knowledge from our own cases (which has to be seen as clinical knowledge and therefore not strictly applicable for certainty as it does not fall under “like cures like”).
We know more about repertories than about the provings themselves. We tend to work backwards from the repertories to the materia medica, and it does not seem to be common for most homoeopaths to go right back to the proving. For this reason the repertory has become the source of information, rather than the “aide memoire” it was originally conceived to be. In the modern repertories, which include so many additions from sources that are essentially commentary by other homoeopaths, not based on primary sources from reliable provings – this central source of information is drastically flawed.
I know that our work as homoeopaths could dramatically improve if we restore simplicity to our training, study from primary sources, and ensure that our conclusions and prescriptions are based as closely as possible to those primary sources.
Oddly enough, this makes the training and the work itself, the prescribing process, much simpler, more intuitive. At present we are relying on the dictionary instead of learning the language.