Is knowledge of the Organon needed for prescribing?

I would definitely recommend the Organon … while it may not be the best for prescribing well it does show you the original philosophy behind homeopathy!

viewed through proving defaultI received the above comment on my recommended reading post . The comment demonstrated so sharply how even those with sincere and constant interest in homoeopathy have clearly been harmed by inadequate (gentle understatement) teaching or from reading material on the internet written by those who (another gentle understatement on the way) have no idea what they are talking about.

Personally I think the fault lies with Hahnemann in naming this volume “Organon” to start with. The word Organon is defined variously across dictionaries as a set of principles to be used in logical or scientific investigation, or according to the Oxford English Dictionary “An instrument of thought, especially a means of reasoning or a system of logic.” Aristotle’s followers gave the title Organon to a compilation of his works on logic. It comes from the Greek, but it appears (from my extremely limited knowledge of Greek) to have originally meant a tool, an instrument – leading to common usage of the word “organ”. Since Hahnemann was a scholar of Greek, it is just possible that this was his original intention for the title of his work “ Organon der Heilkunst” – to be understood asa tool/instrument for the healing art.”

But it’s too late for that – the Organon has been solidly and almost irretrievably labeled as a work of philosophy and is presented as such within most homoeopathy training facilities.

Definitions of “philosophy” vary greatly, and do relate to the study of underlying principles. In this, the commenter is correct, we see the underpinnings of the therapy, the explanation of the Law of Similars within a therapeutic context. And perhaps some of Hahnemann’ s comments may be construed as philosophical…

But an in-depth reading of the Organon – even a fast perusal of chapter headings or summary of aphorisms which appear in most editions – should make you realize that this is more of a practical tool or instrument. This makes sense, as we see that in the Organon, Hahnemann devotes relatively little space to discussions of theories – which he himself says are uncertain – and most of the book is devoted to the practical application of the therapy.

 In the Organon, you will find:

– instructions on how to take a case: including how to relate to the patient during case-taking, what symptoms to take as part of case-taking, what information is required, how to deal with hypochondriacs, how to write the case down, and more.

– instructions on how to analyze a case: including which symptoms take precedence, which should not be used in the initial analysis and more

– instructions on how to become aware and to avoid personal prejudice on the part of the homoeopath for or against any particular remedy

– instructions on how to work with mental cases

– instructions on how to work with epidemics

– instructions on case-management, new symptoms, so-called aggravations…

And so much more.

This material is not just useful – it’s essential for prescribing. Inhaling materia medicas, repertories and learned articles (often written by those who apparently never read the Organon) will take you nowhere without knowledge of how to take a case and how to prescribe, how to manage that case and how to understand that any new symptom that comes up in treatment does not constitute a proving…

What I’m saying, basically, and perhaps here also in gentle understatement, is that anyone who has not read the Organon and revisited it to understand the principle and the methods set out in its pages, is not ready to practice homoeopathy, no matter how many remedies he or she has learned.

And any teaching facility which does not include in-depth study of the Organon as a practical manual of how to practice homoeopathy – is not teaching the skills necessary for the student to become a successful, effective homoeopath.

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2 responses to “Is knowledge of the Organon needed for prescribing?

  1. At college they said the Organon is not “required reading”, well it seems I was not only wrong about it but that teacher (a homeopath himself!) was even more wrong…I just thought maybe some of the practical methods were changed some time between then and now.
    I didn’t even know what the word Organon meant, maybe I should have looked it up.

    • Vera Resnick IHM DHom Med (Lic)

      Methodology often changes, but the original principle in a method – in this case the Law of Similars – does not. Not with anything that purports to work with the method that was developed based on the principle. Methodology can and often does change, as people experiment, more provings are done, but in order to make reasoned change rather than inspired guessing, surely it’s worthwhile checking out the methodology that was developed by the person who founded the method? Hahnemann explains how to dose, why not to treat externally with remedies, how to deal with hypochondriacs, how to handle people who give very few symptoms, how to work with those who won’t confess to venereal disease – when you read the Organon sometimes it’s as if he’s been in your clinic and experienced the issues you’ve been dealing with – which, in effect, he has.

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