If Hahnemann is really to be considered a whimsical, irascible old duffer – well it’s time to ditch him and the homoeopathic horse he rode in on.
So this is what happened.
I’ve been doing work on provings, as some of you know, and I was going to reveal my exciting discoveries about Nux-Vomica (or Nux Vomits as my software insisted the remedy was called… and Nux certainly does vomits…). As I was writing the article I realized – many people out there don’t know about Hahnemann’s Provers Union.
So I went back to an article I’d read about Hahnemann’s Provers’ Union, and discovered I didn’t like that article at all – it seemed to be cobbled together from unsubstantiated sources. So I went back to Haehl’s biography of Hahnemann (Samuel Hahnemann, His Life and Work, Richard Haehl 1922) in the hope that it was a more solidly grounded work, and started writing an article on the Provers’ Union based mainly on that. (if you’re going to disillusion me about Haehl, please do it gently)
But then I came across all the criticisms regarding one of Hahnemann’s central provers, Christian Friedrich Langhammer, and realized that there is something else I need to write about even before I get into this. Basically, the problem with Langhammer is that no-one seemed to like him.
Haehl states: “we can dismiss … Langhammer very briefly…He was a small weakly man and not very gifted mentally. The results of his provings were by no means accurate or unimpeachable….” Langhammer was championed by Constantin Hering, but that was about it – no-one else liked him, and some went so far as to denigrate his apparently unlovable exterior appearance as the sign of his moral deficiencies, and many symptoms he reported in the provings were dismissed by others as merely symptoms of his character, and not true proving symptoms after all.
So far all of this was an introduction to the central question I want to raise in this article.
Get to the point! I hear some of you muttering irritably.
Whose name is on the Materia Medica Pura? On the provings in Chronic Diseases?
Who included Langhammer’s symptoms in these crucial proving descriptions, that were to form the basis of all homoeopathy as the method came more and more into use?
Langhammer was Hahnemann’s student, and Hahnemann spoke very highly of him.
So can we rely on Hahnemann’s assessment of Langhammer’s proving symptoms? On Hahnemann’s decision to include them in the most basic, essential Materia Medica on which homoeopathic practice was to be based?
And this is the point. If Hahnemann’s abilities, intellect and judgment cannot be respected in this issue, can they be respected in others? Basically – who was Hahnemann? A gifted, talented physician or a bumbling old duffer?
So much lip service is paid to Hahnemann. Indian homoeopaths write poems to him. Western homoeopaths laud the Organon (even when they haven’t gone past Aphorism 10…). Hahnemann’s birthday on April 10th has become the lynchpin for activities around the world to raise awareness regarding homoeopathy. But who reads Hahnemann?
When I speak to other homoeopaths, or read their writings, I see this one swears by Lippe and Hering, that one by Sankaran and Scholten, and many, many see Kent as homoeopathy’s one true prophet – but who reads Hahnemann?
When I was a student, I was told that no-one really knows how Hahnemann came to the concept of succussion. Well, it’s in the Lesser Writings.
Want Hahnemann’s views on why botanical families, doctrine of signatures and chemical qualities of substances cannot define their value in homoeopathy? Lesser Writings.
Pithy remarks on qualities of remedies, best time of day for their use, clinical usage, and more? Prefaces to provings.
If Hahnemann is really to be considered a whimsical, irascible old duffer – well it’s time to ditch him and the homoeopathic horse he rode in on. But if Hahnemann is given his due – it’s time to give priority to his writings and read. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Next up will be a post on Nux Vomits – oops, I did mean Nux Vomica…