When we think of Medicine, we often think of a curative system which restores our health by means of a tool, generally a substance, or a therapeutic procedure designed to fulfill this objective. Few are those who reflect and ponder the fact that Medicine is intimately linked to our cosmo-vision of existence, that is to say –that we choose cures which derive from our existential stance. What could seem a trivial issue is far from being one since it determines something so important as our health and physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.
To say and maintain that science is something aseptic and objective is a crass error made only by those who separate man from his universal environment and want to turn him into an obedient robot. All science, medicine included, is determined by the preponderant paradigm of the epoch in which man lives. In the case under our consideration, that of western medicine, it has been determined by the nineteenth century Cartesian paradigm, which endures until the present day.
Everything that exists in this universe is determined and conformed by what we could call “operational” and “functional” system. To understand this mechanism would allow us to put homeopathy in the general context of sciences, medicine in particular. The pertinent question would be: Should man probe, manipulate or correct the operational system of the disease or, by contrast, should he work only within the functional system, where the disease “expresses” itself by means of symptoms?
Samuel Hahnemmann, eighteenth century German physician, discoverer of the curative method called homeopathy, tells us in his book “Organon of Medicine”, paragraph 6:
The unprejudiced observer, well aware of the futility of transcendental speculation which can receive no confirmation from experience no matter his powers of penetration, can take note in every individual disease only of the changes in the health of the body (morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses. In other words, he can only take note of deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual which are felt by the patient himself, observed by those around him as well as by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is –together they form the true and the only conceivable portrait of the disease.
In a footnote to the same paragraph he adds:
Is not, then, that which is cognizable by the senses through the phenomena it displays, the disease itself in the eyes of the physician, since he never see the spiritual being which produces the disease, the vital force?
It is obvious that Hahnemann considers that a physician can only work with the functional system of the disease, its symptoms and signs, since the intimate component of the disease will always remain within the limits of the ghaib, what Islam calls “the world beyond what is evident” (the shahada). We cannot say for sure that Hahnemann was aware of Islam. What we do know is that he knew the Arabic language, perhaps was familiar with the verse of the Qur-an which says:
(53) Soon We shall show them Our signs on the horizon and in themselves…
Qur-an 41 – Fussilat
Here, the Designer of this universe warns us that what should make man reflect are “signs”, since the operational system is exclusively His domain.
Owing to their sorcerer-like apprenticeship, the scientist and the physician lack this conception and play again and again at being “the creator” by manipulating the resources of life and disease. The results cannot be more pathetic –a medicine which does not work; a medicine which provokes aberrant mutations while trying to modify the genetic code; a medicine which every year kills millions of human beings due to adverse and deadly effects of its drugs (the third cause of death in the US); a medicine which collapses hospitals with a load of chronic patients sustained by machines and artifacts which turn human beings into grotesque caricatures; a medicine which arrogates to itself being the answer and the promise of man’s immortality.
Observe the triumph of western medicine.
It is possible that homeopathy is part of the stock of sciences man received in his origins via prophetic narrative. Already Hippocrates spoke of the method of the “likes” as being a cure for ailments. This knowledge may have faded away with the passage of time and man’s gradual departure from the prophetic input. The farther away man moved away from this input and existential stance it implied, the more weight was gained by the contrary attitude –the fragmented vision of the existential reality which will affirm the allopathic medical method while contemplating man as an entity isolated from everything around him and disregarding all comprehension of the universe he lives in. This approach will give way to super specialization in all fields of knowledge and thus in medicine. Super specialization is the same as losing sight of the unicity of existence. Not in vain a popular saying says: Let not a tree prevent you from seeing the forest. Western medicine is immersed in this process. It has completely lost sight of the “unitarian” sense of man’s life and existence –that of being unified and whole, though comprised of many parts. By contrast, it pretends that it can put life and death under its control because it knows the secret of the origin of life –as if a present-day Prometheus pretending to steal fire from the gods. It breeds “scientists”, in fact “pseudo” scientists, who arrogate to themselves all knowledge of life and disease. Truly, man’s arrogance knows no limits.
Homeopathy is at the antipodes of this attitude. It picks up the torch of the oneness of man and existence in its approach to and treatment of illnesses. It deals with the functional system of our existence and thus steers away from the operational one in its therapeutic method.
It is urgent that man return to the origins, his origins, in which sciences were integrated and partook of theological meaning –of which we shall speak in the next article.