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Articles for discussion / The Medical Observer

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Articles for discussion / The Medical Observer

Postby admin » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:04 am

I thought it might be productive to periodically discuss some of the writings of our traditional literature. To that end, I've set up a site at http://pearls.homstudies.com, which I'll populate with writings which I deem "pearls" of our classical literature, and refer folks there to read these, to return here for discussion. The first of these that I've selected is Hahnemann's essay The Medical Observer, initially published in 1825 and found prefaced to print copies of his Materia Medica Pura (and also available in his collected Lesser Writings). Find it at http://homstudies.com/pearls/the-medical-observer/.

Lynn Cremona
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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby Lynn Cremona » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:53 pm

Hi Will,

WordPress requires a password etc
do we use any of the passwords from your website(s) or need a new one for WordPress?

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby Lynn Cremona » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:22 pm

In my copy of Chronic Diseases this article appears on page 40 of volume II

It always helps to be reminded of what is important. The importance of conducting Provings on ourselves, ie a picture
/Proving is worth a thousand words.

Best,
Lynn

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:18 pm

Lynn Cremona wrote:Hi Will,

WordPress requires a password etc
do we use any of the passwords from your website(s) or need a new one for WordPress?


The login on the Wordpress "Pearls" site is only for me, as author/administrator - you needn't log in there at all.

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby ManonLarose » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:21 pm

Hello to all,

I have been wanting to do that thing that SH mentions as "The best opportunity for exercising and perfecting our observing faculty" which "is afforded by instituting experiments with medicines upon ourselves."

My only concern is: can I do permanent harm? How radically will my life alter? I wanted to perfect our knowledge of bowel nosodes, but everyone says that you mustn't repeat them or they can do harm.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you.

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby admin » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:34 pm

I've added aphorism 1 from the Organon (a good place to start, tho don't neglect the Introduction) if this feels more inspiring of discussion; at http://homstudies.com/pearls/aphorism-1/

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby admin » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:36 pm

ManonLarose wrote:Hello to all,

I have been wanting to do that thing that SH mentions as "The best opportunity for exercising and perfecting our observing faculty" which "is afforded by instituting experiments with medicines upon ourselves."

My only concern is: can I do permanent harm? How radically will my life alter? I wanted to perfect our knowledge of bowel nosodes, but everyone says that you mustn't repeat them or they can do harm.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you.


Oh, Manon, thank you so much for this question!
I was working on a very lengthy response, and sadly hit the wrong button and lost this to the aether. I'll recreate it later.
But for now, perhaps an opportunity to learn from my error - when working with a forum such as this, if making a longish post, it is much safer to compose this in a simple text editor (WordPad, SimpleText, TextWrangler, &c.; avoid Microsoft Word, as this can introduce a mess of proprietary Microsoft markup, showing up in your post as gibberish) and copy/paste, formatting after pasting, into the forum. If lost, you have your original.

The short answer, is that the results are usually much more interesting than distressing or harmful.

Re the bowel nosodes in particular, the caution re frequent repetition was largely a dogmatic argument based on John Paterson's infatuation with Kent, following Edward Bach's observations that frequent repetition of injected bowel-bacterial "immunizations" often failed to be effective, and as such this does not single out bowel nosodes from "other" remedies.

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby admin » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:27 am

ManonLarose wrote:Hello to all,

I have been wanting to do that thing that SH mentions as "The best opportunity for exercising and perfecting our observing faculty" which "is afforded by instituting experiments with medicines upon ourselves."

My only concern is: can I do permanent harm? How radically will my life alter?


After moving 3,000 miles from the ocean, from Maine to Oregon, I was feeling uprooted from having a "sense of place" and, recalling Gary Snyder's comments on the nature of being "native," reckoned that a knowledge of the plants might hold part of the solution. So I'd throw collecting bottles & vials & mortar & pestle & milk sugar & a bottle of Everclear alcohol & a couple of botanical field guides in a backpack (no need to do a heroic "proving" of Conuim or Veratrum in my ignorance) & head up into the mountains to sample the local plants for self-"proving" (note that the adopted term is neither a reasonable, nor an intended, translation of the term Hahnemann employed; "Prüfung," which auf Deutsch (help me, any scholars of 18th-19th-century German) means "test, examination, trial". The adopted term merely is an English word that sounds rather similar, which is already burdened with other accepted meanings). I'd put these up in vials, using the rinsings of the mortar following the 3rd trituration following Hering's example, and let Mary pick a vial randomly so's I'd be "blind" to the choice.
My "nemesis" was a species of Dodecatheon ("shooting star) common in the moist alpine meadows of the high cascades, probably Dodecatheon poeticum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodecatheon_poeticum. Along with the closely-botanically-related Cyclamen europeum, this has the strongly-expressed pathogenic "delusion, that she is the world's greatest criminal" "that she has neglected her duty". I was in a severe funk for well over 6 months (initially, Mary suspected I was finally seeing the world clearly, but this became rather extreme, and certainly did not feel like a "delusion," but I suppose that's in the nature of "delusions"). I still recall the day that finally abated.
Worst Prüfung ever.

I'd previously experienced (Andromeda polifolia)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_polifolia) massive painful synovial swelling of my wrists, elbows & shoulders, rendering it impossible to wield a canoe paddle, such that my young son needed to manage my 20' canoe solo from the stern (proudly & competently) while I trailed my ailing limbs in ice-cold lake water for the 3-day trip home. Unpleasant, but "fascinating" as Spock might have put it; And a day of severe anticipatory anxiety following a self-"proving" of Gelsemium (see the yellow flower in the banner decorating this forum), which had me tremendously fearful and excessively cautious prior to a weekend canoe trip with my family. (Note that many of my "proving" symptoms revolve around canoeing and hiking, not because these are "themes" of the substances, but merely because that's what I happened to be doing at the time, so these are the "context" of my immediate experience; an important point to keep in mind when we read "provings"). Apart from the truly disheartening experience with Dodecatheon, my self-"proving" experiences have been uncomfortable, but fascinating & memorable learning experiences. I have been "blessed" in life to be blissfully unaware of anticipatory anxiety, having climbed search & rescue in the '70s as a fearless "spiderman," including free climbing on multi-day big wall routes (roped, but without aid, sleeping in hammock suspended from the rock wall); performed one of the first-ever double-back sommie dismounts off the still rings (to the detriment of my right knee medial meniscus), and performed multiple high-flying releases on the high bar while my mother cowered in the gym bleachers (she never managed to watch a full routine, but would open her eyes when she heard the thump of my landing followed by applause), &c.; following my intimacy with anxiety in my Gelsemium self-Prüfung, I can now recognize it a mile off, and following "proving" a number of other "anxious" remedies, I have intimacy with the "taxonomy" of anxiety. "Being there" beats any description one might find written. I can recognize the characteristic Ledum headache from a cursory description (been there ...).

When I taught face-to-face at the Naturopathic College it was necessary to tell students that this recommendation of Hahnemann's was not one I could encourage as their instructor; particularly not prior to exam week ;^). You takes your chances and should do so with eyes open.

Years ago, the Czech Homeopathic Medical society, at their summer school retreat, initiated a "proving" of Tilia europea, the common European Lindon or "lime" tree https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia; the week, customarily a time of connection & socialization in only the way central & Eastern Europeans seem to be capable (can you tell I love these events?) was dreadful, with folks feeling abandoned & depressed; one colleague described feeling like "the last bird left in the nest;" another, recently unhappily divorced and experiencing significant depression, noted he was likely the most upbeat participant present.
The lesson? Time these things well. "Provings" on the first date, prior to exam week, during an important event, or apart from your support structure, are not the most brilliant idea. Be sure your support resources are available, and make certain your loved ones know that you "might be going through something" (Mary will no longer be complicit in picking the vial for me, tho I suspect my self-"proving" days are over - reminding me of a bumper sticker I once saw, that read "oh no!, not another life lesson! ...).

Hahnemann suggested that, apart from this opportunity to intimately experience pathology, self-"provings" might actually be of benefit to our overall health, in "chipping away" (my image) at pathologies we may harbor, acting therapeutically; acting as mini-kindofclosicums (again, my phraseology) to our chronic pathologies. He might have authority on this, having himself performed more self-Prüfungen than anyone in history, apart perhaps from Constantine Hering or William Burt.

btw, the commonly-repeated myths related to Hering's "proving" of Lachesis, that he acquired a limp of his left leg for the remainder of his life, and that he died X years to the day after the "proving," are unsubstantiated myths, oft repeated until we accept them dogmatically as "fact," and compellingly intriguing,but entirely without merit. As is the myth that he waxed & waned in & out of consciousness during the "proving" while his wife dutifully recorded his symptoms; he was unmarried at the time, and the "proving" record is in his own lucid handwriting.

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby vmenear » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:51 am

I think my favorite part of Hahnemann's essay on observation is the paragraph where he steps outside of the box and suggests reading the Greek and Roman classics, drawing from nature, and doing mathematics. I've often thought if I were to design a preparatory course to do before even starting with homeopathy I would include a class that follows the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, an acting class and a class working with a horse at liberty. Of course these all reflect my personal biases and things I enjoy but they really do develop "muscles" of observation ( including observation of self) we sometimes don't make use of.

I paint/draw intermittently and whenever I come back to it after a Lull I start with some of the simple exercises in Drawing on the right Side of the Brain. The exercises make it palpable how we want to simplify/symbolize what we're looking at rather than drawing what's actually there. (You can almost feel your brain arguing with itself.) They help make you aware of how seductive it is to abbreviate, simplify, quantify instead of qualify.

I am definitely not an actor but I took some classes as part of training to be an alexander technique teacher and it opened my eyes. We had simple exercises like sitting in a cafe and watching people's gestures and taking them on as best we could, or, if there was a walking trail, to walk behind folks and take on their manner of moving. You can actually start to feel into the person a bit by living inside their gestures/movement/rhythm/amplitude.

And working with a horse in a big space with no tack teaches you a lot about how much unnecessary gesturing ( or talking ) you might be apt to do, it focuses your attention and it puts you in a situation where you have to be congruent and clear..... no mind wandering. I might even say you end up learning as much about yourself as you do about the horse.

So that's the fantasy that popped up again for me when i read this essay. :-)

I'm sure there are many other practices/endeavors that serve to refine our usefulness as instruments of observation both in showing us when we might be stepping on our own neckties and how we can better see what we're seeing.

Curious to hear what others have found useful.....

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Re: Articles for discussion

Postby admin » Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:07 am

vmenear wrote:Of course these all reflect my personal biases and things I enjoy ...


Victoria, I'd suggest that we all might benefit from attending to your "personal biases and things (you) enjoy. Thank you :D


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