Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Grant Bentley (2013)
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
$28.99 (on Amazon.com)
Grant Bentley takes a fresh look at the Organon to see which aspects still ring true today, and which aspects were products of his own thinking that are not necessarily “laws” we need to follow strictly.
Ever since Samuel Hahnemann wrote the Organon of the medical art, homeopaths have been divided about whether to blindly follow every word written by Hahnemann or to be a rebel, question him, and chart a new course while still following the basic principles of homeopathy. This division continues to the present moment and shows no indication of going away. Books on the Organon written by the adherents of both the sides are usually commentaries that try to simplify the archaic language used by Hahnemann.
An attempt at examining the Organon with a view to finding out which aspects of the Organon are Hahnemann’s observations of the natural laws and which are his thoughts and deductions is an exercise most scholars of the Organon dread undertaking, yet this attempt is the basis of Grant Bentley’ book “How aphorism 27 changed the world”.
Grant has set for himself the following agenda:
- Examine every aphorism of the Organon
- See which aphorisms describe the natural laws
- See which aphorisms are the constructs of Hahnemann’s thoughts
- Once the wheat (the natural laws as observed by Hahnemann) has been separated from the chaff (Hahnemann’s personal thoughts), dig into cases from more than twenty years of clinical work, including successes and failures, studying which aspects of the Organon are applicable in the context of today’s clinical practice and which aspects do not hold and should hence be dropped.
So, this book is based on the agenda I have just mentioned. If you are a homeopath, you will know the Organon and know aphorism 27, but perhaps you have not realized its importance to you as a professional; I would suggest that you read this book. You may find yourself nodding your head in approval because Grant has dealt with many of the questions that you might have asked about the Organon, but have never found an answer for.
The title of this book has a “hook”, a techno-speak amongst authors and publishers. A hook is what reels the reader in. You ask, “What, how did aphorism 27 change the world? Did it really?” Once you are bristling with these questions, Grant gives you well-known statistics to chew on. These are based on the success of homeopathy in reducing mortality in the epidemics and pandemics of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The mainstream is fond of negating these statistics, saying that homeopathy succeeded because it did not do blood-letting, not because the remedies did their job. Homeopathy was successful in the flu pandemic of the early 20th century when blood-letting had become totally out of fashion, and Grant assigns this success to the healing effect of the remedies. He argues convincingly that homeopathy – functioning on the basis laid out in aphorism 27 – not only saves life, but also enhances the quality of life and increases the energy of its users so that they operate from a platform of creativity, benevolence, determination and selflessness; in other words, their higher selves are able to manifest because their life energy is not robbed and consumed by diseases.
A healing modality of such a vast potential was discovered by Hahnemann, and in laying down its tenets, he was both an artist and a vigilant scientist. In a quick stride, Hahnemann crossed the boundary between mysticism and science when he mentioned the word “vital force”. Successive generations of homeopaths have tried to be scientific, attempting to place homeopathy in an easily definable square box, while some have tried to embrace the mystic, artistic side. Leaving these two camps to conclude their battle, Grant has taken a middle ground and described homeopathy as “energy medicine”. Energetic stressors from various sources can influence the vital force. Homeopathic remedies are energy medicines that help the vital force in coping with the impingement on its energy.
Understanding homeopathy as energy medicine frees us from the obligation to not repeat the dose till it exhausts its action. If the vital force can succumb to a daily robbery of energy, and a well chosen remedy can replenish the robbed energy, then why not repeat the dose? Hahnemann’s edict about not repeating a dose turns out not to be an observation of a sacrosanct and irrefutable natural law but simply his thinking. Today the times have changed, so let us rethink this question.
In this vein, Grant examines the origin of the sixth edition of Organon and says that Hahnemann experimented relentlessly and came up with LM scale because he saw the need for frequent repetition of the remedies.
Grant has analyzed the failures Hahnemann had with treating chronic cases and concluded that Hahnemann’s failure originated from his assumption that all chronic cases start from infections. Based on his work of homeopathic facial analysis, HFA, Grant explains miasms not just as inherited diseases but as the body’s defense for fighting off stressors; he suggests that the chronic diseases also can have a non-infectious origin. The stressors commonly seen today were virtually unknown in Hahnemann’s time and therefore his views on chronic diseases and miasms need a re-examination.
A ‘healing crisis’ is another word that homeopaths, and even consumers of homeopathy, take for granted, believing that in homeopathy you first get worse before getting better. Based on his work with HFA, Grant says that a true simillimum does not elicit a healing crisis.
‘Vital force’ is another word that is scrutinized closely. Hahnemann did not consider vital force as anything more than an earthly, instinctive, unreasoning energy which is quite limited in its ability to defend us. Therefore there is the need for medicines to exist so they can support the otherwise limited vital force and help it to overcome disease. Hahnemann did not see it as a spark of the divine within us. Grant cuts ruthlessly through all new developments in homeopathy and says that when homeopathy is considered as a straight and simple energy medicine there is no need for homeo-psychoanalysis.
Grant takes a favorable stand for conventional medicine while pointing out that Hahnemann began homeopathy as a revolt against conventional medicine. The conventional medicine of today is not what it used to be in Hahnemann’s time, Grant emphasizes, and he writes that if the clients want to take allopathic medicines alongside homeopathy, it is acceptable. Homeopathic remedies, being energy medicines, work and produce healing despite conventional medicines. The conventional medicines of today are not centered around bleeding, vomiting, sweating and salivation as they were in Hahnemann’s time and if our clients take a course of antibiotics for an acute, or a few antidepressants, they will still benefit from homeopathy. The war that Hahnemann entered into with conventional medicine was based on his observations in a bygone era. We have to examine this observation in today’s light and circumstances and make room for co-existence of homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. We can end the battle that Hahnemann started.
Along the same line and logic, Grant says that the long list of do’s and don’ts attached to homeopathic prescriptions are ridiculous: homeopathic remedies are not fragile China dolls and they can withstand handling. I did not see any mention of homeopathic remedies not being able to survive X-Ray in the airports! This issue has nagged me ever since I began traveling with a bunch of remedies packed in my luggage.
The Law of similars is as true today as it was in Hahnemann’s time, and it is the cornerstone, foundation and soul of homeopathy. When we choose remedies based on the law of similars, we can produce excellent results with seventy or so well proven remedies from Hahnemann’s time, and we do not have to engage in homeo-psychoanalysis and go hunting for exotic and barely proven remedies. Grant’s words must fall like sweet music on the ears of those homeopaths who cringe at the modern path of homeo-psychoanalysis that has become very popular all over the world.
In chapter eight, Grant dissects aphorisms 1, 2, 5, 9, 26, 38 and 158 word by word and ruthlessly examines Hahnemann’s word in the light of today. He draws conclusions about Hahnemann’s failure in handling chronic diseases and suggests that chronic diseases do not all have to have their origin in infections. The modern lifestyle, that did not exist in Hahnemann’s time, is quite capable of eliciting chronic disease of non-infectious origin. These modern chronic diseases can be handled and managed quite successfully by methodically replenishing the energy of the patients by repeating the energy medicines (remedies) as and when the patient’s energy is depleted. We can repeat the remedies daily if necessary, without worrying about spoiling the healing work begun by a dose while waiting for six months or more for the dose to exhaust its action. Grant has based this suggestion on his personal experience in the clinic using HFA.
I am tempted to go on writing about the rest of the book, but that would be unfair. I would suggest you to read it and see how one practitioner’s dogged perseverance, failures and successes make him question and re-examine the sacrosanct words of our founding father. I wish we all had such courage, but while we work on the courage aspect, it is refreshing to see that Grant has not only questioned the founding father, he has also presented arguments and counter-arguments in support of natural laws and has demolished the edifice of the thought constructs that were based on days gone by.
We have only this present moment to live. Let us drop the needless weight from the past, make Truth our constant companion and march with our heads held high because, by choice or by our destiny, we happen to be homeopaths and we have the responsibility to keep this amazing healing modality relevant in the present moment. Nothing will help us more than if we stick with the wheat and let go of the chaff, stick with the Hahnemannian observations of the natural laws and let go of the master’s thoughts that do not withstand the light of today. Grant’s book shows us that we can do this.