Vital Remedies for Epidemics, Trauma & Chronic Diseases
By Peter Chappell & Harry van der Zee
Published 2012, hard cover, bound, 20×27 cm, 400 pages
Price: € 39,95 excl. mailing costs
Publisher : Homeolinks http://www.homeolinks.nl/
A Review of “Homeopathy for Diseases” – Peter Chappell & Harry van der Zee
By David Nortman, N.D.
In the book Homeopathy for Diseases, Peter Chappell and Harry van der Zee propose a method of treating the layer of collective pathology that lurks underneath our individual natures. The ideas they present are both challenging and unsettling for the classically trained homeopath who regards individualized treatment as the Holy Grail of therapeutics. Their method, though as controversial as Hahnemann’s miasm theory must have been to his original followers, is full of promise and worthy of serious consideration.
The challenge of treating collective pathology came to occupy the minds of the authors following their clinical work in Africa, where the majority of suffering they encountered was due to collective rather than to individual pathology. These collective issues included epidemic diseases such as malaria and AIDS and widespread social trauma such as rape and tribal warfare.
The authors argue that the treatment of these phenomena on an individual basis is not only practically futile (due to the scale of the problem) but also methodologically inadequate, given that individualized treatment can lead to healing of existing ailments but does not necessarily address their emergence and persistence on the societal level. If only a method were discovered that could address such issues at their collective root, and enough people received the proper treatment, humanity would gain the ability to address collective issues at their source.
It is precisely such a method – an extension of classical homeopathy beyond the traditional genus epidemicus approach – that one of the authors, Peter Chappell, claims to have discovered. His theoretical starting point is the proposition that the genus epidemicus concept be allowed to encompass non-disease entities, namely collective trauma such as genocide, rape, and battlefield trauma. By analyzing multiple cases of a given phenomenon, it is then possible to form a picture of the collective issue, in preparation for addressing it at the collective level.
Chappell’s central empirical claim is to have discovered a revolutionary way of preparing remedies which can cover the totality of a collective pathology with perfect one-to-one correspondence. This runs contrary to the normal experience of homeopaths when constructing a genus epidemicus, where the match of remedy and epidemic is almost always imperfect and the genus epidemicus therefore consists of several remedies. As will be described shortly, Chappell makes the extraordinary claim of having accomplished the creation of such remedies, called ‘PC resonances’ (after the initials of his name), through his own connection to a “higher intelligence” with the help of which he is able to imprint the spiritual essence of various phenomena onto water.
The quest for a collective simillimum
We will better understand the authors’ claims if we consider their motivations in greater depth. For many years Chappell had been pursuing homeopathic solutions to the widespread social pathologies which he encountered in Africa. His quest was inspired not only by the wish to find cases of simple correspondence between disease entity and remedy, but also by his ambition to tap into the essence or higher meaning of various types of epidemic so as to uncover the very grounds of their existence. In other words, rather than accepting a given epidemic as a decree from above and dealing with it clinically, he sought to uncover its raison d’être as a way of better understanding and addressing the unmet societal needs that it represented.
Driven by this vision, Chappell began his explorations with the AIDS epidemic, and eventually was joined by Harry van der Zee and others in a similar quest to address malaria – which afflicts more people in Africa than any other epidemic – and various social epidemics. Chappell deduced the homeopathic picture of the AIDS epidemic by analyzing dozens of AIDS patients and following the normal procedure for ascertaining its genus epidemicus. But casting his net in the existing sea of materia medica brought up only imperfectly similar remedies. This, of course, was perfectly in line with the customary homeopathic solution of associating several remedies with one genus epidemicus, selecting for each patient the best-fitting remedy from among them. But Chappell’s experience led him to conclude that these remedies did not perfectly address the pattern which he had uncovered.
Thus Chappell’s and van der Zee’s grievance with the customary approach is that, even if genus epidemicus remedies may alleviate the symptoms of an epidemic on an individual basis, on the whole they fail to uproot the collective original disease.Moreover, the higher significance of the epidemic remains hidden, and its evolutionary message for humanity may be overlooked. In contrast, a perfectly fitting, single genus epidemicus remedy (a “collective simillimum”) would not only serve as a portal for uncovering the true essence of an epidemic, but would double as an easy-to-prescribe treatment for it, allowing it to be prescribed widely by minimally trained personnel.
Besides the simplicity of prescribing PC resonances, the authors have discovered that these preparations are able to address the underlying spiritual pathology of an epidemic in individual patients, without needing to consider individual symptoms or constitutional factors. According to their analysis, the spiritual pathology of AIDS, for example, has to do with such themes as the desperate attempt to receive love from another human being through promiscuous sexuality and the lack of consideration for another human being that such sexuality brought. These pathological tendencies, which comprise the AIDS miasm, unfortunately tend to propagate through the population and across generations through infection of partners and newborns who thereby become tragically enmeshed in the epidemic. With regard to malaria, the authors have concluded that the disease represents the conflict between expressing one’s individuality – for instance through personal initiative or property ownership – and remaining loyal to one’s tribe. Accordingly, the malaria state is characterized by frustrated attempts to rise above the level of the collective, with a sense of dejection and no hope of attaining lasting societal transformation. Here, too, there is a tendency for the pattern to perpetuate itself through the ongoing threat of an outbreak, and this social reality (the malaria miasm) exerts a pernicious influence on the social fabric.
Through the use of PC resonances on a large number of people, the authors report to have successfully treated epidemic malaria and AIDS, and hope that if applied widely enough – a goal made possible by the fact that PC remedies are prescribed based on the diagnostic label – this could lead to a shift of consciousness on the collective level. In recent years they have expanded their vision to address epidemics of collective trauma (including culturally endemic rape and the Rwandan genocide), with similarly promising results.
Now, if the apparently paradoxical notion of individualized treatment of a collective issue is to become a reality in the way the authors propose, the following conditions must be met: (i) the active layer of pathology in such individuals must stem from a collective unresolved issue rather than from the personal disposition, and (ii) a homeopathic remedy for the relevant collective issue must exist. The first condition is similar to the one encountered under miasmatic or etiological prescribing, where the individual picture is overwhelmed by a collective issue. But the second condition presents a challenge that has never been overcome in the entire history of homeopathy. As the authors point out, existing remedies (nosodes included) rarely if ever match an epidemic phenomenon perfectly. How do PC resonances solve this conundrum?
The making of a PC resonance
The PC method is based on conceptualizing individual disease in terms of collective influences and coming up with a treatment that corresponds directly (one-to-one) with the identified collective layer of pathology. Chappell has proposed that, rather than extracting the essence of a material substance through repeated dilution and succussion, we can reverse-engineer the essence of a collective pathologies and then imprint its “conscious intelligence” onto water directly by conscious intention. According to his (rather cryptic) description, this involves a dialogue with this intelligence, whereby he presents to it a clear picture of the epidemic and receives in reply the ability to imprint water with the epidemic’s essence, after which the preparation can be applied clinically following the law of similars.
Having studied shamanism independently from homeopathy, Chappell was compelled by the challenges of treating large populations to apply (against his own skepticism) the intelligence he had encountered in his earlier shamanistic work to prepare PC remedies in this way. It is important to note that anyone can in principle enter into this form of dialogue, but in practice it is only accessible to those who possess a sufficiently high level of consciousness and the appropriate training.
Genus traumaticus and the transmission of trauma
PC resonances can be created for different types of trauma by comprehending their essence or genus traumaticus. Both in epidemic rape or incest and in genocide (which they regard as an epidemic rather than a collection of individual traumas) the authors propose that the human response to each type of trauma is stereotypical rather than individualized, and that a matching PC resonance could be made for every such type, in a simple extension of the approach already taken by homeopaths in cases of physical trauma. But while the etiological perspectives of classical homeopathy and PC theory are in theoretical agreement, the two approaches diverge therapeutically: in classical homeopathy the medical diagnosis or etiological factors represent just one symptom among many, while treatment with PC resonances is based solely on the medical diagnosis or on etiology, without consideration of individuating symptoms.
Because trauma may be transmitted inter-generationally, the authors appeal to the emerging science of epigenetics, which studies the influence of environmental and mental-emotional factors on gene-expression, to explain how trauma might be stored and transmitted. According to recent discoveries outside of homeopathy, such epigenetic influences can be carried across generations even in the absence of behavioural or cultural transmission. This reinforces the observation that untreated collective trauma tends to reverberate within a traumatized community for many generations, often subverting conscious efforts to counteract its influence. In the authors’ experience, PC resonances seem to address collective trauma at precisely this epigenetic level and possibly curtail its future transmission.
Genus chronicus and the origins of chronic disease
So far we have seen how PC resonances can be used just as Arnica is used for injury, Opium for fright, or a homeopathically diluted toxin following a negative reaction to its crude form. But how does PC theory view chronic disease, the mainstay of most contemporary homeopathic practices? The authors conceive of chronic diseases as slow-moving epidemics that are transmitted through epigenetic and other mechanisms. The more time that is allowed to elapse since the original infection or trauma, the more the expression of the disease becomes individual (differentiated) rather than collective (undifferentiated), and the more the classical approach will be needed to address the situation.
This perspective on chronic disease inspires the approach of targeting epidemics before they transform into individual chronic conditions, with the aim of reducing the incidence of the latter. The authors’ assertion is that treating the collective layer early on could prevent individual problems from arising in the first place, thereby reducing the need for individualized homeopathic treatment. In reality, most homeopathic patients in the developed world are at the stage when the classical approach is indispensible, but even then it is worthwhile to consider the influence of intergenerational collective trauma over-and-above the traditional miasmatic factors that may be at play.
Implications for homeopathy
To date, several-hundred different PC resonances have been prepared for a wide range of infectious and epidemic diseases, acute physical trauma, psychological trauma (including incest, adoption, birth, and torture), detoxification from toxins and vaccines, and various chronic diseases. The multiple case reports in Homeopathy for Diseases span this vast therapeutic range. Although most are from Africa, there are enough examples from Harry van der Zee’s private clinic in the Netherlands that demonstrate the applicability of the PC approach in the developed world. Indeed, insofar as clinical reports are the predominant type of evidence used by homeopaths, the authors have provided ample support for their claims.
But the implications of their method extend well beyond the practical level, reaching deep into homeopathy’s theoretical foundations, given that the allegedly broad therapeutic spectrum of PC resonances calls into question some of the central presuppositions of classical homeopathic theory. Assuming that there is indeed a well-defined method of preparing PC resonances, can the homeopathic community accept such a novel approach to the manufacture of remedies, an approach that magically bypasses all the challenges that generations of classical homeopaths have derived so much pride and pleasure from overcoming? It seems, after all, too good to be true that remedies can be created by direct conscious intent. If so, why should we homeopaths bother with the roundabout method of accessing the intelligence of substances by laboriously uncovering their therapeutic potential through provings? Why not simply create for each patient an instant remedy customized to his or her specific state, without at all bothering with the traditional materia medica? (As already mentioned, the authors ultimately recommend an integrative approach where the PC method is combined whenever possible with individualized classical homeopathy.) In any case, should this rogue sort of homeopathy be accepted into the ranks of the profession, or rather be considered something other than homeopathy? The authors do not shy away from such questions, and provide a wealth of guidance for stepping outside the comfort zone of the classical approach, instructing the reader in the use of PC resonances and offering some theoretical reflections.
Needless to say, the PC method is controversial even among the ranks of open-minded homeopaths, and it is perhaps for this reason that the authors have elected to share this information for the very first time only in this book, several years after introducing PC remedies to the world. Unfortunately, relatively little can be said in print about a method of preparation which involves discovering the “metaphysical likeness” of an epidemic and requires one to be personally guided so as obtain “a key… from the key keeper, which is Peter” – ironically recalling the story of Jesus handing Peter the Apostle the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Irony aside, from the perspective of theoretical science this method of preparation is problematic because it is not reproducible and because it leaves one in the dark as to the composition of such remedies. At the same time, homeopathic remedies can easily be copied and a worldwide supply produced from a single batch, so perhaps the issue of reproducibility can be set aside for the time being, and the efficacy of PC resonances verified empirically, despite their mysterious makeup.
The future of homeopathy
In the early years of homeopathy it was the mass treatment of epidemics that brought it wide recognition. A contemporary breakthrough in epidemic control could similarly bring homeopathy to the attention of many, and even more so if such treatment were also demonstrated to reduce the prevalence of subsequent chronic illness. If that were the case, it would indeed be much more effective to treat the collective rather than individual layer of pathology (instead of having to fight one’s way back to the collective source of the pathology every time), even in the individual clinical settings that abound in the developed world.
Homeopathy for Diseases is a highly detailed report of the practical applications of PC resonances, which Chappell first introduced in his earlier solo work, The Second Simillimum. What are we to make of the authors’ far-reaching claims in their present work? Insofar as we classical homeopaths know next to nothing about how our remedies work, and although PC technology is even more mind-boggling than traditional homeopathy, it is reasonable to extend to PC technology the same charity that we routinely ask others to extend to us. The work is also recommended reading due to the sort of questions the authors raise, whether or not their answers are agreeable to the reader. At the same time, we need not accept these claims on faith simply because they inspire us with their theoretical elegance or therapeutic promise, especially because doing so runs the risk of destabilizing the already insecure scientific foundations of homeopathy. I imagine that successful randomized controlled trials – which have proven challenging to design for individualized homeopathy but could readily be applied to the PC method – would go a long way in persuading those within the homeopathic community who do not themselves have the opportunity to treat epidemics (and perhaps even some outsiders) of the utility of PC resonances.
Homeopathy for Diseases: Vital Remedies for Epidemics, Trauma and Chronic Diseases
Peter Chappell and Harry van der Zee. Available from Homeopathic Links, Nature Reveals, Narayana Publishers, or Amazon. Details on specific PC remedies and ordering information are found at Vital Remedies.