Dialogue – Not Debate

Dialogue – Not Debate

In this and future issues we will host a dialogue about new concepts and methods in homeopathy. Calling it a “dialogue” and not a debate was intentional. Debate implies battle, while dialogue suggests an exchange of ideas. You may remember the debates that raged between homeopaths (traditionalists vs innovators) over the last decade. Emotionally cathartic and stimulating, they resolved very little. Much of what passed for disagreement was really misunderstanding. Homeopaths who were caring, non-judgmental and empathic with their patients, seemed to lose this ability when debating with their colleagues.

We propose a different type of conversation. It will have the spirit of inquisitiveness and be based on trust and mutual respect. To have such a dialogue, we must start with the assumption that our colleagues, having studied for many years and dedicated their lives to homeopathy, are intelligent, rational and sincere. To assume otherwise, dooms the discussion. If we would be healers, let us have a healing dialogue.

In coming months we will hear new, exciting and sometimes “strange” ideas. We will also find unexpected wisdom. We may feel threatened by ideas which seem wrongheaded or even harmful. We should resist the impulse to immediate judgment. Instead, we should ask for clarification. Why? Because if ideas from rational and sincere people seem absurd, ridiculous, or destructive, it is likely we have misunderstood them. We have heard the words but missed the essence. If we judge something without really understanding it, we are just having a conversation with ourselves.

Really new ideas often require a new language. When you speak from another frame of reference, even ordinary words take on different meaning. When Hahnemann spoke of “disease” and “cure” he meant something quite different from contemporary usage. You will find the best innovators in homeopathy using words differently. To understand them, we have to loosen our mental constructs and lean over to their meaning. It requires the same empathy we use in good case taking.

There is a method of dialogue we can use to help us understand each other. It has been employed successfully throughout the world, between parties locked in the most bitter disputes. The method is quite simple. During a dialogue, before expressing a view, each person paraphrases the other’s argument, to that person’s satisfaction. It sounds something like this:

“I understood you to say that …………………… Is that correct?”

“No, that was taken our of context. My meaning was………………”

Without this checking of meaning, two people may talk past each other endlessly. For this to work, both parties must be motivated by the desire to understand, rather than to prevail. This method can be used whenever there is a contentious issue.

Many people fear that some innovations will undermine Hahnemann’s elegant system, replacing hard- won science with speculative methods. It is appropriate that they express those feelings and innovators would be wise to address them, since they drive the dialogue.

A word of caution. Feelings should be expressed as such and not as judgments. There is a difference between saying ” Your ideas are confusing” and saying “I’m confused about how they can work.”

One homeopath takes over three hours for an initial visit. That might evoke the judgment “It’s impractical.” But it would be better expressed as ” I worried that I couldn’t make a living that way.” (The homeopath in question said that by spending that initial time, she saved many more hours in follow up.)

There are legitimate questions to be answered about any new method. What are the clinical results, how were they measured, what are the benefits and limitations, for which cases does it work best, what is the methodology, what is the theoretical basis and does it fit in the framework of homeopathy. There is a great concern about boundaries, for without them a thing ceases to exist. Some methods may be curative, but not fall within the scope or definition of homeopathy.

Does a dialogue such as this mean we will all agree in the end? Once we comprehend each other’s point of view, we may in fact disagree. But we are not at the same place we started. By then, in spite of differences, a mutual respect often develops. We may start seeing areas of agreement and become less polarized. We may truly learn from each other.


In this issue…

George Vithoulkas, in our hot seat, weighs in on the state of homeopathy, what constitutes real cure, esoteric methods and much more.

Rudi Verspoor provides a glossary to help us understand each other as we explore “what is homeopathy”. He introduces the idea that the life force consists of both a sustentive and a generative power.

Peter Chappell introduces his new “PC” remedies, based on genus epidemicus, and genus chronicus, which are being used for both epidemics and chronic illnesses.

Both Edward De Beukelaer and Paul Herscu discuss the worldwide pet food recall. They address the health issue and offer advice and valuable tips.

Edward Kondrot, homeopath and opthamologist, shares his insights for a homeopathic approach to Macular Degeneration.

Jan Sholten explains that the lines which define homeopathy many not be as clear as they seem, and helps us find the balance.

Luc DeSchepper weighs in on the “new methods” and the crisis in case management .

Ulrich Welte presents cases of Lac Suillinum and comments on the use of themes and stages.

Gina Tyler shares her fascinating experience with homeopathy and radiaesthesia.

And much, much more!

This dialogue is just beginning and will build over the coming months. Your articles, comments and questions enrich this dialogue. Let us hear from you!

Write to us at [email protected]

Alan V. Schmukler

About the author

Alan V. Schmukler

Alan V. Schmukler is a homeopath, Chief Editor of Homeopathy for Everyone and author of ”Homeopathy An A to Z Home Handbook”, (also in French, German, Greek, Polish and Portuguese). He is Hpathy’s resident cartoonist and also produces Hpathy’s Tips & Secrets column and homeopathy Crossword puzzles each month. Alan is a recipient of the National Center for Homeopathy Martha Oelman Community Service Award. Visit Alan at his website: Here.

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