Jan Scholten interview with David Nortman (Part 3): Scientific Development of Homeopathy

Written by David Nortman

Thoughts about radionics, limitations of provings, and the future of homeopathy and more from Jan Scholten’s interview by David Nortman.

The video of this transcript is available here.

D:  So far we’ve spoken of homeopathy as a science, and even your speculative approach is still based on a scientific rationale. But there are also people in our profession that go beyond what I might call modern homeopathy to what I might call post-modern homeopathy, for instance using unorthodox approaches such as paper remedies or PC resonances. And the idea there is that such remedies are produced by projecting a person’s consciousness onto the water, rather than as traditionally prepared, through a reproducible method. So I’m interested in knowing whether you’ve used such remedies at all yourself?

J:  No, I don’t use those remedies. I keep myself to real, basic homeopathic remedies.

D:  Ahm. So I’m curious, How come?

J:  There are also people who use radionics, things like that. And sometimes it would be easy for me because I want to prescribe sometimes remedies that I cannot get, and then with radionics you can make that.

D:  Right.

J:  But I decided not to do that, because of two reasons for it: first is that I will lose some credibility for a lot of people, and knowing I can say: You know, this is really a homeopathic remedy that we tried, there’s no question about what it is. And with radionics, and also this paper remedies, there are questions what are you really prescribing.

D:  Yea.

J:  So, I think it’s one step too far ahead. And I don’t have experience with it, but I know from quite a lot of homeopaths who say that it works and they have good experience with it.

D:  Ahm. So is science, or is it shamanism? Where do you place…

J:  Good shamanism is science.

D:  Sure. And yet you don’t practice that. So that’s what I’m trying to understand what makes you ultimately stick with…?

J:  The whole thing is that you cannot split consciousness from life. And that’s even the case in physics, where the consciousness of the experimenter influences the experiment. So the whole idea that it shouldn’t be possible is unscientific.

D:  OK, so you believe it’s possible but yet…?

J:  But I don’t do it, because I’m busy with the scientific development, and it would interfere with that.

D:  Right.

J:  And it could very well be that it works, but I don’t know for the moment from my own experience.

D:  OK. So it may be something that you perhaps might be open to exploring at a later stage of development of homeopathy as a science?

J:  Could be, or for instance when I’m desperate, and a case where a patient dying and I want to have a remedy, maybe I could do it. You know, you don’t want to wait two months when you die tomorrow. But the other thing is that it won’t develop our science further.

D:  Ahm. And that’s a very interesting point.

J:  Because you prescribe it, but you never know what you have done. You know, the whole idea of classification: when I would have done with paper remedies, what would people have said? And you’re not grounded enough… you have to have a good grounding to become more subtle. You don’t start with subtle, you know, your basis has to be firm. And then the upper part of your building can be very light; but not the lower part of it.

D:  OK, and you’re still building the foundations.

J:  Yea.

D:  Now, despite what you’ve just said, you still dance on the edge of the avant-garde through your sense provings.

J:  Ahm.

D:  So could you describe, first of all, what it is, and then how do you justify it as compared to more elaborate provings, whether they be full provings or partial, conventional provings?

J:  Sense provings, how I do it, is I do it mostly with plants. I think you can also do it with animals, but I’m not busy with that. You take just the plant with you, and the name, and you start looking at it, smelling it, tasting it, getting as much impressions from the plant as you can get. And then meditate on it and see what impresses you about it. And that’s how it’s done. And you can do it in half an hour or an hour. You can do it as a group, you can do it alone, there are different forms. I started doing it when I was in Bali once on retreat, and then there was a story of an old herbologist who was a doctor there, and he was, I think, a century ago or something. He was not content with what he was doing. So he almost skipped [quit]. But then someone said “No, no you cannot skip, you have to continue! And when you don’t know what it is, ask the plants themselves what they do.” So he started talking to the plants. And of course when you hear about talking to the plants people say it’s nonsense because plants don’t talk. But talking to the plants for those people is a more extensive way of communicating with the plant. And when you taste the plant you get a kind of impression of it. When you eat a pepper, you know when you have a pepper. It’s a kind of communication.

D:  Right. And that’s where you enter into your own shamanism, I guess, that you say is a legitimate part of science. It’s the actual direct connection with nature.

J:  Yeah, but it’s: When you eat a pepper, is it shamanism? What’s the boundary?

D:  Right.

J:  There is none.

D:  There is none.

J:  There is none. It’s impressions, and you never know what they mean. So you know you have to confirm all those symptoms of provings later on.

D:  Right.

J:  So I see my sense provings as just speculation.

D:  Ahm. Just the beginning and entry point to using the remedy.

J:  Yea, it’s an entry point: it’s a good way of expressing it. Because when you don’t have any idea, you don’t know where to start. But when you have an idea you can try it in a case where it’s the same kind of state. And when it’s really then curing, then you know, OK, this is what it is. And then you learn more because the patient will have more than the proving has, and the more, bigger background. And then when you have another of that family you can generalize again, and then it starts growing.

D:  So you’re big on clinical data and generalization, rather than provings, right? You’ve mentioned (Provings are a start…) before that they have their own issues even when they’re comprehensive.

J:  Yea, and also the comprehensive ones, they are not completely reliable. In fact, every proving can have several levels, and many prover… provings, they get stuck in the expression phase.

D:  Right.

J:  When you go one level deeper in a proving, then you come to the problem phase, where you understand where all those symptoms are coming from, what the meaning of them… what those symptoms are. You can also say when you understand a remedy from the proving, you have the problem. When you don’t understand a remedy from the proving, you have just expressions. It’s another way of expressing it… It’s about understanding. When you have an essence, the whole thing makes sense. And that’s where you should want to be, that’s where you should want to go, because that’s much more important than all those expressions. You lose yourself in all those expressions, like in the materia medica. So a lot of the old provings, they are just expression phase, they never came to the source, to the essence. For instance, you feel betrayed, and of course that you are angry. Being betrayed is more essential, and being angry is an expression. So then you understand: OK, it’s logical that he is angry, I understand that. When I would be betrayed, that’s one of the ways how you can react. You can also give up, of course, that’s another thing: then you have someone who’s giving up, and someone who’s angry.

D:  Ahm. But that’s not available from provings as such?

J:  It is fairly difficult, because when you don’t have that theme of betrayal, you don’t know where the two are coming from: you have to go to the problem phase. I think that my way of looking at our materia medica from the beginning already was that it’s not logical the way it is. We should be able to understand the materia medica. Of course it takes an effort, it takes a kind of background how to classify it to do that. So the point with classification is that you expand your whole field of materia medica. The amount of remedies that I’m using now is hugely expanded, and that gives much more precise cure in more cases. For instance, before I found the Lanthanides, it was difficult to help people with autoimmune diseases, and it was not only my experience, it was the experience of all the homeopaths. And with the Lanthanides that suddenly changed. Now we have – I won’t say we cure everyone, but we can do a lot for those patients, and many of them, they don’t have complaints anymore. So that’s a bit shift. So my idea is that the more remedies you know, the more people you can cure.

D:  So currently homeopathy seems, even though it’s dealing with a very advanced form of energy, in a sense it’s a young science – it’s much like, say, the science of electricity was in the beginning of the 19th century, where they were still tinkering with phenomena and making generalizations, but not yet having Maxwell’s equations, for example, to make sense of the underlying mathematical order. And what you’re trying to do is to come up with those equations, and ultimately figure out what’s the underlying structure of homeopathy.

J:  That’s basically what we need. But maybe we need another form of mathematics for it. Because, measurements are not easy in the internal world. So maybe we need something like a topology instead of a metric science, a metric mathematics – if that makes any sense for you.

D:  Yeah, I can imagine if mathematicians actually got exploring what sort of math would match homeopathy, it would be a very interesting marriage of sciences.

J:  But that’s still too far away… We’re not at that level yet.

D:  Yeah.

D:  What sort of direction would you like to see homeopathy head in the next decade or two?

J:  We have two levels of development: one is sociologically and one is scientifically. I think with…

D:  We spoke about the scientific part, yea.

J:  … the scientific – it’s, I think, obvious where I want to go: more understanding, more classification, more even trying to go to a level deeper of really understanding, making a mathematical formula that you understand what you do. Sociologically I would like to have it become mainstream, just a university study, and that’s what it should be. And that it should be incorporated in mainstream medicine as a specialty. My idea is that the best way to do homeopathy is not as in the past when they had homeopathic hospitals, but that you have hospitals where homeopaths work in parallel with normal doctors. You know, as a homeopath when you can treat someone well, the normal doctors have to do less. When you cannot treat them well they can prevent things happening. And that’s why it’s very good to work in parallel and not to mix the two.

D:  Oh, right, OK.

J:  That’s my vision of how it should be.

D:  Like integrative medicine but done with different specialists who respect each other.

J:  Yea.

D:  So what can we homeopaths do to raise the academic level of homeopathy, even while homeopathy is still outside the universities, and there’s very little leisure time for people to practice theoretical homeopathy?

J:  Just cure as many people as you can. Because the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the more we can treat and cure real, severe diseases, the more it cannot be denied anymore. That’s what it is about: to become better homeopaths. But I think the scientific development is a very important issue. And with classifications and getting more remedies and have much more possibilities to cure cases.

D:  So do you have a vision or at least an inkling of a vision of the future, based on your homeopathic work?

J:  I don’t know where it will go. You know, homeopathy, when it’s really true, it will survive, and it will become mainstream, somewhere, somehow. I don’t know if it will be in one year, two years, two-hundred, two-thousand or two-hundred-thousand years. But it has to be, because the truth will always prevail. It cannot be stopped – only temporarily.

About the author

David Nortman

David Nortman, Hon.B.A., M.A., N.D. is a graduate of the University of Toronto (philosophy and chemistry), Tel-Aviv University (philosophy) and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. He has studied homeopathy with many of the world’s leading practitioners and has since worked with patients in Israel, Canada, and worldwide via his long-distance practice. He believes that in order to flourish, homeopathy must step beyond its vitalistic roots and become a modern scientific discipline, while preserving its deep spiritual insights as a gift to the world of science. He maintains an interest in philosophy of science, and is currently working on a textbook of homeopathy that will aim to address these issues in a way that transcends the mutual animosity between orthodox medicine and homeopathy. David is also a professional singer specializing in early music of the medieval, renaissance, and baroque eras.

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