Allopathic anatomy and physiology is all about matter and biochemical processes, not at all about true physiology.
The universe consists of matter, substance and essence. The realm of physiology is that of substance, the next level up from matter. Substance is manifested in powers, forces and energies, namely the domain of the Dynamis, Living Power, Life Force and Life Energy, all mentioned by Hahnemann as the basis for his living approach to medicine in particular and healthcare in general. The operation of powers, forces and energies results in various functions, which involve a living polarity or relationship between two powers, with their force and energy fields, that are either identical or opposite.
The essential nature of a function is a dynamic unity wherein exists a distinction between the direction of forces from two poles or tendencies that are intimately related such that the one could not exist without the other; they are functionally identical in a dynamic way. Power is also a functional polarity between force and energy. Life is a function, then, of the interplay between various forces and systems of forces, which generate more or less energy. Each function derives from a common principle of which the two powers are constituents. In Hahnemann’s system, the Living Power or Dynamis is characterized by the polarity between the sustentive side and the generative side. In turn, the disease function engages this polarity: the initial action sees the dynamic disease agent impinge on the generative side of the Dynamis of the individual, which is the disease proper, and this is followed inevitably by the counter or back action of the sustentive side, which produces the various symptoms and characteristics we associate with disease. Equally, remedial function involves the initial action of the remedy (acting on the generative power of the Dynamis), which we term cure, as well as the counter or healing action, of the sustentive power of the Dynamis.
As has been set out in the overview article on Heilkunst, the whole nature of disease and remediation (restoration of health) is a living, dynamic one, and, thus, there must be a living, dynamic understanding of the human being that goes beyond the limits of a the material world. Hahnemann provided a foundation for understanding this supersensible dimension of man in speaking of Geist, Seele, Sinn, Gemüt, Leib, and Wesen.
Geist: the spiritual aspect of man. Hahnemann connects the Geist with pure intelligence or pure reason. It is one of two supersensible (not directly perceivable by the senses) presences that permeate the organism, the other being the Wesen.
Seele: the soul, which partakes of the Geist on the one hand and of the sense (sentience) on the other. It is the seat of feeling and conscience and includes the world of morals and ethics. It is the functional opposite of the Leib. Hahnemann uses the term Leib und Seele (body and soul) frequently.
Sinn: the mental aspect of sense involving the intellect and reason. This involves the discursive (reasoning), as well as the intuitive aspect of the Mind. The term often used by Hahnemann is here too, as Geist in German has the meaning of mental operations in the world of sensibilia (intellect) and mind operating at the supersensible level of pure reason (when unclouded by beliefs).
The organism: the physical vehicle for the members, consisting of solid, fluid, gaseous and thermal elements.
Gemüt: the emotional mind. It is instinctual rather than intelligential (Sinn). It is the basis of knowledge derived from emotional reactions relating to the activity of the life energy (Leib). It is the Leib function raised up into various gradations of consciousness. A certain part of the functional energy of various organs of the Leib give up some of their life energy to develop the supersensible organ of consciousness. This is the basis, along with Geist as sense (Sinn), for the reference Hahnemann uses to the Geistes-und Gemüths-Organe (§216), the organs of knowledge (both emotion and reason, instinct and intellect), which relates to what we call “mind” in English. Each of these has a functional relationship within a hierarchy and all relate to the organism, which is the vehicle with respect to which all these members operate together at various levels of harmony or disruption.
Leib: the action or organised activity and functions of the Wesen. The Wesen manifests as the Living Principle in the individual and the Leib is the primary realm of its action. The Leib is not the organism, but the bodily activity perceptible through effects and appearances and discernible in phenomena. It relates to the old concept of body, meaning activity of the Living Principle: cf. the body politic – a body (a political entity) which has activity that you can see in its effects and appearances, but which is also more than the outward appearances.
Wesen: the pure instinct, the wise Dynamis in the organism. It is that entity which is the unchanging quintessence of something. It is not material, yet it is real. It permeates the whole of something and cannot be considered as separate from that something.
In addition to this complex and profound insight into the higher functioning of man provided by Hahnemann, we also know that around the turn of the 18th century he was an important part of an effort in science, particularly medicine, to come to terms with animate nature, following on the earlier hard-won success in the realm of inanimate nature – the astronomy, physics and chemistry of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle and Lavoisier, to name the most prominent (noting also that Hahnemann himself was a noted chemist in his day, one of his early works being used as a textbook in higher education in Germany).
While there was already a tendency in science to carry over the understanding (laws, principles) of dead matter to living “matter” (substance), Hahnemann as well as his contemporaries, Dr. John Hunter, Dr. Richard Saumarez, Dr. John Brown, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, not to mention the works and influence of Wolfgang von Goethe (who several times pointed to Hahnemann’s writings and practice as being an example of the application of his scientific ideas), forcefully resisted this tendency and sought at the same time to provide a secure basis for a true science of life in the form of physiology. Whereas material science reduced substance to matter and living functions to dead chemical processes, these members of what Coleridge termed the Dynamic System of Thought or the Dynamic Method of science, developed an entire system of principles of biological life that could provide the basis for a better understanding of health and disease, illness and disorders, as well as of the manner in which health can be maintained and restored, by means of a therapeutic system that respected these principles (see Aphorism 2), and, thus, life itself, so that we would have a true healthcare system instead of the disease and disorder management system of allopathy.
The work of Dr. John Brown provided, in effect, a “Second Organon,” similarly written and organized into aphorisms. Where Dr. Hahnemann focused on disease and the law of similars, while recognizing and making room for disorders and the application of the law of opposites (balance or homeostasis), Dr. Brown provided the rational foundation for the scientific application of regimen (therapeutic regimen), based on the phenomenon of excitation. While Brown grounded this in the living principle, in keeping with Hahnemann, more his compeer than a rival, material science reduced the phenomenon of “excitation” to a capacity of the nervous system, and then only of the central nervous system and the brain.
Later, the insights of Rudolf Steiner in the first two decades of the twentieth century in the realm of health provided an extension of Heilkunst in terms of understanding living functions (physiology) by means of increased detail concerning the various supersensible members identified by Hahnemann, such as the Geist, Seele and Leib. Steiner’s core idea also concerns the living duality or polarity of animate nature. Much of these insights into the dynamic functions underlying health and illness can be found in anthroposophic medicine. For example, Steiner’s insights into the process of digestion provides a rational basis for understanding the immune system, while his lectures on the function of organs renders more rational Hahnemann’s insight regarding the “nobility” of organs in the human body.
From Steiner’s Heilkunst lectures we gain an understanding of the two beings, one related to the upper, conscious self coming from the earth forces, and the other to the sub-conscious part of our self, coming in from the periphery of the universe (bringing in the stellar and planetary forces and energies in a scientific way), that must properly connect and integrate to produce the healthy sense of true self that is the foundation for health, much as is revealed in the work on epi-genetics as revealed by Dr. Bruce Lipton (in his book, Biology of Belief). We also have an understanding of the make-up of the individual in terms of the self (character and personality), plus that of our nature: astral or feeling body, which is connected to the cosmic influences, and is the seat of our objective desire function (the term de-sire meaning “from the stars”); etheric or life body, which is the seat of the temperaments, the humoral understanding of Greek and medieval medicine, but now brought forward into the current scientific understanding in an enhanced way); physical body, which is the realm of what Hahnemann called the constitution, and the basis for a true constitutional prescribing.
Further work by Dr. Wilhelm Reich took place in the first half of the 20th century, and provided the scientific identification and understanding of living energy, which he termed “orgone energy,” as well as a deeper understanding of the nature of dynamic functions in the human body. Reich provided a clear insight into the workings of life energy and the consequences of any blockages to the natural flow of orgone in terms of disease and disorder (what Reich termed “armor”). Reich’s work also provided an extension of the foundation laid down by Dr. Brown a century and a half earlier, as well as providing a better understanding of the nature of the energy released by Hahnemann’s dynamization and potentisation process. In effect, orgone or life energy precedes matter, and thus, is prior to and above the forms of energy derived from matter – electrical, magnetic, weak and strong nuclear forces. This means that it cannot be destroyed by these forces, so that so-called homeopathic medicines are not affected by X-rays, strong odors, electro-magnetic fields, computers, etc.
The dynamic understanding of human functions also provides a deeper insight into the nature of healing, as well as an ability to identify the complex of disturbances possible in a given individual so far as all the members of the human organism are concerned. This then provides a means to therapeutically address in a rational, grounded fashion (grounded in natural law) disturbances and diseases both at the level of the cell and the inter-cellular matrix (using the pioneering work of Drs. Heine, Schimmel and Reckeweg), as well as at the level of what Hahnemnann termed “the highest diseases,” that of the mind and consciousness, of false beliefs and illusions/delusions (taking us into the work of Rajan Sankaran, Scholten, Banis and others, going all the way back to the emergence of “essence prescribing”).
Organic life is a specific form of life that exists on earth enclosed within a membrane. On earth cosmic orgone energy is contained within certain vesicles termed bions such as in sand, silicon oxide, the most common element in the earth’s crust. Organic life is continually dissolving back into this bion form (dying) and being reformed (living). Conscious life is a dynamic between the forces tending to dissolution (catabolic or death forces) and those tending to growth (anabolic or life forces). At conception, the growth forces prevail, but eventually the death forces gain the upper hand and eventually the balance is tipped sufficiently that the physical body can no longer continue as such and what we term death occurs.
The relationship between cosmic orgone and the life force within us means that various influences from outside affect the functioning within. Forces and energies are not visible to the naked eye and these influences can come from earth or from the cosmos.
Both Reich and Steiner saw the essence of life to be the polarity between an expansive or centrifugal force and direction and a contractive or centripetal force and direction, similar to the sacred geometry of the point and the plane. The one force is radiating outwards and the other is a rounding or shaping (formative) force. The physical structure of man is the result of the systems of forces operating to produce the deposition of substance at certain points on the force field grid where there is a concentration of energy. In this sense, form follows the function of the dynamic forces in their polar relationship (polar logic), but also in their relationship hierarchically to each other (scalar logic of the universe).
Thus, what we term health is a dynamic balance resulting from the interactions of a myriad of functions, which is what we can more properly term our physiology. This balance is both one within a given state of being (homeostasis) and of an evolution of states of being (palingenesis).
What we term disease is a process involving a given influence (power) that alters the inherent balance at any point, either in terms of the sustentive side of the life force (homeostasis) or the generative side (palingenesis) beyond a normal variation or range. Health is a harmonious cycle or rhythm between two poles that does not exceed a certain range. When this range is exceeded, then one or the other pole of a dynamic function gains too much power and influence. Either there is too much growth or too little, or too much shaping or compressing or too little. Because of the polarity, there can be an endless series of relationships along a continuum, but they are, in logical terms, of eight different types. Each pole of a function is either increasing or decreasing and then it can be either stronger or weaker relative to the position of the other pole (see The Web That Has No Weaver, Ted Kaptchuk).
A dynamic view has also provided for the integration of various individual contributions to our understanding of diet and nutrition, for example, as is set out in more detail in the article on therapeutic regimen, in terms of typologies, as well as in the area of minerals, as applied in cell or tissue salts (see separate article).
The insights of dynamic physiology allow us to better comprehend the inter-relationships between the body and mind, psyche and soma that avoid the abstract dialectics of material science, and provide greater insights into those already provided by Hahnemann in his aphorisms on soul-spiritual diseases and their treatment. Once having identified the true dys-function, the practitioner can then address this, as opposed to the symptoms themselves, allowing for a true causal prescribing as called for by Dr. Hahnemann. A comprehension of a dynamic physiology provides for a living and real link between diagnosis and prescription that promotes the health of the individual in a systematic and comprehensive manner.
Rudi Verspoor DMH
Rudi Verspoor has been studying Dr. Hahnemann’s medical system for more than two decades and has acquired extensive clinical experience, particularly with complex and chronic cases, in the application of this system. His abiding interest in history and philosophy has led him to undertake continual research into various problems and issues that have arisen in traditional homeopathic treatment, and this has included weekly conversations with Steven Decker for over 12 years. This research has led to the development of a systematic dynamic approach to therapeutics that is now being offered in a comprehensive form to others through a number of educational programs.
Rudi has written several books providing new insights based on his research and clinical experience and has lectured widely in Canada, the US, the UK and Europe. He served as the Director of the British Institute of Homeopathy (Canada) from 1993 to early 2001, and developed their Homeopathic Practitioner Diploma Program. He has taught extensively both in-class and on a distance learning basis. His previous experience has been in public policy, planning and administration.
He helped to found the National United Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths (NUPATH) serving as its president for 14 years, and the Canadian/International Heilkunst Association (C/IHA). Part of his time has been spent advising the Canadian government on health-care policy and in working for greater acceptance of and access to homeopathy and Heilkunst amongst policy makers and the public.
His publications include: Autism: The Journey Back, Recovering the Self Through Heilkunst (with Patty Smith); Homeopathy Renewed, A Sequential Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Illness (with Patty Smith); A Time for Healing; Homeopathy Re-examined: Beyond the Classical Paradigm (with Steven Decker); The Dynamic Legacy: Hahnemann from Homeopathy to Heilkunst (with Steven Decker). He also has written various articles for Canadian and International journals.