Homeopathy Papers

Was Kent a Hahnemannian? — A Reply From Amir Cassam

Amir Cassam replies to Doug Brown about his points regarding the difference in the philosophy and approach of Samuel Hahnemann and James Tyler Kent.

Dear Colleague,

I have read Douglas Brown’s contribution The Dynamis of the Homeopathic Art you very kindly sent me as a courtesy. I have read the parts that related to my article Was Kent a Hahnemannian? The following are my comments:

1. How did Mr. Douglas Brown divine that I had “condemn(ed) new ideas without taking the time to properly explore them?” He might say the same about George Vithoulkas who made serious criticisms of some of the new ideas both in Homeopathic Links and British Homeopathic Journal. By saying that, I am, of course, in no way comparing myself with a homeopathic giant like George Vithoulkas.

To make my point, I propose to give just one example of his serious concern about some of the methods of conducting provings (in this particular case) by eminent homeopaths. In my letter to the Editors of Homeopathy (changed from British Homeopathic Journal) of the Faculty of Homeopathy of United Kingdom in 2002, I supported George Vithoulkas’s two main charges about a recent proving that he claimed was ‘potentizing by magical power’. He charged that they were out not to promote but to destroy homeopathy.

He took the example of the proving of Thiosinamine by Grinney and commented:

a. It is regrettable that somebody managed to persuade novices in homeopathy that placebo symptoms could belong to the proving of the remedy through a metaphysical medium, which is the communal consciousness (my italics).

b. After quoting the example of ‘Proving of Thiosinamine’ reported by Grinney, Vithoulkas wanted to know, “How can such reactions be noted down as proving symptoms? Under these circumstances anybody would react in the same way.”

I do not have to prove my credentials to Douglas Brown. Instead, he has to produce evidence that I have condemned new ideas without properly exploring them.

2. In the next paragraph, Douglas Brown patronizes me by saying that to him I appeared (my italics) to be a bright and intelligent and committed homeopath but the stinging in the tail by stating that despite being so intelligent, my article was singularly successful “in embodying almost everything that is divisive, negative and retrogressive.” Apparently, I was not also aware of much ‘greater truths’ available to him. I admit am not a philosopher. Perhaps Douglas Brown, who claims to know more about this subject, might enlighten me.

Also, I do not accept his compliment that I am a ‘committed’ homeopath. As a matter of fact, I am not a committed homeopath at all. Moreover, I consider myself a very poor homeopath. Indeed, having practiced homeopathy for a while, I had come across too many failures. In my case, in all humility, I accept that I was just not good enough. But what about the many failures by others far more learned and experienced?

3. In the third paragraph, he writes, “Cassam commits the absurdity (my emphasis) of condemning Hahnemann himself for deviating from ‘true Hahnemannianism’ in his later years.” Where did I do so? Actually, I was just quoting Dr. Anthony Campbell’s views and not mine. As for my own views just for his interest, what I wrote in my unabridged article some years ago was: “Moreover it also showed that there was no break in Hahnemann’s thinking, (in his old age) but a gradual evolution of his thinking based on practice and experience.”

It was Dr. Campbell’s view that Hahnemann deviated from his earlier formulations in his old age. But why would that be absurd? Dr Campbell is a very learned man and was the editor of British Homeopathic Journal – one of the most prestigious homeopathic journals in the world – for many years.

I am quite prepared to admit that my views might be challenged by those more learned. But they were based on the research I had done at the time and fully substantiated in my original article and to a smaller extent, in the abridged one.

I did not receive a single dissenting response at the time, even from Dr Campbell himself. Nor did – to the best of my knowledge – British Homeopathic Journal print one. That of course, does not prove anything. I just mention it for the record.

4. His remark that both Hahnemann and Kent were profoundly awed by the ultimate sway of non-material forces in health and consciousness of their patients has nothing to do with my contention about their fundamental differences.

To persist in confusing Hahnemann’s ‘vital force’ with Kent’s ‘simple substance’ despite these terms’ fundamental differences that I had argued for and substantiated by quoting from the original sources, does not leave room for further fruitful discussion.

5. I have never claimed that homeopathy was a ‘science’. In fact in my article Homeopathy and science: has science become one true religion? I have gone into great detail into this subject. However, I have since wondered though if I should not have entitled my article: Science and Homeopathy: Has Homeopathy Become ‘One True Religion?’

6. As far as my criticisms about using mental symptoms only, it was much more than that in the case by Dr. Latha Iyer that I had examined in great detail. I do not propose to go into it again. I think I had rationally analyzed each mental rubric she had used before coming to my negative judgment. If Douglas Brown and some readers still remain unconvinced, so be it.

My final general point is that all of us, including myself, should have the humility to accept that we as homeopaths really know very little, if anything, not just about the fundamental theoretical issues in every branch of science – especially physics – but even about homeopathy. Although homeopathy is not a science yet, what concerns me most is that it would never be a science, the way I see the hold of the esoteric trend within a large section of its adherents. That is why I salute George Vithoulkas and even Anthony Campbell to stand for secularism in homeopathy.

Amir Cassam

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Amir Cassam

Amir Cassam

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