Homeopathy Papers

The Threefold Principle: A Constructive Response to Feedback

Jeroen Holtkamp responds to comments about his article : “Is the Miasm Theory a Valid Concept of Chronic Disease?” (Jan 2012 Ezine.)

I am grateful for being given the opportunity to contribute to this rather confrontational debate. For the purpose of a proper debate in which the subtleties of the individual experience of health and disease are acknowledged, I feel it is necessary to clarify – and elaborate on my article “Is the Miasm theory a Valid Concept of Chronic Disease?” https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/is-the-miasm-theory-a-valid-concept-of-chronic-disease/

I will try to respond to all the feedback I have been given so far.

My position regarding chronic disease and the validity of the miasm theory remains unchanged:

  1. Hahnemann looked for the causes of chronic disease in disease and not in life itself. There is disease because we live and not because there is disease. The cause of disease should be sought in life.

  2. Life has a purpose and so health and disease must have a purpose too. Health and disease, good and evil, etcetera, are inextricably connected and together make what life is about. Undoubtedly each person has a tendency for physical, emotional and mental development. Health and disease are the two sides of the one coin, namely development. A development towards that individual purpose.

  3. During consultations my focus is on development of the individual and the obstacles of all sorts that the patient meets. Based on the fact that life is a purposeful development, I discern three types of expressions in relation to individualising symptoms, namely positive-, negative-, and neutral expressions.

  4. Chronic diseases are definitely not caused by scabies, gonorrhoea or syphilis. There is no connection whatsoever between the disease syndromes that are referred to as miasms and the three ailments. It is impossible to determine the origin of chronic disease from factual public journals. Looking for the first cause of chronic disease, like Hahnemann did, is a fruitless effort because each cause is preceded by another one.

  5. The appearance of disease is not the same as BEING sick. One might display symptoms of disease, but is not of the opinion that he/she IS sick. (Arnica)

The cause of the threefold appearance of life

Hahnemann’s miasmatic approach to the nature and treatment of chronic disease has, although successful to a certain degree, lost its validity and needs to be replaced by what I call the threefold principle. Mr John Harvey drew the conclusion that the threefold principle is a division upon grounds of religion and folklore, but it’s the other way around. The threefold principle underlies all our observations, reflections and self-awareness.

  1. Perceiving or observing requires us to connect with the senses and increases sensitivity. Being too much involved in the senses is experienced as over-sensitivity.

  2. In order to reflect we have to withdraw from the senses and turn inward. When we reflect we relate our experiences and impression functionally to one another. Through reflection we create our concepts of the world which we are inclined to protect and control.

  3. The third and highest state of awareness in relation to the world out there emerges when experiences and impressions lead to more self awareness.

So there are three clearly distinguishable states of awareness that naturally may occur. Each state has a profound influence on how we perceive and express our selves. This threefold principle is the reason why so many things, including the materia medica, appear essentially threefold in life.

Natural laws and principles describe reality and not our preferences

The majority of homeopathic practitioners at least doubt Hahnemann’s concept of the cause and nature of chronic disease. Over the years alternatives have been developed for Hahnemann’s argument of the three contagions psora, gonorrhoea and syphilis. So, what is the value of a classification system that is based on this uncertainty? What pre-disposing reality is Mr Harvey defending so passionately? I concur with Mr. Cor van der Meij that classification systems in homeopathy can indeed be very useful and do not necessarily hinder the search for the most similar remedy, but they have to be rooted in reality. The threefold principle is a reality that each of us can investigate independently at any given moment or any given place and will always result in similar findings. Health is the part of life we like and disease is the part we do not wish to encounter. Similarly we appreciate flying to a larger extent than falling, but both are governed by the laws of gravity. The miasms are solely concerned with disease while the threefold principle gives us insight in all developments irrespective of our likes and dislikes. Likewise we can observe the principle of similarity also outside the homeopathic system of medicine. Disease is only objective and measurable with respect to the artificial, rigid, and formalised conventions of pathology; professional and cultural conventions. Here I do not deny the benefits of the pathophysiological approach; I am only pinpointing the relativity of objective findings.

Hahnemann did not address self-actualisation

Mr. Venkatesh commented on the language used to explain the threefold principle and the importance of becoming more self-aware. Hahnemann lived in an era with almost suffocative social conventions. Although he was far ahead of his time, his cultural background kept him from recognising self-actualisation to its full extent. If we read his definition of health (Organon, 6th edition, paragraph 9) we will find that he defines a healthy organism as a means to serve the higher purposes of life. But, as a man of his time, he only was able to acknowledge it. Why? The social conventions of the early nineteenth century were a support to the people as well, because it justified their individual being. The identification with their social status determined their walk through life predominantly. Many factors are responsible for the breakdown of those social structures over the centuries, with the result that people increasingly have to look inside themselves for the validity of their being. This is a widely recognised sociologic phenomenon. Hahnemann’s higher purpose of life turned from a luxury into the most basic necessity. With this new development people met new challenges; challenges of an existentialist nature. These new challenges require other language than the language Hahnemann and the early masters used. I would like to bring Edward de Beukelar’s statement to your attention, that the terminology discussion is very necessary so we can understand each other better.

Self-actualisation is essential for lasting health

To be able to accept the burden of disease, a disability or the effects of a crisis, with or without homeopathy, is the beginning of a healing process. In the moment of this acceptance a little of the self is realised in the patient’s life and there is peace of mind. These little self-actualisations result in a more realistic attitude towards the world. Opportunities for self-actualisation occur many times a day and can be created through keeping the focus of the practitioner and patient, on the individual totality which entails positive-, negative- and neutral characteristics. These characteristics do not necessarily determine the nature of development. If the focus is facilitating self-actualisation, more true obstructions to the patient’s completeness will come up spontaneously and can be identified by the patient and practitioner. The act of self-actualisation is an on-going effort of becoming more complete. With increased self-awareness comes more freedom, responsibility and determination to do what one really feels she/he has to do. One is more able to act in accordance with their will, instead of reacting to external stimuli. Chronic failure to self-actualize, leads to all types of diseases based on an accumulation of things that must be done, but haven’t been realised so far. (Thuja, Gelsemium, Veratrum, Sulphur, Lycopodium, etc.) At the other hand, these diseases are welcome for those who oppose real change that leads to the liberation of people in cultures and communities. Individualising particular symptoms, confirms my remedy choice.

How the half-truth hinders self-actualisation of the patient

The applicability of Hahnemann’s theory of chronic disease as a classification system is limited to cases were health issues are related to the past. In other words: The miasm theory is helpful as long as the patient sees him or herself placed opposed to what happened; as long as there is a sense of duality. The theory needs to be adapted for diseases which result from difficulties in self-actualisation that obstruct patients from seeing situations in the new light of here and now; to have realistic perceptions. The miasm theory influences the prescriber to stay focussed on what went wrong; to keep the spotlight only on the side of life that the patient doesn’t like. This clearly does NOT help the patient in his or her natural effort to become more complete in the present. We are neither our body nor our brain or some complex quantum mechanic event. The vital and subtle activity of being depends on our ability to accept the rushing stream of changes as explained in my previous article.

The importance of self-actualisation for the practitioner

The objectivity of our observations increases the more we are able to let go of our social, political, religious, and perhaps most all, professional conventions here and now in meeting the other person. Sighs, nervous finger movements, etcetera, while addressing the past are indications that this past is still alive.

These expressions trigger one to go back to that past experience, and one should guide the patient gently without any pressure, to stay here and now; to put the past experience in the new light of now. The practitioner will be certain to the highest degree about her/his on-going valuations of signs and symptoms in the consultation, because they are deeply rooted in confident perceptions driven by the practitioner’s ever changing being; free of any professional conventions. An open attitude towards challenges from colleagues is of foremost importance for safeguarding this favourable therapeutic attitude. Only these confident observations of subtle mental and emotional characteristics, are related to an objective structure of theory that guarantees justifiable conclusions during the case analysis.

The purpose of life relates to our whole being

Life is a chain of natural events that tell us more about who we are. The purpose of life is a defendable logical position. It is of no use trying to convince people like Mr Harvey, that the value of life is intimately related to its purpose. The activity of being as described in this – and my previous article makes a person a true individual. The negation of the purpose of life is essentially rejecting the individual’s experience of existence. Therefore we are morally obliged to defend the purpose of life. It is an irresponsibleattitude to believe that it is all irrelevant what happens in this world. The assumption that life has NO purpose is rather a matter of belief.

Conventions shunting people to the edge of society

I would like to emphasize that the homeopath does not treat psychopathology. But I am sure the reader agrees that it is a tragedy, that a rapidly increasing number of people are shunted to the edge of society, because of a lack of appreciation for individual qualities. Psychiatry and in particular psychopharmacology, is based on social conventions which have been given a scientific flavour in the DSM; even gender orientation different from the norm is included in it. Unfortunately the current social climate in so many nations gave psychiatry a functional place. Psychiatric labelling, acknowledged and reinforced by law, is a sheer banishing of people who walk a path which is perceived to be too different from what is conventionally accepted. Due to a variety of “causes”, people with mental problems walk another path than seeking satisfaction and validation of this life through what the senses have to offer; another path than the perceived norm. Therefore we should in compassion with these people, declare the subtle activity of self-actualisation as the highest form of life satisfaction. Hence it is of utmost importance to acknowledge the mental problems of another person as only a temporary unwell state of the life giving spirit. Complete mental, emotional and physical health is the satisfaction of life based on the unity of the spirit with the senses.


  1. Is the miasm theory a valid concept of chronic disease? https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/is-the-miasm-theory-a-valid-concept-of-chronic-disease/

  2. The irrelevance of developmental folklore to the law of similarities: A response to Jeroen Holtkamp. https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/the-irrelevance-of-developmental-folklore-to-the-law-of-similars-a-response-to-jeroen-holtkamp/

  3. Cor van der Meij 17/01/02 https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/is-the-miasm-theory-a-valid-concept-of-chronic-disease/

  4. Edward de Beukelaer 18/01/02 https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/is-the-miasm-theory-a-valid-concept-of-chronic-disease/

  5. Venkatesh. K.N. 23/01/12 https://hpathy.com/homeopathy-papers/is-the-miasm-theory-a-valid-concept-of-chronic-disease/

About the author

Jeroen Holtkamp

Jeroen Holtkamp, I.S.Hom. studied homeopathy in the Netherlands and has been practising in Ireland since 2003. From his mid teens Jeroen has had a passionate interest in physics, philosophy, psychology and spirituality. Throughout his study and professional career he maintained and gradually developed, an independent but integrative vision on health, disease and homeopathy which benefitted his practice immensely.


  • I welcome this fresh approach and original thinking regarding life and disease. I would understand what you’re saying better if you could give an case example showing how instead of thinking miasmatically you bring in this threefold principle. My mind builds up its understanding best from specific instances. Would you be able to do that?

  • The Whole theory can be proved false & personal(not universal) with fixed minded view only & no critical observation(or i can say it is total different theory & should not be blended with theory of miasm of homoeopathic system of healing), if author is ready to post it in forum for discussion, one conclusion at a time.
    “homeopath does not treat psychopathology” o r u kidding ?
    The article is not related to homoeopathy at all or the author have not seen results of homoeopathic treatments.

    • Dear Mr Drofart,
      The statement that I treat psychopathology might be perceived as ‘me suggesting that I can cure psychopathology’ of very vulnerable people. In my articles I pinpointed one of the most essential differences between Homeopathy and conventional medicine as the point-a-view. From this perspective I only treat symptoms as perceived by the individual. I treat not the psychopathology as it is defined in the DSM.
      Best regards, Jeroen Holtkamp

  • Homeopathy essentially involves matching ‘what is curative in medicines and what is curable in diseases’. In what way this three fold principle(prejudiced)and developmental theory is related to the former is not clear.
    If this an extension of the sensations theory,I
    don’t think the entire homeo community endorses the same. when the language of the patients is so imperfect, their subjective sensations related by them will never be uniform. one patient expresses ‘fear’ as ‘hesitation’, “I hesitate to remain lonely at night” and another “I am bored to remain in the same place all the time”. only on further enquiry it is revealed that both are easily tired, chilly, desired warmth and drink water frequently. now only their mental symptoms can be interpreted as ‘anguish’ which necessitates constant change of place as proved in the pathogenisis of arsenicum album. Totality alone thus gives us the true meaning of what the patient has expressed in his imperfect language ! Sensations was always of highest grade in selecting remedies, its not new. Only failure to observe this rule by some homeopaths had given a chance for some to offer it as a new theory . its nothing but ‘old wine in new bottle’.may be contaminated too!
    Totality of symptoms alone is the legitimate guide in selecting a remedy. Just by accusing Hahnemann of “dogmatism” or ignorant of the meaning of the word “self actualization” doesn’t permit one to offer ill conceived theories. If a prodigious person succeeds in designing a perfect algorithm which enables everyone to get a prescription of their correct similimum by answering a questionnaire, (It is not an impossibility either)obviously this “self actualization” will never have a place in either such an algorithm or the questionnaire. May be the sensations will have a place because it is part of the “totality”
    Kent has observed in his ‘lesser writings’
    “It is so easy to wink at the sins we ourselves are guilty of that it seems impossible to find judge or jury before whom to arraign the first law breaker”.

  • It requires a sufficient time period to understand you. You can not wipe out the miasm-theory in writing one or two articles. The theory has been running for years and years. You have to put your efforts again and again, then only something may be understood. Rome cannot be built in one day. Hence everyone wants your further inputs and more clear explanations with examples, which may enable it to be understood and perceived.

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