This topic occurred to me at a point when there was the rather frequent comparison of homeopathy to allopathy in terms of whether or not homeopathy was scientific medicine and I realized that the whole discussion was upside down. It is actually homeopathy that is closest to being scientific and almost all other forms of medicine are not (though there would be strenuous objections to that statement).
What do I mean by this? I am looking at this from the larger perspective of medicine as a component of the field of science, and this, also, from the idea that all of science is advancing and learning more about the nature of reality (or the reality of nature?). From this perspective then, what is learned in all fields of science will apply also to the science that medicine is based on. When looked at this way, I want to show you that medicine is no longer an active participant in the progress of science but has stayed back, stuck, in the paradigm of a century ago. This would not matter except that the ideas, actions, and standards of this backward “science” are based on concepts that have been shown to be incorrect and, therefore, only incorrectness can come from that position.
We will do this by considering the paradigm of medicine as it is now, basically its continuation of the model of reality based on the physics of over 100 years ago, and then look at what has been learned in physics since that time. We will see that these later developments have resulted in discarding of the model that medicine uses. Then I would like to take the implications of modern physics and its implication of consciousness in what happens and relate that, first, to metaphysical healing and then to homeopathy (full circle).
A major organization of physics, into what is now called Classical Physics, is usually connected with Isaac Newton (born Christmas day, 1642) and rightly so since he was such a major figure at the time. We all know about the idea that a falling apple gave Newton the idea of gravity, that there was a force responsible for that fall — even that it was the same force that moves the moon around the earth. Much of what is profound and exciting for the concepts emerging from that time are ones, like that of gravity, of synthesis of phenomena in which disparate properties of nature were seen to be different expressions of the same thing. A good example is finding that static electricity and lightning were the same substance in different forms, even that electricity and the actions of magnets were related in the same way.
Newton’s idea of how the universe was set up is the basic paradigm that allopathic medicine still lives and breathes in.
“Isaac Newton invented physics, and all of science depends on physics. Newton certainly built upon the work of others, but it was the publication of his three laws of motion and theory of gravity, almost 300 years ago, that set science off on the road that has led to space flight, lasers, atomic energy, genetic engineering, an understanding of chemistry, and all the rest. For 200 years, Newtonian physics (which is now called ‘classical’ physics) reigned supreme; in the 20th century revolutionary new insights took physics far beyond Newton, but without those two centuries of scientific growth those new insights might never have been achieved.”1
With this tremendous work in physics a world view emerged which has powered science even up to the present day. The implications of the “new” physics of the last century, the developments in physics after the Classical Model was established, have yet to be completely understood and accepted by many of the related sciences (including medicine, which is our focus). This world view, often called “materialism”, consists of five central theses:2
Matter is the fundamental constituent of the natural world.
Forces act on matter.
The fundamental material particles or “atoms” — together with the fundamental physical forces, whatever they turn out to be — determine the motion of all objects in nature. Thus materialism entails determinism.
All more complex objects that we encounter in the natural world are aggregates of these fundamental particles, and their motions and behaviors can ultimately be understood in terms of the fundamental physical forces acting on them. Nothing exists that is not the product of these same particles and forces. In particular, there are no uniquely biological forces (vitalism or “entelechies”), no conscious forces (dualism) and no divine forces (what came to be known as supernaturalism). Thus materialism implied the exclusion of dualism, downward causation and divine activity.
Materialism is an ontological3 position, as it specifies what kinds of things do and do not exist. But it can also become a thesis concerning what may and may not count as a scientific explanation. When combined with a commitment to scientific reduction, for example, it entails that all scientific explanations should ultimately be reducible to the explanations of fundamental physics. Any other science, say biology or psychology, is incomplete until we discover the laws that link its phenomena with physics. In its reductionistic form — which historically has been its most typical form — materialism thus excludes interpretations of science that allow for “top-down” causation, also known as “strong emergence”. Materialists may be divided on whether, and if so how soon, these reductions will actually be accomplished. Still it is an entailment of materialism in most of its modern forms that an omniscient knower would be able to reduce all higher-order phenomena to the locations and momentums of fundamental particles.
We can see from this way of viewing reality, if this is considered the scientific paradigm, that homeopathy will not be accepted as scientific. Homeopathy differs with this model in radical ways, as the homeopathic view of reality is quite the opposite in some ways.
Matter is secondary to what is fundamental, that being a “dynamic” as Hahnemann put it, or what is usually called “vital force” or “life force”. This force is fundamental, and organizes the material world which is then a derivative of the action of this force.
Forces do act on matter, but the forces of physics are those acting on the material level while the fundamental force that homeopathy refers to exists outside the time-space continuum and is prior to both physical objects and the forces between them.
The Vital Force is prior to physical objects, the brain, and consciousness — indeed is the source of their construction. So the homeopathic model very much uses the idea of “downward causation”.
The model of homeopathy predicts that there will be emergence into manifestation of a variety of forms that come from an informational level (that of the vital force) that is not directly accessible to us (since consciousness is derivative).
We can see that this homeopathic view is very much different from the materialist model that dominated science for so long (and still is the dominant model in medicine).
How Physics Has Changed
“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”
– Niels Bohr.
The materialistic model we have just explored (above) has changed. In fact the last 100 years of developments in physics have completely changed this model, reversing or negating almost all of it. We can start the beginning of what has come to be called Quantum Mechanics (post-classical physics) with the work of Max Planck — often called “the reluctant revolutionary”. He was reluctant in that he was not anticipating his findings that became this new wave of physics, in fact never liked them and felt resistance to them.
His work was with the radiation of light from heated objects and he struggled with the disconnect between theory and actual fact. Theory predicted that as an object was heated the amount of radiation given off would rise to infinity whereas the actual observation fell quite short of that (and we all know that the hottest object finally gives off white light as its maximum radiation). Planck finally solved the problem with a successful formula that described the energy given off occurring in discrete units, little “packets” that were to be called “quanta” the latin word for quantity. Thus was born an entirely new view of energy as it was gradually learned that all energy appears to be this way — rather than a continuous gradation, to occur in “pieces” if you will.
The problem that Planck had with this conclusion, even though it fit the observed facts perfectly, is that the implications of this work — and the eventual new view of reality that emerged from it — was in disagreement with his personal view.
“It is of paramount importance that the outside world is something independent of man, something absolute, and the quest for the laws which apply to this absolute appeared to me the most sublime scientific pursuit in life.”4
This was, in a way, the beginning of new investigations into the nature of energy, especially of light, electromagnetic energies, especially electrons.
The Double-Slit Experiments
I want to jump ahead to the most important and relevant experiments for our purpose in this presentation, that of the double-slit experiments with light and other forms of energy. In the early part of the last century there was a controversy about the nature of light — is light in the form of waves or in the form of particles? Newton had decided that light was a series of particles because of the way they bounced off things and because of light refraction. The Dutch physicist Christaan Huygens (born 1629) thought that light occurred in waves and had explanation and evidence for this. Nonetheless, in the 18th century, very few people took the wave theory of light seriously. Out of this undecided question came the crucial work of the Englishman Thomas Young,5 just at the beginning of the 19th century and then that of the Frenchman Augustin Fresnel soon after. To decide the issue, Young set up an experiment that shone light through a diaphragm with a slit in it. If it was a wave then it would go through the hole and propagate as do waves in water. If light is a particle, then it will go through more like small pebbles being shot through the hole. What Young observed was a pattern like the pebbles (with some allowance for bouncing off the edges, as in this figure.
This figure shows how the light photons (if particles) could hit the edge of the opening and be deflected. This would seem to settle the question, wouldn’t it? Light is transmitted as particles. But wait, see what happens when there are TWO slits in the diaphragm.
Instead of the expected two areas of light photons “landing” there is a much wider distribution over the screen in the back of the diaphragm. It creates an interference pattern of alternating dark and light bands, like this:
This figure shows how the recording screen shows alternating dark and light bands. The alternating dark and light bands are there because the light is being transmitted as waves and they are interfering with each other. So very strangely, if there is one hole open, the light is transmitted as a particle, if two holes then as waves.
This was not expected and more experiments were tried in an attempt to understand this. The most significant, I think, is the firing of single photons at the two slits, one at a time. Physicists were able to develop equipment that would shoot one photon at a time at the diaphragms. These single photons hit the screen and left a little dot of “light” on the screen but as this is continued, with millions and millions of single photons one after the other, eventually the same pattern of alternating light and dark bands is established on the screen. How can this be? The realization, as a solution to this puzzle, is that a single photon is not traveling as an object but as a “probability” of manifesting. Therefore, a single photon travels through both holes at the same time — and interferes with itself!
Jumping forward to the understanding of the nature of light (and all other elementary forms of matter — electrons, protons, neutrons, atoms) they are now no longer thought to be objects like we experience in the world about us. They come from another dimension, outside of time and space (the “quantum vacuum”). They are not objects and do not exist in the usual sense we mean the word.
Here are some quotes from physicists that at least give you a feeling for how really different the current concepts about material reality are.
“If I say they behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have ever seen before.”
“If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say ‘no’; if we ask whether the position of the electron changes with time, we must say ‘no’; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say ‘no’; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say ‘no’.”
“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.”
The Importance of Consciousness
Out tale has become odd enough, but there is more. It was found that, in this setup of firing individual photons through the two slits —
“if we set up a system to monitor which of the two slits the photons are going through, we always see individual photons passing through just one slit or the other — and in that case we do not get an interference pattern on the far screen. The behavior of the photons at the slits is changed by how we choose to look at them.”9
This, as you can imagine, was completely baffling. How can it matter if the process if observed or not? Most physicists have shied away from the implications because it means the consciousness of the observer is a factor in what happens and this is anathema to most scientists.
A more sophisticated and clever experiment was done in an attempt to nail down exactly what was happening in this strange process.
The Delayed-Choice Experiment
John Wheeler10 proposed setting up the experiment so that the monitoring of the nature of the light (or electron) could be done between the two slits and the screen — therefore after the “particle” had “made up its mind” which to be — wave or particle. So the experiment was done with and without the detector on, even randomly turning it on at variable times in the path of the particle. The important part of this experiment is that the monitoring was done after the photon or electron has already gone through the two slits.
“With the detectors switched on, the light behaved like photons, with each photon traveling by one or the other path, and no interference…
“With the detectors switched off, the light behaved like waves, even when a stream of individual photons was fired (through the apparatus) with light seeming to follow both channels and definitely producing interference. The behavior of the photons (at the place of origin, where they start from) is changed by how we are going to look at them, even when we have not yet made up our own minds about how we are going to look at them!”11 That is, that we will later turn on the monitors, after the light has gone through the two holes, somehow influences in what form they start out in.
There is much more that could be shown about these experiments but there is enough here to establish the idea that the mind or consciousness of the observer is essential in determining how the experiment turns out.
Does Any of This Apply to Our World?
One objection that is raised is that this is all fine and good for the mystery of very small objects like electrons and light, but it has nothing to do with the objects of everyday life. Many physicists, in fact, take this position and simply relegate quantum weirdness into its own category. But what cannot be avoided is the realization that all of our world experiences are made up of exactly these particles and energies moving about. The same experiment has been done with the various subatomic particles and even atoms themselves — and they all behave the same way.
“Quantum physics implies a basic fuzziness for all matter and energy. This blur appears as slight fluctuations in the energies or positions of all atomic and subatomic matter.”12
The movement of electrons is the basis for all the activity of our bodies: digestion, growth, movement of muscles, nerve impulses, formation of molecules. Since the atomic nuclei are stable and unchanging, it is the electrons and their configurations that are responsible for the actions in chemistry and also for all the physiological activities in our bodies. These then are the same electrons that have this same strange behavior we are describing above — some sort of fundamental substratum that does not actually “exist” in the usual sense until we perceive it.
“There is a romantic alternative [to the idea that the division between the quantum world and the everyday world is a matter of size]. It accepts that there is a division, whether sharp or smooth … . between’ ‘quantum’ and ‘classical’. But instead of putting this division somewhere between small and big, it puts it between ‘matter’ (so to speak) and ‘mind’. When we try to complete as far as possible the quantum theoretic account of the electron gun, we include first the scintillation screen, and then the photographic film, and then the developing chemicals, and then the eye of the experimenter … and then (why not?) her brain. For the brain is made of atoms, of electrons and nuclei, and so why should we hesitate to apply wave mechanics .. . at least if we were smart enough to do the calculations for such a complicated assembly of atoms? But beyond the brain is … the mind. Surely the mind is not material? Surely here at last we come to something which is distinctly different from the glass screen, and the gelatin film.”13
Thus physics, in investigating the root, fundamental reality of matter — brings us all the way back to the mind.
The Strange World of Quantum Physics
“Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.”
Without being aware of it and without being rigorously systematic about it, we exclude the Subject of Cognizance from the domain of nature that we endeavor to understand. We step with our own person back into the part of an onlooker who does not belong to the world, which by this process becomes an objective world.
– Erwin Schrödinger.
Relativity and quantum theory have shown that it has no meaning to divide the observing apparatus from what is observed.
The concept of consciousness in fact demands a cut between subject and object, the existence of which is a logical necessity, which the position of the cut is to a certain extent arbitrary.
The physical world is entirely abstract and without “actuality” apart from its linkage to consciousness.
The Common Approach To Reality
I want to turn to consideration of the idea that the progression of physics is uncovering a reality that has been approached from a different direction for many centuries — that of metaphysics.18 That there is a relationship in some way between the mind and the “outer” world is an idea that has been around for a long time. Here are a few comparative quotes so you can see how both physicists and explorers of consciousness have come to similar conclusions.
“The general notions about human understanding…which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of, or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find is an exemplification, and encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom.”
– J. Robert Oppenheimer.
“It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character. But no one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all else is remote inference.”
– Sir Arthur Eddington.
“The external world is only a manifestation of the activities of the mind itself, and…the mind grasps it as an external world simply because of its habit of discrimination and false reasoning.”
“The external world of physics has thus become a world of shadows. In removing out illusions we have removed the substance, for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions.”
– Sir Arthur Eddington.
“Although not really existing, things still appear. From their own side, however (such things) are void by nature. These void appearances do not actually exist…”
– Lengthen Babjampa.
“All such (Ideas) as causation, succession, atoms, primary elements…are all figments of the imagination and manifestations of the mind.”
“Relativity and quantum theory have shown that it has no meaning to divide the observing apparatus from what is observed.”
– David Bohm.
“There is neither seer nor seeing nor seen. There is but one reality — changeless, formless and absolute. How can it be divided?”
“The objective world rises from the mind itself.”
“The physical world is entirely abstract and without ‘actuality’ apart from its linkage to consciousness.”
– Sir Arthur Eddington.
As we know, there have emerged many forms of “healing” of disease from the metaphysical investigations and experience. For purposes of our discussion I want to present an example on one such healing, because I think it relates to this topic of the significance of the state of mind of the practitioner to the outcome of the process.
First I will make two broad divisions in what is often called “spiritual healing.”
One body of techniques acts in some way on the recipient to counteract, negate, neutralize, or repel, what is considered to be the thing that is causing the problem. The problem cause can range from being an organism (bacteria, virus, worms, etc.) to a noxious energy, harmful electro-magnetic field, evil spirit, hex or something on this level of more subtle effects.
The other body of approaches is smaller in number but there are many forms of this through the ages. This form does not treat the sick individual but starts from the assumption that they are already perfect as they are and the apparent problem is a misperception — almost in the sense of a bad dream. The idea that the perception of the observer (not the patient) is an important component is not new. Here, as a demonstration this in one of the most ancient texts is the same idea — in somewhat obscure language at first read.
Tao Te Ching
When all the world recognizes beauty as beauty,
this in itself is ugliness.
When all the world recognizes good as good,
this in itself is evil.
Indeed, the hidden and the manifest give birth to each other.
– Translation by John C. H. Wu
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
– Translation by Stephen Mitchell.
An Example of Metaphysical Healing
One of the most accessible and contemporary examples of the second category of metaphysical healing come from Christian Science and I am going to present an example case of this. Christian Science is not unique in this regard but is useful because of the detailed working out of the “method” and also because there is a large repository of cases that have been published and with considerable detail as to the case and its progression.
This one is a case of a young man shot with a gun and expected to die. The following affidavit was presented in connection with a legislative hearing on a bill which would have affected the practice of Christian Science healing:
AFFIDAVIT Commonwealth of Massachusetts, } County of Suffolk.
Joseph C. Mann, being duly sworn, on his oath states:
“In November, 1886, I was accidentally shot with a thirty-two calibre revolver, the ball entering the left breast near the nipple. I immediately became unconscious, was carried into the house and laid on the nearest bed.
On our doctor’s arrival the family were informed that I had received a fatal wound; indeed so serious did he consider the case that he felt unwilling to father its responsibility alone. Accordingly three more well known and eminent physicians were summoned post haste. One of these was known in the city whence he came as a skilful surgeon. All four are to-day in the field of practice and their standing is considered as good as any in the medical profession, and in the community in which they live they are known as honest men. They examined the wound closely and carefully and concluded it would be useless to probe for the ball for if they should attempt this, or in any way stir me, I would die on their hands.
They further concluded, that judging from the excessive bleeding, both internally and externally, and the peculiar color of the blood, the ball had touched the heart, and was probably lodged in the pericardium. The doctors informed the family that they were unable to stop the flow of blood, and should they attempt this from without, I would still bleed inwardly, and thus bleed to death.
After a few hours they held a council in an adjoining room, and then told the family there was no hope, saying to the father: “Mr. Mann, we are sorry, but we can do nothing for your son.” In his sorrow and desperation the father implored them to spare nothing that money might afford, send for any other help that might bring hope; but they said it would be useless. With this verdict the three departed. While our family physician still lingered he kept the family informed that I was gradually dying; the body was growing cold, and before he left the house the eyes were becoming set and the death perspiration stood on the forehead. As he went out he said to our grieving friends that death was so near, the pulse was scarcely perceptible. All human help had now left, and the last hope of the family went out with it. So sure were the doctors of my death that they themselves told our friends and relatives, by the way, that they would never see me again alive. Telegrams were written and held ready to spread the news that I was dead.
In this last moment, Christian Science was providentially brought to our door. The family had never heard of this (to them) new method of healing and refused to admit the Scientist; for, as they said, they wanted no one to experiment on the dying whom the doctors had given up as hopeless. They were assured, however, that the patient should not be touched or given medicine; and that “man’s extremity has been (is) God’s opportunity.”
Within about fifteen minutes after (the practitioner) had been admitted into our house I began suddenly to grow warm again under its treatment. My breath was again revived and normal. I became conscious, opened my eyes and knew I should not die, but would live.
That same evening I sat up in bed and ate a little steak and toast. The excruciating pain I had felt during intervals of consciousness while dying, was all gone and I was steadily and rapidly growing strong and well. Notwithstanding the great loss of blood, I was strong enough the next day to have my blood-saturated garments (which had dried during the night and had to be removed by cutting) exchanged for clean ones.
Beyond washing the wound and body to cleanse them from the blood, no attention was given them. The doctors on hearing that I had not died, predicted that gangrene and other evils would yet set in, especially on account of the excessive internal bleeding, and this would certainly produce death. I however continued to improve. The same power that had brought me to this point of recovery, forestalled also the bad results which the M. D.’s expected.
The second day I was out of bed and dressed the greater part of the time; and the third day found me up bright and early and about with the family as though the accident had never occurred. That our mourning had been turned into joy is true, indeed; and to prove to my many visitors that I was really healed and quite like myself again in so short a time, I took my part with the family in singing our familiar church hymns; all were agreed that my voice was strong and sound. Relatives who had come to attend the funeral rejoiced with me instead.
The wound healed inwardly and outwardly without any apparent inflammation, swelling, or suppuration; and meanwhile, from the fourth day on, I walked out to visit friends, rode with the family in carriage and sleigh over rough roads, and in all kinds of weather without sustaining the slightest ill effect therefrom. Christian Science not only perfectly healed me after the medical doctors had failed and had given me up, but through what understanding I have gained, I have ever since been kept well. When I was first healed I experienced a little soreness during the first few weeks of my being about, but this soon entirely disappeared, and not a sensation from the wound have I felt since.
In the village which bears witness to my healing, is the home of my father, John F. Mann, where he has resided for upwards of forty years. I have no doubt that he, or any honest man, who was a citizen of Broad Brook, town of East Windsor, Hartford Co., Conn., where my healing occurred, will give his testimony to any reader who might wish further evidence than my statement of it. Any who would personally inquire into this case are kindly invited to call on me at 4I8 Columbus avenue, Boston, Mass.”
Joseph C. Mann.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 27th day of February, A.D. 1894. ( Seal) Walter L. Church, Notary Public.
The above affidavit is quoted in the reminiscences of Calvin C. Hill as published in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Third Series ( The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1953).. Mr. Hill, a close friend of Joseph Mann, added the following details from his own personal knowledge (pp. 3 5-37) :
“At the time of the healing related in the foregoing affidavit, Mr. Mann was twenty-two years of age. When the physicians gave their verdict that death was inevitable, the grief of the family was intensified by the fact that it was a brother-in-law who had accidentally shot him when the two young men were target-practicing with thirty-two calibre revolvers.
When life returned the joy of the family was correspondingly great, and their gratitude for healing in Christian Science was profound. It turned three brothers and two sisters to active interest in Christian Science. The first thing Joseph Mann said when he returned to consciousness was, “Is this something I can learn, and do for others?” He immediately began to study the Christian Science textbook, and many, upon hearing of his healing, went to him for help! and he healed them:
When Mrs. Eddy was informed of his healing work she invited him to attend her class, which he did in 1888. Shortly after, he established his practice in Boston, and his sister Pauline joined him to keep his home. Ten years later, hearing of Mrs. Eddy’s need for an overseer on her Pleasant View estate, he volunteered his services and left a growing practice in order to help her. In this same year Mrs. Eddy invited him to be a member of her last class, the well-known “class of seventy.” One day, when Mrs. Eddy was having a conversation with Joseph Mann, she questioned him in detail about his remarkable experience and especially about the regeneration which took place in him while he stood in the vestibule of death, a change which had come of an experience almost equal to his having died and then been resurrected. Mrs. Eddy summarized the incident conclusively, I was told, in these words: “Joseph, you have had a wonderful experience; you were thrown violently out of the house, and picked yourself up on the outside; go not back into it.”
I present this case as an example of category 2 of the broad division of the two types of metaphysical healing as described above. Here is my understanding of what was done by the CS practitioner (with apologies to those that know more about this than I).
The teachings of CS start from the assumption that our default position (if you will — my words) is one of perfection and that the various sufferings, injuries and diseases that we see are because of misperception on our part. More specifically, that we are conditioned by our upbringing and culture to think incorrectly about reality so that our perception of things is flawed in the sense of seeing false images. They equate this false way of seeing things with being hypnotized (in this sense by upbringing and society) but use the term “mesmerism” instead as that was the word in current use at the time (from the work of Anton Mesmer). Often this incorrect “hypnotized” way of seeing things is called “the mortal mind” in their writings.
But here is what is so interesting and relevant to our topic — the CS practitioner sits with the patient but does nothing to them either physically or psychologically. What the practitioner does is sit and contemplate (they say “pray”) something like this:
“I have before me a patient that appears to be severely injured and dying. I know this is not correct, so why am I seeing it that way? I need to see this situation truly, as it really is, see this person in perfection.”
I, of course, do not know the words that were used but the point here is that in this form of metaphysical treatment, the practitioner treats his or her own mind! Not the patient. They are treating their own misperception.
We can see in this example something like what is being pointed to in physics but, of course, taken much further. Yet it has become a defined and effective method of treatment based on, more or less, the same concept that the expectation and perception of the mind of the person is an essential component in the outcome.
Back To Medicine
We come back now to the major focus of this presentation, why medicine is not scientific. We can see that what has been learned about the nature of reality (from physics and also from a variety of other traditions outside of science) that the state of consciousness of the experimenter, the doctor or the patient is an essential, perhaps most important, component in the entire happening. Yet medicine completely denies this, considers the patient only a physical structure with a sedentary psychic function that is either unimportant or to be relegated to another doctor to treat separately. The major way in which knowledge is accumulated (so called “evidence based medicine”) is based on the erroneous assumption that consciousness has nothing to do with it. What is considered the most reliable source of knowledge are studies, so called double-blind, in which no one knows what is happening. In other words, everything is done to keep consciousness out of the picture!
We have not had time to go into considerations of other deficiencies of the physical model of the last century but there is more that is erroneous in that model (that medicine depends on) — such things as the reality of separate objects, the reality of diseases, of the idea of diagnosis (grouping patients on arbitrary patterns) that we do not have time to go into.
Why Homeopathy Is More Scientific
Surprisingly, even though homeopathy started so long ago, even before any of the “new” physics was worked out, many of the basic concepts that Hahnemann put forth are rather similar to both the conclusions of physics and also the practices of metaphysics (category 2).
He tells us that the idea of diseases from outside affecting people is completely imaginary and wrong.
“The adherents of the old school of medicine flattered themselves that they could justly claim for it alone the title of rational medical art because they alone sought for and strived to clear away the cause of disease, and proceed according to the process of nature in diseases.
“They only imagined they could find the cause of disease, but they did not find it since it is not discernible and is not to be found. Since most diseases (indeed the vast majority of them) are of a dynamic (spirit-like) origin and of a dynamic (spirit-like) nature, their cause is not discernible to the senses. Therefore, the adherents of the old school were intent on devising a cause for themselves. They drew conclusions about the invisible processes in the internal wesen of sick people from viewing a) parts of normal dead human bodies (anatomy) compared with the visible changes in these inner parts in people who died of disease (pathological anatomy), and b) comparing the appearances and functions in healthy life (physiology) with their endless deviations in the countless disease states (pathology, semiotics).
“This resulted is a dark fantasy image which theoretical medicine took for its prima causa morbi [first cause of disease].”19
Hahnemann is telling us here that perception (and expectation) of the practitioners in the field of allopathic medicine is based on imagination, even “dark fantasy”, meaning not only imaginary but harmful. Considering our discussion until now, it is not that much of a stretch to understand that the imaginary expectation of finding disease states is more likely to result in the finding of just that expectation.
The ultimate cause of illness (as seen in the patient) is not perceivable “is not discernable and is not to be found.” I take this to mean it is not (and will not) be available to the senses because it comes from a dimension of mind that is not in space-time, very similar to the virtual particles of physics that spring from the quantum vacuum — “most diseases are of a dynamic (spirit-like) origin and of a dynamic (spirit-like) nature…”, that is, not physical.
He tell us further that the reality is only the mistuned patient, the person (or animal) — not because of infectious agents or other causes but because the energy responsible for their physical manifestation is mistuned. Again, this energy is not perceptible or physical.
This mistunement has to include the entire individual, including consciousness, as it is the consciousness, at the level of the life force, encountering various stimuli, that results in the mistunement.
This last relates to a final connection I want to make between homeopathy and the idea we have been considering — that our default position is one of health but masked by an illusion of disturbance (as in metaphysical healing, category 2). Here is Hahnemann’s explanation as to how homeopathic treatment cures, how it corrects the mistunement of the life force.
From the Organon of Medical Art
In all careful experiments, pure experience (the only and infallible oracle of the medical art) teaches us the following: A medicine which, in its impingement on healthy human bodies, has proven that it is able to engender the greatest number of symptoms similar to those found in the case of disease to be cured, does also (in properly potentized and diminished doses) rapidly, thoroughly and permanently lift the totality of symptoms of this disease state (see §6-§16). It lifts the entire disease that is present, transforming it into health. All medicines, without exception, cure those diseases whose symptoms most nearly resemble their own, and leave none of them uncured.
This rests upon the following homeopathic natural law which was divined here and there from time immemorial, but was not hitherto fully acknowledged, and which lies at the foundation of every real cure that has ever taken place:
In the living organism, a weaker dynamic affection is permanently extinguished by a stronger one,20 if the stronger one (while differing from it as to mode) is very similar to the weaker one in its manifestation.
The curative capacity of medicines therefore rests upon their symptoms being similar to the disease but with power that outweighs it21 (§22-§26). Each single case of disease is most surely, thoroughly, rapidly and permanently annihilated and lifted only by a medicine that can engender, in the human condition, a totality of symptoms that is the most complete and the most similar to the case of disease but that, at the same time, exceeds the disease in strength.
And here is the amazing footnote to paragraph 26, in which he explains what he thinks is the mechanism of this process:
“Both physical affections and moral maladies are cured in this way [i.e. by very similar, but stronger dynamic affections].
“How can luminous Jupiter disappear in the early morning from the optic nerve of the beholder? Jupiter vanishes from sight because the optic nerve is acted upon by a stronger, very similar impinging potence22—the brightness of the breaking day!”
Hahnemann’s Explanation of Cure
Hahnemann is telling us that all we need to do to bring back a state of health is get the attention of the life force! Just as our eyes looking at Jupiter in the night sky can no longer see this planet once a brighter light comes in (the breaking day), the patient is cured because their life force’s attention is taken from what was focused on before (the inimical influence) and drawn over to the remedy (a similar influence which uses the prior susceptibility to advantage). He tells us health is then restored (the default position).
So, at least to my mind, homeopathy is, in a sense, bridging both the findings of the quantum physics and also the traditions of metaphysics. Disease is not material but energetic, its focus (the mistunement) is from outside of the time-space continuum, and its correction is simply a turning of attention (at the level of the life force) from one expectation to another.
I have presented many ideas here and likely they are not all correct, but that physics has advanced way beyond the paradigm of the 19th century is a fact and this advancement in most ways has reversed or negated many of the principles of that Newtonian paradigm. That medicine has not kept up with this I think is also a fact — as evidenced by the conceptual framework it adheres to, the models of disease, the splitting of the patient into physical and psychological, and, above all, the use of research that attempts to exclude consciousness — I think is also obvious. If this is right, and I think it is, then we can see there is no way that medicine can “patch it up” no matter how many studies are done. If we start with erroneous ideas, then only error can come out of it.
I also shared my interpretation of the principles that Hahnemann established, ones that I think are surprisingly similar to both the findings of quantum physics and also, as a separate path of study, the work in metaphysics. I think Hahnemann came across yet another way to correct the disturbance at the level of the mind that perceives and he did, rather cleverly, by using distraction!
1 In Search of Shrödinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, John Gribbon, Bantam Books, September 1984, page 7.
2 Unsolved dilemmas: the concept of matter in the history of philosophy and in contemporary physics, by Philip Clayton, in Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics, edited by Paul Davies and Niels Henrick Gregersen, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2010, pages 38-39.
4 Great Physicists: The LIfe and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking, William H. Cropper, Oxford University Press, 2001, page 231.
5 Young was a medical doctor and also the discoverer of how the eye focussed, the nature of atigmatism, the function of the heart and arteries, and also developed a method of determing drug dosages for children: Young’s Rule states that the child dosage is equal to the adult dosage multiplied by the child’s age in years, divided by the sum of 12 plus the child’s age.
6 For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.
7 Oppenheimer is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons, for which he is often referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb”.
8 Schrödinger was a physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933.
9 Schrödinger’s Kittens And The Search For Reality: Solving The Quantum Mysteries, John Gribbin, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1995, page 139.
10 Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist who was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II. Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission. One of the later collaborators of Albert Einstein, he tried to achieve Einstein’s vision of a unified field theory. He is also known for having coined the terms black hole, quantum foam and wormhole…
11 Schrödinger’s Kittens And The Search For Reality: Solving The Quantum Mysteries, page 140. Italics in original text.
12 The Spiritual Universe: How Quantum Physics Proves The Existence Of The Soul, Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D, Simon & Schuster, page 127.
13 Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, John Bell, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 191. This is not Bell presenting his own view of quantum reality, but Bell summarizing the arguments of people like Eugene Wigner and John Wheeler.
14 Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.
15 Bohm was an American-born British quantum physicist who made contributions in the fields of theoretical physics, philosophy and neuropsychology, and to the Manhattan Project.
16 Pauli was one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle,” involving spin theory, underpinning the structure of matter and the whole of chemistry.
17 Eddington was an astrophysicist and is known for The Eddington limit, the natural limit to the luminosity of stars, or the radiation generated by accretion onto a compact object, is named in his honor. He is famous for his work regarding the Theory of Relativity.
18 Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.
19 Organon of the Medical Art, Samuel Hahnemann, edited by Wenda O’Reilly, Birdcage Books, Redmond , Washington, 1996, page 9.
So the gist of the matter is homeopathic is a modality of Energy Medicines. http://www.facebook.com/groups/299384790079318/
Wonderful explanation of a fact that everyone should know – patients, physicians,scientists and especially “scientists”.
Dear Richard, thank you!
I just can say WOW! What a critical analysis ! Dr. Richard, May i keep this article to publish any where i feel appropriate?
Excellent article, thank you for sharing.
Wonderful article! Enjoyed it so much and will refer back to it. I have always disliked evidence-based medicine and indeed, that was why I became so interested in homeopathy. Thank you for a concise and coherent explanation.
Excellent article, by any standards. but sir,even after the discovery of quantum theory, newton’s laws hold true with respect to ‘frames of references’ with low velocities. hence this may not be acceptable to the skeptics and dominant school (allopathy) as a proof of their unscientific nature. Its very difficult of course, still I think we should try to find the connection between quantum mechanism and homeopathy. I wish to offer my views or rather “thought experiments” only to enrich the article which is already highly valuable. Modern medicine is unscientific for simpler reasons. Everyone knows, when someone catches cold after getting wet, simply drying the patient or if he is chilled just warming him does not cure him of the cold. modern medicine here tries to find the cause, an organism, which is there after the infection sets in. obviously it isn’t the cause since it was there all the time in the air or atmosphere without harming anyone. it is a symptom then! o k but if removing one of the symptoms is able to bring about a cure, however imperfect, why then removing the symptoms in toto wouldn’t affect a total cure ? And when homeopathy is such a system, is it not a better science ? a super science ?
In the above example rain water is not the cause, neither is the cold or temperature. then what is the causative factor for the disease ? It is the impression left by the sudden getting wet or sudden chilling of the body. there isn’t any material object, but only an impression or impact which signals the vital force to react in a particular way resulting in disease symptoms. Now we know quantum particles exist as a probability, hence the finding of micro organisms in the diseased system is also one of the probable alternatives of quantum particles. A highly dynamized remedy does not contain the original medicine in material (molecular) form but the original substance exists in the dilution as particles of probability or quantum particles. when probability of a disease (stronger one) cancels the actual disease ( it has to,because probability is not actual disease ! both probability and actual occurrence simultaneously is an absurdity.) But which is first ? occurrence or probability ? This question does not arise
because quantum particles are outside the spacetime dimensions!
This is also a consistent explanation of the homeopathic laws of cure, besides the vital force theory. DrVenkatesh.
Great article, Dr. Pitcairn.
Here is at least one possible reference to homeopathy in I Ching:
Wu Wang / Innocence (The Unexpected) 25, 5th place (my attempt at translation)
Use ‘no medicine’ in an illness
Incurred through no fault in yourself.
It will pass of itself.
Popper’s thought on what Science may be -a process of trial and error, to better model predictions – as enhanced by requiring falsifyability & repeatability in experiment to prove “reality” of a phenomenon – even without Sophistry gets itself into a logical bind. It is inevitably a product of that piled-up unchangeable “now” which is history, yet the state of “now” is unrepeatable and unfalsifyable, hence in science cannot exist, hence science cannot exist. Which is to say things are as they are, without explanation. Alternatively, science exists alone in pristine lifeless abstract purity, but all of everything else we know – history and other matters – is an unreal delusion.
It seems undecidable, which might certainly fall out of Godel’s theorem if one considers only simplistic logical positivism.
But then the essence of science is that it is mutable, has no authoritative status, is always ready to be overcome by honest observation of Nature. Nature already has all the answers to questions we have not yet thought of, and has all of the brains in the world to use.
Dick Feynman, who had little time for philosophy of science and had a robust view about the discovery of phenomena, reputedly said “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”. It is such a pity he fell in with bad company who, in between puzzling him with other tricks of misdirection & illusion, convinced him that homeopathy was not real. That same bad company and his clique is now claiming expert authority over any phenomena he does not like the look of.
I suspect Feyman would love to have been joyfully spinning in his grave.