Many homeopaths talk about ‘seven cardinal principles of hahnemann’, and believe that without following these ‘cardinal’ principles one cannot be a ‘true’ homeopath.
Did hahnemann ever say there are ‘seven’ cardinal principles in homeopathy? Kindly verify for references from hahnemann’s original works. When we say homeopaths should ‘follow’ certain ‘cardinal principles of hahnemann’, we should inquire about the original reference where hahnemann said these are the cardinal principles.
Actually hahnemann did not make a ‘list’ of principles. He made some objective observations regarding the phenomenon of ‘cure’, and inferred that an objective ‘law’ is working under this phenomenon. He called it ‘similia similibus curentur’.
While experimenting with smaller and smaller doses of drug substances to avoid the bad effects of crude drugging prevalent in conventional medicine during that period, he noticed that even highly diluted drugs have medicinal effects, even though there existed least chance for medicinal substance to be present in them
Then he took up the task of explaining these two phenomena ( similia similibus curentur and high dilution effects) using the existing scientific knowledge available to him, thereby trying to build up a simple, safe and effective therapeutic system.
Since the scientific knowledge system was in its primitive stage of evolution during that time, it was difficult to explain these observed phenomena using existing tool-kit of science. In the absence of necessary scientific knowledge available for accomplishing this task, he was compelled to speculate using philosophical concepts such as ‘dynamism’ or ‘vitalism’. Actually, ORGANON represents his highly intellectual attempts to explain his fundamental observations regarding phenomena of cure.
In organon, he discussed many things, from ‘vital force theory’ to ‘mesmerism’. That does not mean everything he discussed are ‘cardinal’ principles of homeopathy. If you want to identify such ‘cardinal’ or ‘basic’ things of homeopathy, they are ‘similia similibus curentur’ and ‘potentization’. They are the ‘fundamental objective observations’ of natural phenomena. Everything else is philosophical speculations, which are bound to change as our scientific knowledge advances.
Actually, the ‘seven cardinal principles’ were the invention of some later interpreters- not of hahnemann. Somebody understood homeopathy that way- that is all. You can ‘filter’ any number of ‘cardinal’ principles from hahnemann’s works, according to your perspectives and understandings. If you want to see ‘vital force’ as cardinal principle of homeopathy, somebody else could say ‘mesmerism’ is also a cardinal principle of homeopathy. You can list ‘seven’ or ‘seventy’.
Somebody involved in the making of homeopathic curriculum for Indian universities happened to be influenced by this ‘seven cardinal principles’ and included it in the syllabus. Indian students were taught that to be a ‘true’ homeopath, they should ‘follow’ these ‘seven’ principles. If it was part of your syllabus, somebody should have asked the teachers for original references from hahnemann and verify whether hahnemann did say these ‘seven’ are ‘cardinal principles’ of homeopathy. That is the way inquisitive minds should work and learn more and more deep.
According to my analysis, the only ‘cardinal’ or ‘basic’ things in homeopathy are ‘two’ fundamental observations hahnemann made regarding the objective phenomena of ‘cure’. They are ‘similia similibus curentur’ and ‘potentization’. Everything else is totally unscientific speculations and theorizations made in an attempt to explain these ‘basic’ observations. There is nothing ‘cardinal’ in those observations. It is our duty to explain hahnemann’s ‘fundamental observations’ in terms of modern scientific knowledge system.
I would like to call ‘Similia Similibus Curentur’ and ‘Potentization’ as FUNDAMENTAL OBSERVATIONS OF HOMEOPATHY, rather than using the term ‘fundamental principles’. That would be more close to truth.
Hahnemann made two important observations regarding therapeutics 250 years ago:
1. Diseases with specific symptoms can be cured by drugs that can produce similar symptoms in healthy individuals. He called it ‘similia similibus curentur’.
2. When used according to ‘similia similibus curentur’, dug substances can act as powerful therapeutic agents even in high dilutions through a process of serial ‘dilution and succussion’. He called this process as ‘potentization’.
These TWO are the main OBSERVATIONS made by Hahnemann, which are known as fundamental principles of Homeopathy.
Hahnemann tried to explain these OBSERVATIONS in terms of scientific and philosophical knowledge available to him in that POINT OF TIME. Organon consists of these theoretical explanations and speculations. Since scientific knowledge was in its primitive stage at that time, Hahnemann’s explanations were bound to bear that limitations. ORGANON contains a lot of theorizations and speculations that do not agree with, or go against modern scientific understanding.
Equipped with modern scientific knowledge and its tools, we are now in a far better position than Samuel Hahnemann to explain the phenomena he observed 250 years ago. Now we can explain ‘similia similibus curentur’ and ‘potentization’ more scientifically, rationally and logically. With full respect the great genius of our master, we should be truthful and bold enough to discard those evidently unscientific theoretical speculations of ORGANON.
These two FUNDAMENTAL OBSERVATIONS were based on experiences, experiments and logical evaluations of OBJECTIVE PHENOMENA OF NATURE done by a great intellectual person. But the ‘principles’ he used to explain these objective phenomena were unscientific, obviously due to the limitations of scientific knowledge available to him at that time. We should accept his OBSERVATIONS, but judiciously discard or modify his unscientific PRINCIPLES.
Some people consider each and every word uttered by our ‘master’ as ‘fundamental principles’ of homeopathy. Some others would even include the words of other ‘stalwarts’ like Kent, Herring and the like also in the category of ‘fundamental’ principles.
All these ‘theories’ are only philosophical explanations, conjectures, interpretations, opinions and empirical conclusion based on personal experiences of ‘stalwarts’ and ‘masters’. They are not ‘fundamental principles’ of homeopathy.
If you understand the scientific meaning of ‘similia similibus curentur’ and ‘potentization’, and judiciously apply them for curing the patients, you are a ‘true homeopath’, even if you do not ‘follow’ the ‘seven cardinal principles’ invented by unscientific interpreters of hahnemann.
A ‘true’ homeopath is one who understands and applies homeopathy ‘scientifically- not one who learns homeopathy dogmatically and applies it blindly.
The main point I raise in this article is whether the concept of “seven cardinal principles” originally belongs to hahnemann or his later interpreters. Hahnemann said many things in his books, from ‘similia’ to ‘mesmerism’. Who decided only these ‘seven’ are ‘cardinal’ and others are not? What is the logic behind such a slection? Who did it?