Hahnemann: "Practice my system and prove that it doesn’t work ".

Rumiana Nenova, MD

On April 10-th we celebrated 250 anniversary from the birth of Hahnemann – the father of homeopathy, the new medicine, the new philosophy, which main principle Hippocrates formulated back in IV c. B.C.! Since its invention, physicians, scientists and other people learnt homeopathy, some of them only with the purpose to disprove it. But the result was quite unexpected, as we know: they became fervent followers of the new philosophy and method of healing. Herring is a bright example for this. Hahnemann himself said: “Practice my system and prove it doesn’t work ".
Although the masters of homeopathy have stated clear principles of working within this science, nowadays exist different schools that give their own interpretation. Each one of them declares that it is the real follower of Hahnemann. Let us try to disperse and pass to the next generations his message in the way, which he tried to make us understand, with care and love.
Many pages are written on Hahnemann, mostly with connection to the homeopathy and his basic writings. It is well however to take a look at his life, the principles he was grown with, his interests, the difficulties and obstacles on his way, in order to estimate the enormous work lying in the base of this great system and philosophy of the healing art.
Hahnemann was born in Meissen, in the family of Christian Gottfried Hahneman and Joanna Christiana Spiess. It is a second marriage to the father – his first wife died after the birth of twins, who died too. Christian Gottfried brought up his children according to the principles of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which were widely spread among the educated people in Europe:
"Never to listen nor learn passively.
To act and to live without pretense or show.
Never to act against the supreme idea of the first principle of the creation, eminence of the humanity or its noble destiny."
Hahnemann’s life was not easy. He had to live school several times, to be able do work and support his family, which was in need. His teachers though succeeded to provide him with free education so he could go back to school. His irresistible strive for science and research was so strong, that he had to read his favorite books in hiding, including at night, on a candle light. He even dared to oppose his father’s will, who sent him to work in a grocery – and left it, to continue his education. In 1775 Hahnemann started his studies in the University of Leipzig and since then he took care of himself. The only thing he could enjoy in his life, was hard work, without any entertainment and freedom, incidental to young age. He taught French and German for living, translated from English to German, which gave him the opportunity of professional growing up too. He visited many lectures of renown professors, and Prof. Porner, the head physician of Meissen, estimated Hahnemann’s hard work and the strive for knowledge and gave him the opportunity for free lectures. Because of the lack of practical training in Leipzig, Hahnemann moved in Vienna. Later on he moved to Erlangen, where he took his certificate for medical education and studied botany in plus. A bit later he was captivated by chemistry. In 1782 he married Johanna Henriette Kuchler.
Later on his family had to move many times. He lived in many towns for more prestigious job as a physician, for more acceptable earning and prices, to be able to practice his new method, because of the criticism to the new system and so on. In 1835 he moved in Paris, where he spent the rest of his life.He received in France what he couldn’t achieve previously – name, position, glory, funds, peace. He died on July 2 1843 at the age of 88 years.
For the days of his intensive life Hahnemann translated many scientific works, visited many lectures of famous professors, his interests spread to very large extents. All this undoubtedly contributed to his development.
As it is well known, the idea of homeopathy arose after the translation of Kulin’s Materia Medics 1790. The 6-th edition of the Organon is considered the most important of his writings. All his writings need deep study and even today we must remember the basic principles and postulates which he formulated. We are very grateful to Hahnemann for the invention of the homeopathic way of treatment. As with every remarkable invention, what happened to it was depending not only on its inventor, but also on the surroundings, on what they would understand from the master’s saying, on their wish to follow him, on their eagerness to spread the idea… Together with its spreading, many people take part of it, everyone with one’s own ideas, view and intentions. Hahnemann formulated the qualities which should possess everyone to be good practitioner of the healing art, but maybe it is still well to see the example of the master himself. A large range of interests and abilities: fluent knowledge of several languages, between which he translated books, diploma on allopathic medicine before he invented homeopathy, chemist, botanist, he didn’t only read a lot, he translated a lot, wrote himself many writings, communicated with many people, clarifying his ideas, he was interested and following the development of those, working with him and he helped not just them, but also their families, if needed. His main aim was to provide the future of homeopathy, its existence, spreading and all this in the hands of reliable people. Hahnemann paid special attention to the selection of people who would become real homeopaths. He didn’t wanted just to increase the number of his students, but to make them real followers of the teaching, without interpretations on the application of the basic principles, so that the system could be kept within its original design. If however it happens and the following generations of homeopaths allow even more interpretations, we would end by not discovering even a hint of Hahnemann’s invention. Thanks to some of the best students of the master Boenninghausen and Herring and to their efforts to keep the system alive and successful, and to their strict followers, Hahnemann’s homeopathy still exists. Homeopaths nowadays, like in Hahnemann’s time are separated in two main groups – the one practicing homeopathy only and the other – allopathy and homeopathy according to the circumstances and the desires of the patient. They use allopathic remedies for immediate control of the situation and when it is under control, they turn to homeopathy. There is the abrupt reaction of the teacher on this occasion: “I hear for long time and with dissatisfaction that some persons in Leipzig, who pretend to be homeopaths, allow their patients to chose whether to be treated homeopathically or allopathically. Is it due to the fact that they are not convinced yet in the real spirit of the new doctrine or they lack real love to their friends, or that conversely to their better convictions, they don’t hesitate to destroy their profession for self-interested, greedy benefits – live them alone, but that they not require me in any way to admit and accept them as my followers and students.” The words are said about two hundred years ago, and the situation is the same today.
And what remains for those who are against the new system? Just like at the time of its invention, homeopathy has many enemies. A big portion of them unfortunately have not a clue of its essence. Science should be open for everybody. And if homeopathy is a chimera or a system without internal meaning and application, it would drop out by itself. If, on the contrary, it is something progressive and it spreads out despite the attempts of its enemies to limit and destroy it, it only means that it is something valuable which has to be encouraged and expanded.
Many years ago a philosopher wrote: “When will a noble and farseeing person come who will open the temple of Esculap again, will break to pieces the dangerous instruments, will close the drugs shops and will destroy this hypothetical medicine with its drugs and limitations? This fellow will preach finally a new science of healing, as the old one kills the humanity and destroys the population of the regions and countries.” These words, addressed to Hahnemann, are part of the speech of the President of the Gillian Homeopathic society, a speech glorifying the notorious guest. A high estimation of the meaning and importance of the deeds of a great man, but also a great message and obligation to his followers.




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