2008 October

Element theory revisited

by Ai-Ling Su Makewell
It has been seven years since I began to utilize Scholten’s Element Theory in my practice. Seven years is not a long period of time by any means in terms of homoeopathic practice, it is however, a developmental sub-cycle that enables me to give the Element Theory a critical review from my understanding and clinical experiences.
What Scholten’s Element Theory has revealed is the true promise of homoeopathy. Yet it has been subjected to a lot of criticism and much of it is negative rather than positive. Given that there are an increasing number of homoeopaths beginning to integrate it into their own practices, it is still a theory misunderstood by many. The charges against the Element Theory to this day are related to it being “un-homoeopathic” which relates to first, the Element Theory is speculative, second, it is based upon deductive reasoning rather than inductive of the Hahnemann tradition, and the third is the use of unproven remedies. These issues are at the crux of my discussion in this essay. It is only by exposing their falsity can we begin to appreciate the latitude of the contribution the Element Theory has made to the progress of homoeopathy.

I have found this essay to be particularly challenging from the inception of the idea to revisit the Element Theory. The reason being that my love of it is intuitive and of a practical nature rather than based upon my scientific insight and knowledge. However, as challenging as it is, I am presenting my view so as to share with our profession the merit, the meaning and the beauty of Scholten’s Element Theory as I understand it.
Coming from a counselling background with a propensity to look for patterns in an individual’s behaviours (so as to understand the unfolding of a person’s life), the Element Theory made far greater sense to me than repertory ever did. Since the very beginning, I have been using remedies that were not proven in the traditional sense, but relied entirely upon the predictive capacity of the Element Theory set out by Scholten. My experience of this theory is that its inherent predictive quality is not only the mark of a mature scientific theory that favour simplicity, but also with an indescribable elegance and beauty when applied. Moreover, the remedies selected by way of the Element Theory have the capacity to heal individuals at a much deeper level.
This is for the reason that the internal logic of the Element Theory enables me to perceive an individual’s essence with far greater depth and focus. “Essence” describes “the inner most self of that which needs to be healed“ so that our indwelling spirit can freely avail itself of this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of existence” (Organon, § 9). An individual’s essence could be equated to what Hahnemann called the Vital Force. Perceiving patterns in an individual’s behaviours and the language used (as well as physical symptoms) is one possibility of perceiving the essence or the state of the vital force, the other is the disease manifestation. The individual essence when understood and matched with a remedy that resonates in a similar frequency will lead to healing.
As such, the strong opposition and resistance toward Scholten’s theory in our profession are possibly for two reasons. Firstly, the Element Theory is dragging us from the zero and the first stages of homoeopathy’s development as a science into the second stage – from that of facts and generalities to that of “classification and categorization” (Scholten, 2004a: 171). Potentially leaving behind that which is familiar and safe - where the repertory and the materia medica are the ways of organizing the facts obtained from drug provings and their description (the first stage of science – orthodox medicine is at this stage). The prospect of such could be daunting as it implies the necessity for us to change and to grow from our accustomed way of practicing homoeopathy to step into uncharted territory and to perceive the cases in another light - from the perspective of essences rather than fragments. The second reason is that it is most likely, as human beings, “we are addicted to our beliefs and we do act like an addicts when someone tries to wrestle from us the powerful opium of our dogma” (Talbot, 1991: 71).
However, having said this, in this second stage of homoeopathy’s development does not imply that repertory is no longer relevant, which is far from the case; it just means that our focus, the means of selecting the simillimum and the way of understanding remedies and patients, is on the essence. Just as a dictionary is an indispensable tool if anyone desires to be proficient in a language for understanding the meaning of individual words, so the repertory has a similar function, but the dictionary is not the language, nor is the repertory homoeopathy (Makewell, 2006:January).
Therefore, what I wish to address in this essay is first to define the parameter in terms of adopting certain attitudes necessary in a debate that could enlighten rather than being caught in circularity. Next, discussing the relevance of the Periodic Table in relationship with the Element Theory helps to deepen our perception of homoeopathy as a science. Thirdly, the relationship between the Element Theory and the developmental stages of homoeopathy will be discussed. Lastly, my clinical case examples serve to further support my argument in considering the Element Theory being a landmark development of homoeopathy as a science, as well as to dispel the unfounded criticisms.
Underpinning all of these issues is a call to celebrate the fact that the Element Theory has taken homoeopathy onto another level of being – a healing modality that is firmly grounded in science, yet it is inseparable from the art of healing. The combination of both makes homoeopathy unique.

Parameter and attitudes necessary in scholarly debates
There are three major concerns that I would like to share in view of what has transpired since Scholten introduced his Element Theory to the homoeopathic community. This is not to dredge up the past, but as a reminder, as well as assisting us to remain focused in our future discourses as a profession, without the history being repeated yet again. Especially when new ideas and concepts challenge our notion of homoeopathy. Acrimonious disputes are always harmful to a profession just as a house divided is always in risk of self-destruction.
First, Hahnemann was a great visionary, genius, and revolutionary who brought this entire healing modality called Homoeopath into being from his knowledge of the past but not confining to the tradition of his time thus limiting. “Hahnemann championed ‘Medicine of Experience’ as against that of ‘opinions’ (Dhawale, 2003:A3). The implication of which is that Homoeopath is a medical system that is continuously affirmed by our experiences as healers with each successfully treated cases and healed individuals by adhering to the law of similars and administering potentized remedies. In this, the foundation of homoeopathy is premised upon immutable laws and upon which also builds the future possibilities of homoeopathy. Therefore, homoeopathy must continue to develop with the growing consciousness of humanity - while being supported by tradition but not so tightly bound as to become detrimental.
Second, since human beings are endowed with intelligence, reasoning mind, and ability to love and intuit, a scholarly discourse or philosophic contention needs to be conducted on a level playing field by considering the inherent merits of a theory, a concept or an idea accordingly. As such, when we are able to put aside what we have already been taught, learnt and known, we are appealing to our reasoning mind (with an openness) from which the likely outcome could open up those worlds beyond our wildest imaginations.
In contrast, if the discussion is continuously being referred back to what Hahnemann has said, then, not only renders it circular but also ensnares by our own shadows and projections without the capacity to move beyond that, which has already been defined, thus constricting. Reflecting on the past, Scholten, in his effort to clarify the merits of his theory, should not have to defend himself because his criticism of Hahnemann and his admiration for the master are not mutually exclusive. This leads to my third point.
Hahnemann is the Alpha, who brought homoeopathy into being, but we ought not to make him the Omega. As a healing modality Homoeopath is both a science and an art, but it certainly is not a form of religion defined by absolutes. Newton, the founding Father of Classical Mechanics, could have never envisaged the possibility of the development of Quantum Mechanics in his time. But Newton’s theory of gravitation and the three laws of motion laid the groundwork for the classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the coming centuries until advancing to the development of quantum theory. Homoeopath, too, is necessary to grow far beyond what Hahnemann in his time could have possibly perceive or imagine as brilliant as he was.
At the present, as we continue to gain knowledge from our clinical experiences, to draw from the depth of homoeopathic philosophic foundation, and to expand our consciousness by healing ourselves, then, the possibility of homoeopathy is immeasurable.

Periodic Table and element theory
In order to share my understanding of the Element Theory it is necessary to visit the Periodic Table in the tradition of Mendeleev to establish a meaningful connection between the two. The Periodic Table fostered a comprehensive classification of the elements, which displays patterns of information of the physical level, the fundamental building blocks of the universe. While the Element Theory, far from being speculative or guesswork as asserted by certain homoeopaths, shows patterns of human evolution that could be perceived through the developmental stages (18 groups) and the spheres of life (7 series). These are the building blocks to the development of human consciousness. Both of these theories, although presenting patterns of information belonging to two different realities, one physical the other emotional and mental, share one underlying principle – the essence of nature, of life.

Periodic table
From the scattered then known elements to the eventual beautifully, simply, systematically organized periodic table was Mendeleev’s passion for the chemical elements. He laboured over how might the elements be classified. In 1878 by following Cannizzaro’s work, showing the closeness of the atomic weights for the alkaline earth metals to those of alkali metals and to the atomic weights of the halogens, which inspired him to make a small, two-dimensional grid juxtaposing the three groups (Sacks, 2008)

Table Elements

This was the turning point for Mendeleev, seeing and arranging the three groups of elements in the order of their atomic weights, produced a repetitive pattern that gave him the insight to the idea of this being a fragment of a larger pattern – the idea of a periodicity governing all the elements [a hypothesis] (Sacks, 2008). However, the most remarkable part of the periodic table’s journey was that, in an act of supreme confidence in the predictability of the elements according to their atomic weights [patterns], Mendeleev reserved several empty spaces for those elements “as yet unknown.” He asserted: “by extrapolating from the properties of the elements above and below (and also, to some extent, from those to either side), one might make a confident prediction as to what these unknown elements would be like” (Sacks, 2008).
This was exactly what took place, the precision in predicting the elements (e.g. the element Gallium was found in 1875) not only astonished Mendeleev’s fellow scientists but also convinced many that his system of the periodic table was not just some kind of guesswork but a profound expression of reality following a pattern – and his hypothesis of the periodicity of the elements came to pass.
Later, it was the elements’ atomic numbers proved to have much more significance than their weights in organizing the elements. Henry Moseley, in 1914, found a relationship between an element’s X-ray wavelength and its atomic number. He therefore re-sequenced the table by electronic charge with which Moseley was also able to predict the new elements - Technetium and Promethium (both are radio active) with their atomic numbers of 43 and 71 respectively (belong to the stage seven). When elements are arranged by their atomic numbers show that certain properties of the elements repeat periodically of which the table is a visual representation of this periodic law (extracted from Wikipedia).

Element theory
Similarly, Scholten’s ingenious insight into co-opting the periodic table to homoeopathy has just as powerful the predictive quality as arranging the elements in the order of their atomic weights by Mendeleev. In this, Scholten mapped the process of human evolutionary stages and the life experiences in various spheres (the expression of vital force) to correspond with the eighteen groups and the seven series of the elements in the periodic table.
While the periodic table is a visual representation of the chemical elements of the physical plane, the Element Theory is of the same representation expresses the mental thought and emotional patterns (worlds/realms) of individual personal reality. The eighteen stages in the Element Theory is a bell shaped curve, which symbolises human development of consciousness at the various stages of life - from birth to death with everything in between. The series from Hydrogen to Gold and Lanthanides are the spheres of life i.e. relationship (Silicium series) or work (Ferrum series), where one lives out that which is meaningful and purposeful as a living, sentient, and spiritual being.
If the chemical elements are the building blocks of the universe, and could be combined with one another to form millions of compounds, then, the interaction between one’s developmental stages and the life spheres also generates unaccountable patterns and manifestations. Thought and emotional contents influence our patterns of perception, which, in turn, are reinforced by life experiences – these are the expressions of our individual essence. Perception influences one’s responses to the external world, and its interaction with one’s inner world of desires, longings, dreams and imaginations leads to a spectrum of human experiences - joy and grief, successes and failures, health and myriads of disease, etc. (Makewell, 2008: March). These perceptible manifestations (e.g. disease symptoms, behavioural patterns) are nothing more than reflections of the same patterns at the realm of individual essence but viewed from different levels of reality. This is the basis for homoeopathy to place emphasis on the necessity to perceive an individual’s mental and emotional picture in case taking.
It is the Element Theory that brought these two levels of manifestations, from the scattered information obtained from the drug provings (the first stage of the development in a science), to a well-organized and systematic way (classification) beautifully presented in the form of the periodic table. Therefore, Scholten’s Element Theory is not just about the periodic table alone, it is also about a mode of visual communication and a means of arranging data and information. More importantly, it is a way of understanding how an individual’s life is developing and unfolding, which is the expressions of the essence.
Consequently, while the Element Theory appears to one person as guesswork but to another the same is perceived to be the work of profound understanding, the difference in the two opposing perceptions is that the latter possesses the knowledge and the insight to perceive the essence of reality that goes quite beyond the material world into realms of creativity, imagination, intuition, and insight. A quote from Einstein is appropriate here: “I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the world stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is strictly speaking a real factor in scientific research.” Imagination (in the meaning of Einstein), far removed from the connotation of “guessing”, is the real factor in Scholten’s scientific research work and the result of such is a much greater precision in understanding remedies and individuals. Inherent in the Element Theory is the expression of Hahnemann’s original intention – “the spirit like dynamis”. What Hahnemann perceived was the existence of multi-dimensional reality where each serves as reflections – physical (or material) being the last frontier of the manifested world and the origin of which is found in one’s desires, dreams, imaginations, thoughts and emotions.
Following the above reasoning, as Mendeleev was able to predict the “as yet unknown” elements by the atomic weights from their neighbouring elements, so the manifestations of emotions, mental thoughts and physical disease symptoms could also be deduced from the patterns shown by those elements (e.g. Magnesium, Aurum, Calcarea, Bromine, etc.) that have already been proven. Siblings from one family resemble each other because of shared genetic information, so the elements from the same stage (e.g. Magnesium, Calcarea, Strontium, etc. - stage 2) and the same series (e.g. Rubidium, Strontium, Yttrium – Silver series) also possess shared attributes from one to another. Is the Element Theory’s ability to predict the remedy actions to correspond with the essence of an individual (perceived from patterns of behaviours) a “guessing game?” or the mark of a sound scientific theory with a great predictive capacity, as well as an intrinsic simplistic beauty and elegance? “It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience” (Einstein). If Einstein was right, then, the answer to that question ought to be clear.
On this note, as the first criticism of the Element Theory, being speculative, is laid to rest, so the second accusation – deductive reasoning is not in the tradition of Hahnemann’s inductive method – will also proven to be false in the following discussion.

Stages of development in homoeopathy as science
By saying that Scholten’s Element Theory, resulting from deductive reasoning, is “un-homoeopathic” in the tradition of Hahnemann’s inductive method is like saying that there is no science outside of the inductive method or it cannot possibly be homoeopathy if it evolves beyond the zero and the first stages of science (facts gathering and observation).
It is true that deductive reasoning starts with hypothesis (theory formation) first. However, preceding the setting up of a hypothesis there was the observation of facts (stage 0) and generalization (stage 1). The hypothesis (or the idea) must be tested by experiments so as to validate the conclusion reached from one’s observed facts, occurrences, or phenomena – hypothesis – that leads to the formulation of a theory.
Derivation of a general principle from observations is assisted by the principle of inductive reasoning (rests on perception that leads to generalization – all ducks quack). The periodic table was formulated from Mendeleev’s observation that led him to his hypothesis of the periodicity of the elements (deductive reasoning), it was rested upon the principle of induction (observation of facts). The periodic table was a deciding moment in the history of Chemistry because it took Chemistry as a science from its first developmental stage to the second stage in the formulation of a theory with a visual representation of nature.
Similarly, the effects of the Element Theory on homoeopathy are just as monumental as the periodic table had on Chemistry. The classification of the remedies is already given in the form of the periodic table. It, however, was Scholten who gave meaning and substance to these so enabling the perception of the core actions of remedies and of individual essences (the basis of life’s manifestations). Therefore, insisting on every substance being proven before it could be applied clinically as a remedy is to keep homoeopathy shackled in the first stage of development. The supreme goal of a theory is to simplify the complex data without compromising the integrity of the whole. Also, if a theory is sound, it favour simplicity with increasing probability of accurate predictions (Scholten, 2004a).
In this context, if we were only to consider those homoeopathic mineral remedies that have been proven thus far is a travesty that grossly distorts the grandeur of homoeopathy presented by the Element Theory. The quintessential quality in this theory is its exquisite insight into the stages of human evolution and the focal points in life that gives rise to its impeccable predictive capacity in finding the simillimum. Just as the elements in the periodic table cannot be perceived as a pile of dirt, so the intrinsic qualities of remedies presented by the Element Theory cannot be captured by mere provings.
Having said that, the formulation of the Element Theory in homoeopathy indicates that, as a science, homoeopathy is maturing; evolving from the purely inductive reasoning of the first stage development to the second stage where the vast, less differentiated information could be classified and perceived much more easily. As such, the charge against the Element Theory for not following the tradition of Hahnemann’s inductive reasoning is false, thus confusing scientific development with loyalty to tradition.
The following analysis of the different stages of development in homoeopathy as a science would not only further testify to my assertion but also dismantles the third accusation – the use of un-proven remedy is “un-homoeopathic.”

Homoeopath has begun to advance in its journey as a science as well as a healing modality ever since Scholten introduced his Element Theory to our community. As such, the accusation that the Element Theory is “un-homoeopathic” because the many remedies, advocated by this theory, are un-proven is decidedly irrelevant. In that, the traditional proving was the only viable method to obtain the curative action of a substance during the zero and the first stages in homoeopathy’s development, however, the classification of remedies by their elemental groups, animal species, and botanical families (this work is also done by Mangialavori and Sankaran) has changed the nature of how remedy information could be derived. In order to understand this development in context, it is necessary to consider the first stage of homoeopathy as a science.
Traditional drug provings were the only means of gathering information so enable the understanding of the curative action of a substance. Often, the information obtained from provings is confusing and lacking in coherence because many remedies not only produced a large number of shared symptoms (e.g. fear the dark; profuse perspiration, etc.) but also contained erroneous symptoms with missing information. Hence, the organization of the scattered information into a repertory is to provide coherence. Resulting from which also enables practitioners to choose one remedy (the simillimum) among other potential choices by differentiating along the mental and emotional expressions.
However, the information in the materia medica and the repertories was not all derived strictly from provings, but much of it is obtained from clinical data - found in both Kent and Schroyens Repertories. Homoeopath, all over the world, use both of these repertories with no objections. Thus, proponents of the idea that remedy pictures must be based upon provings are not only lacking in consistency but are guilty of double standards. This bias against clinical data in favour of the proving symptoms is irrational and illogical. Clinical symptoms and those obtained from traditional drug provings are two sides of the same coin – one practical, the other “experimental.”
Clinically proven symptoms, when viewed from the laws of homoeopathy, are far superior to the traditional drug provings. In that, when a remedy’s essence and that of an individual’s correspond they resonate in similar frequencies, thus transferring energy as well as information that lead to healing - we are, then, truly witnessing the “Law of Similars”in action. The symptoms obtained via provings on “healthy individuals” are theoretically true, as these symptoms are possibilities derived from a very small sample of the population. Also, as it is impossible to take out the provers’ individual idiosyncrasies we may obtain information that differs from one proving to the subsequent ones of the same substance. The symptom pictures obtained, then, belong to the idea of “consensus” not yet “individualised” as in clinically proven symptoms via administering the simillimum to our patients.
Classification and categorisation (second stage), from lengthy and laborious observations and tests, provide the framework for understanding patterns (e.g. series, plant families, etc.) so that the properties of a substance could be deduced without having to individually prove each and everyone of those that come under the same categories via classification. What is understood in this is the essence of the remedy picture rather than its fragments. Although there are many “unproven” remedies, advocated by the Element Theory, some of these are certainly clinically proven with each successfully treated case.
More importantly is that as human beings are becoming much more complex, the remedies that are required to heal our patients must also reflect this changing constitution within us. In this, the possible compounds to form remedies that could correspond to the many patterns of human evolution is countless, just as the chemical elements could combine to form millions of compounds. Consequently, not only the clinically proven symptoms will progressively become more central to homoeopathy as we develop but also the way we perceive our patients is necessary to change accordingly. However, this does not mean that the traditional proving will become redundant (these are ways we keep connected to our roots) but it does mean that the method to obtain information on remedy properties could change. Therefore, this third charge that the use of unproven remedies is not homoeopathy is as groundless as it is hollow.

Transitional stage of homoeopathy
Vithoulkas has brought the first stage of homoeopathy to a neat conclusion with his work on the remedy essences. In turn, it perhaps also inspired the development of the psychological analysis of remedy types (constitutional) from the late 1980’s to the 1990’s (Coulter, Zaren, Baily, etc.), which is a development of more in depth understanding of the mental and emotional pictures of those largest polychrest.
These remedy psychological types assisted us to understand the core characteristics of those polychrest. Although we could consider these to be the archetypes in homoeopathy, it is more practical to consider the polychrest as remedies that they each describe a nucleus of meaning with wide sphere of applications. This could be the reason for a beginning homoeopathy student to perceive parts of him or her reflected in many of these polychrest (at least I did).
This means that each one of us possesses a part of the essence of some of these remedies but we can no longer be embraced by the pure expression of a single polychrest (e.g. Su). As we have become more complex with the changing times, so the disease manifestations have also become more fragmented (Makewell, 2006:June). For example, hysteria is widely manifested during the nineteenth century (Western) societies, but we hardly see such a full-blown case in today’s environment. Yet, the core essence of hysteria has hybridised into many forms - expressed in volatile emotions, attention-seeking behaviours, somatisation as in many forms of physical diseases of the womb (the word ‘hysteria’ originated from Greek husterikos ‘of the womb’), etc. This means that the frequency in our prescribing the polychrest remedies may be much less and their action on the vital force may not be as deep or as long lasting compared to the times of Hahnemann and the nineteenth century.
However, there are still people who possess the essence expressed by the polychrest in areas where the culture remained the same over many centuries when the simple lifestyle of the past centuries still prevail (Chappell, 2002) - not “contaminated” by modern living with rapid change of technology and increasing complexity in our living style. How we respond to this rapidly changing environment is vastly different from the way the population responded to their surroundings of the past two centuries. This means that we are, at the same time, “mutating” continuously to adapt to our changing environment and become more complex in our responses to life in the twenty-first century. The reverse is equally true – our evolving consciousness has an impact on our environment (e.g. various inventions, scientific advances, etc.) for better or for worse.

The second stage development in homoeopathy relates to classification of remedies and categorisation of these into plant families, animal species, and mineral groups based on structural similarities. Classification has to do with organising the scattered information of generalities into a system e.g. Mendeleev’s periodic table and Scholten’s Element Theory.
Classification of the elements enables us with the ability to process vast amounts of remedy information into manageable themes without sacrificing the core issues, which are the essence. The inherent capacity of the Element Theory to perceive the essence – either in a remedy or a person, is hinged upon the way Scholten formulated his theory, which is precisely the reason for it to greatly support the accuracy in prescribing the simillimum – matching remedy essence to that of the individual. More importantly, predictive capacity is an intrinsic feature of a mature science: “Physics, a science in stage 3, has a great predictive capacity, which has, for instance, produced cars that work well” (Scholten, 2004a: 171). So the development of homoeopathy into the second stage of science also possesses a great capacity in selecting the simillimum to heal disease manifestations distinct to the twenty-first century environment.
In the context of the above development in homoeopathy, years from now, the traditional drug proving may be of secondary importance as a method of gathering information, and the repertory might take its rightful place in homoeopathy – indispensable like a dictionary but with far less dominance.

Considering the above analysis, the criticisms leveled at the Element Theory – “speculative, using deductive rather than inductive reasoning, and using unproven remedies are not homoeopathy” – are clearly irrelevant in the context of homoeopathy as science.
Moreover, seeing homoeopathy as a science now entering into the second stage of development assists us to understand the reason behind the Element Theory’s high accuracy in predicting and selecting the simillimum (much higher than repertory could possibly conceive). The truth of its inherent predictive quality is attested by many homoeopaths throughout the world and by my personal clinical experiences also. In this context, we may realize that the tradition that brought homoeopathy into being has become part of the homoeopathic history. The development of classification and categorization changes the way we obtain and organise information on remedy properties. Consequence of such is a far broader homoeopathic horizon with much greater depth in healing humanity.
When and if I am unable to ascertain the simillimum for a patient while using the Element Theory it can only be attributed to my inability to perceive truly the individual essence rather than the flaws of the theory. Moreover, what resonated with me in this theory are the patterns of behaviours that can be formed and understood in incalculable ways (the vertical and horizontal grids) just as there are human beings.
The world perceived through the eye of homoeopathy, one or two centuries ago, has changed and altered beyond recognition in its development as well as in its complexity. For this reason alone, it is not possible to prove every conceivable combination of elemental compounds (please refer to my case studies). In saying that, if I were to wait for the provings to confirm my perception of the patients’ essences obtained from the Element Theory, I would have given up my practice a long time ago because of its untenability. When the Element Theory can be applied with such a simplistic beauty and elegance to accurately predict the selection of a simillimum in clinical cases it is because “Theory favour simplicity, while with decreasing specificity, predictability increases” (Scholten, 2004a: 170) and moreover, IT WORKS!
Therefore, criticisms against the Element Theory such as those stated above have failed to understand the scientific process behind its formulation and its significance as a theory in relationship to the advancement of homoeopathy as a science. Additionally, inherent in those criticisms is a tendency to evaluate it from the stance of limitation, underpinned by preconceived dogma. The Element Theory (as well as the works undertaken by Mangialavori and Sankaran) has taken homoeopathy from the zero and the first stage of the scientific development into the second stage however challenging this transitional phase may be, we are evolving, growing and developing.
Perhaps, in a moment during our quiet contemplation, we will be able to perceive the Element Theory in its true light, firmly grounded in tradition in the spirit of Hahnemann but with an eye cast toward the endless future possibilities.

Chappell, P. (2000), “Failing Vitality: Village and city life,” Homoeopath Links, Vol 13, Summer 2000.
Debats, F. (2004), “Logos, Mythos, Evidence”, Homoeopath Links, Autumn 2004, Vol. 17 (3)
De Schepper, L. (2003), Homoeopath and the Periodic Table, Full of Life Publishing, Santa Fe, NM, U.S.A.
Dhawale, M. L. (2003), Hahnemannian Totality Symposium: Standardisation Part I (Editor, M. L. Dhawale), Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Trust, Mumbai, India.
Makewell, A. (2006), “Is Scholten’s Element Theory the Future of Homoeopath: An Address to Students.” Interhomeopathy, January.
Makewell, A (2006), “Secret Lanthanides: Commentary, Reflection, and Book Review.” Interhomeopathy, June
Makewell, A. (2008), “Disease as the Creative Expression of the Soul.” Interhomeopathy, March.
Moskowitz, R. (2004a), “The Fundamentalist Controversy: An Issue that Won’t Go Away”, The Homoeopath (No.92).
Moskowitz, R. (2004b), “The Fundamentalist Controversy: Part II”, The Homoeopath (No.93).
Hahnemann, Samuel (1997), Organon of the Medical Art by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, edited and annotated by Wenda Brewster O’reilly, The sixth edition of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann’s work of genius based on a translation by Steven Decker. Birdcage Books, Redmond, Washington, U.S.A.
Sacks, O. (2008) “Everything in Its Place: One man’s Love Affair with the Periodic Table” http//www.nytimes.com/library/magzine/millennium/m1/sacks.html
Scholten, J. (2004a), “Homoeopath and Science”, Homoeopath Links, Autumn 2004, Vol. 17 (3)
Scholten, J. (2004b), “Homoeopath and Perfinity”, Homoeopath Links, Autumn 2004, Vol. 17 (3)
Scholten, J. (2004c), “Laws of Homoeopath”, Homoeopath Links, Autumn 2004, Vol. 17 (4)
Scholten, J. (2004d), “Homoeopath as Information Science”, Homoeopath Links, Autumn 2004, Vol. 17 (4)
Talbot, M. (1991) The Holographic Universe, Harper Perennial, a division of Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. New York. U.S.A.


Ai-Ling Su Makewell
email: essentialbeing@ozforces.com

Categories: Theory
Keywords: element, deductive, inductive, scientific, development, P. Chappell, F. Debats, L. de Schepper, M.L. Dhawale, R. Moskowitz, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, O. Sacks, J. Scholten, M. Talbot


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Posts: 13
Element Theory Controversy
Reply #13 on : Mon October 04, 2010, 03:49:14
Lou Klein's Foreward to Jan Scholten's Secret Lanthanides similarily compares Hahnemann and Scholten as scientists with the chemists who discovered the Lanthanides....Mosander, Nilson et al. It is a good piece as it illustrates also that the fundamentalists or conventionalists of any field eventually cannot hold back progress, which is to reach at the truth or essence or something. What these chemists have in common to Mendeleev, who classified the periodic table, is that they met with resistance from within their field; and what they all have in common is that their discoveries all "come out in the wash" or are confirmed with practice/use or with experiment.
So, in Homeopathy with the use of the Element Theory we will come back full circle to Hahnemann's time or the first stage of science - in that with more clinical and experimental (provings) experience of the so called "new" or "small" remedies we can organize the symptoms into our repertories and materia medicas...and this way of practicing will become the standard way we approach our practice as it will embrace our history and eventually even the fundamentalists will forget what their point of contention was!
I feel blessed to be getting into Homeopathy at a time when the cycle is in an exciting (yet controversial) transitional time because the second stage of classification and categorization of this science is like we are discovering the nuances of power in the vital forces of living organisms, which is equal to discovering the atomic weights of the elements. I was never into chemistry myself but, as I am into healing humanity it is indeed very exciting. Lou Klein's reference to the matrix of Jan Scholten's classification is interesting because the greater field of energy that all of us humans live in is opened up for use by us to draw on - without the use of the remedies that Scholten, Mangialavori, Sankaran and others have been discovering, we would be at a stage in our profession of only being able to match the energy states of patients that happen to resonate with polycrests and a few remedies. Everyone else would be left behind in the dark ages of our practice and would never have a chance to heal and be in harmony with the larger universal energy of the spheres...the matrix of life as we know it here on earth.
Last Edit: October 05, 2010, 03:42:17 by *  

Posts: 13
Reply #12 on : Wed October 08, 2008, 22:14:18
Well alright then, thank you for revealing more of where you're coming from. Are you a sequential prescriber? I was just reading about that on the website, and it was hard to get my head around. It hasn't been my experience that applying single remedies, especially if they're accurate, have caused severe aggravations, and certainly not death. There are situations where one must be careful with potency and repetition relative to perhaps something like precarious heart conditions etc., but the concept of going to deep too soon, I'm not sure of. It seems quite theoretical. There are times when we might prescribe in a tautological way because it has weight in the case, but I could say weight goes deep, so the depth theory to me seems like it just has to do with essence. It seems quite theoretical. Its one thing to prescribe on a causation because it fits the case very well, its another to presuppose there are going to be "layers" Is that not a type of prejudice?

Posts: 13
Reply #11 on : Wed October 08, 2008, 15:29:08
Both methods are relevant to practice. The goal of both methods is the same in the end: to prescribe the Simillimum, but their pathways are different.
It is sometimes the case that the simillimum works only after uncovering prescription(s) have been made. Sometimes an intercurrent remedy is necessary during the treatment with the simillimum.
For the complementary treatment of these layers Hahnemann developed his miasm theory, stresses the importance of the underlying cause(Organon,§5).
Another aspect is that our prescription must not go too deep too soon or it might cause severe aggravation or even kill the patient.
These last aspect I don’t hear or read (this article?) very often by the modern followers, a bit single-minded don’t you agree? ;-)

Posts: 13
Reply #10 on : Wed October 08, 2008, 15:26:53
Let me try to explain again, I’m not against new methods at all. I’m using Sankaran and Scholten remedies and methods, when they are suited for the patient.:-)
But I can understand and share the concern made by, in the article so called “Dogmatic homeopaths”. I think to label them like that is not fair, it’s too easy, they do have a valid point.
Disease has two aspects, a dynamic origin from which all other states emerge. One approach is to find the remedy that matches the deepest level of disturbance. The other method is to address all sequential states one by one, using different remedies.

Posts: 13
Reply #9 on : Tue October 07, 2008, 16:15:10
Sorry if it sounded like I put words in your mouth. I was trying to make a point, which I think is a big part of the point of the above article, what we're commenting on. It's clear Hahnemann understood and believed in homeopathy's vital side: he basically said that's how it works. So how can you separate that from miasms, causes etc? I doubt that he did really. I didn't say they couldn't be of import, and there is a distinction between the side of cause-effect, and that of a complexity with both order and unpredictability. But it is my belief and experience, that to stay in the simple cause-effect realm would be a shame, because homeopathy doesn't work in that realm, It works in the vital realm, which includes BOTH sides. So if a homeopath becomes critical, as it seems you could become, of new methods that are embracing complexity, creativity and dynamism, it is they who are one-sided and anti-homeopathy! Don't you agree?

Posts: 13
Reply #8 on : Tue October 07, 2008, 15:24:39
Please don't put words in my mouth.
Your reply is exacly what I meant with single-mindedness. You are saying that Hahnemann told us to work with the vital disturbance, that is true, but he ALSO taught us to work with miasms, constitution and causation (which are not part of the vital sensation). So Hahnemann offers us complementary strategies. A good homeopath must be able to choose, depending of the case.

Posts: 13
Reply #7 on : Tue October 07, 2008, 00:21:55
And yes, we have to prescribe for a layer first perhaps, if its where, as you said, the "dynamic disturbance" lies. This list of other parameters you say a good homeopath needs to use reminds me of creating a lifeless list of symptoms that its hoped will lead to a similimum as is often done with a poor prescription. To me, this is usually why it is that everything doesn't "fall in place". Why do you think we should look for a strange, rare and peculiar symptom? Could it be that's where the case speaks in the most qualitative way possible and therefore reflects the essence best? Vitoulkas started essence or constitutional prescribing, but he missed the essence in doing so because he was stuck in the fragmented facts, not able to credit the pattern that can best represent the vital disturbance - what Hahnemann told us we needed to work with. A good homeopath must understand the levels of expression of patient and nature to define the vital force.

Posts: 13
Reply #6 on : Mon October 06, 2008, 23:12:29
Well I haven't met a teacher with a sound newer method, yet, that has said their way was the best and only way. Sankaran enjoys his status I think, but he's humble in his work and says his way isn't the only way. Jan is the most humble person I've ever met. Quite the opposite to single-minded really, in that they are motivated by the mistakes they've made, and continue to monitor their own success. I don't think you understand what an "essence" is, and thats the point of this article, as well as my previous comment. In the above article, look again at the quotes of Hahnemann and Einstein. Hahnemann says, "...the inner most self of that which needs to be healed", and Einstein,"without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience” So you see, the essence comes to us, we don't decide on it, and its where the remedy acts for the patient. Its about more about the healing than the method, which is what I mean by it "happens".

Posts: 13
Reply #5 on : Mon October 06, 2008, 14:54:13
What I meant with the single-mindedness, is that most teachers sell their new approach as the only and best way to practice homeopathy. I agree that is very useful to have different methods but also to have different complementary strategies. You say that finding the "essence" is just something that happens in the course of choosing a good remedy, via whatever method is being used. Sorry to say, but I do not agree. A prescription on the essence is based on the one dynamic disturbance. The theory behind is that when this is covered, everything will fall in place. Unfortunately this not always the case and we have to prescribe for a layer first. So this requires another complementary strategy, which will lead to another remedy. The prescription must be made in accordance with the underlying cause, dynamic, constitution, miasm, acute cause etc. A good homeopath must be able to recognize these different levels.

Posts: 13
Reply #4 on : Sun October 05, 2008, 18:30:21
I totally agree with you Piet that their is no single successful approach for each and every case, which is why it is so useful to have different methods. What I don't necessarily agree with is your statement that "new approaches" are single minded. The single-mindedness isn't in the approach. It's in the mind of the practitioner. What I'm saying is that newer approaches for me have not only allowed for better prescribing, but created more open-mindedness. My guess is that these methods have made collective improvements based on how thrilled many practitioners are with their better results. And I don't think finding the "essence" is a method per se, rather its just something that happens in the course of choosing a good remedy, via whatever method is being used. We're individually responsible for our own dogma and delusions, taught or learned. Newer methods in fact have sought to make us more free from prejudice and thus closer to the essence of a case.
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