Searching for Solutions: Inward or Outward?
This revolution, like many revolutions in human thought, has had the ground prepared for it. We have all been groping towards it, but have mostly failed to see the full import of what has been happening.

One stream has been to search ever inward for small, obscure remedies, even new ones in the hopes that they will yield the “magic bullet” in any given case that does not seem to yield to the indicated, more commonly known remedies, the so-called polychrests. Journals publish and seminars present cases of brilliant cures by such remedies. We are all amazed, but know that the chances of us coming across a similar case needing the same remedy is very slight.

We are in danger of looking ever inward, rather than outward in the search for a way out. Greater knowledge of materia medica, more insights into the psychological aspects of our remedies, more knowledge of potency — all this is valuable and should continue, but it will not provide the way out of our dilemma. If we focus on looking inward, then we are in danger of knowing more and more about less and less.

“Layers theory” has emerged recently in an attempt to accommodate the complexities of treating modern disease cases. It has not been well articulated in any writings, but its outlines can be discerned. It is an admirable attempt to take the implications of chronic disease theory more into account in the light of the increasing failure of the more traditional approach to chronic disease. It recognises that disease is not one-dimensional and that it has several layers. The total symptom picture is composed of symptoms contributed by each of the layers and there is not necessarily one remedy that can match the complete symptom picture. Instead, there may need to be one remedy for each of the layers — the acute layer, the fundamental layer (composed of the shocks and traumas in one’s life), the constitutional layer (the basic make-up of the individual and how he reacts with the environment) and the miasmic layer.

Layers theory, while relatively sophisticated in its approach, suffers from the same problems as other attempts. It is profoundly difficult to apply in practice as well. Discerning what symptoms belong to what layer is not as easy as it would appear. More importantly, however, it still accepts that the universe of chronic disease revolves around symptoms and not cause, although cause is more clearly built in. For this reason, it is bound to be limited in effect.

What is needed is for homeopaths to accept the full implications of the revolution set in train by Hahnemann with his chronic disease theory. We need to accept that the world of chronic disease is different from that of acute disease, and that the rules will not necessarily be the same. We need to let go of the fixation on symptoms and focus on causality. We need to look at symptoms in the light of causality, rather than causality in the light of symptoms.

This will not be easy to do, and will not proceed without a great deal of resistance, but a truth is none the less so for being unpopular. Shifting world view brings with it the fear that the basis of homeopathy is being eroded. The focus on symptoms, the search for the simillimum in a case and the giving of one remedy at a time are seen as the basis of homeopathy and what distinguishes it from allopathy.

However, the rules remain valid for the world of nature, with little in the way of miasms or traumas induced by “civilisation.” We need to remove the underlying chronic state, which is a world of cause, with rules applicable to it, so that we can return the patient to the world of General Homeopathy where the rules we are more familiar with now hold sway.

The shift in thought required to advance homeopathy and make it more effective in the treatment of the complex, chronic illnesses plaguing our era is nothing short of revolutionary. It requires us to shift from a symptomological to an etiologically-centred universe. The shift does not negate the reality of homeopathy, any more than quantum physics negates Newton’s Laws. The resolution is not in making causality fit awkwardly into symptomology, but to recognise that it operates in a world of its own. In this other world, different rules apply because reality behaves differently. I believe that when one looks at much of homeopathy, and what Hahnemann was trying to achieve in his later years, what is confusing and seemingly contradictory, will become more clear.