“The greatest achievement would be to understand that everything factual is already its own theory. Do not look beyond the phenomena; they are themselves the teaching.” – J. W. von Goethe.
From the beginning of our existence we digest life, as it were. We have to make the outside world ours. We breathe and use oxygen and release carbon dioxide as a by-product. It is the same with food: we make the same discrimination by absorbing nutrients and excreting by-products, and anything ingested or inhaled is checked all the way by our immune system. We break food down into its basic components in order to get rid of its other-ness, by dismantling the organisation in which it exists in nature, outside ourselves. In an apple, for example, we get rid of the apple-ness of that particular living form by deconstructing the components structured in the way we call ‘apple’. We are left with carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, trace elements, cellulose and water. These elements the body can then make part of itself by integrating them into its metabolic chain in order to build, create energy, or trigger chemical reactions.
The dynamics of that life transformation (Gk. meta-bole) are defined by the rhythm between the deconstructing catabolism and the constructing anabolism. They only stop at death, when anabolism ceases and catabolism deconstructs completely the structure that had for many years been the dwelling-place of a conscious self, endowed with intellect and trying to achieve the highest possibilities of its existence.
Diseases belong to that specific process of organic discrimination. Our body is constantly under the watchful eye of the homeostatic system. Homeostasis keeps maintaining the narrow parameters of life between its physiological (i.e. natural) limits, by a constant adaptation to the endless changes that the organism continuously faces. Disease is in itself just another possibility of the metabolic transaction. It is an extension of the metabolic capabilities in order to adapt. Only this time the metabolic change does not go unnoticed as it usually does. This time the homeostatic responses are going beyond the metabolic borders of physiology, and the change will be felt as pathos – pain, in Greek. Pathology is the science of diseases, the science of being in the world in-pain, in-pathos. Pathos is an intensified mode of the basic metabolic pattern of adapting to a change of conditions. Pathos can appear in an acute or chronic fashion, but it will always be in its core the effort set forth by the organic homeostatic response to overcome a set of circumstances.
Sometimes, as in the phenomena of anaphylaxis, the body can react so strongly to protect itself that it may even die from its own protective reaction.
Every disease is particular to itself and every patient has a particular manifestation of the disease.
Once, in a conversation I had with a brilliant psychologist about the therapeutic approach of Existential Psychoanalysis, in particular about the works of Dr. Medard Boss in Da-Sein Analysis, he presented me with the following approach:
“A mother brings her child to you for serious behavioural problems. After assessing the young patient, you may say to yourself how strange that child’s behaviour is, but when you look at his family then you realise that his behaviour is not that strange. Then you think – but what a strange family! And yet when you look at the community where the family belongs, you realise again that the family is not so strange after all. Finally the strange behaviour of the community is immediately understood when we look at the society it is part of. The child with strange behaviour is now sitting in front of you and his mother is asking you: “Doctor, what’s wrong with him?”
Every disease has its meaning-full references that need to be discovered in order to understand the disease. The references that give meaning to what is happening are a fundamental part for proper diagnosis.
Treatment of a disease only begins after a diagnosis has been reached. The diagnosis will determine the treatment. Generally speaking we can differentiate diseases that require a medical treatment, while other diseases need surgical treatment, and others need both.
Of the ones that can be treated medically we can establish that the therapeutic relationship between the means of treatment and the disease can, to be precise, be of three kinds: anti-pathic or enantiopathic, allopathic, and homeopathic. This means that the substance used for the treatment of a particular disease, when applied to healthy human beings, will produce symptoms that are either contrary (enantiophatic), different (allopathic) or similar (homeopathic) to the symptoms of the original disease.
In my practice, if it is adequate, my first choice of treatment is the homeopathic relationship with the disease. That relationship of similarity is at the core of the therapeutic method called homeopathy.