The following conversation occurred by email with a reader of these blog posts, Steven Ings. I asked for Steven’s permission to publish these conversations, as they include many questions and illuminations of the principles I’ve been discussing in my recent series on the Genotypes and Phenotypes. In order to create an actual conversation-like flow, I’ve cut and paste the sequences to be more natural to the conversation we would have had in person, if we weren’t going back and forth on different points in our email sequence. I’ve retained Steven’s text in a plain font, and put all of my responses in italics, in order to differentiate who is the speaker at any given point. Due to the total length, I’ve broken the conversation up into four pieces to be published on four subsequent days. This is part 1:
Thank you for your posts. Having read Bailey, Lalor, Whitmont, Herscu, Coulter, and others, I am enjoying your pieces.
For aeons there have been attempts to quantify, categorize, and classify the wondrous mystery that is a human being:
That is the driving force behind all scientific pursuits. The question always implied is “To what degree is the human being capable of knowing rather than believing?”. Most modern medical science is based on a theory of knowledge which essentially says that we are not capable of knowing, and that the best we can do is approximate knowledge through statistical and empirical methods. True forms of science, which are usually dismissed as “fringe” or “quack” actually tend to come closer to our true capacity for knowing that material science ever can.
What is a “true form of science?” The Latin root of “science” is scire, “to know.” Again, knowing and knowledge are different.
In brief, it is one which includes the entire range of cognitive capacity of the human being brought to bear on a given aspect of the world to produce true knowledge.
Does knowledge of Sulphur or Lycopodium bring one any closer to knowing oneself?
It’s an interim step towards self-knowledge, but not the entire journey.
When I was reading Bailey’s Homeopathic Psychology I reacted to the section called “Physical Appearance” at the end of each of remedy. For example, “Sepia women have a very characteristic appearance. Like traditional images of witches, they tend to be very thin, bony, and have long, thin limbs and digits and a long neck. The face is bony and angular, and the nose is usually long and thin, and is often hooked to some extent. The complexion is characteristically sallow, and the hair is usually straight and black, (or sometimes reddish or mousy brown), and is generally worn long.” Homeopathic Psychology, p. 309
Would Bailey have offered the same observations if he practiced in Soweto, South Africa or worked with Inuit in the Northwest Territories?
No, these physical descriptions are clearly not cross-cultural, or universal. Besides, they miss the point of the essence of each constitution being a state of mind, which is independent of any particular bodily configuration. There is a germ of truth to the physical stereotypes, but it is very tricky business to think one can diagnose through the physical appearance rather than directly through the state of mind.
There are the four humors of the Greeks, the three doshas of Ayurveda, the five elements of Taoism, the nine Enneatypes, the 16 Meyer-Briggs indicators, the many portraits that can be derived from astrology, and so much more Yet, with more than seven billion people on the planet (and no sets of identical fingerprints), I thoroughly enjoy that a person’s unique idiosyncrasies cannot be reduced to any single label.
Every human being is composed of both typological and individual elements. Many people deny being of any typology, in attempt to “save face” of their individuality, but it is not an either/or issue. Without unearthing all of our typologies, no true system of medical treatment could be possible.
To whom do we defer when “unearthing all of our typologies?” Who do we believe? There are so many choices: Kretschner’s Asthenic, Atheltic, Pyknic; Von Grauvogl’s Hydrogenoid, Oxygenoid, Carbo-Nitrogenoid; Hippocrates’ Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic … and on and on.
In the pursuit of knowledge through a mode of true science, there is no need to believe any one or any thing – a grounded epistemological method has no need for taking the path of authority / idol worship.
Staphysagria in one lifetime; Anacardium in the next: there is nothing that reincarnation cannot cure.
That’s true in principle, but by utilizing the higher cognitive faculties, we can speed up this process of reincarnation, and shed many layers within a single lifetime, which would otherwise take several.