Sooner or later, the question of “what is diagnosis?” must be addressed, within a scientific mindset. We think that we know what that term means, until we really stop and think about it. The system of conventional medicine seems to do a whole lot of it, yet once the number of “incurable” conditions, and serious drug side effects are tallied up, one begins to question how much “diagnosis” is actually taking place. To be a lot more truthful, that system should probably call what they do “labelling,” rather than “diagnosis”. It reminds me quite a bit of the world of politics, where a whole lot of hot air is exchanged, but anything of any true value is rarely delivered.
The question of diagnosis, then, must address the deeper issue of what our capacity is to connect with the reality or essence of something, and to then know how to affect it in a definite way. If a doctor pronounces that you have ‘rheumatoid arthritis’, but that “you’ll just have to learn to live with it”, then this so-called ‘diagnosis’ hasn’t truly connected to anything real in terms of an actual state of disease. This gets to the heart of the issue of the difference between a ‘condition’ and a ‘disease’ — the former being an abstract label for a group of symptoms, while the latter is a much more concrete phenomenon which can be actual cured by a correctly prescribed remedy.
This is one of the most interesting points, is that when there is a true capacity for diagnosis, as in Heilkunst, the name of the disease is the same as the name of the curative remedy. Since the law of cure in nature is based on the law of similars, recognizing a given state of disease provides the diagnosis and the remedy all at once — to recognize, for example, that someone is suffering a “belladonna-like disease” (meaning that it is a state and symptom picture very close to the known picture of belladonna), means, by definition, that the correct diagnosis already guarantees that the given named remedy will work.
What’s at issue here is the capacity of the human mind to know anything in an objective sense, rather than our presumed entrapment within an endless subjectivity. The word itself — ‘dia-gnosis’ — literally means “to see through knowing”. This implies an access to our deeper, or ‘holistic’ gut mind, rather than our typical, everyday, and superficial mind which can only perceive the outer shell of a phenomenon, and not penetrate into its centre or essence.
It is the difference, by analogy, between “knowing” a particular house from having walked by it, and guessing about what the inner dimensions and layout might be like, versus actually spending time inside the house, walking through all the rooms, and getting to actually know it through a concrete, living experience. This is the same difference between labelling (the condition) versus diagnosing (the disease) of a patient. The former is akin to walking by the house, and estimating what the inside may be like, versus the latter experience of getting right inside, and actually feeling what it is like to live inside of it.
The Heilkunst term of “to participate the patient” means this exactly — to have the capacity to penetrate your living energy inside the living energy of the patient, and in the process actually coming to know something concrete about them and their disease. This is another reason that the degree of health of the practitioner is a necessary condition for how deeply and accurately this participative / diagnostic process can go.