In some of my previous blogs, you may have noticed a few times that I referred to Dr. Hahnemann’s distinction between nature in its crude form versus its refined form. What is crude nature compared to refined nature? There are various implications and ways of looking at this distinction, and today I’d like to focus on this question by looking at the difference between ‘matter’ and ‘substance’.
Matter tends to be the focus and object of modern science — in fact, it is so fundamental to our world view, that many consider the only things which are real to be those things which contain a detectable quantity of matter. In physics, for example, the quest has been to discover the ultimate “building blocks” of the universe, which means a search for tinier and tinier particles which form all of matter. The fact that Quantum Physics has put a serious wrench into this quest hasn’t yet changed the fundamental paradigm around matter.
Conventional medicine works from this very same paradigm of matter — everything from the annual physical, to the range of diagnostic methods such as x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI, the questions about health which are asked by medicine, and the answers presented are entirely framed within the guiding question of “What’s the matter with the patient?”. The problem with this model comes (and it does often) when there is nothing actually the matter with the patient, yet they feel quite ill within themselves. This is where we need a model which has a broader framework than just matter at its foundation.
The difference, then, between matter and substance becomes all-important when the conventional approach to medicine comes up empty-handed in diagnosing and treating someone’s health issues. The root of the word ‘substance’ means something along the lines of “to stand under” — so, substance, then is something which “stands under” matter, and can be thought of as a kind of “formative force”. The difference between the living, functional nature of someone’s body while they’re alive, and then its subsequent decomposition as a corpse is an illustration of this difference between substance and matter. Both the living body and the corpse are made up of matter, but it is the substance (ie formative forces) of the living body which hold it together both in its physical form, as well as living functions.
The method of homeopathic prescribing, then, has much more to do with substance than with matter. Many criticisms are made against homeopathy, but this generally all comes from a matter-only paradigm, which does not understand the nature of substance. This substance approach to medicine is the reason that homeopathics have proven to be so much more successful at treating issues of a functional nature, which have not yet even shown up on an x-ray, or MRI, and for which the patient is often sent home being told “it’s all in your head”. Also, chronic illnesses which have had the time to manifest in a form of symptoms at the material level still need to be treated at their root formative level of their substance.
Aren’t you glad to know that it’s not all in your head, and that there’s probably nothing the matter with you?