Looking at the Organizing Idea of Healthcare

“I am trying to convince the serious reader that principles of thought do not represent a philosophical luxury, but that on the contrary they decide questions of life and death, health and disease for humanity.”

-Dr. Wilhelm Reich

Everything is built around an organizing idea, whether consciously, or not, and whether it is made explicit, or not. An organizing idea is a paradigm, or blueprint, or frame of reference for how something is approached or manifested. A striking visual representation of this comes from the experiments which were done on spiders, and viewing the quality and pattern of the webs they wove after being given different drugs. Changing the spider’s state of mind with a drug is a way of illustrating the spider working through a different organizing idea.


In healthcare, for example, the organizing idea is usually quite symptom-centric. Health, or its absence is defined by the number and intensity of symptoms, and the success of treatment is defined by the rapidity and permanency of their apparent removal. This is what I call a “negative definition of health”, as it is framed by what is absent, ie health as an absence of symptoms. This tends to be true both for conventional medicine, as well as most of natural medicine.

When people ask me to explain Heilkunst medicine, and compare it with Naturopathy, this is the best point of departure — explaining how both systems apparently have a lot in common in terms of practicalities and modalities, yet how they will have radically different results based on their respective organizing ideas. The underlying organizing idea of Naturopathy is essentially the same as conventional medicine – to remove symptoms, although with the use of natural medicines instead of pharmaceutical drugs.

This is not true in Heilkunst medicine. When you study how its principles inform its sequenced approach to treatment, as well as its methods of assessing the patient and their progress, you will see that there is a very different organizing idea at the core. The implicit definition of health in Heilkunst is positive, and hinged on the idea of healthy development through different ages and stages, and resulting in objective and measurable goals of health. These goals and stages of health are progressive and forward moving (palingenesis), rather than static and preservative (homeostasis).

The organizing idea, or blueprint of Heilkunst which Dr. Hahnemann laid down in his writings was unfortunately misunderstood, and then mistranslated into English, and has been taken up by most contemporary homeopaths as yet another version of the allopathic approach to medicine (ie symptom-centric, and lacking a positive definition of health). Likewise, it is the job of the true Heilkünstler to discern the true organizing idea of each patient (ie their essential state of health and purpose), and to correctly identify and remove all diseases, imbalances, and beliefs which are blocking its full expression. Hahnemann was clear about this in aphorism 9 of the Organon.

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