Heilkunst in Literature : The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I’ve been enjoying listening to narrated audio books, which have re-connected me back to a love for literature which I generally don’t have time to read amongst all the non-fiction studies I do. I recently listened to the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which is a book I had read a number of years ago, but now was able to see through a Heilkunst lens.

The first striking Heilkunst element of this novel is the relationship between the two primary characters, as expressed through their genotypes – Tomas, the perfect image of Lycopodium, and Tereza as a Pulsatilla. Tomas is the quintessential womanizer, who cannot understand why society has artificially joined together the concepts of love and sex. His scalpel-sharp intellect neatly cleaves these two concepts from each other, allowing them to exist independently of each other in his life. Against his own principles, he does fall in love with Tereza, yet he cannot stop himself from having as many love affairs as possible, which torments Tereza throughout their relationship. One of the challenges of the Pulsatilla constitution is that they may hold on to a relationship even past the point where they should.

The novel is very well written, and addresses a number of themes, especially related to the aftermath in the Czech society after the Soviet invasion of 1968. To live under such a controlled society brings out some of the worst in some of the characters, and the author uses that as a central meditation for understanding what their inner struggles are.

Under any form of constraining government, anyones character structure will be pushed into further conflict within itself, and a range of unhealthy behaviours will result. Tomas loses his career as a surgeon out of refusing to rescind an article he published in a newspaper which was critical of the regime, and lives out the remainder of his life as a window washer, and then as a farm hand. In terms of his character structure, he is a Phallic Narcissistic type, which means that he is perpetually driven to try to obtain a genital release with “anything in a skirt”, but the discharge is never complete, and the manic cycle perpetuates.

Film and literature often provide some of the best living images of particular constitutional types, as well as character types. The nature of good art is that it reaches into the truth of life, and presents it in condensed, easy-to-digest forms. Which film or literature characters have cemented into your mind as such clear examples?

Heilkunst at the Movies : The Matrix (1999)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A movie that I refer to often is The Matrix (1999), when Im talking with patients about their journey through Heilkunst treatment. It is truly a multi-faceted work, which can be interpreted at many levels, and in fact has been by many reviewers. For the purposes of this blog, I just want to focus in on a few aspects which related more directly to the process of treatment, and how The Matrix illuminates some of the signposts along the way.

One of the key messages of the movie is of the quest for the self, as discovered by overcoming the false ego. The quest for health goes hand-in-hand with discovering the nature and purpose of our true self, as was pointed out by Dr. Hahnemann in his account of the purpose of health. It turns out that there are many obstacles along the way, and in fact, are a necessary part of making our own meaning of who we are.

One of the most famous scenes of the movie comes near the beginning, when Neo meets Morpheus for the first time, who gives him the choice of taking “the red pill, or the blue pill”. Choosing the red pill will allow him to see past the illusion and see reality for what it really is, while the blue pill will put him back into his own illusion, where he’d forget that any of this had happened, or that he’d made the choice. Cypher, a supporting character in the movie, at one point laments having taken the red pill, and wishes he could go back into the state of “ignorance is bliss” of the blue pill.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mu_8w6db5M]

In his discussion of disease, and all of the obstacles to health, Hahnemann refers to “inimical potences” as a kind of catch-all expression. The powers, forces, and energies which make up both us and the world, include these “inimical potences”, which seek to thwart us at every step along our path, and keep us from ascending into a full consciousness of our self. The artistic portrayal of this in the movie is embodied by the agents, who actually can take over any regular person as necessary in fulfilling their job, and trying to block any progress on part of the awakened humans.

Neo slowly comes to understand the advice he’s often given throughout the movie, which is to follow the voice of his gut rather than his brain. This goes hand-in-hand with his process of self-discovery, and unfolding what his true mission is in the world. His reluctance and doubt gradually gives way to knowledge.

How To Re-Engage Your Capacity For “Living Experiences”

One of the foundations of medical Heilkunst is the concept of ‘provings’. This is the method which Dr. Hahnemann developed in order to gain an objective knowledge about potential medicinal substances, by testing them on healthy subjects in order to catalogue their disease effects, and to know exactly which remedy could later be used in a given disease-condition. Part of the medical revolution which Heilkunst represents is due to this method of ‘provings’, which represents a huge improvement over the abstract and speculative methods of developing drugs within the pharmaceutical industry.

This method of provings is unique in the history of medicine, in that it opens a door of access into a direct ‘living experience’ of a given medicinal substance, which can then be applied much more accurately and knowledgeably in a real life clinical situation.

There is a reporter named A.J. Jacobs, who has a unique way of working, which parallels this concept of provings. He has done a number of writing projects which were based on his complete participation and immersion into whatever his topic of choice was at the moment. His style is very humourous, but underneath is a very interesting message which links back to this essential method of provings, which are key to the whole medical aspect of Heilkunst.

Some of his projects include:

  • “I Think You’re Fat – The Radical Honesty movement”. This was an experiment in removing the inner censor, and telling those around you exactly what your thoughts and perceptions are about them, depsite any normal social convewntions.
  • “The Know-It-All”. This was a book which was based on his year of immersing himself reading the entire Encylopedia Brittanica from A to Z, and writing about his experiences engaging in the depths of this database.
  • “The Year of Living Biblically”. His project here was to spend 1 full year following all of the rules and restrictions set out in the Bible, to see the impact on his mind and his life.
  • “My Outsourced Life”. This article explored his experiment to push the limits of outsourcing every aspect of his life to virtual assistants overseas. More a cultural commentary about the implications of displacing our own personal responsibility for our own life.

As I mentioned, aside from the humourous approach to these pieces, his general method is a great illustration of the deep immersive process which is a parallel with the process of doing medical provings in Heilkunst. What makes him unique is that it is a conscious diversion from the usual abstract, detached approach we have to getting to know something in our culture. This form of “living knowledge” is something we’ve almost touch with completely, and would be much better served to re-engage with such a level of knowing in one or more aspects of our lives.

Eat Your Books, Too!

One of the shifts which my patients make on their way to greater health is in their attitude towards food and other basics of lifestyle. The person who rebels against “being told what to do”, and who stubbornly sticks to eating “whatever they feel like” (which everyone is ultimately free to do, if they wish), limits how far their state of health can be expanded over the long run. These sorts of pleasures typically exist only at the surface layer, and are actually suppressive of the individual discovering and unfolding their true self. Not that I advise against pleasure — quite the contrary! — it is rather a distinction between superficial ‘attractions’, and much deeper ‘resonances’ with what one engages in.

Food is not the only thing which we take in, and which we can do with varying degrees of consciousness and resonance. Our “nutrition” is also inclusive of ideas, various art forms, relationships, and any number of creative activities. Out of choice, we can select a film or novel to ingest based on its resonance for us as a remedial object — we all know too well how many “mind numbing” forms of entertainment there are, as compared to the select few pieces which connect to something deeper within us, and draw some truth out of our core.

Such choices of resonance are not necessarily easy to discern, and we may often have the tendency of avoiding them even when we know what we need. The resonant and remedial things available to us are often unconsciously avoided, as a kind of defence mechanism to keep from stirring anything up within ourselves from our depths.

We all have habitual musical genres we listen to, as well as certain types of film we routinely watch — but much of the time, there is a key growth opportunity we have in choosing to explore a genre we would typically avoid. Always keeping to our habits keeps us more in our subjective feelings, which exist at the surface, rather than connecting us to a deeper layer of our objective feeling about our self and life. As the science of Heilkunst expands, “remedies” will more and more include specific recommendations for books, movies, or other cultural activities which will provoke a healing process in the patient.

Take a few minutes to write down some of the specific genres which you dislike, and try to identify their objective feeling, which you could also find mirrored somewhere in yourself as a darker, unexplored aspect.

The Chthonic Realm : Baryta Carbonicum

As Arnica was the first remedy representing the cold stream of the Chthonic Realm (at the level of the physical body), Baryta Carbonica is the remedy for blockages related to the etheric body, which is the locus of all life functions and processes. You could say that it is an inversion of the themes in the chthonic remedy Stramonium, which is the more extroverted form of the types of fears expressed in Bar-c. The picture that comes to my mind when I think of the essence of this remedy is of a bashful child hiding behind their mother’s skirt. This is an image which portrays both the deep shyness of this remedy, as well as the state of emotional dependence.

This is a remedy which is useful for any number of conditions which involve some form of developmental delay, including the various forms of autism. Delays at any level can be helped with this remedy, including physical, mental, or emotional. Likewise for adults whose process of growth was halted at a certain life stage, where you get a palpable sense that their mental or emotional maturity is still frozen at an age much younger than their chronological one. As with any remedy, this can be true at very subtle levels, which may or may not be discernible in any given case. This is especially true with this remedy, which has a core fear of being laughed at, or ridiculed, and will often work out one or several means of “covering up” their core vulnerability.

Bar-c is useful for any physical delay in development, such as in children who seem to fall to the bottom of the statistical growth charts for their age, in terms of height, weight, or other developmental milestones. Early diagnosis of autism, for example, is defined in terms of identifying children who do not achieve characteristic milestones by certain chronological points in their development.

The Sean Penn movie I Am Sam portrays the Bar-c state quite accurately. It is a story of a mentally retarded father, who is fighting a custody case with the State, who is threatening to take his daughter away on account of his mental age being about age 7. His lawyer, portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, is a great illustration of the phenotype Nux Vomica, as she is a hard-driving career woman who has alienated herself from her own son. The theme of “all you need is love” runs through the movie, and Sam melts the icy heart of this lawyer, and many people around him with the purity that only a child could muster.

Heilkunst at the Movies : Horse Boy

This is a fascinating documentary about how one American family dealt with their child’s autism by riding across Mongolia on horseback, in order to access different Shamanistic rituals. There are some very raw and emotional scenes which give a very direct insight into what a family lives through on an hour-by-hour basis with an autistic child. The courage of this family to undergo such a journey is a living metaphor for the lengths that autism families go through in order to find something which will help their child, and to find an alternative solution amidst a landscape of non-answers in Western medicine.

The father, Rupert Isaacson, is a Sulphur constitution, who was the courageous initiator of the idea in the first place, and who led his family off into this unknown journey. His initial thought was to find a place in the world which combined his son’s love for animals, and horses in particular, with the father’s previous experience with Shamanistic rituals. These two elements live together in Mongolia. If you understand the constitutions in homeopathy, you can see that it takes the sulphur part in each of us to meet the demands of autism, and grab life directly by the horns and hold on for the whole ride.

This documentary does not illustrate the specific approach to autism treatment which Heilkunst uses, however it brilliantly reveals the real life emotion which all autism families live through, and where all of these families are starting from when they do begin Heilkunst treatment. We generally suggest that parents get treated along with their children, but this is especially true in the more intense dynamics of an autism family. Some of the Shamanistic rituals displayed in the movie revealed an aspect of the boy’s disease which were carried forward from previous generations, which is also something we’re very familiar with in Heilkunst treatment.

A full range of emotion is portrayed in this movie — going from hope to grief and sorrow, to guilt and uncertainty, to desperation and horror, and exhaustion. These emotions are a constant reality for the family, and focus within Heilkunst treatment, and need to be treated alongside the treatment of the deeper causes of autism. One of the deeper fears expressed by the father in Horse Boy, parallels the fundamental fear of all autism parents — that their child will grow up, but never become independent. His fear in particular is that his son will never be able to ride a horse on his own, which is his own personal connection to the feeling of freedom. “What if he’ll never be able to ride on his own?” is the question the father asks.

In another scene in the movie, the father confides that he feels he was forced to be a much better and attentive father than he ever would have been with a normally healthy son. He has no choice but to discover, and help to foster his son’s unique desire function. The movie does illustrate the concept of not treating autism as a disease to be cured, but rather as an opportunity to find the unique qualities in these children, and to change the context within which they live, as well as to respect their innate and unique gifts.

Ultimately, this is a love story, as captured by the tagline of the film : “How far would you travel to heal someone you love?”.

Examining the Adverse Effects of Fluoride (part three)

If the issues of water fluoridation are new to you, I thought it would be valuable to provide some good resources to get an understanding of what are the issues and history around fluoride.

Christopher Bryson’s book The Fluoride Deception is a thoroughly researched and well received book. It is available both in traditional book format, as well as in the Kindle e-book format. In case you don’t know, you don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book, but a regular computer, smart phone, or iPad will do the trick.

If you’re not the type to want to commit to reading a whole book, you can catch the author in this Youtube series:

part 1:

part 2:

part 3:

 

And finally, for those of you who would like to explore a variety of resources on the topic, the best site on the web is The Fluoride Action Network, which has articles, videos, as well as point-form lists outlining the key issues.

Heilkunst at the Movies : Timer, and The Adjustment Bureau

We watched a movie yesterday evening called Timer, which shared a common theme with another movie that we saw a while back called The Adjustment Bureau. Art, and film in particular, are great vehicles for illustrating various principles of Heilkunst though living, breathing, moving pictures.

The story depicted in the movie Timer is a world in a cultural transition to the adoption of a new technology, called “the Timer”, which could predict 100% accurately when someone was fated to meet “their one” – the love of their life. Through the primary characters in this movie, various complications were depicted, such as what the implications were of relationships which were not obvious matches according to their timers. Other themes include spontaneity, living in the here and now, and finding resonance from within.

In The Adjustment Bureau, the main character accidentally sees a world behind the curtain, which he is not supposed to, where the “angels of fate” are doctoring a scene in the world to conform to their map. After a chance encounter with a woman, he falls in love, and tries to find her again. Reconnecting with her, as it turns out, was not supposed to happen according to their fate, so these “angels of fate” work to interfere with their communing any way they can. This movie very strongly portrays the struggle of the free will of the individual against the forces of fate, as well as the triumph of true love and destiny.

The deeper theme underlying both of these movies relates to what we call the generative power in Heilkunst, which in these movies was represented through stories of romantic love. In each movie, there is some external force which attempted to regulate or control the activity of love, in the name of the world running as it is supposed to. The capacity for free choice, and playing an active co-creative role in shaping our own destiny always comes in contrast to the forces of fate, and is the core human struggle.

In various ways, I see this struggle in my patients as they come more and more into their true self, and are exploring how to express that in their life, in contrast to a history where it was suppressed. Our own life stories can be long and messy, and it is nice to get a bite-sized picture of these processes in a movie, to encapsulate these concepts in a more easily assimilable fashion.

Heilkunst on TV : Being Erica

We haven’t owned a TV in many years, but since we’ve had Netflix, we’ve been exploring a few television series which appeal to our interests. We’re always looking for artistic portrayals of the various aspects of Heilkunst, and last night we stumbled across a TV Series called Being Erica, which seems to be a brilliant depiction of our process of time line treatment.

The first episode (as far as we’ve gotten, so far) lays out the story — our heroine, Erica, feels that all of the mistakes she has made has brought her life to one dead-end after another : her job, her lack of relationship, and appearing to be the black sheep in her family culminate in a series of misfortunes during this opening episode.

Coming to in the hospital after being revived from an anaphylactic reaction from a nut allergy, she is approached by a mysterious figure, who tells her that he’s “sort of” a doctor, and can help her. He invites her to come and try his unconventional form of therapy, in order to get her out of her life funk.

Hints of magic (ie non-realism) mount towards the point where she is in this therapist’s office, and asked to write down a list of all the big regrets that she is still carrying from her life. To the Heilkünstlers in the audience, this looks very much like a time line of traumatic events and emotional shocks, which we use as the backbone of treatment.

He chooses one particularly pivotal event, and the next thing we know, she has woken up in her old teenaged life, the day of one of her big regrets in question. After a few disorienting encounters, she figures out that she has been sent back in time in order to relive this event, but to change the ending through different choices and actions.

Without revealing the rest of the plot of this episode, I’d like to say that it was a very good artistic depiction of our time line treatment, where each time line remedy will send the patient back in time. Although we cannot literally change our past, we can change our consciousness of it, as far as it has a continuing effect on how our mind or body functions in the present. Like the show Being Erica, and unlike traditional talk therapy, it is not sufficient to just talk about these events from the past, but to employ an agent which provokes a living experience for the patient, from which a true change of mind and heart can be gleaned.

This show is fairly light in tone, but nevertheless caries a powerful artistic message, if you have something real to connect it to. The same is true for so many ‘fluffy’ Hollywood films, but if read correctly, often can reveal basic archetypes about human conflicts and struggles.

We’re looking forward to continuing on watching this series, so please don’t spoil any of the upcoming plots in the comments below!

When is McDonald’s Good For You?

Morgan Spurlock, the director of the documentary Super Size Me, spent an entire month with a self-imposed rule of only being allowed to consume what is on the McDonald’s menu. If water is wasn’t on the menu, for example, then he couldn’t have water. He is monitored throughout the month by a doctor, and the entire process is filmed for posterity, and the production of the documentary. His main purpose in creating this work was to illustrate the adverse health effects of consuming the food from McDonald’s, especially on a regular basis. Throughout the documentary, we see him gaining weight, and becoming progressively burdened by many health issues. He ends up producing a very vivid and visual illustration of the negative consequences of consuming a diet made up exclusively of McDonald’s food.

While this documentary succeeds in its vivid portrayal of these health issues from McDonald’s, there is another very interesting point which I take myself from a Heilkunst perspective. The whole idea of gaining a strong degree of knowledge about something through direct participatory experience, is central to the fundamental method within Heilkunst of determining the exact curative properties of any given medicine.

This is what Dr. Hahnemann originally called a” proving”. Before Dr. Hahnemann created his medical system, the whole history  of Western medicine preceding him had systematically avoided the use of the law of similars. Although the law of similars is the law of cure of disease in nature, it is, in fact, so powerful that it can also kill when the medicine is given in a crude dose. Once Dr. Hahnemann discovered a safe way to overcome this danger of using similars, (by using potentized medicines), he then had to tackle the next issue which was to determine in a consistent and scientific way the exact properties of each medicine, in order to know exactly which medicine would be similar to which disease. He solved this problem by inventing the method of doing a “proving”.

A ‘proving’, within Dr. Hahnemann’s system, is the conscious ingestion of a given substance by a group of healthy individuals, who then record in great detail all the symptoms, sensations, and functional changes that they experienced. This method reveals a composite image of the medicine in all of its manifestations — from different bodily regions and systems, to mental and emotional functions. This makes the practical use of the law of similars straightforward, as these proven remedy images are now matchable to the living disease image of the patient in the clinic.

This method created a way of determining the inner content of a remedy (and therefore disease), and raises it up to a level of objective knowledge which then becomes useful in a collective sense. This as opposed to any number of experiences we have throughout our life which we just passed through, without extracting any meaning.

In a sense then, this movie is an example of the director doing a form of a proving on himself – that is, he conducting a proving of McDonald’s.

This is interesting from a Heilkunst perspective for a few reasons:

  • Provings can be done at a number of different levels. The doctor, for example, does a “proving” of the patient, when they are taking in a complete impression of the whole patient, and then converting this into an accurate image from which to prescribe the correct similar remedy.
  • This method illustrates how Heilkunst practices a form of “science of quality”, and “science of the interior” — the proving reveals an objective image of the inner essence of something, rather than the outer material form.
  • Spurlock’s Super Size Me also recalls the Heilkunst concept of ‘tonic regimen’ which we’ll explore in an upcoming blog post.