[Stepanie Nile]

Developmental waves – and cracks, in the Periodic Table

There is a relationship between the rows of the periodic table and development. Across the rows of the table various skills reach their peak at Stage 10 then decline.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

[Ken Wilbur]: “There is abundant evidence that some aspects of cognition, morals, psychosexuality, needs, object relations, motor skills, and language acquisition proceed in developmental stages, much as an acorn unfolds into an oak through a series of process phases (Alexander and Langer, 1990; Loevinger, 1976; Wilber, 2000b). These stages or levels of development are not the rigid, linear, rungs-in-a-ladder phenomenon portrayed by their critics, but rather appear to be fluid, flowing, overlapping waves (Beck and Cowan, 1996)“.

The Seven ages of Man? What an interesting proposition! Lets see if we can take Ken Wilbur’s statement apart and apply our own Homeopathic perspective …

Lets think about the relationship between the rows of the periodic table and development.
Across the rows of the table various skills reach their peak at Stage 10 then decline.

Row one, the Hydrogen Series is the beginning – a world of sensation and instinct. On the  map this is described as Beige: Archaic-Instinctual

In row two, the Carbon Series, the child begins to distinguish between Self and Mother. Boundaries start to become quite well defined.  ~ Purple: Magical-Animistic

In the Silicon Series boundaries extend to the neighbourhood.  ~ Red: Impulsive power.

In the Ferrum Series rules and the norms expected by society are explored.  ~ Blue: Mythic Order imposed by others.

In the Silver Series the individual begins to express intelligence and creativity.  ~ Orange: Scientific Achievement.

In the Gold Series power and influence over the world develops.  ~ Green: The Sensitive and Humanistic Self


AQAL Stages of Development

 [Jan Scholten]











True, real
























Love, Hate



Task, Duty







Artist, Queen



Middle Age









Middle old








Old Age








Ripe old Age





































Middle Age












Old Age



Bone marrow


The central words of these series are


This is to be recognised in individuals like Mother Theresa: at a very old age she still cared for children and people who are widely ignored in this world in their need for help.

Nelson Mandela as well is a man who gave all his energy to change the system in S. Africa; although he was in prison for many years and suffered a great deal, he held onto his beautiful message for the world. In his altruism his energy is never lacking. The only possible way to live is by giving.

Communication, listening

They are very good at both verbal and non-verbal communication. This aspect is also seen in children: the language they use is not appropriate for their age. Whatever they say, they say it precisely. Thus a child of five being sent to her room and filled with anger said: “However then I’ll go to my room and I will never return, not to eat and neither to drink!!”

Catherine Coulter: Lach.: language of people who need the remedy and she gives an example of a child with such harsh language. The communication of the child needing Lachesis might resemble the communication of the child described above but in the Actinides however, there is no competitive element at all as there is in Lachesis.

Wisdom, (self ) reflection

They are wise, not in the sense of being clever; they have a wisdom, which shows insight. The appropriate sense is intuition. They are clairvoyant and sometimes they simply know.

They recognise if intuition is coloured by emotion and know the truth.

Observe, perceive

They see through people and their actions. They are adapted to several cultures and they will seldom be surprised by what happens. They can imagine every life-event, even the most inconceivable. The aim of living is to try to be at peace with each other. In the cycle of life quality has different stages: we are victim, actor, indicter, judge, defender, we are condemned and finally we regret. People who need an Actinide know these stages and do not have any judgment. In observing that judgment is absent.

Overview, transparency

They observe as if everything is transparent. They understand what is going on at the moment they see it. They do not filter. This way of looking at things is like using a hidden camera.

Elderly people and little children observe the world around them in this way. The similarity of elderly people and children is that they do not react to the world they observe, they have no emotion about it; they are objective and just watch. Observing is pure and objective.

Sensitivity, Sympathy, Compassion


Universal truths

Old age, grandparent

The old age belongs to this series. In old age it is appropriate to be withdrawn while you are present. They do not intervene.

Physical complaints : Cancer, bone marrow disorders, leukaemia.


7 "series" and 18 "stages". The "series" are the horizontal rows of the periodic table and named after their main members.

The 18 "stages" are the vertical columns of the periodic table/= steps of development common to all series. They seem to be a general principle of the development of self-confidence of the human

mind in different levels and depict 18 archetypical stages of the rise and fall of the theme of each series.

Die Serien gliedern sich in maximal 18 Stadien. Die Stadien sind die Stufen des Aufstiegs und Falls jeder Serie. Man kann es mit einem Schauspieler vergleichen, der in verschiedenen Dramen

auftritt. Die Serien sind die Dramen, und die Stadien sind die Akte der Dramen. Der Held der Geschichte beginnt das Drama als blutiger Anfänger, entwickelt sich durch Schwierigkeiten,

erreicht den Gipfel und muss dann lernen, das erreichte Ziel wieder abzugeben, sich von seinem Erfolg innerlich zu lösen, um schließlich am Ende der Serie ganz frei zu werden für die nächste Ebene.


In its common versions, the periodic table arranges the elements in seven rows which Scholten calls series. Each of the seven series indicates a new level of development. The series are named after

their most prominent elements: hydrogen series, carbon series, silicum series, iron series, silver series, gold series and uranium series. In each series from left to right, a new outer ’shell’ of electrons

gets filled, along with the corresponding increase of ’heaviness’ by incorporation of core protons and neutrons. In the atoms at the right end of the row, the outer shell has got its fill of electrons,

and thus the mission of this series is completed. Then the next series starts one level below to the left with the first electrons in a new outer shell, which is again filled up with electrons in the same

manner. The evolution of elements begins with the lightest element and the simplest form of matter: hydrogen. From hydrogen, the evolution continues in successive steps. With each step another

element is born, gaining in atomic mass by adding more and more core protons (and neutrons) and thin layers of shell electrons, until the atoms become so heavy and complex that their inner stability

begins to deteriorate in the form of radioactivity. This loss of stability indicates the end of (the) matter in the incomplete 7th row or the uranium series.

1e Serie, die Wasserstoffserie: mit zwei Elementen noch undifferenziert und könnte als Prolog bezeichnet werden.

2e Serie, die Kohlenstoffserie: mit acht Stadien relativ einfach strukturiert, und man kann sie mit einem Märchen in acht Kapiteln vergleichen.

3e Serie, die Siliziumserie: mit ebenfalls acht Stadien, könnte man mit einer Familienserie o. Seifenoper im Fernsehen vergleichen, deren Spektrum eigentlich auch mit 8 Folgen erschöpfend ausgelotet wäre.

4e Serie, die Eisenserie: mit 18 Stadien erstmals voll differenziert. Sie könnte mit dem Eintritt ins Berufsleben mit all seinen Aufgaben und Pflichten verglichen werden (die Lehre/Gesellenzeit/Meisterprüfung) weiter

5e Serie, die Silberserie: in 18 Stadien unterteilt. Man könnte sie mit den Biografien vieler Künstler vergleichen.

6e Serie, die Goldserie: vergleichbar mit einer von Shakespeares Machttragödien wie Macbeth, die in 18 Stadien seinen Aufstieg und Fall als König von Schottland beschreibt.

Anfangs möchte Macbeth die politische Macht am liebsten vermeiden (St.2) und wird nur von seiner Frau dazu gedrängt, doch nachdem er diesen Weg offiziell eingeschlagen hat (St.4) und sein Ziel,

die Königswürde, tatsächlich erreicht (St.10), wird er bald zum Tyrannen (St.12), und sein Fall beginnt (St.13) bis zum bitteren Ende (St.17-18).

Innerhalb der Goldserie kommt ab dem Stadium 3 noch die parallel laufende, ergänzende Sequenz der Lanthanide hinzu, die der Entwicklung innerer Macht und Autonomie entspricht.

7e Serie, die Uranserie: unvollkommen ausgebildet und endet quasi im Nichts, weil ihre Elemente durch die zunehmende Radioaktivität immer kurzlebiger und instabiler werden. Sie entspricht einer Altersweisheit, die um die Brüchigkeit aller Existenz weiß und einen siebten Sinn für übernatürliche Dinge entwickelt.

[Rajan Sankaran]

The remedies of row 6 differ from row 5 that while the feeling of row 6 is of being hated with row 5 of the periodic table it is more like the feeling of being criticized, like being insulted.


The seven series

In its common versions, the periodic table arranges the elements in seven rows which Scholten calls series. Each of the seven series indicates a new level of development. The series are named after their most prominent elements: hydrogen series, carbon series, silicum series, iron series, silver series, gold series and uranium series. In each series from left to right, a new outer ’shell’ of electrons gets filled, along with the corresponding increase of ’heaviness’ by incorporation of core protons and neutrons. In the atoms at the right end of the row, the outer shell has got its fill of electrons, and thus the mission of this series is completed. Then the next series starts one level below to the left with the first electrons in a new outer shell, which is again filled up with electrons in the same manner. The evolution of elements begins with the lightest element and the simplest form of matter: hydrogen. From hydrogen, the evolution continues in successive steps. With each step another element is born, gaining in atomic mass by adding more and more core protons (and neutrons) and thin layers of shell electrons, until the atoms become so heavy and complex that their inner stability begins to deteriorate in the form of radioactivity. This loss of stability indicates the end of (the) matter in the incomplete 7th row or the uranium series.


The themes of the seven series:

1. hydrogen. series can hardly be called a series, because it consists of only two atoms, Hydrogen and Helium. Instinctive. This is the initiation of the evolution of elements. Hydrogen is the lightest and the simplest atom is like the first born in space. This series of ’only one or two’ represents the dualistic principle, the pairs of opposites. Therapeutic hydrogen helped in severe forms of cyclothymia, even after Lithium had failed (pronounced forms of megalomania # devastating feelings of nothingness). In this series there is only yes or no, to be or not to be. With hydrogen as the affirmative, helium represents a futile negation of existence by cutting off any communication, as in autism, in which it has been used successfully.

2. carbon. series: Impulsive. 8 elements from Lithium to Fluor. These light and small, ’young’ elements represents the development of the body, of simple self-confidence and physical vitality as in childhood.

3. silicium. series: Magical. ’ripening’ eight elements from Natrium to Chlorum represent the level of adolescence in the family, relationship, and love affairs.

4. iron. series: Roles and Rules: ’grown-up’ 18 elements from Kaliium to Brom stand for duty and teamwork as in schools ("non scholae, sed vitae") or factories, for rules and regulations. This series

is ’grown-up’ also in the sense that for the first time it spans the fully differentiated number of 18 stages.

5. silver. series: Achiever: 18 elements represents creative genius, show and performance in arts, scientific publications, and the position of mediators in middle management.

6. gold. series: Authority. leadership, responsibility, power and politics. Incl. the Lanthanides, with an emphasis on development of inner power and autonomy.

7. uranium. series: Integral self. May stand for a kind of ‘sixth sense’ or attempted intuition. Most of our Radium and Uranium cases were obese people who also felt psychologically ’heavy’.

This series is indeed falling apart, emitting energy, for reason of having become too heavy. Correspondingly, there is a sense that life is too precarious, with death always present as its antipode,

but with a full and radiating quality. Unstable wisdom. Incl. Actanoiden


[Jan Scholten]

Hydrogeniumseries: being, fetus, space.

Carbonseries: ego, child, body.

Siliciumseries: friend, family, teenager.

Ironseries: worker, adult, village.

Silverseries: inventor, performer, middle age, city.

Goldseries: leader, ripe age, country/world.

Central words for the Uraniumseries:




Observe, perceive

Overview, transparency

Sensitivity, Sympathy, Compassion

Universal truths

Old age


[JJ Kleber]

In Gesundheit hat jeder Mensch Qualitäten von allen Serien, mit Schwergewicht je nach momentaner Lebens-, Arbeits-, Tages-Situation; der Wechsel zwischen den Serien muss möglich

sein z.B. bei Ärger in Reihe 2,

bei schwierigen Entscheidungen Reihe 3,

bei der Steuerklärung eine Situation aus Reihe 4,

bei der Mathearbeit in Reihe 5,

bei weitreichenden Plänen Reihe 6;

Nur wenn festgefahren in den Reaktionen auf eine Serie liegt eine Krankheit vor [z.B. Mag-m. braucht bei Prüfung einen Rat (Mg) den er aber nicht annimmt (Cl)].


Hydrogen                   Being              Smell               Unborn            Spaceless                   

                                   Existence                                                       Timeless



Carbon                        Ego/Other            Touch              Child               Body               Ethics                          Skin

                                   Individual                                                      Vitality            Value


Silicium                      Friend             Taste               Puberty            House              Connective                 Tissue

                                   Family                                     Teenager            Neighbour            Communication



Iron                             Worker            Position            Adult              Village            Practical                      Muscle                        Blood


Silver                          Scientist            Hearing            Middle age            City                 Aesthetics                   Speech                        Nerves

                                   Artist               Voice                                     County            Beauty           



Lanthanide                 Shaman            Vision             Middle old            Country            Spiritism



Gold                           King                Vision             Old age            Country            Politics                        Vision                         Skeleton

                                   Leader             Eye                                        World


Uranium                     Intuition            Smell?             Ripe old age            Universe            Intuition

Magician                                                                                                                                                            Bone marrow



Periode I                              


Periode II                            



Periode III       


Periode IV


Periode V                                     


Periode VI                                    


Periode VII


Vergleich: Siehe: Stadiums + Elementen


[Iain Marrs]

Chemical Algebra: Enjoying the fruits (and salts) of Jan Scholten's invention: 1/4

‘Scientific revolutions are, in fact, metaphorical revolutions.’ Michael Arbib and Mary Hesse, Constructions of Reality, Cambridge, 1986.

‘Perhaps every science must start with metaphor and end with algebra - and perhaps without the metaphor there would never have been an algebra.’

Max Black, Models and Metaphors: Studies in Language and Philosophy, Cornell, Ithaca, 1962

Part One: Exploring the Algebraic concept:

At some point prior to 1993 Jan Scholten invented (re-invented?) an activity with which James Tyler Kent’s name has at times been associated disreputably - the algebraic combination of themes

to comprehend mineral remedies. Such teachers as Paul Herscu has lately been teaching how to observe combination salts (I will reproduce a 1992 quote from Herscu in a subsequent section of

this article) and then Jan Scholten expanded radically the whole universe (hydrogen!) of mineral combination for which we, who now rely upon this approach, remain in his debt.


It would be a caricature of Jan Scholten’s work to think of it as 100% systematic. The order followed in all of Scholten’s text is more artful than that, but that is the aspect with which we begin.

The format of each book thus far is the exploration of a systematic and thematic reading of the Periodic Table. Accordingly, the head of each chapter and sub-chapter offers some ‘algebra’ and

only after that do we come to any cases of the element or element-combination in question.

Although Jan Scholten introduced a largely two-term system, this is not a limit inherent within the approach. In accord with the chemists and their uses of the Periodic Table, his first book, “Homeopathy & Minerals”, Scholten also welcomed in such substances as "ammonia’"(in chemistry, NH4 and in homeopathy, Ammonium causticum). A combination that goes on to combine

with other elements. Just as NH4 acts as if it were an alkali (some chemists accordingly place it in between potassium and rubidium) at an interposed octave of stage 1; so do the inorganic

chemists add in another pseudo-element, CN and place it at an octave in between chlorine and bromine. Scholten’s move in Homeopathy and the Elements) of aluminum over to the scandium

group (his "stage three') has precedent and was also proposed by a metallurgist, F. Habashi (as Scerri informs us, The Periodic Table, p.278, along with the other information just cited).

For all that it is a "metaphorical" move, following the spirit not the letter.

If we then read Scholten’s remedy descriptions we find two distinct types of information (even though one category can be sparse at times it becomes more common with Secret Lanthanides).

The first type of data derives from the logic of themes algebraically crossed together. The second type of data derives from the cured cases that follow in his text. The latter is given a setting

by the former. If one simply read the header text as proof of the descriptive power of the themes as given, then one might easily miss these additions derived from clinical practice and/or from

a proving. The latter are not exhaustively explained (they are not ‘emptied’) by the themes as given, they offer individual particulars which develope (on the best of occasions, we might even

say that they "provoke’") those algebraic themes, though we would likely use such phrasing only if we had spent too much time at stage 16.

The proving is the other pool drawn from. In Scholten’s Neon for example, we find "flood", "keyhole" and "Down’s syndrome", each drawn from Jeremy Sherr’s proving of Neon. The proving selection anchors, tests and illuminates the algebra. Thereafter, other teachers; for example Louis Klein, Clinical Focus Guide, (Neon, Volume 1, 2003, pp.205-11) or Jacques Echard’s case of

Neon in Sankaran’s Structure (2008, pp.114-23) - confirm and further develop such themes (regardless of whether they are extracted from proving or foreseen by algebra) within clinical practice.

The interaction between these two forces (on the one hand, the deductive and on the other the experimental from clinic or from proving) may lead to a new theme for a given element or mineral

salt or again it may lead to a re-reading of a theme already given. This is a cycle of development, application, extension and review. In sum; Scholten’s work generates further material that may

in any one instance transcend his algebraic terms for this or that remedy. From which point the story then continues on. The paradigm is further unpacked by the entrance of; for example, the case

of Nat-s. from Rajan Sankaran (see below) or by Roger Morrison’s extension of algebra to the organic groupings of the carbon-based remedies each group replete with specific themes; major and minor.

Alongside chemo-phobia, blocking some people’s path forward in the further exploration and usage of this material there is the "problem" of systems. There are those who abhor systems and those who adore them. There are some fleet-footed homeopaths, dancing with the tao, who almost seem to evade systematizing what they teach. There are others who offer tools that are, precisely systematic. These two groups always co-exist, the clinical practitioners who are dancers of experience and the clinical practitioners who are organizers of experience and the forces that they exert

both work in conjunction on the rest of us who watch the two aspects and gradually try it out on the dance floor, learning to tango for ourselves. The combined effect is that we evolve in our ability to welcome and to comprehend greater ranges of experience; for a homeopathic practitioner this means we can help arrange things so that God and patient willing, more unwanted ‘stuff’ (polite word…) can be annihilated by the Annihilator of Disease.

Chemical algebra has evolved swiftly within the culture of homeopathy, as is evident from the entrance of Roger Morrison’s immense book on Carbon remedies (Carbon: Organic and Hydrocarbon Remedies in Homeopathy, 2006). It also evolves, as ever, one case at a time and an example of such a case is presented by Rajan Sankaran in his Structure. Both these instances, as well as Jayesh Shah’s “Into the Periodic Table” for example, comprise a second generation of work, all developing from the foundations laid by Jan Scholten.

First, an aspect from Rajan Sankaran’s case of Nat-s. (Structure, 2008, volume 1, p.368, author’s bold type):

“But how do we understand the issues of row 2 which comes up so strongly in her case? Then I looked in the internet and studied Nat-s. The chemical formula of Natrum sulph is Na2SO4!

This was almost like cracking a jackpot!!! And very promptly the whole mystery seemed to straighten out. Then I understood the occurrence of all the features of row 2 (Oxygen) in a case of Nat-s., which is due to the predominance of the Oxygen element.”

The implication is straightforward, if a little unwelcome for those of us who are lazy: thematic lists for “Nat-s.” have previously worked from the name of the remedy. The unstated rule thus followed has been this; "if the common name doesn’t feature the substance, then forget about it." That there is oxygen in “Nat-s.” or that there are both oxygen and hydrogen in “Nat-p.”- this complicates matters. Indeed, it may be an aversion to complexity that causes us elsewhere, to under-prescribe substances with complicated names. (The naming-behaviour that we know from the world of popular music implies that, if Methylium aeth. wanted to secure more cured cases it should maybe make a call to Aether’s agent…) This state of affairs is a relative of that fallacy (or a bridge to cross) named

"there are large remedies and there are small remedies". This fallacy (or a bridge to cross) is called "there are the simple named remedies and there are the complicated named remedies and the former are simple". Complexity can be revealed and brought out from behind any one of these too-simple names; revealed in homeopathic practice, such as in the above example by Dr. Rajan Sankaran.

Our 2nd example is provided by Dr. Roger Morrison. There have been many books that combine homeopathic materia medica while also simultaneously offering an evolutionary leap forward for

the whole culture of homeopathy. For example, Paul Herscu’s book on Stramonium was subtitled, "with an Introduction to Analysis using Cycles and Segments". Likewise, Joseph Reves’ title 24 Chapters in Homeopathy was completed by the phrase "with the addition of Introduction to Systems". Jan Scholten, in his revolutionary volumes, has offered a framework of theory by which to apply in practice the combination algebra of which he is the pioneer on the ground of the Periodic Table. Dr. Morrison offers another such development within his book on the Carbon remedies (Carbon, 2006): he describes thematically the various organic groupings within carbon-based chemistry. That is what he offers. I say that we are "offered" this, advisedly. It is even more disruptive

to those of us who want an easy life than is Rajan Sankaran’s Na2S04 jackpot...but as Jeremy Sherr has pointed out, some cultures are not that fond of philosophy (theory) while others enjoy it immensely. This pre-existing terrain tends to determine the reception given to "theoretical" tools and instruments such as those accompanying all the books I have just named. Roger Morrison’s

offer is assuredly being taken up by those who perceive its potential. I do not as yet have the clinical experience to comment in any depth on the whole, but one example did catch my eye - Hydr-ac. (pp.459-72). Simply put, not only is there now no excuse not to know that this remedy is HCN but Dr. Morrison has also positively encouraged us to read this chemical shorthand. For the thematic mind already nurtured by Jan Scholten’s classes in algebra, Roger Morrison gathers the evidence from chemistry that cyanide (CN) acts like a halogen (stage 17-like); that parts of its toxicology

have likenesses to tetanus, to pertussis and to cholera (all miasms which invite placement on the Stages schema and which find their places in, for example, Louis Klein’s forthcoming work on such miasms) that this acid binds selectively with gold, silver and copper (i.e., with three metals of stage 11); that this chemical inhibits an enzyme system which involves both iron and oxygen and that

in homeopathic preparation Hydrocyanic acid acts like Iodum, as we can read again in the case which Morrison selects from the practitioner and teacher Deborah Collins (a case first published in Links), where the remedy homeopathic to the individual (HCN) was able to cure what appeared to be the trauma of a previous life which was destroying the patient’s present life.

Truly, we are living in a Golden Age.

Part Two


All the while that we have being benefiting from Jan Scholten’s books and from subsequent work in this lineage, homeopathic practitioners have kept on practicing homeopathically - as well as sometimes taking some research time off, all the better to assimilate the many developments currently on offer. Accordingly, clinical results have continued to emerge. Teachers whose practice is guided by other metaphors have, in turn, conveyed their insights regarding remedies made from elements and from minerals. For example, in Massimo Mangialavori’s Precious and Base Metals -

An Alchemical View (2005), we find an approach that recuperates for homeopathy a variety of ‘esoteric’ approaches (alchemy, anthroposophy and even a spot of tarot). In all such offerings there

are overlaps and differences to be noted between the new work and that which is already on the table (for example, Mangialavori places his themes in a hierarchy, as does Roger Morrison in Carbon). Each such work illustrates the practitioner’s own version of chemical algebra. In Mangialavori’s work we witness the recuperation of much material from ‘outside Homeopathy’ (a meaningless phrase that self-destructs as soon as it is spoken: as a universal science and art there is no ‘outside’ to Homeopathy) and this is a sign that everyone also continues to draw ideas from every possible source in accord with the only law (sic) known to the unconscious - to wit, ‘use whatever resonates…’ - so as to woo the alert practitioner into a homeopathic prescription. The presence of such material in Mangialavori might also remind us of the ‘door’ aspect in Jan Scholten’s stage 4 and its resonance with the Hebrew letter dalet, which has the numerical value of 4:

‘As we follow the clues - stars, numbers, colors, plants, forms, verse, music, structures - a huge framework of connections is revealed at many levels. One is inside an echoing manifold where everything responds and everything has a place and a time assigned to it.’

Georgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill, Godine, Boston, 1969

Given that resonance is the reality of how our minds actually work (and how evolution works, how Nature works), and given that experimentation and new discoveries proceed apace (after all, in homeopathy, we are living through a golden age, a renaissance or period of cultural evolution), the users of homeopathic algebra are thus faced with the continued task (necessity) of also evolving

our art and science - along the Stages and the Ages! (Seven Ages, with the Lanthanides and the Actinides as well…)

Such evolution surely pivots around one basic idea which itself is a corollary of group or thematic thinking: if the themes drawn out (educed) from substances can and must be combined somehow when those elemental substances are combined, then the practice of such thematic combining is not dependent on the themes stated by, say, Jan Scholten or indeed by any one particular teacher.

It is not necessary to slavishly follow (and has he ever asked it of us?) Jan Scholten’s theme for a given remedy. Such rote copying or parroting of themes would merely show our own fixed state

or stage, also making it impossible to have such insights as Rajan Sankaran’s regarding the remedy formerly known as Natrum sulph (see Part One of this article). Yet Sankaran’s insight confirms

the algebraic approach itself. This is how things develop in science: an evolutionary leap is made and although numerous details may be changed over time the leap itself remains incontrovertible.

As thematic (group) thinking has evolved, through its application in clinical practice, we have necessarily seen a cultural evolution occur within homeopathy. Considered as one whole, this is a shift

of paradigm. It is not, then, the work of Jan Scholten and of Rajan Sankaran or of other teachers which has to be reconciled, each with each: it is we who have to reconcile ourselves to the mutual effects of the whole, and thus of what every such teacher offers us - we who need to grow into these new clothes. Yes, some will continue to say that these are the “Emperor’s New Clothes” - but

the human aspect within us named ‘pride’ will often not allow us to express enthusiasm for the work of others - work which we feel compelled to criticize before we can, begrudgingly, say yes to it.

(I should add that there are also other voices which, conversely, always exclaim -like Elizabeth Taylor, regarding each of her marriages- ‘This one is really the one!’)

Unpacking the import of thematic algebra

Simply put, I suggest that if we ‘unpack’ thematic algebra it potentially changes everything about the practice of homeopathy. The most basic example is this: no item of data bequeathed to us by

the years of experience (via clinic, toxicology, or proving) and included in that body of work called ‘homeopathic materia medica’ - no such item is now solely itself. No item of data is exhausted (emptied) by simply being read as applicable to the remedy to which it is nominally attached. To repeat, we can no longer be assured, regarding any item of data, that the item belongs uniquely and solely with the remedy to which it has traditionally been attached. If a symptom is given ‘for Sepia’ or ‘for Lach.,’ yes, it may be “true of that remedy” but the truthfulness of this statement pales in comparison with the dawning realization that it may also be true of a whole class of remedies of which the individual remedy (Sepia; Lach.) is but one member. Given that a class may be as large as ‘Animal,’ or as particular as Viperidae or as newly mapped as Cat-like, this means that each item of data must needs find its proper level in a hierarchy of thematic groups so that we realize the full prescribing options implied once we identify a given thematic as actively present within a given patient who sits before us.

A second facet of this example: If a homeopathic practitioner teaches (demonstrates, illustrates by cured case, convinces us of) aspects of a remedy that no-one else has noted before, then for that practitioner who uses the algebraic method or who analyzes cases using thematic group thinking, this discovery now awaits (requires) assimilation to (reconciliation with) the current algebraic understanding of the remedy in question. That is, if we think in thematic groups, we must endeavour to place the newly discovered (or longstanding) aspect of any remedy under one of the existing headings, or understand a conjunction of themes afresh, or supplement the thematic aspects that we had previously gathered in regard to that remedy.

If we trust homeopath Y - who, it so happens, does not practice a systematic approach to thematic algebra but is a teacher/practitioner whose work we respect, then that thematic insight offered by homeopath Y has to be capable of assimilation to our thematic understanding of the remedy in question. It is no good saying, “Well, Y doesn’t agree with our way of thinking so we need not form an interpretation to explain Y’s clinical observation!” In the working out of such, one consequence may be that the systematic frame which we have used to approach thematic work on the remedy in question is altered, in this or that detail. If such is the outcome then we can rest easy knowing that we, as homeopaths, are now practicing Thomas Kuhn’s ‘normal science,’ that phase which ensues after the ‘revolutionary science’ which itself instituted the new paradigm (Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).

As new clinical evidence is produced, a ‘gap’ may open up between the established algebra for a remedy - let’s take as an example, Merc-i.f. - and a fine case of that remedy, a case where the patient’s behaviour and symptology is clearly organized by the metaphor ‘tiger’ (as in a case by Mangialavori of this remedy) -

“I dream that I’ve got teeth like a tiger… But I have to be careful how I close my mouth otherwise I’ll make holes in myself and then I’ll get mouth ulcers…”

(9 year old girl, in Mangialavori, Precious and Base Metals: An Alchemical View, p.84)

Such a gap - between algebra and case - may continue to exist for many years (or only for a few months: after all, there are lots of us whose practice may bring forth a solution for any particular problem posed by algebraic metaphor) but eventually, unless the insight (‘tiger’) can be understood by thematic (group) thinking, then our approach will have failed to grasp this aspect of particularity and, accordingly, will not have comprehended that which it is our task to comprehend (the particularities of a case and of a remedy) for the purposes of enabling cure in our chosen manner (that is, through the homeopathic algebra of metaphor).

The position taken in this essay, by the way, is that thematic (algebraic, group) thinking is an inevitable part of our engagement with experience. Likewise, metaphors and analogies share a condition with homeopathy: not only do they work but their function is itself an ineluctable part of reality. Given this fact, like everything else which wants to survive, the algebraic approach must continue to evolve - which brings us to a central task facing us.

The main problem that an algebraic approach presents to the homeopath, I suggest, is the task of distinguishing (in any given analysis) between that which is emergent and that which is constituent. ‘Tiger’ is emergent (given Mangialavori’s cured case cited above) from the homeopathic action of Merc-i-f., the homeopathic constituents of which are mercury and iodine, each understood thematically.

It is incumbent upon those who teach the thematic approach that they keep reminding the homeopathic student not to apply the method superficially, and such reminders are now an abiding presence within this approach. In Structure we find Dr. Sankaran warning the reader not to be triggered by the apparent arrival of an animal theme in a case that, in fact, may require a mineral. These comments have the same import as Jeremy Sherr’s wise old saw that ‘Helium looks like an eagle…’ Now, after Mangialavori’s case, the next time we see what we think is a tiger we will have no excuse not to consider Merc-i-f., alongside anything else that might look like a tiger (tiger mosquito; tiger’s eye, a variant of crocodilite) and, sadly, everything else that may act like a tiger but not have ‘tiger’ in its name (just as Merc-i-f does not). Similarly, after Scholten’s Rubidium case (H &E, pp.535-36), when we see lions (clinically!) maybe we should give a look at some or all of the ‘Stage 1’ mineral elements - and in both these examples I have not even mentioned the homeopathic remedies prepared from cats… Massimo Mangialavori added Zinc-p. to the Snakes because he clinically observed this remedy acting like one. Divya Chhabra finds a thematic presence of lizards in Strontium and related remedies. Vega Rozenberg’s ‘Plastic’ box is full of arsenic!

Not only are there countless clinical examples that expand this point, there is also ample advice from elsewhere as to the many and varied consequences of this one important, underlying fact - the fact that there is no single fixed interpretation or translation for a given symbol or metaphor - and such advice has traditionally been both negative and positive, examples of which now follow to conclude this part of the article.

On Analogy

‘Thinking homeopathically is thinking metaphorically. If we don’t think in metaphors we are lost.’

Misha Norland, ‘Some excerpts from Misha Norland’s July 1995 Seminar,’ Homeopathy BC, volume 2 (1996), #2

‘There are a hundred thousand minerals and plants and a hundred million animals and insects. Curing like with like is about metaphor and analogy, not sameness, so there cannot be one simillimum and we don’t want there to be a simillimum either, just like there can never be only one perfect poem for each person.

Homeopathy is poetry or music because it is analogy. You don’t say to somebody, “Your eyes are beautiful, like eyes!” You say, “Your eyes are like the lake in the spring and your hair is like the wind blowing through the soft leaves as they fall to the ground in the autumn.” If it is the right music, rhythm and words, it will touch. So, many poems touch you and they will do so in different ways. Some poems will be better than other poems, and they will touch deeper and longer and carry you further. And some will be crap and not touch much at all!

We want to work “in the image of” and it is better that way because it means that every level of practitioner can get results. It allows practitioners the possibility of not being perfect.’

(Jeremy Sherr, interviewed by Rowena J. Ronson)

‘Fast intuitions depend on the ‘undermind’ taking a quick look at the situation and finding an analogy which seems to offer understanding and prediction. These unconscious analogies surface as intuitions. Whether they are right or not depends not on how “intuitive” they are, but on the appropriateness of the underlying analogy. Often we are absolutely right. But sometimes the ‘undermind’ is fooled by appearances, and then it leads us off in the wrong direction.’

Guy Claxton, Hare Brain Tortoise Mind


‘We may note that, in these experiments, the sign “=” may stand for the words “is confused with.” ’

G. Spencer Brown, The Laws of Form

‘Well, it must be acknowledged quite plainly and frankly that the method of analogy presents many negative sides and many dangers, errors and serious illusions. This is because it is entirely founded on experience; and all superficial, incomplete or false experience is bound to give rise to superficial, incomplete and false conclusions, by analogy, in a direction parallel with the experience from which they are the outcome...

It must be concluded, therefore, that the method of analogy on the one hand is in no way infallible but on the other hand it is qualified to lead to the discovery of essential truths. Its effectiveness and value depend on the fullness and exactitude of the experience on which it is based.’

Valentin Tomberg, ‘The Magician,’ Meditations on the Tarot

‘The poet and critic Matthew Arnold, during his time as an inspector of schools, used to tell of a colleague who boasted of thirteen years’ experience - whereas, as Arnold would comment, it was perfectly clear to anyone who knew the man that he had had nothing of the sort. He had had one year’s experience thirteen times.’

Guy Claxton, Hare Brain Tortoise Mind

Part Three

The combinatorial approach is not only the basis upon which Jan Scholten’s books are founded and the core of ‘analyzing the constituent parts,’ it arises as soon as we think in chemical - or, indeed,

in constituent - terms:

‘The materia medica of the [mineral salt combination] remedy has been presented as a simple combination of the symptoms of each original remedy, and symptoms particular to the remedy itself.

But I think that if you look deeply into these cases or have treated enough patients with each of these remedies, it becomes clear that there are at least three subtypes of symptoms associated with each of these combination remedies:

those nearer to one remedy,

those nearer to the other remedy,

those more in the middle that share equally from each parent remedy…

Many cases will look a great deal like one of the remedies, let’s say Sulphur, and yet when you give the remedy it does not act. That’s because the patient needed Nat-s. but has 90% of the symptoms in the Sulphur pole and only 10% in the Natrium pole. Even with most of the symptoms pointing to Sulphur, Natrium sulph is the needed remedy…

[Homeopaths] often tell me that they missed the remedy because they expected to find a 50/50 split of both remedies in order to consider a combination remedy. It never occurred to them to look for a 90% majority of one root remedy and a 10% portion of the other.

And, just to make things a bit more complicated, Nat-s. is a combination of three root remedies: Nat-m., Sulph. and Med.’

Paul Herscu, 1992 IFH Case Conference, pp. 69-70

How could this mineral substance have caught a sexually-transmitted disease - where does the Medorrhinum aspect come from? We ask such (odd) questions in the attempt to assimilate Dr. Herscu’s clinical insights. We ask with the intent of undoing certain prejudices in whose grip we may unconsciously be held.

One prejudice relates,

1st to whether the world will be arranged ‘like my textbook version of it, with one list of themes on the left and another list on the right…’ Dr. Sankaran’s case (of this ‘same’ remedy,

Nat-s. - see Part One of this essay) extended this challenge into a question of how many thematic columns there should be on the page (answer: sometimes more than two, but Jan Scholten’s inclusion of Ammonium already told us that).

2nd Paul Herscu’s insights should remind us,

a), that ‘miasm thinking’ was the first (and still, in part, contested) version of thematic (group) thinking and,

b), that there needs to be a ‘column’ on the page for miasm grouping that is neither on the left nor on the right of the page and may not even be aligned in that direction at all… (The position taken up within Rajan Sankaran’s algebra of ‘family crossed with miasm’ is, of course, related to the matter at hand. As has been suggested elsewhere, however, the model drawn from the Periodic Table following Scholten, of a precise and exclusive intersection or crossroads, as of two axes at right angles, does not necessarily describe the complexities of the natural world.

As many myths and some musicians have warned us, more things happen at the crossroads than can be predicted…)

The combining of themes is a form of scaffolding from which, in every instance, various buildings, each particular, can emerge. In chemical algebra, the themes of ‘Natrium’ and ‘Sulphur’ combine and one building emergent from this scaffolding is the building we call “Nat-s.” which, it turns out, is an example of the sycotic style of architecture (as observed by Paul Herscu, et al) and which,

it turns out, also has an ‘Oxygen’ dimension (Rajan Sankaran). Who’d have guessed it from the scaffolding? Well, fortunately it is possible, initially, to practice homeopathy by looking at the scaffolding, at the ‘chemical address,’ with a bit of help from Wikipedia! However, although helpful, this can all play out merely at the ‘technical’ level (Technetium?). The combining of constituent themes must gradually lead the attentive mind - one willing to marry left and right brains, or perhaps ‘male’ and ‘female’ aspects - toward a deeper understanding of that which is emergent and particular.

‘Emergent properties are ubiquitous in nature. The classical example of emergent properties concerns the individual properties of hydrogen and oxygen as atoms versus the unique properties that emerge when hydrogen and oxygen unite and become the molecular system called water. The unique properties of water expressed as a liquid at room temperature cannot be predicted by studying

the behavior of hydrogen and oxygen independently (i.e., un-united) as separate gases at room temperature. ... [The] properties that are unique to water can only be revealed (i.e. discovered) when

the particular components are allowed to interact as a unique, integrated system.’

Daniel B. Fishman et al, Paradigms in Behavior Therapy: Present and Promise, Springer, New York, 1988

‘I don’t believe at all that if a remedy is combined by two substances that you can take the symptoms of the one and the symptoms of the other, mix them together and have the symptoms of the combination. Knowing the single substances can give you good suggestions on the mixture but not more. I remember my first cases of Ars sulfuratum flavum: Every time I had clear symptoms of

Ars- and clear symptoms of Sulph. and I had very good results prescribing Ars-s-f. But at the end, after six or seven patients like this, I arrived at the point of having very good information of the remedy itself.’

Massimo Mangialavori, Interview, Links, 1996, vol. 9 (4)

Within thematic homeopathy, then, what rules can we apply to our combinatorial or algebraic thinking which might best allow our thought to evolve, as Mangiavalori’s did regarding Ars-s-f and

as Herscu suggests we evolve, instancing Nat-s? The answers to this question are a work in progress but, in addition to the systematic implications of Herscu’s comment above, we have already

been offered some pointers:

‘… [The] basic theme that emerges in the metallic salts is (like other salts already studied) the combined feeling of the two components. This “combined” feeling has an intensity and depth which

lies in between the two, not greater - this is my experience.’

Rajan Sankaran, The Substance of Homeopathy, Bombay, 1994, p.196

‘This alternation between positive and negative is a sign of a salt. Being one way one time and changing completely is a salt.’

Rajan Sankaran, Structure, Mumbai, 2008, p.333

‘NH: So you’re looking for a structure in the periodic table?

JS: A structure, yes absolutely, not emotional pictures or something like that, but the deep inner structure, the verb, the motion. It’s there, if you’ve got the end of each period you’ve got the key to the grid, and if you’ve got all the nobles, you’ve got the key to what changes from period to period, not only within the period but also how all the seven develop from one to the other. But to do that, the way I work, I need to see the proving, because I’m looking at the inner structure of what makes a remedy tick. And that’s something that’s collected through physical symptoms, through generals, through mentals, all the way along… But the only way to find a common denominator is to go to the most simple element, you have to go simple because complex will never be a common denominator. Like if you’ve got 1/32 + 3/16 + 7/8, you can’t add them together unless you come to the most simple. So it really means potentising the understanding to simplicity.’

(Jeremy Sherr, interviewed by Nick Hewes)

‘Basic symptoms have three parts: the subject part, the object part and the relationship or action part.’

(Jan Scholten, Secret Lanthanides, p.22)

Viewing all these statements together - just those cited in this article from Herscu, Mangialavori, Sankaran, Scholten, and Sherr - we find seemingly opposite intents, either implicit or explicit.

As the physicist Niels Bohr observed, “The opposite of a correct statement is an incorrect statement, but the opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth.”

The other voice to which we must attend is the voice of our own experience. I know, for example, from my own clinical experience, a), that there is a combination and an alteration of constituent elements in the behavioural presentation of an individual for whom a mineral combination remedy is homeopathic. And, b), I have also confirmed for myself that particularity is an emergent quality - where the particularity ‘n,’ is not exhaustively described by data at the previous level, ‘n-1’ - when striving to understand many aspects of life, including one’s own behaviour or that of another individual. Accordingly, from these two simple observations confirmed by experience, I make a cognitive leap, as follows: the evolutionary flight of metaphor, taking us to ever higher levels, must coexist with the runway of algebra. As noted in the previous part of this essay, constituent and emergent co-exist even though they pull in different directions.

‘A thousand years ago, the masters of the Sufi brotherhood known as the Ikhwan al-Safa (Brethren of Purity) or Khillan al-Wafa (Friends of Sincerity) were articulating the same message. In their writings they tell the story of a disillusioned worshipper who is brought to the point of attributing malice to God for ordering his creation in this way. Seeing that he is pulled apart by opposing forces, all equally embedded in God’s creation he cries out, “O God, Thou hast brought together contradictory elements, mutually pulling and repelling forces! I know no more what to do or how, lost as

I am between them!” God responds first by pointing to the moral faculties he has given man that enable him to steer a middle course in life. He then reminds man of the Namus, the revealed law, which he has sent down to man through his prophets. But, as for the deepest and most fundamental contradictions of existence, he instructs man that they have been placed there not to be resolved but to be lived in full consciousness of their contradictoriness.’

Jacob Needleman, Consciousness and Tradition, Crossroads

Part Four

Not patched but whole

With the developments in thematic homeopathy examined in the previous three parts of this paper, the contemporary practitioner is not looking to revert to the mixology of the medieval compounders and their modern pharmaceutical inheritors, the purveyors of over-the-counter (OTC) ‘combination remedies’ (in that other crude and senseless sense of the word ‘combination’):

‘[Medicine] lies in the knowledge of what is inside and not in composing and patching up pieces to make it. What are the best trousers? Those which are whole; those patched up and pieced together are the worst ones. Who is so stupid as to believe that nature has distributed so much of a virtue to one and so much to another herb, and then commissioned you doctors to put them together?... Nature is the physician, not you; from her you take your orders, not from yourself; she composes, not you.’

Paracelsus, cited in Philip Ball, The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 2006

The homeopath must seek the emergent and particular individuality of that pattern which currently rules the individual (a pattern that can be approached by arranging together those themes that revolve around its central verb). It is this pattern that seeks to displace the patient’s human individuality with its own, riding it to ruin just as Louis Klein paints a picture of Mancinella ridden by the spirits of vodoun (Clinical Focus Guide, Volume 1), turning a potential human into the behavioural semblance of something much less so.

For these reasons, ‘combination remedies’ in the senseless (OTC) sense are not part of the homeopath’s high endeavour. Conversely, the use of combinatorial thinking, of thematic algebra and groups, rightly occupies a central place within our current renaissance, a star that has re-arisen within our contemporary vision.

With regard to the sales of OTC combinations named for disease categories, we find ourselves currently competing with an interest group that has a vested material interest in reading the practice of homeopathy at a few octaves lower than actually homeopathic practice. Like Hahnemann after him, Paracelsus (above) long ago focused on the crux of this matter, as have others whose thought and practice were also to influence our continuing evolution in understanding homeopathy:

‘Truth is... like a garment; when not being worn, it is merely pieces of material adapted for a body, but when it is put on, it becomes clothing with a human being inside it.’

Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, paragraph 150, cited in Wilson van Dusen, The Country of the Spirit, J. Appleseed & Co., San Francisco

Statements formulated according to the rules of thematic group, or algebraic, thinking are garments but, when we witness the individuality of a patient shining through these garments, such material becomes clothing. The homeopath who prescribes a curative remedy does so with the intent of enabling the patient to divest themselves of that which the patient may regard highly (at the very least they are ‘attached’ to it) but which we view as mere rags in comparison to what he or she, you or I, could be clothed in:

Rabbi Jechiel Meir of Gostynin had attended the Festival of Weeks with his teacher at Kozk. On his return home, his father-in-law asked him,

“Well, was the Law received in a different spirit where you were than elsewhere?”

“Certainly!” came the reply.

“How do you mean?” asked his father-in-law.

“How would you here understand, for example, the commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’?” asked Rabbi Jechiel in return.

“Well, naturally,” replied his father-in-law, “one may not steal from one’s neighbor.”

But Rabbi Jechiel responded: “In Kozk they interpret it as follows: ‘One may not steal from oneself!’ ”

Buber, Tales of the Hasidim

The metaphor of clothes fits the subject matter of this essay well enough: the difference that makes a difference is when we learn to see, in our own practices, individuality shining through the combinations offered by the scaffolding of the algebraic material.

There are, as ever, those who will say, “Oh, a new fashion… You know what I’m like with new stuff…” (Generals, Environmental allergies; Mind, thought, averse new) and thereby keep themselves the much poorer - but it is only by actually wearing these new clothes that we manage actually to enrich ourselves, our practices and our patients.

What, then, can go wrong? Jan Scholten can help us here:

‘Seduction through presentation: clothes…

A game of fantasy: theorizing…

Another possibility is that they start to pay a lot of attention to their appearance, dressing up in beautiful clothes and parading in front of their loved one to try and impress them. They love beauty and harmony and order….

The other side of the coin is that they may neglect their relationship. They feel that is fine the way it is and they don’t have to make any effort to maintain or improve it…

Sometimes their fantasies run away with them and they lose all sense of reality. But they can also philosophise about elemental issues...’ (Sulphur, in Homeopathy and Elements, pp.296-98)

In sum, we are greatly aided by thematic group and algebraic thinking but, as ever this is only if we dare to know its fruits (and salts) in ourselves: thereafter we will be much better equipped to acquit our responsibility to our patients. What behooves us, also, is to continue to seek the most expeditious ways of using such tools (or theoretical instruments). Once the idea of combining themes is ‘on the map,’ as it indubitably has been for some time, then where one draws such themes from - how one reads experience metaphorically to derive themes and how, thereafter, one performs algebraic analyses upon those themes to form that runway which allows or enables the flight of metaphor to take off on its trajectory toward particularity - where one draws such themes from is not circumscribed by any text but that of Nature. It becomes, rather, a matter of developing the art of metaphor and algebra for oneself and then (by whatever means possible) communicating it, as Jan Scholten has done in his books and seminars, so that others may benefit and do likewise.

By way of concluding, some quotations on combining, correlating and connecting

‘In fact, what is mathematical creation? It does not consist in making new combinations with mathematical entities already known. Any one could do that, but the combinations so made would be infinite in number and most of them absolutely without interest. To create consists precisely in not making useless combinations and in making those which are useful and which are only a small minority. Invention is discernment, choice.

How to make this choice I have before explained; the mathematical facts worthy of being studied are those which, by their analogy with other facts, are capable of leading us to the knowledge of a mathematical law just as experimental facts lead us to the knowledge of a physical law. They are those which reveal to us an unsuspected kinship between other facts, long known, but wrongly believed to be strangers to one another.

Among chosen combinations the most fertile will often be those formed of elements drawn from domains which are far apart. Not that I mean as sufficing for invention the bringing together of objects as disparate as possible; most combinations so formed would be entirely sterile. But certain among them, very rare, are the most fruitful of all.’

Henri Poincare, ‘Mathematical Creation,’ Chapter III, Science and Method on the Foundations of Science, trans. George Bruce Halsted, Science Press, NY, 1929

‘If one studies the interconnections of living processes in nature, one soon finds that one cannot stop short at the rigid forms, nor allow oneself to be restricted by systems. Inner relationships and metamorphoses must be sought wherever they occur, for life is a whole, and illuminating connections are to be found even between the different kingdoms.’

Georg Grohmann, The Plant, Volume 2

‘The significant insights in therapy ... are not solutions but connections - connections drawn between previously unrelated events.’

Edgar Levenson, The Ambiguity of Change, New York, 1983

‘If one found a complex of, let us say, seven ingredients in a man’s motivation, the Freudian tendency would be to take one of these as the essence of the motivation and to consider the other six as sublimated variants... The proportional strategy would involve the study of these seven as a cluster. The motivation would be synonymous with the inter-relationships between them.’

Kenneth Burke, ‘Freud and the Analysis of Poetry’ reprinted in The Philosophy of Literary Form, New York, Vintage, 1957 [author’s italics]

‘The concept of science as fields of practice also highlights the importance of skills and best knowledge, which are often overlooked or suppressed when the purely theoretical is emphasized. Skills and tacit knowledge are modes of knowing the world that exemplify Wittgenstein’s forms of life. They depend on givens that cannot be spoken of, in the same way that you cannot explain how to ride a bike. If we had to wait for a theoretical explanation of bike riding, nobody would ever get on the saddle. If maps are shared examples of practice, perhaps science can be thought of as a compendia of maps, that is, an atlas, as an example of the way in which people have to work to make the whole hang together. Ultimately maps and theories gain their power and usefulness from making connections and enabling unanticipated connections. Science is an atlas not because all its theories are connected by logic, method and consistency. There is no such logic, method or consistency. Science is riddled with contradiction and disciplinary division. Science is an atlas because the essence of maps and theories is connectivity.’

David Turnbull, Maps are Territories: Science is an Atlas, University of Chicago, 1993

 ‘The divine model of the earth corresponds to the heavens: everything is just as above. Rav Abba wept as he saw the fruit of a tree turn into a bird and fly off. If men knew what these things meant they would rip their clothes down to the navel - in grief, for having lost this wisdom. Even more so in relation to the rest of creation…

All things in this world have a mystery of their own. Since the divine one chose not to reveal it, he gave to each species a name; he made them, however mysterious, discrete.’

Zohar 2: 15b-16a, translated by David Rosenberg (cited in David Rosenberg, Dreams of Being Eaten Alive)



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