Groucho Marx

Blog Archive – October 2007

Click here for translations

“ Truth is the shattered mirror strewn in myriad bits; while each believes his little bit the whole to own. ”
Robert Burton

“ Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own image. ”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

October 19 2007

Mirrors on the wail

Seems the Earth isn't the only thing that's hotting up these days. Fierce passions all around the UK are stirring themselves and firing off into the blogosphere on the subject of conventional medicine vs homeopathy. (See last month's entries.) The self-proclaimed "sceptics", convinced they're championing "the truth", are becoming more and more outspoken in their self-righteous posturing and attacks on "woo", prompting the Society of Homeopaths to target one particular piece and have the blogger's ISP force him to remove the article on threat of prosecution under Britain's libel laws. Predictably, this has spawned a rash of sympathetic repostings and cries of "thuggery" from the ranks of the sceptics. So much hot air ... Jung was so very very right.

Don't get me wrong, rational scepticism is a healthy and intelligent response to phenomena that challenge our accepted ways of seeing things. But it can also become very easily conflated with personal shadow dynamics, which is when it tends to be adopted as some personal badge, "I"dentified with, and rammed down others' throats with crusading zeal. Taking a look around some of these blogs is an education. Following the author's thought and emotional processes, it's instantly obvious that I could no more convince him (usually) of the strength and "truth" of my "reality" than he could me of his (although having in the past lived something very close to his "reality" as if it were real, I maybe have a bit more understanding of it than he might of mine). It also gave me a real good laugh. And not (for a change!) because I was revelling in some self-righteous superiority of my own and denouncing the lot of them as complete idiots, but because I recognised so much of my own writing in theirs.

It's that Mirror again ... So perhaps the sceptics in turn should read a little Jung and reflect on this knee-jerk compulsion they have to jump on and react to anything that hints at a suprapersonal or metaphysical dimension to existence. And just who are they imagining they're doing this for? Can't be for themselves surely, as they're already convinced of the rightness of their ways. No, they're the knights in white labcoats championing the cause of some mythical Jo(e) Public who's supposedly too stupid to be able to differentiate between "pseudoscience" and the "truth" for themselves! Oh mirror, mirror ...

A higher level of truth here, taking a leaf out of Gentzen's Theorem, is that we're all complete idiots, as thoroughly deserving of the absolute contempt we so delight in heaping on people who don't see things quite the same we we do as we think they are. How on Earth can we delude ourselves into thinking we're an intelligent species if, after all these millenia, we still haven't taken on board that the substrate of "reality" is largely a massive feedback loop returning to us the nature of nothing more and nothing less than ourselves? There is no "truth" "out there" that we don't have a hand in creating, so arguments about "proof" become merely muscle-flexing, testosterone-fueled demonstrations of the collective strength of belief in any one way of seeing things. (See the essay Unscientific Attachment for more on this.)

Think how much more could be achieved if, instead of this continual tilting at windmills, we stopped defending our corners in the interests of finding out what it's really all about? Not just in medicine, but in all walks of life. With the way things are going, we'll have to do this sooner or there'll be no later. At least, not one that involves humankind.

October 19 2007 | | | Permalink

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Atropa belladonna

October 19 2007

New homeopathic resource

This one deserves an entry to itself (as opposed to just an addition to the Links page).

Vilma Bharatan of London's Natural History Museum has been working for a number of years on a database of plant/funghal names in homeopathy, translating them to their modern equivalents. Her work was published in book form in 2002, but the updated and expanded database is now online, freely accessible and searchable.

From the site:

"Homeopathic remedies have accumulated gradually over the past 200 years. During this time, the plants and fungi in the various Homeopathic Materiae Medicae have received a variety of epithets, although these are mostly Latin names. Often, the naming of these plant remedies has not followed any recognised botanical or medical code and, despite having some resemblance to the modern botanical system, nearly half of these names needed updating with respect to the current International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN; Greuter et al ., 2000; McNeill et al., 2006). In response to this problem, of outdated and often inaccurate nomenclature, a new checklist was prepared (Bharatan et al ., 2002; Bharatan and Humphries, 2002). This checklist together with the online searchable database can be updated in line with the revisions of the Botanical Code that take place every 6 years."

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Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.


smeddum.net – Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard