IS IT UNFAIR TO DISCUSS THE HISTORICAL LIMITATIONS OF SAMUEL HAHNEMANN?
Human knowledge develops and unfolds itself through a never ending dialectic process of simultaneous assimilation and negation of history. It is impossible for anybody to proceed with his intellectual quest without drawing resources from the treasures of knowledge amassed by the by-gone generations. Obviously, no genius can totally overcome the objective limitations imposed upon him by the space-time context of his life and activities. Development of human knowledge should be percieved in relation with this objective framework of historical evolution. Man knows today much more than he knew yesterday. Certainly he would know infinitely more tomorrow, than what he knows today. The knowledge of yesterdays, however great they might have been, were much incomplete than that of today. Tomorrow, human knowledge would be definitely more expansive and more comprehensive than that of today. The basis of scientific perspective of knowledge lies in realizing this fundamental truth.
We should never forget the objective historical context of 18th century Germany, where Samuel Hahnemann lived and developed his novel therapeutic system. Two hundred and more eventful years have passed since it happened. It is not to be seen as a sin to say that his thoughts and propositions were definitely confined by the limitations imposed by the infantile level of science and technology then existed there. Even though the the essence of the therapeutic principle he developed is capable of transcending the boundaries of centuries to come, it would be unfair to try to evaluate his achievements and contributions detatched from his objective time-space framework.
Human knowledge has attained an ever greater maturity of more than two centuries, compared with the conditions that existed when Hahnemann lived. It is an undisputable fact that man now knows much more about the diverse phenomena of this universe than in the era of Hahnemann. Hahnemann had developed his ideas depending upon the existing knowledge about the universe available to him. Naturally it is bound to bear the limitations imposed by the objective historical and geographical context.
Obviously, modern science and its methodology were in its infancy in those days. Had he happened to live in this world 200 years later, the towering genius of Hahnemann would have presented to humanity a therapeutic system totally different, and much more advanced and scientific than what we now call Homeopathy. He would have definitely rewritten completely what we preach and practice in the name of Homeopathy today.
All these facts underlines the crucial relevance of a complete re-reading and reclaiming of the theory and practice of Homeopathy in conformity with modern scientific and historical context. Whenever we try to learn the teachings of Hahnemann, we should be on the look out to understand what he would have said about those subjects, if he were elaborating them in the modern context. We should not take his written words as if they were ultimates, unquestionable and beyond any scope of further revisions and improvements. We should honor the great master by following his teachings as valuable guide to tread forward, and not as lifeless dogmas. This is the essence of dialectical methodology.