Back to home page Perceiving Rubrics of the Mind, By Dr. Farokh J. Master

This book review is reprinted with permission from Volume 16, Summer 2003 Edition of Homeopathic Links.
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Perceiving Rubrics of the Mind
By: Dr. Farokh J. Master

Published by B.JAIN LTD.
ISBN No. 81-7021-116-6
Paperback. 505 pages
1st Edition 1989, 2nd Edition 1998

Reviewed by Rene Hultier, France

Dr. Master has several books in print that are available from: Minimum Price Books online: @ URL: Most of the titles seem to reveal a clinical perspective on the subject of homeopathy. His publishers provide ample praise for the experiences that he shares with the homeopathic community.

The word 'perceiving' in the title of this book seems to be poorly chosen. To perceive is defined as meaning to 'become aware of' through the senses. This implies far more than 'understanding'. Had the title been slightly different then maybe I would not feel misled. For example, 'perceiving the meaning of rubrics of the mind' or more accurately 'understanding the definitions of mind rubrics'.

I had hoped for a work, which would assist in bridging the gap between what is said by the patient in case taking and selecting the appropriate rubric from the mind section of repertories. Maybe this could include discriminating between similar rubrics - comparing subtle differences in meaning. Observing and studying the way in which a patient uses words and structures language. Analysing language structure to find the centre of a case.

I had hoped for a book that was based on case taking whicI1leads toward finding rubrics but this is not what Dr. Master's book is about. This is a book that is about the repertories and the definitions of the words in the rubrics. As such, it therefore merits comparison with other available works of similar intent.

Two such books that I feel are reliable and useful are: 'The Mind Defined' by Laural Part and Rebecca Preston, ISBN No.1 9011 47002 Published by Dynamis Books. 'A Modern Guide and Index to the Mental Rubrics of Kent's Repertory' by David Sault, ISBN No. 90 8008 451 4 Published by Merlyn.

The former of these lakes the rubrics from Kent's Repertory and offers the dictionary definitions from webster's dictionaries published in 1847 and 1867. The words chosen for definition are classified into four groups, each of which has a clearly identifiable symbol. These four groups are:
-Rubrics from Kent's Mind Section
-Sub-Rubrics from Kent's Mind Section
-Sub-definitions of obscure words used within a rubric.
-Useful words which help our understanding of Repertory [not being parts of rubrics]
There are no cross-references. We are directed to seek modern additions in modern repertories by consulting modern dictionaries. There are a total of 739 definitions.

The second of these is again based upon Kent's Repertory. This is a more ambitious work of a high standard of research. Definitions of words in rubrics are taken from Webster's dictionary published in 1884. Most rubrics have extensive cross-references to selected mind rubrics. Where necessary there are cross-references to related physical rubrics. Additionally there are many entries of contemporary ideas, which are not rubrics but are modern 'themes'. These entries list appropriate rubrics, which are most similar in meaning. There is a total of 1930 terms. Some are contemporary, many are 19th century. Most list large numbers of cross-references.

Dr. Master's book lists 1182 references to rubrics. Each rubric lists the repertory source. These are Kent, Boenninghausen, Synthetic and Vithoulkas. Each rubric is then analysed under several headings. These are:
-Meaning - These are taken from dictionaries, which are not identified. Hence they may be original 19th century, contemporary or somewhere in between.
-Cross-references - Identifies similar rubrics.
-Explanation - This is a heading, which is not present for every rubric. When there are explanations they seem to be Dr. Master's personal interpretation and reflection upon possible causes, or elaborations upon defined meanings.
-Disease Condition - It is understood that these are 'The names of the important psychiatric diseases, which have the given rubric as one of their symptoms'. This is seen to be necessary where Dr. Master recommends that 'The homeopath uses all the conventional diagnostic investigation and procedures to diagnose the correct mental disorder according to the standard format given in the 3'd edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder'.
-Important Drugs - Lists the abbreviations of the Homeopathic remedies which Dr. Master feels to be required when considering each rubric.

In consideration of each of the above headings, the following observations are appropriate in a most general way:

MEANING: Without a cited source of definitions this is not as helpful as it could be. The practice of taking the references from dictionaries that were contemporary at the time of the compilation of the repertory is more useful. Many of the rubrics are defined correctly, however occasional ones are bewildering, for example:
286 Darkness aggravates. Meaning - in a state of ignorance
317 Deserted. Meaning - To forsake or leave.
315 Depression. Meaning - A condition marked by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, and feelings of dejection and guilt.
327 Development, mental, arrested. Meaning - The act of growing, a product or result of growing.

CROSS-REFERENCES: This is the most helpful category, especially for anyone who is not familiar with repertories.

EXPLANATIONS: Not every rubric is given an explanation as well as a definition of meaning. Dr. Master seems to have gone to a lot of trouble to use this category to develop his opinions about certain rubrics. Sometimes these are very obvious and specific. For example the rubric: 'Impolite'. Dr. Master gives the meaning as: not polite, discourteous, uncivil, rude in manners. The explanation: some people are impolite and do not show respect or courtesy for others. Other times the explanations seem to be quite subjective, often fanciful. For example, the rubric: 'Obscene'. Dr. Master gives the meaning as: offensive to accepted standard of decency. Inciting lustful feeling, lewd. The explanation is a person who is impure in language or action e.g. a lady who is immodest in her style of dress and behaviour. With so much human activity that could be used as an adequate example of obscenity this one seems to resonate most particularly with Dr. Master's personal issues. If this is compared with the reference in the book 'Mind Defined' we find: Offensive to chastity and delicacy, impure, expressing or presenting to the mind or view something, which delicacy, purity and decency forbid to be exposed. Foul, filthy, offensive, disgusting. The latter enables us to include the expressions and communications of acts of violence and cruelty and probably much more within the rubric obscene, whilst the former chooses mini skirts and halter-tops. Occasionally the explanations must be seen as misleading. For example the rubric: Music indifference to. Dr. Master's explanation is: certain people are so sensitive that any form of music increases their complaints or makes them sad, suicidal etc. For example the rubric: 'Paranoia'. Dr. Master's explanation is: Here a person has a delusion and feels that he is a king living in a palace with a crown on his head, though in reality he may be a pauper or a person who is always in fear of being killed or poisoned.

DISEASE CONDITIONS: Almost all of the rubrics include this category. Almost all of the disease conditions referred to are labels, which are taken from the realm of psychiatry and conventional health care. As such it is questionable whether or not these references are of any use to a classical homeopath. For example the rubric: 'Depression' has references to the following disease conditions: Endogenous Reactive Schizophrenia Disorder, Organic Psychosis and Schizophrenia. These facts in no way help me to perceive when this rubric is an essential part of the totality of symptoms and modalities which characterise the case of any individual patient. General purpose labels are seen to be helpful to determine which group of drugs are to be selected in orthodox allopathic practices.

IMPORTANT DRUGS: For anyone to want to buy this book it would seem likely that they will have a repertory in which case this category is wholly superfluous. It sometimes includes only bold type and italicised remedies. Other times it includes all the remedies in a rubric. It does not distinguish between degrees.

Occasionally the reason for choosing one rubric over another is not-cclear. For example Dr. Master chooses a rubric: 'Eating ameliorates mental symptoms', and 'Eats more as she should'. But he ignores the rubric - 'Eating, refuses to eat' and its sub-rubrics. With Dr. Master's evident affection for mental health conditions, this omission is surprising.

To summarise
I feel that this book fails to achieve the aims, which its title implies. If it were a book of Philosophies, which can accommodate speculative essays, it would not matter so much. Unfortunately it is a book which seeks to define aspects of language which is Homeopathy's vital tool. It has far too many inaccuracies, approximations, omissions and errors for it to be in any way reliable. There are other books of similar intent that succeed in this field. Maybe a medical student or practitioner of mental health who is moving toward homeopathy in orthodox practice would find this to be a very useful introduction. For students of Homeopathy to be able to feel confident that this work will be an adequate mapping of the meanings of rubrics, there would need to be extensive revisions. Given more work perhaps in collaboration with someone of analytic linguistic skills this book could become a more useful work. In terms of comparative costs/value for money - as priced by Minimum Price Books, $9 - it is certainly unbeatable.