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This book review is reprinted with permission from Volume 19, Spring 2006Edition of Homeopathic Links.
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The Second Simillimum: A Disease-Specific Complement to Individual Treatment
By: Peter Chappell
216 pages, paperback, ISBN 80710334
Reviewed by Ashley Ross, South Africa
This is an intriguing, unsettling, and inspiring book!
Our colleague, Peter Chappell, is an interesting man. At different times, and by different people, he has been hailed as a homeopathic genius, and been criticised as a madman heretic. Perhaps his most controversial assertions have been around PC1, and his claim that this 'simple' remedy goes beyond what we as homeopaths have come to expect/accept from our remedies, and acts directly on the 'disease' rather than on the individual, and his/her idiosyncratic 'reaction'.
This beautifully presented book provides an overview of the philosophical and practical evolution of the 'method' which gave rise to PCl, and the many disease-specific PC remedies which followed. The style is engaging, and the structure logical and free-flowing. The material, however, is extremely thought-provoking, and I cannot imagine a single homeopath who will not feel 'threatened' by some of Chappell's assertions.
He argues that many of our homeopathic 'ideals', derived from Hahnemann's teaching (and 19th century understanding!) are evidently less than we would like to believe them to be; that present-day classical homeopathic practice, in most cases, is inadequate in producing fundamental change in advanced chronic pathology, and that it is time for a re-think of some of most basic and dearly-held assumptions. Homeopathy is built on a 200-year-old tradition, and as a community we are reluctant to deviate too far from the 'tried-and-tested' paths of our Masters. This book challenges us all to think out of the box, and perhaps it is time we did.
I was particularly intrigued by the introduction of the concept of CEED (Chronic Effects of Epidemic Disease), a relative, of sorts, of our familiar miasmatic understanding. This concept forms the basis of the disease-specific method, which is elaborated in some detail. It all makes a tremendous amount of sense, at one level, but I cannot (yet) state that I agree entirely.
As a practising Classical homeopath at the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, I have been working closely with African traditional healers, and hundreds of severely ill AIDS sufferers. I have shared many of the experiences related in the book, but also have different insights into what might be going on, and to what my well-selected (when I am so fortunate!) remedies do achieve. I have experimented with PC1, and have enjoyed success with it. I understand the logic and those components of the methodology which have been revealed, but confess to having personal difficulty with administering a remedy prepared by a methodology about which I am not fully informed. This does not imply that I 'know' what my standard homeopathic remedy IS, but I do know how it is made, and physics allows me to understand its fundamental nature.
I appreciate Chappell's argument for withholding knowledge of key components, but I fear that some will approach what is essentially a ground-breaking concept in homeopathic methodology with circumspection until such key components are revealed. This is regrettable.
'The Second Simillimum' is critical reading for any serious homeopath. This book represents a truly novel exploration of some of our most basic assumptions, and a challenge to rethink many of these.