Reprinted with permission from: Defend Democracy Press –11/06/2016
On Man, Medicine, Society and Homeopathy (and also on the health of politicians and on money, power and health) a talk of George Vithoulkas with Dimitris Konstantakopoulos.
The rapid development of medicine in the 20th century, due to the large-scale implementation in the art of therapy, of the tremendous breakthroughs in fundamental and applied science, especially physics, chemistry, biology, but also of information technologies (electronics, lasers, biotechnologies), seemed like a miracle, possibly capable of addressing some of the most painful problems in the history of our species. However, ever since the “decades of defiance and contestation” (1960-80), there have been voices of protest, questioning the “strategy” of traditional medicine itself -suppressing symptoms yet not curing their causes, while pointing out the serious side effects of treatments, and especially those with chemical medicines which were massively introduced in medical practice, after World War II.
Since then, there has been an ever increasing interest in the so-called alternative methods of treatments, which keeps growing despite the objections of conventional medicine. These include homeopathy, an approach that prevailed in a great part of the western world and beyond it during the 19th century, before fading into obscurity in the 20th century.
It would be the Greek George Vithoulkas, who would revive it and reestablish it on a global level as a minority, yet important trend in the field of medicine, also fighting for its appreciation and its reinstatement in its proper form that was the individualization of the treatment for each patient. Honored with the Right Livelihood Award (often called the “Alternative Nobel Prize) for this contribution of his, Professor emeritus at the University of the Aegean and at the Moscow and Kiev Medical Academies, honorary doctor of several medical schools, George Vithoulkas has also established the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy in the Greek island of Alonnisos, making his “adopted island” the global center for homeopathy.
On the occasion of the republication of his book “The New Dimension in Medicine” by Patakis Publications, George Vithoulkas kindly agreed to answer our questions.
D.K. Mr. Vithoulkas, in your book you claim that conventional medicine has failed its mission to prevent or cure chronic illness, as well as that it is principally responsible for the degeneration of people’s health. Why are you saying this? Advocates of conventional medicine will demur that it has worked miracles, that it has dramatically increased life expectancy.
G.V. It would take a long book to answer such a question, but this little book I wrote might include some hints. What I mean is that conventional medicine has failed in its therapeutic approach. It has made great progress in surgery and in the field of technological developments, but it has taken the wrong path when it comes to therapeutics, that is in the use, and many times the abuse of chemical medicines and hormones in order especially to fight against chronic conditions.
It is certainly true that it has increased life expectancy, but at the same time it has degraded general health and quality of life.
D.K. What do you mean by that?
G.V. What we know now is that serious chronic diseases can be suppressed, but not cured. The suppression of symptoms, however, forces the disease process to go deeper into the organism, i.e. into the emotional and mental level.
D.K. Please give us an example.
G.V. A person receiving a suppressive treatment for any chronic condition runs the risk of manifesting mental and emotional disorders, such as extreme irritability, stress, depression, sexual disorders, which initially don’t seem to interfere with the person’s social and professional life; but over time, the disorder focuses more and more on the mental and emotional levels and, almost deviously and maliciously, undermines the person’s general health. In the last few decades, these effects have emerged in the Western world, with the population suffering almost in its entirety from mental deviations and disorders.
D.K. What is your response to those who claim that homeopathy and “alternative treatments” in general are a risky form of quackery? Which alternative approaches, other than homeopathy, do you embrace and which do you dismiss or don’t consider to be effective?
G.V. Such simplifications are sheer superficiality, throwing the baby out with the bathwater for creating impressions. Today, there are hundreds of “therapeutic proposals” that accomplish nothing but at the same time deceive the mentally weak and uneducated people of the western world. This one-size-fits-all mentality, bundling all these “options” together with certain serious alternative forms of treatment, like homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, dietetics, physical hygiene – which are all tried and established therapeutic approaches- creates confusion that serves all others except the poor patients, who get lost in this maze of options. Certainly, according to my personal understanding, each of these few therapeutic systems that I mentioned, have results in certain conditions and under certain circumstances. My field of expertise is homeopathy, which I consider the most organized and effective therapeutic option, probably also covering the greatest range of health conditions. However, we shouldn’t give the impression that homeopathy can cure everything or that it is easy in its practice.
D.K. You remain thoroughly critical of the use of antibiotics, penicillin, and cortisone, among others. Yet, aren’t these the miracle medicines, the means necessary to treat infection? What would become of us without them?
G.V. It is true that many times these medicines can save the life of people with serious infections, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that these patients won’t suffer the side effects of these medicines, which might affect them for the rest of their lives. In chronic illness, however, things are much worse. When someone develops a serious chronic condition the doctor’s advice is that the patient should come to terms with the fact that they will be dealing with this condition for the rest of their life, with the assistance of medicines, which almost never cure but only offer palliation. It is in certain of such cases that homeopathy can intervene and restore the body’s lost balance, so that the person doesn’t depend on chemical medicines.
D.K. You are not the only one who has criticisms for the bases of modern healthcare and the way it is organized. However, and despite the promotion of ideas such as yours, things haven’t changed sufficiently. To what do you attribute that?
G.V. There is an entire healthcare system established by standard medicine which can’t collapse from one day to the next. This system will surely tumble one day since it’s not based on a humane practice of medicine focusing on the health of the people. The interests of pharmaceutical industries, the ambitions of medical scientists, as well as the competition between them, the urge for money and glory are so strong that the true concern for a humane medicine is secondary. We’re talking about the established system of health care as a whole, but we shouldn’t of course disregard that doctors, especially those working in hospitals, are battling with self-sacrifice to help their patients on a daily basis.
D.K. In your book, you describe egoism as a form of illness. This position seems to be in direct contrast with the established ideology prevailing in our society. Are you not going too far?
G.V. This view is the result of my experience in treating thousands of patients. While taking their medical history I discovered the role egoism and selfishness plays in generating disease. For instance, a selfish person is affected much easier and much more severely than a modest and humble person. Someone who thinks he knows everything at some point he will become the object of other people’s scorn, and will be deeply hurt and then the pain will be deep and strong; the stress of an insult will be enormous for an egotistical person, and there’s a strong possibility in such instances of developing a chronic disorder to which the person is predisposed. Naturally, it’s not only selfishness that may trigger inherent chronic diseases, but it still constitutes an important factor. I should certainly say that, to a certain extent, a healthy “pride” can be useful, when it helps to maintain one’s dignity.
D.K. In your opinion, what is the relationship between the moral “structure”, the mental/spiritual state and physical health?
G.V. The more down-to-earth, modest, and amiable someone is, the less risk he runs to become ill due to the stress from injustices, malice and insults directed at him. A person who has learned to forgive even when he has been blatantly wronged, protects himself from triggering his body’s inherent predisposition to chronic illness – which anyone could develop at any point but especially if the immune system is aggravated by strong negative emotions.
D.K. You have treated a lot of politicians and public figures. How do you explain that people who generally are not considered by society to be of particular moral integrity – like most politicians – , seem to have a remarkable ability to survive? Ultimately, who survive better, the good or the bad?