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Why Less is More

"Less is more." - Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) was a German-American architect who is regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. His style was marked by great clarity and simplicity. He used the paradoxical aphorism "Less is more" to state he treasured minimalistic architecture, and thus simplicity to look at. How far it makes sense, depends a lot on interpretation.

How far does the Mies aphorism sum up how less of a substance gives more of a homeopathic remedy? It can be explained in at least two ways:

  1. One is that by the preparation process, the original substance is diluted so massively that in the end there is not a particle of it left in the remedy. Thus, one tiny amount of substances may give rise to many bottles of remedies - millions of them, in fact. It is much like the jug of oil in Sarepta, a jug that did not run dry (1 Kings 17:10-16), an image of resources that are not exhausted.

  2. The other way is that diluted homeopathic remedies are told to be stronger than less diluted remedies. That is a claim, and is generally accepted among homeopaths. Prepared remedies with increasingingly less and less of the original substance, are told to be "more and more" - that is, told to be stronger, have longer-lasting effects than less diluted preparations of the same substance. "Less is more" applies when a remedy is said to "have stronger and more long-lasting effects" - is more of a remedy - than the first few dilutions.

The "skin and bones" architecture of Mies is called "the rational approach." The practical results matter much. There has been many theories about how homeopathic remedies may work, even though they do not contain substance (except sugar or alcohol). If theories fail and practice survives, it could mean something works there. And try to find and stick to hard facts or basics if you find any.

Adjust your hopes or faith to this: homeopathy is "a shady business" in some ways that matter, because the effects seldom are documented in standardised ways that rigid statistical approaches use. That does not mean there are no effects: there is room in the middle between yes and no. In that room research thrives.

On our walks through life, the guidance of Buddha tenets concerning beliefs and traditions may give extra help here.

Buddha against blind believing

Ma anussavena. Do not believe something just because it has been passed along and retold for many generations.

Ma paramparaya. Do not believe something merely because it has become a traditional practice.

Ma itikiraya. Do not believe something simply because it is common opinion.

Ma Pitakasampadanena. Do not believe something just because it is cited in a text.

Ma takkahetu. Do not be [mis]led by [insensible] logic.

Ma nayahetu. Do not believe something merely because it accords with your [id-grounded, cherished] views.

Ma akaraparivitakkena. Do not believe something by considering only outward appearance.

Ma ditthinijjhanakkhantiya. Do not believe something just because you like the idea, led by preconceived notions (and the theory thereby reflected as an approval)

Ma bhabbarupataya. Do not believe something because the speaker seems trustworthy, or what seems acceptable; do not be led by what some seeming believable one says.

Ma samano no garu ti. Do not believe something thinking, "This is what our teacher says". [Do not be led (blindly) by what your teacher tells you is so.]

Buddha finally says that what to go for is well tested, wholesome, praised by the wise and lead to well-being, prosperity and happiness. A result of such a long-range endeavour is "good, sane and sensible conformity", by the way. [More]

Buddha' teachings are fit for science-minded persons, and in harmony with the proverb "Seeing is believing". By less blind, unverified belief, and fewer such beliefs, we may arrive at something better - which is "more" - more fit for living. It is to be hoped. A little bit of hope may not harm you, especially if it shows up to have been well founded . . . And if the good hope and good faith amounts to help you in themselves (placebo effects are about it), it might be good if long-lasting. At any rate, Buddha advocates a provisional faith in his set-up way of life. The sensible "try and see" approach is somehow fit for homeopathic treatment too, as long as clear evidence this way or that way is largely missing, which is the case today.

It is good to learn main skills for making a living and get accepted too.

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Less is more, homeopathy teachings, homeopathic remedies, Literature  

Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, et al. Architect as Educator. Mies van der Rohe Centennial Project. Chicago: Illinois Institute of Technology, 1986.

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