“Aude sapere!” – Dare to think and try out for yourself

"Aude sapere!" - Dare to think for yourself.

The inception of Homeopathy in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century happened under the starry constellations of several philosophical currents. The Germany of Samuel Hahnemann‘s days was most notably under the sway of the Enlightenment, and one of its reactionary movements, that of Romanticisim.

Why do I bring this up, you may ask? – as if I am getting ready to trigger a mental dust allergy… 😉

Because, what happened then, is still of great importance today – in our information age, of mass media, social media, information, misinformation, disinformation, manipulation, propaganda, fake news, sensationalism and controversialism.

The motto used by Hahnemann in all the editions of his “Organon of the Healing Art” – the fundamental textbook of homeopathy – was the same used by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, in his defining work “What is Enlightenment?”, and harks back to sources in antiquity: 

Aude sapere – Latin for: Dare to know, to figure out, to think for yourself.

To think for ourselves – instead of following the opinions of authorities, experts or peers – seems to me a particularly important stance to adopt in our days and age, where facts, factoids and opinions are mixed up and dished out freely – ready-made thoughts for us to ingest, absorb, believe and regurgitate.

Freely, but rarely without a price.

This is powerful stuff. This type of thinking led amongst other things to the French Revolution, and has made the emergence of democracies possible.

Now and then, to think for oneself has something rebellious. Freedom cannot exist without it?

Additionally, making up one’s own mind about something, teaches us a variety of things:

  • It helps us to understand that fundamentally we human beings cannot know anything entirely and with complete certainty. 
  • And that consequently, there are many different view points to adopt on a certain topic, without one of them being right or wrong. 
  • Anything actually maybe beneficial, inconsequential or damaging to anybody at a particular time.

As an idealist, I believe that the acceptance of this uncertainty, ambiguity, controversy and even the paradoxical, can only help us all to unite and find better solutions for our common problems together – as this is our shared human condition. 

As a realist, I know, that only very few people have the energy available to maintain such a high level of open-mindedness. 

Falling back into some sort of fundamentalism, identifying with a particular ideology – or religious dogma or tribal roots – (or vested interests), is often more comfortable (and lucrative). We all have been there. 

And that is where greed redeemed is entering the scene!

Because we do not just want comfort and a sense of control. We also want adventure and recklessness. 

We want the order and the chaos. 


Our psyche wants to expand into the whole universe as if to swallow it. As if it was a giant amoeba trying to “become one” with its surrounding 😉

Otherwise, we feel limited, imprisoned and suppressed.

Definitely not free.

Definitely not whole.

Do you realise that we have crossed the threshold into the romantic realm: 

  • Where the lonely hero is battling with the world and him or herself,
  • getting to deeply understand his or her own being, and eventually 
  • encountering the mysterious, intriguing stranger, the unknown, maybe unknowable Other, leading to 
  • the most intense, dramatic and amazing experiences.

We know this plot from many books and movies.

It also is the backstory to much of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis or depth psychology, behind personal development movements, and behind much of what religion and spirituality has to offer: 

The psyche wants to be whole.

Now, what has this to do with homeopathy?

In homeopathy, we try to alleviate and remove physical and psychological problems in a gentle, quick and permanent way.

At the same time, we try to assist our patients to move on in their own personal process towards a stronger, more autonomous, richer and freer sense of self.

Do you get the whiff of Romanticism here?

And how do we do this?

By deeply listening to our patients, and searching for a matching remedy in the homeopathic Pharmakosmos, the Materia Medica. 

A remedy that is able to produce the same symptoms in healthy people, and therefore can also stimulate and nudge on the patient on his or her journey.

And here we encounter a different translation of “aude sapere!”, because the root meaning of “knowing” is actually “tasting”: 

Dare to taste! Dare to experience for yourself!

In homeopathy, we do not only want to think for ourselves. 

We also want to taste and experience for ourselves.

We want the unmediated, unmitigated first-hand experience.

We do not want hearsay or makebelief.

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

William Camden (1551 - 1623) Tweet

We want to eat the pudding ourselves.

And hear others people’s pudding storys as much as they enhance, enrich or contrast our own experience of the pudding.

As homeopaths, we want to know the personal experiences of our patients.

And on our journey towards healing, we want to have profound encounters with the Other in the various energies and substances of our universe, in so-called provings, to discover their therapeutic potential. 

Once we have tasted the pudding, we know the pudding.

Other people may say, we should not have eaten all the pudding. Or that we should have left some pudding for the others. 

But nobody can say, that there was never a pudding. Or pudding does not exist.

Because nobody can deny our personal experience.


Now, do you have any experiences you want to share about these thoughts?

Do you have stories about your own subjective experience and how it differs from the experience of others with you at the time?

Are you curious about, how homeopathy could enrich your experience of life?

Or would you be interested to participate in the proving of a new homeopathic remedy?

Then drop me a line in the comments below.

Or contact me via the chanel of your choice.Looking forward to hear from you.