Interview with Mr Vinton McCabe; Learning to Thrive Through Homeopathy
Brief ProfileVinton McCabe has thirty years experience as a homeopathic author and educator. He has published ten books on homeopathy, including his most recent, "What Is Homeopathy?" In addition, he is the author/publisher of the Kindle exclusive "Homeopathy in Thought and Action" series of educational booklets. He is also a book reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
1) I saw on your profile that one of your interests lies in denying gravity. How do you do it?
I am a big fan of breaking the rules.
And even a bigger fan of the power of belief.
There is a scripture that I just love that speaks to this. It is in the New Testament book of Romans, chapter 4. There we read about the power of belief:
Hoping against hope, Abraham believed that he would become 'the father of many nations,' according to what was said, 'So numerous shall your descendants be.' He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
I love that. I love the humor of it, when his body is referred to as “already as good as dead” and I love the message of it—that if we believe enough we can manifest anything. There are no limitations in life except for those we set for ourselves.
I try to constantly test this. I try to not allow myself to set limitations for myself, but, instead, to try and find creative ways in which I can eliminate limitations and, instead, create new opportunities. I’ve struggled all my life with that little word “no” and will work very, very hard never to hear or accept it.
So notice that, when I talk, I talk about denying gravity and not just defying it. So I don’t mean that I tie a towel around my neck and jump off the garage roof trying to fly like Superman. No. As I see it, to defy something is to accept that it exists and is in authority over you. To deny something is to refuse to accept the authority, even the existence of those things that seek to control us. I try and do something that allows me to defy gravity every day, even if it is just getting up on a day when gravity seems very, very heavy.
2) Vinton, you are considered an expert on trends and pop culture. Tell us what is latest in New York, both from a localite and a tourist’s point of view?
There is one trend that I am noticing that makes me very happy. I see it both in theatrical presentations and in literature.
With the economic collapse and the collapse of the world of publishing, something very odd is happening: we are returning at last to the idea that story telling is an artform. That a story well told, a story that enlightens, amuses and entertains is a worthy thing in and of itself. We are learning again—perhaps because so many theaters and publishers cannot afford the huge names or the special effects—that words have power, whether those words are read or heard spoken, and that words can literally change lives. As someone who spends a good deal of his time reading and reviewing books, this makes me very happy.
The other big shift that we are seeing right now in New York City has to do with sexuality and how sexuality is perceived. The new motto is “you don’t have to be gay to be gay,” which means that it is all right for a heterosexual man or woman to adopt a bit of the gay sensibility for themselves—that they can learn to love theater and music and all the arts and they can develop taste in furnishings and food and fashion and still be themselves. They need not be afraid of something that seems “other” or “alien.”
I am a great believer in inclusiveness in all things. I think that as members of one race or religion or sexuality come to terms with those who are different, who were born to another race, or sexual preference, or within another political culture both sides of the equation benefit. And, especially, I believe that when one reaches the point of being open to the viewpoints of others, wants to learn from them, that we take a step closer to being the one race—the human race—that we are meant to be.
If there were one word I’d like to eliminate from all our vocabularies, it is the word “other.” I’d love it if we could stop seeing how we are different from “others” and, instead, concentrate on how we are all the same.
I write frequently on the subjects relating to arts, literature and pop culture on my blog “The Abject Literator.” You can find it here:
3) Tell us in brief about your health struggles and how you overcame them through homeopathy.
The first sentence of my first book on homeopathy, Let Like Cure Like, was, “I was born sick.” And a sentence in the book that I am now working on, The Heretic’s Handbook on Healing goes, “I know how illness can curdle your life.”
In my three decades of studying homeopathy, I have, again and again seen so many others who share my life’s experience, people who became passionate about the need for healing in the lives of others because they themselves were once very ill.
When I wrote, “I was born sick,” it was no understatement. I was born in my tenth month and was firmly planted in my mother’s womb upside down, which is to say right side up, with my feet firmly planted as if I had no intention of being born at all.
My mother never let me forget the many many hours of pain she went through in giving birth to me. And from the moment of birth, it was quite apparent that I was a very sickly baby. I had one eye that turned out to the wall. I was severely underweight, and, as it was soon learned, allergic to everything. The list of foods I couldn’t eat and things I could not be allowed to touch or breathe went on and on. No pets. No milk. No wheat or other grains. No citrus. No dust. No pollen. On and on.
To put it in terms of homeopathic philosophy, I was born with a compromised Vital Force, one that had been bottled and blocked by miasms.
Only I had yet to hear about homeopathic medicine. Nor had my parents, who saw no alternative to “modern” Western (which is to say allopathic) medicine. I was taken from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, to no avail. The sickly child got sicker and sicker. I developed severe asthma as well and can remember the many spells in which I gasped for breath.
I also managed to catch every cold or flu that went around and was usually sick, one way or another, from the moment the first colored leaf fell from the tree to the time the tulips came back up in the garden. And then spring allergies would begin.
It was such a time. I learned well how illness could limit my life, restrict my idea of what is was possible for me to do.
By the time I was a young adult, I had developed IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, on top of everything else. I was caused in part, no doubt, by my many food allergies. But I also suspect that it was partially (if not mostly) caused by the many treatments I have been given. The many times I was given a steroid in order to control an allergy or asthma attack, or an antibiotic given to (fruitlessly) fight a cold germ.
As I grew older, the digestive disorder grew much worse. I went again from doctor to doctor and was again given many different diagnoses. I was told by one very well known expert that my IBS had evolved toward Crohn’s Disease and that I was well on the way to colon cancer. Doctors were discussing operations with me before I had reached the age of thirty.
Finally, a dear friend named Peggye said to me, “Vinton, you’ve tried everything else, now won’t you go see my homeopath?” And she was right—I had tried literally everything that I could think to try or that any of the many doctors I had seen had suggested trying. Everything except that operation. I was not ready of that.
So I finally listened to Peggye, who had be on my back to go and see her doctor for some time. But, at that time, I equated homeopathy with witchcraft. I was strictly allopathic in my thinking and in my approach to illness and cure. But that would soon change.
I went to see Peggye’s doctor and, I had to admit, the first visit was nothing like anything I’d ever been through before. But it put me at my ease. I was asked a lot of personal questions, but I was told one thing that made me sit up and take notice. Pearlyn, the doctor, told me that part of what she wanted to offer me in terms of treatment was an education. She not only wanted me to get better, but she wanted me to understand the process by which I could get better. And she was a good as her word, always willing to patiently answer my questions, always willing to lend me a book.
But the most important thing was that within days of my first visit, I was feeling much improved. She gave me the remedy Sulphur, at first in 12C, which she taught me to take as needed, taught me to watch my own symptoms and take it when the symptoms called for it. Using this method, I was about 50% improved in the first week.
I wish I could say that the next 50% was corrected in the second week, but this was not the case. In order to lift the illness fully, I had to work through those layers of miasm, and to take different remedies in different potencies at different times, always following the symptoms, always working with them as they revealed themselves.
The remedy that was finally and totally curative was one dose of Morgan Pure, 1M. It was, of course, one of Edward Bach’s bowel nosodes, which began for me a long-time study of Bach’s philosophy and methods.
When I think back now to the years in which I had troubles with my bowels, it is like I am watching another person—a person who literally had to know where every bathroom was on his route to work, to anywhere. Whose life was limited by the disease and by the foods, etc, that were associated with it. It’s been perhaps a quarter of a century since I have had any sort of bout of IBS/Crohn’s. The fact that I have been untroubled for so long now shows the power of homeopathy.
When you are healed through the use of homeopathic remedies, you are healed indeed, with no side effects, no long-term damage, no surprises. That which has been released from your system through the use of homeopathics is healed indeed; it is gone and it will not return.
This is what fuels my passion for homeopathy, why I have taught it and written about it for some many years. I have, in my own life, found a method for healing—for real healing—how could I not want to share that news with everyone else I meet?
4) Tell us something about how you became a book reviewer and the most interesting review you have done in your life.
When I was very young—first out of college—I marched into the office of the local weekly newspaper and asked if they had a movie critic. They did not, and I walked out of the office with a new job. I went to see a movie a week and got paid back the cost of the movie plus five dollars for my written opinion. I had no particular skill, just a love of movies and a newly-earned degree in English Literature.
Over the years that followed, I built up experience reviewing nearly everything—films, plays, books, restaurants, television. If I could be paid to give my opinion of it, I typed it right up.
But over a period of time, and especially as I began to have my own books published and my own plays produced, I began to realize how much power we give reviewers and how a single bad review could cost a creative artist the benefit of four or five years of hard work. I came to the conclusion that I never wanted to write reviews of anything again.
Cut to this past year, I was a member of an online community and was taking part in the discussions. Another member of the community asked me if I had any interest in reviewing books. I replied that I had reviewed many in my time and spent some time thinking about it. I came to the conclusion that, given the fact that I’ve had ten books published over the years and have had to deal with many reviews of my own books, that I could now come back to reviewing books in a new way. I’ve joined the staff of The New York Journal of Books, one of the internet’s best book review sites.
And I think, I made a good decision to return to reviewing after many years away. I try never to go for the sarcastic comment or the easy joke. I try to put myself in the place of the author as I consider his or her work and to respect the amount of work that has been put into any book. When I begin reading, I always begin with the expectation that I will fully love the book. So each book I review starts off with a grade “A” in my mind, but by virtue of the fact that the book exists, against all odds. The grade then is assessed more fairly at the end of the book, as I ask myself if the book fulfilled its promise.
The hardest books to review are those that earnestly try to fulfill their promise but fail to do so. It is easy to dismiss celebrity books or how-to books that are obviously written for the money or as an ego-balm. But when an author attempts art and fails to achieve the all that he or she set out to do, well that is rather heartbreaking. As a reviewer, I try to go out of my way to show respect for a writer like that, even if I cannot praise the book that was his or her final product.
The most interesting books are the opposite of this: those for which the reader has little or no expectation; those books from which the words seem to leap off the page. I could name some, but the titles would likely not be known my many, as they tend to be smaller books by smaller presses—books truly written with artistry in mind.
Those who want to take a look at The New York Journal of Books should go here: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/
And those who would like to jump to my own reviewer’s page at the Journal should to here: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/vinton-rafe-mccabe
5) Why is your Blog called Psora, Psora?
The concept of psora intrigues me and has intrigued me for three decades now. The idea of mis-function, so close in concept to the most basic concept of dis-ease. In both cases, the why of it mystifies. Why do we become dis-eased? How does function move into mis-function? These are the basic principles, the basic questions that humanity has asked about illness and health since day one.
And Hahnemann gives them an answer of sorts: the idea of psora. Of the itch. How everything, every illness can come from that little itch, a bit of discomfort, how it grows and winds and digs deep roots from there to become horrible ailments; how it twists and turns and degrades all that is healthy and fresh with its touch; how that which is functionally wrong becomes, with time and the disruptions of psora, pathologically wrong. Psora, which is still that small thing, that joke of a disease—an itch—becomes a many-headed hydra, a monster that cannot die.
And is there any person so healthy as to be truly rid of psora? Or anyone born is such a beautiful state of health as not to have psora already twisted within their system?
I look around me and I see psora. People whose lives are blocked, who repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again, without learning the lesson. Without even recognizing the need to learn it.Who live their lives always on the verge of surrender.That’s psora.
Or the doctors offices and hospitals filled with those who are suffering from so many things, from allergies, from pain—arthritis in all its forms, for instance—or chronic fatigue, or any other of the long, drawn-out painful and draining conditions that are seemingly without cause, that just are, and that’s psora.
Or people who cannot stretch, cannot renew their spirits, who are caught in the cycles of life—that which we have to do daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually, all without meaning, all without apparent cause—who have lost the meaning in life but trudge along. And that’s psora as well.
Where other health issues form solid brick walls that we have to push through or climb over, psora presents as a wall of goo, of Silly Putty, that we have to reckon with, that we have to find some way of dealing with before we are absorbed into the faceless matter, like in the old Steve McQueen movie “The Blob.” (I think it has become a standard horror image—the face pushing through a flesh-colored thing that covers in, clings to it, making us all feel the same sense of suffocation because, subconsciously, we all know the pull and the slimy weight of psora.)
When the time came that I decided I wanted to start a blog about a year ago now, I had already gotten rather active online, especially in the various homeopathic groups online. And I had chosen the screen name “psoric,” so my blog sort of named itself. It references the body/mind/spirit connection with the repetition of the word and also, I think, creates a good drumbeat sound in the head on reading it.
I update Psora PsoraPsora frequently, and everyone is invited to give it a read and to subscribe to it at no cost, should they choose to. To visit my blog, click here:
6) Tell us something about your new book on homeopathy.
After spending years and years trying to cram as much information into each of my books, so that a book like Practical Homeopathy was more than a thousand pages long in manuscript form, I recently had an epiphany. I realized that many readers are easily overwhelmed by giving them too much information all at once and that many learn easier by taking the information in in smaller bites. Therefore, after nine big fat books, I wrote one that is very slim.
It’s called simply What is Homeopathy? and the whole of the books sixty pages is taken up answering that question. It was my intent to create a basic book, the perfect first book for anyone to have on the subject. Or the perfect book to give to a loved one or friend who is interested in knowing about homeopathy and why so many people are interested in it.
You wouldn’t think that, after more than two hundred years since Hahnemann first coined the word, anyone would need such a book. But I am constantly surprised at how many people today use the word “homeopathy” as sort of a generic term to explain anything that is natural or holistic. It seems that, more than ever, we need to learn to define the word homeopathy and to define it well. I decided to take the task on myself and was surprised, while writing, at how hard it is. Indeed, I was happy that I waited until I had decades of experience under my belt to try and explain what homeopathy is, how it works and what it has to offer the world in terms of healings that can impact the full man or woman in body, mind and spirit all at once.
The link to my book What is Homeopathy?is here:
And those who would like to visit my website should follow this link
Thanks Vinton so much for the mesmerising interview.