Steps in Creating Synthesis

Dr. Frederik Schroyens. Gent, Belgium. First day of the summer, 1993

On behalf of all those who have joined their efforts together to create this first printed edition of Synthesis, we are happy to introduce you to our project.

Synthesis is not only the latest in a long line of Repertories; it consolidates one of the most ingenious homeopathic projects of this century. Synthesis is the enlarged Repertory of Kent, linked to the homeopathic software program RADAR.

RADAR was created in the early 1980's and Synthesis has been at the core of its development since the very beginning. Each new version has been the fruit of thousands of hours of work by many dedicated people.

Synthesis has been enlarged by additions, but only 15% to 30% at each step. It is this policy that is the key to the exceptional quality of our Repertory. Every version of Synthesis has been used millions of times by leading homeopaths during their daily work before it was used to build another edition. As can be expected from these critical minds, they have checked the rubrics and the remedies over and over again. Their comments were integrated into each new edition.

Today (1993), nearly 2000 RADAR users are running version 4 of Synthesis. What is being printed is version 5, on which we have been focusing as never before since July 1992. The request to have Synthesis printed was mentioned some time ago, but we did not feel the time was right.

Version 4 of Synthesis contains about 178,000 additions to Kent's Repertory. This number has "only" increased by a few thousand additions for version 5. The reason is that, from a certain point onwards, we decided to focus all our attention on the creation of a printed version of the highest quality.

By doing so, we had the opportunity to rethink a number of options and rules that are not consistently followed throughout other Repertories. Also new rules were created, because our sole aim was to enhance transparency, consistency, and readability.

We estimated the time had come to improve, on a qualitative level, the language and the structure Kent used, but within the hierarchical framework that most homeopaths were used to. We trust our option will prove the best way to counteract the mentality where progress in homeopathy has been measured by quantity, be it additions or megabytes available. This version of Synthesis provides a sound basis to make additions. Some additional reasons for the exceptional quality of this Repertory are:

  • Synthesis contains repeatedly checked additions from the standard homeopathic literature, including Kent, Hahnemann, Hering, Allen, Clarke, Boericke, Knerr, etc. Additions from living authors are added only with caution, most often only in the first degree unless confirmation of a higher degree comes from other authors. 
  • Thousands of corrections to Kent's Repertory have been made. The corrections are recognizable because the remedy in these instances mentions "K" (= Kent's Repertory) as well as the reference indicating the source of the correction. E.g.: "Delusion -starve - he must": kali-m. k,cl indicates this remedy in Kent was corrected on the basis of a symptom in Clarke's Dictionary. Rarely, this type of reference is also used to indicate a confirmation of Kent's information.
  • Thousands of symptoms have been rewritten following a clearly readable "symptom format". At each level, either the words follow each other in the normal order, or the sentence is split only once. This split is indicated by the sign " ; " to show the place from which one should start reading. This differs from the presence of a " , " which is used to improve readability. e.g.: "pieces, sensation as if head would fall in, when stooping" became: "pieces, on stooping; sensation as if head would fall in".
  • The structure of the symptoms has been made more transparent in order to avoid all possible ambiguity. This was especially the case for symptoms where subrubrics seemed to depend on superrubrics with a contradictory meaning. e.g.: "generals - trembling externally - internally - joy, from" became "generals - trembling externally - joy, from".
  • A list of combined modalities has consistently been applied throughout Synthesis: the parts of a same combined modality can always be found in the same order. e.g.: "cold wet weather" is to be searched as "weather - cold -wet"; never under "cold damp weather" and never under "damp cold weather".
  • The order of the groups of symptoms (sides, times, modalities, extensions, localizations, descriptions) was followed throughout and corrected wherever necessary.
    In addition, the specific order of the symptoms within each group was applied. e.g.: "teeth - pain": localizations precede anything else; "alternating sides" or "one side" are sometimes positioned between the sides, sometimes between the modalities.
  • Leading words have been positioned in front at each level and the alphabetical sorting was corrected accordingly. e.g.: "in bed" => "bed, in"; "as if frozen" => "frozen, as if", ...
  • Unclear symptoms have been completed on the basis of the Materia Medica, e.g.: "cough - sulphur fumes or vapor, sensation of agg." =>"cough - sulphur fumes or vapor; cough agg. by sensation of".
  • Whenever possible ambiguous words have been clarified. e.g.: "breast" has been replaced by "chest" or "mammae", "storm" by "stormy weather" or by "thunderstorm", ...
  • Some global superrubrics were created so that one can easily find related symptoms. e.g.: symptoms on "periodicity" or "children" have become subrubrics of "periodicity" and "children" respectively.
  • Similar rubrics were merged into one. e.g.: "nose - obstruction - alternating sides" and "nose - obstruction one side - alternately".
  • Symptoms were split into meaningful bits whenever this was not done by Kent. e.g.: "cough - loose exercise and warm room agg. " was split in two rubrics "exercise" and "warm room - going into a warm room" (for the correction: see Bromium in HR1)
  • The language of the Repertory has been completely revised. Nineteenth century spelling has been consistently replaced by modern American English spelling. The whole book has been spell-checked by computer. e.g.: "anaemia" became "anemia"; "diarrhoea": "diarrhea"; "faeces": "feces"; "haemorrhoids": "hemorrhoids"; ...
    For hundreds of words or expressions, written in two or more ways, only one has been maintained, based on Webster's Dictionary. e.g.: "descending stairs" in Synthesis replaces "descending stairs, when", "descending steps", "going down stairs" and "stairs, on going down", all of which exist in Kent.
    Seldom used words and expressions have been replaced by contemporary language, for everyday language as well as for medical expressions. e.g.: "dipsomania" by "alcoholism", "childbed" by "delivery - after", ...
    The hours and times of aggravation have been given the same order and hierarchical structure everywhere.
  • Clinical rubrics were renamed according to modern disease names. New clinical rubrics were introduced with caution, as sufficient clinical verification is still lacking in most cases. e.g.: "coryza - annual" became "hayfever"; "skin - becomes sore" became "decubitus", ...
  • A new standard list of remedy abbreviations is presented. Many new remedies have been added, all abbreviated following the same rules used by Kent. The differences between the remedy abbreviations of Synthesis and those used by Kent or Barthel's Synthetic Repertory, are printed at the beginning of this book. The full list and all comments follow at the end.
  • A new standard list of author abbreviations is presented as well. Letters are used to indicate an author. This allows additional combinations and is easier to memorize.
    Not one addition has been made without indicating the source. One reference refers to only one author, if possible to exactly one book or article. Most of our references refer to a specific book or article, which will make it even easier to go back to the original sources.
    The full list of references can be found at the end of the Repertory. All changes are annotated with the greatest care to facilitate verification. Thousands of references and synonyms have been added, especially where a change was made to well-known rubrics or remedies.
    When it was not possible to indicate the change (e.g. because a mistake had to be deleted), the correction is mentioned in the "Index of important changes and corrections" which you will find at the end of this book.

This tremendous work would not have reached this quality without the help of so many RADAR users, homeopathic colleagues, and computer technologies.

In addition to the acknowledgment at the end of the book, I would like to mention here: Thanks to Archibel (producer of RADAR) and the programming team, headed by Philippe Santantonio. How many times did they succeed, as if by magic, in creating a program to let us do in hours what we thought would take days!

Another ingenious tool they created is the ability to translate this Repertory into different languages. Many homeopaths were excluded from using a reliable Repertory because of their difficulties with English. These new translations will allow them to consult the same fascinating Repertory in their national language.

In the near future, we expect to have reliable German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese translations of Synthesis! We hope that this new and revolutionary feature will increase communication and collaboration between homeopaths worldwide. Thanks to all those homeopaths and translators involved in the different national projects.

Special thanks to Peter Vint, who has finished the German translation with the accuracy he is known for and who, thereby, paved the way for all other ongoing translations. Thanks to the secretaries involved in this job, which at times was monotonous and yet did not allow one minute of distraction. Every change they made was automatically recorded in "history files", printed out the next day to check the completed work. I have read through almost every page of them, which from version 4 to version 5 was more than 9 kilometers!

Last but not least, thanks to the publishers who went far beyond their task. I admire the endless trials they made to investigate the best possible layout of the printing.

I thank Reinhard Rose and Peter Vint for the invaluable input they had in the corrections and creation of the rules. They never left me in peace whenever there was a problem or a question and at the same time took the burden on their shoulders, fully sharing my responsibility. They have been adamant on the idea of a Repertory that can be updated. This is being realized for the German edition, which offers a loose-leaf format.

Indeed, as you read this today, we are working to increase the information and quality of Synthesis one step further. As soon as the number of changes is significant they will be made available to all of you again. The translations into other national languages will follow at about the same speed.

These are the reasons why Synthesis is truly a worldwide project. It is designed in such a way as to incorporate the efforts of homeopaths of all countries and all languages, be it their personal additions, their work in the literature, or their comments and corrections. We centralize all this information and advance together in all languages simultaneously!

This vision probably embodies more than Kent wished for in the phrase quoted on the first page. It is also this perspective that has given me, and undoubtedly many of the project collaborators, the strength to go on day by day.

It is an uplifting awareness that, in this age, we can create tools for homeopathy which were never dreamed of before. Synthesis is based on Kent's Repertory and adds a vast amount of corrections and additions to it. We believe that it adds much more to homeopathy as a whole.

The complete concept is described in "Blueprint for a New Repertory" found in Synthesis. That proposal stands as an open invitation to discuss how we can structure our homeopathic knowledge for the best, so it may be easily readable, transparent, and consistent.

We sincerely hope this instrument may help you in raising your homeopathic efficiency to a new level. After the knowledge of the Materia Medica, the use of the Repertory is the next best friend to allow the marvel of homeopathic cure to happen. We haven't spared any effort so that this Repertory may help homeopathy "grow brighter".