FOREWORD to Synthesis 9.1
by Frederik Schroyens
Synthesis 9 is the first version that is being released in two steps. Synthesis 9.1 has more or less the same content as Synthesis 9.0.
The difference between these two versions is a long awaited, crucial step in the development of the repertory. I have been dreaming about this improvement ever since I became accustomed to my very first Kent's Repertory, which I bought in 1977.
What then is this change?
1. STREAMLINING AND RESTRUCTURING
The change to Synthesis 9.1 addresses a problem well known to deft repertory users: much information is hidden in the subrubrics of the pain descriptions. Let's clarify this with an example.
A patient tells you his pain in the eye is definitely better from rubbing the eye. Synthesis 9.0 offers 7 remedies with this modality in the rubric EYE - PAIN - rubbing - amel. The meaningful bit of information here is rubbing amel. The experienced repertory user knows that the EYE - PAIN section contains other symptoms which include this same modality.
These symptoms are hidden as subrubrics of the pain descriptions, as follows:
EYE - PAIN - burning - rubbing - amel.
EYE - PAIN - foreign body; as from a - rubbing amel.
EYE - PAIN - pressing, pressure, etc. - rubbing - amel.
EYE - PAIN - sand, as from - rubbing - amel.
These four rubrics all contain remedies whose pain in the eye is improved with rubbing. The relevance is that, if we combine these rubrics, we now look at 13 remedies instead of 7! Considering these additional remedies may increase the likelihood of choosing the correct remedy.
How has this issue been addressed in Synthesis 9.1?
In the past, for all the symptoms of the pain sections, the description of pain was always on level 3 eye - pain - burning - morning. In Synthesis 9.1 pain descriptions have been moved to the last level of the symptom. The above symptoms therefore become:
EYE - PAIN - rubbing - amel. - burning
EYE - PAIN - rubbing - amel. - foreign body; as from a
EYE - PAIN - rubbing - amel. - pressing pain
EYE - PAIN - rubbing - amel. - sand; as from
As a consequence, the rubrics containing the same modality are now positioned next to each other, on the same page or screen. In Synthesis 9.0 they were pages apart, pages that were seldom turned. This hidden information is now easily visible and usable.
This restructuring increases the number of remedy choices for thousands of modalities, sides, times, extensions, and localizations. These hidden symptoms and their remedies were hardly ever looked at before. Now it has become very easy to consider this information when necessary.
In addition, the remedies of these symptoms expressing the same side, time, modality, extension, or localization have been copied to the common superrubric. Reverting to the example above, this means that EYE - PAIN - rubbing - amel. has 13 remedies in Synthesis 9.1 (instead of 7 in Synthesis 9.0). For each remedy the source rubric has been indicated .
In order to achieve this drastic change, it had to be preceded by another step: a thorough streamlining of all symptoms. Here is the explanation why:
The modality cold air agg. is expressed in several ways at different places in the Repertory. For example, in Synthesis 9.0:
HEAD - PAIN - cutting - cold - air agg.
HEAD - PAIN - tearing - air - cold; from
If we restructure this information, these rubrics would become:
HEAD - PAIN - cold - air agg. - cutting
HEAD - PAIN - air - cold; from - tearing
This would result in a cluttered pattern of rubrics with identical meanings, expressed in different ways. Therefore, we have streamlined the modality cold air agg. throughout the Repertory into cold - air - agg. before undertaking the restructuring.
In Synthesis 9.1 the above rubrics have become:
HEAD - PAIN - cold - air - agg. - cutting
HEAD - PAIN - cold - air - agg. - tearing
As a consequence of this streamlining and restructuring process, some familiar rubrics have undergone some changes.
First of all, the symptom level expressing the description of pain has been moved. There is only one thing to remember in order to find the new symptom location: move the "description of pain" to the last level of the symptom and you will find the symptom in Synthesis 9.1.
This applies only to pain symptoms that contain a "description of pain" (e.g. burning, cramping, tearing, etc.). Some examples:
|Synthesis 9.0||Synthesis 9.1|
|HEAD - PAIN - stitching - evening||HEAD - PAIN - evening - stitching|
|HEAD - PAIN - stitching - coughing, when||HEAD - PAIN - coughing, when - stitching|
|HEAD - PAIN - stitching - Forehead - extending to - Occiput||HEAD - PAIN - Forehead - extending to - Occiput . stitching|
|HEAD - PAIN - stitching - Temples||HEAD - PAIN - Temples - stitching|
Second, the streamlining may have moved a familiar rubric to a different place altogether, besides considering the first explanation above. You look for a symptom modified with air - cold, and in Synthesis 9.1 you will find it under cold - air, not under the letter "a"(ir), but under "c"(old).
It may take some time to adjust to the new streamlined modalities and locations. The advantage is that this streamlining is now consistent throughout the repertory. Previously this was not the case. In Synthesis 9.0 and prior versions there were 36 ways to express cold air agg.! 
Now either cold - air - agg. or the collapsed form  cold air agg. is used, and that's it. This simplifies the search for rubrics in the repertory from now on.
Here are some rules that we have followed while streamlining:
- If a combined modality contains an element indicating temperature, then this latter part was put first: cold air agg.; cold bathing amel.; warm food; warm bed; etc. The only important exception to this rule is that we did not touch the existing groups under weather and wind: they remain as they were (weather - warm - amel.; wind - cold. agg.; etc.).
- As much as possible and where applicable we have reduced modalities to either agg. or amel. Walking - from; walking - when; walking - while; etc. have all been merged into walking - agg.. Where uncertainty existed we kept an exception that will need to be clarified from a study of the Materia Medica. For example, you will find some remedies and subrubrics under eating agg. and others under eating while because this is the way the original rubrics were written. These rubrics have not been merged as that could have induced errors.
- Throughout Synthesis the difference between after xxx agg. and xxx agg. was maintained, even if in some instances this difference appeared to be minimal. Is there a difference between turning head agg. and turning head agg.; after? Further study of the Materia Medica will answer in each instance.
- The difference between an aggravation from food and from eating that food has been maintained. The reason being that eating warm food indicates that the aggravation takes places while eating, or at least should indicate this. The modality warm food normally indicates that the aggravation takes place because of warm food, but not only and not necessarily while eating it. The same has been done for aggravation from drinking a drink and the aggravation from that drink (e.g. tea as opposed to drinking tea). In all these instances the original symptom information was carefully preserved.
- At last, some modalities that modified common superrubrics were split. In Synthesis 9.0 you will find air - open; air - draft of; etc. These rubrics modify the common superrubric air. In Synthesis 9.1 these modalities have become air agg.; air agg.; in open and air agg.; draft of. The reasons for this change are to have a more obvious structure that is easily perceived and to facilitate translation of these modalities.
These are some of the examples of the rules that we used for streamlining. More information can be found in the Textbook. Although dramatic changes have been applied, great care has been taken to avoid oversimplifying matters and thereby inducing errors.
For the software user there is an additional aid to easily find any restructured and/or streamlined symptom. At the end of Synthesis 9.1 there is an additional chapter "Old symptoms". It contains all symptoms that have undergone a change, listed in the "old format".
Here you will find the rubrics that you are used to, e.g.: Original symptom -
EXTREMITIES - PAIN - stitching - Ankle - standing
Hit enter and you will be at the restructured symptom -
EXTREMITIES - PAIN - Ankles - standing - agg. - stitching pain.
Likewise, software users have additional flexibility to use or not use the remedies copied from the subrubrics. The "Full Synthesis, rmd copied" view contains all copied remedies. All other views do not contain these additional remedies. All it takes is a mouse click to examine these different views. In the printed version the remedies of the subrubrics have been copied as described. A down-pointing arrow identifies such remedies.
Another aid is available to software users. They get Synthesis 9.0 (without streamlining and restructuring) as well as Synthesis 9.1. Both versions can both be used at the same time. With all this flexibility and precision, it is easy to start using Synthesis 9.1.
This is important as future repertories will build on Synthesis 9.1. Streamlining and restructuring is a major milestone  in the development of Synthesis.
Some further improvement is still needed. First, we did not streamline the Mind chapter. There were too many exceptions to undertake this with an automated process. It will be done manually for the next version of Synthesis. The Dreams chapter was not streamlined because there are no sides, times, extensions, etc.
Second, creating and testing the programs and tables for this restructuring and streamlining took up most of the time for this process. Once all was functional the actual conversion went very quickly . Nevertheless we kept on improving our tables and insights until the new Synthesis was finished. As a result the first chapter we processed (Head) was restructured and streamlined up to 95 % of the ideal, and the last chapter (Generals) up to 98 %. You may not even notice this as I am referring to relatively small differences.