Metamorphosis 

Evolution in Action

by Andreas Suchantke
translated by Norman Skillen

Adonis Press, 2009
324 pages; hardcover; 8¼ x 11 inches;
$50; ISBN: 9780932776396


Book Description

This book is the result of a lifetime of biological research seeking to penetrate through the phenomena to the formative principles that have shaped them. Following Goethe’s participatory method, and drawing on his observations on a number of continents, Andreas Suchantke shows how the development and evolution of plants and animals can be understood in terms of metamorphosis. Through his eyes, we come to see evolution as a dynamic process that unfolds on a far more fundamental level than Darwin’s natural selection. In the age of stem cell research, Suchantke’s insights into the formation of organisms as integrated wholes offer a much-needed complement to the findings of conventional genetics and microbiology.

Contents

About the Author and this Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi

Introduction: Metamorphosis—Evolution in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1. Archetype and Evolution—a Contradiction? Understanding Metamorphosis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

2. An Example of Metamorphosis: Goethe's Idea of the Vertebral Nature of the Cranial Bones  . . . . . .16

3. "From top to bottom the plant is all leaf." Formative Tendencies in the Domain of the Leaf  . . . . . . 27

Everything is Leaf?     27

Metamorphosis in the Evolution of a Family of Plants: the Pathway of the Cacti from the Forest to the Desert and back again     32

The "Primal Leaf": the Ocean's Green Carpet     36

The Leaf-form—Outcome of a Dialogue between Earth and Cosmos     37

4. The Blossom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  46

The Polarity of Leaf and Flower     46

Flower Color     49

The Morphic Field of the Blossom     62

5. Interim Summary: Metamorphoses—the Key to Understanding the Nature of Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

6. The Various Forms of Metamorphosis in the Plant Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  87

Metamorphosis and Juvenilization     87

The Development of the Leaf through the Ages of the Earth     98

Evolutionary Countermovements     108

Pinnacles of Plant Evolution: Orchids and Grasses     111

"Reproduction" and "Nutritive Multiplication"     115

7. Polarity and Threefold Organization: The Dynamics of Metamorphosis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

8. Polarity and Threefold Structure in the Animal Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

The Mammals     131

An Interim Note on Method     140

The Birds     141

The Insects     161

Insects in general     161

Butterflies     171

Beetles     190

The middle group of insects     198

9. The Archetype in Action—Vacillation between the Inner and the Outer     206

Stages of Internalization     215

From Exoskeleton to Endoskeleton     220

Summary     230

Latimeria and the crossed alternation gait     230

The Formation of the Endoskeleton and the Limbs     233

Confirmation of Statements made by Rudolf Steiner on the Head and Limb Formation in Human Beings, and on the Question of how to Present this as a Teacher     237

10. The All-pervasive Endoskeleton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239

The Exoskeleton and the Endoskeleton in Coelenterates     239

Molluscs and their Skeletons     242

11. The Fate of Exoskeleton and Endoskeleton in the Further Course of Evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262

Life between Levity and Gravity     262

"Limbs" of the Head: Horns and Antlers     270

The Separating out of the Bodily Systems—The Embodiment of the Archetype in the Human Being     281    

Notes and References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317  

Review

I actually bought the book (Metamorphosis) about a year ago. When I saw how big it was, it seemed beyond my powers. I gave it as a present to the biology teacher at Summerfield W. Sch. I felt bad that something so rich in insight wasn't available when I was younger and would have been able to read it. Last Christmas I unwittingly bought it again. Shortly thereafter, completely out of the blue, I had a heart attack. (Sorry to say.) Now, at least, recovering, I have lots of time to read Metamorphosis. ... It is fantastic! I am filled with such an interest in the natural world! Every ant, lady bug, leaf, etc. fills me with interest and joy! The beginning of healing the earth has to be our interest in her. I know of no better teacher than this book...

I just wanted to share this with you. I have been telling many people how special this book is. This book is truly an "eye opener"!

-Roger Lundberg