metamorphology (new)

In theories, metamorphology is an affinity chemistry based theory of form change (metamorphosis), chemicals to plants, chemical to animals to humans, developed by German polyintellect Johann Goethe, during the years 1784 to 1809.

In circa 1770, the young German polyintellect Johann Goethe began searching, similar to Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon previous to him, for the secret principle that governs the operation of the universe. He commented on this search, in retrospect: [1]

“I perceived something in nature (whether living or lifeless, animate or inanimate) that manifested itself only in contradictions and therefore could not be expressed in any concept, much less any word. It was not divine, for it seemed irrational; not human, for it had no intelligence; not diabolical, for it was beneficent; and not angelic, for it often betrayed malice. It was like chance, for it laced continuity, and like providence, for it suggested context. Everything that limits us seemed penetrable by it, and it appeared to dispose at will over the elements necessary to our existence, to contract time and expand space. It seemed only to accept the impossible and scornfully to reject the possible.”

Goethe, explains, in book 20 of his Poetry and Truth (1811-1814), how in his pre 1775 youth years he was searching for a universal rule to explain the happenings of existence and experience.

In 1784, Goethe, the first piece of the puzzle began to come together when he discovered the human intermaxillary bone, thus proving a morphological connection of common descent between animals and humans, something thought unspeakable in Goethe's time. He then went, following studies on morphology in plants and then morphology in chemicals, to on to publish a three part metamorphology treatise set, in the form of the metamorphosis of plants, animals, and humans respectively, shown below, namely Goethe's "The Metamorphosis of Plants" (1790), "Metamorphosis of Animals" (1806), and Elective Affinities (1809) are to be viewed, according to American comparative literature scholar Stefani Engelstein (2008), as a three-part treatise on metamorphology or studies on the similarities of form. [2] Of the four respective evolution theories, to follow him, according to English naturalist Charles Darwin (On the Origin of Species), are: (Erasmus Darwin, 1791; Etienne Saint-Hilaire, 1833; and Charles Darwin, 1859), who cites Goethe is the first main evolution theorist, is the more robust of the group, in that it presents a unified view of form change:

chemical → plant

whereas the other three theories situate the following divide:

chemical | plant
chemical | animal → human

Hence, maintaining the life | non-life conceptual divide or unbridgeable gap model.

In 1952, Alan Turing, in his “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis”, penned loose ideas on genes, chemicals, chirality, and cellar forms. [3]

In 2011, Aaron Sloman attempted to extend Turing's morphogenesis idea, in respect to how mind, life, and culture could have arose form the black cloud of dust of the pre-sun nebula. [4]

See also

1. Schwartz, Peter J. (2010). After Jena: Goethe’s Elective Affinities and the End of the Old Regime (pg. 19). Publisher. Bucknell University Press.
2. Engelstein, Stefani. (2008). Anxious Anatomy: the Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse (§Goethe’s Monstrous Otto, pgs. 26-30; Metamorphology, pgs. 28, 48-54; Elective Affinities or Chosen Correspondences, pgs. 55-60). SUNY Press.
3. Turing, Alan. (1952). “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis” (pdf), Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., 237B, 5-72.
4. (b) Sloman, Aaron. (2017). “The Meta-Morphogenesis Project: the Self-Informing Universe” (Ѻ), University of Birmingham.
(c) Sloman, Aaron. (2013). “Molecules to Mathematicians” (abs), Talk, University of Birmingham.
(d) Sloman, Aaron. (2014). “Entropy and Evolution”, University of Birmingham.

TDics icon ns