A New Zoology

The Trunk Organisation

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From Hermann Popplebaum, A New Zoology, pp.33-34]  I want to add some commentary here, when I get around to it....

"Quite another approach is needed for the understanding of those phyla whose bodies are composed of a succession of segments along an axis which runs from a fore-end to a hind-end. Instead of radial counterparts we find the units in sequences of segments (metameres). The same organs recur at even distances along the longitudinal axis. This pattern has a relation to time. It is the rhythmic succession transformed into members which follow one another. The segments indeed visibly sprout from the trunk of the embyro by insertion at a growing hind end, almost like the tip of a plant-root.

The segmented worms (Annelids) show this plan most obviously. The segments are fairly uniform, each with certain appendages on them, some serving locomotion, others breathing, and some representing sense organs (e.g. eyes). Some marine annelids have eyes on every segment. The interior organs follow the pattern of regular repetition: excretory tubules (nephridia) with a ciliated funnel in the preceding segment; gonads, ganglia, and blood vessels occurring along the line again and again. Only the gut runs through the whole as one organ, unafiected by the rhythmic design. Our earthworm, it is true, must be regarded as a degenerate cousin of the annelids. It has given up almost all senses and appendages in order to live in closest contact with the soil and its multiple forces (see Chapter 8).  The marine annelids are lively, richly adorned and colored. They live as predatory animals.

Here we discover the likeness of the architecture shown by the human trunk.  The principle of repetition extends its rule to all the vertebrate bodies. It appears early in the embryo and is never completely extinguished. The worms and their remote relatives, the Arthropods (Insects, Spiders, Millipedes, and Crabs), exhibit their segmentation outwardly as regular nd clear incisions, although the higher forms of each group show a good deal of telescoping and subordination. The plants never rise to such secondary reunion of their knots, except in the highly concentrated structure of the flower. This permits us to see in the reunion and concentration of the segments a characteristic of the astral body, just as in the undisturbed sequence of the segments we could see the work of the etheric body.  Furthermore, with increasing contraction of segments within the head, thorax, or abdomen, the ability of plant-like regeneration gradually gets lost, and in the same measure the animal's consciousness grows richer and more awake.

A growing amount of concentration is met as we pass from the lower to the higher crustacea (e.g. lobster), and from the millipedes to the insects and spiders, which present the extreme condensation of parts and of shortening of the axis, which in turn is the morphological key to their complicated behavior. In these classes the trunk-pattern has contracted into a head-pattern of second order (see Chapter 10).

In the Vertebrate phylum a similar line of contraction leads from the fish, among which the eel is still worm-like, to reptiles, mammals, and birds. Their bodies are cast on a primary trunk-pattern with many segments, but the higher forms, especially the birds, show a telescoping of the longitudinal axis which gives to their total shape the physiognomical appearance of a head (see Chapter 12).

All classes of vertebrates stand in significant and specific relationships to man's architecture. The fish is, as it were, the thoracic metamorphosis of the common trunk pattern. The organs of breathing and equilibrium of the fish can be rediscovered in man as tools of the speech organization". Among the reptiles the snake is the most striking demonstration of the isolated vertebral column.  The limbs are absorbed into the trunk and thus have added considerably to its length. The skeleton of a snake is a colossal bone-worm with hundreds of even segments. There is, again, a line of development among the reptiles which goes with an increasing "telescoping" and subordination. From the snake to the lizard, from the lizard to the crocodile, and from here to the turtle the tendency becomes more and more pronounced. First the limbs become stronger and take away some of the formative forces of the trunk. Second, the trunk itself shortens and develops an armor of merging plates on its surface. Finally, in the high vaulted land-tortoises, the contracted trunk shrinks into the skull-like case with its closely sutured parts into which head, limbs, and tail can be retracted completely.

Among the Amphibians a similar line leads from newts and salamanders to frogs and toads.

This general tendency to contract an originally elongated trunk into a more or less globular shape can thus be followed along several parallel lines in the vertebrate phylum, the final forms being bird, tortoise, and toad. There is no doubt that each of these bodily traceable lines of telescoping throws a particular light on a hidden tendency to a  middle organization" in Man. Man's chest system has not reached the ultimate stage attained in birds and tortoises, but is, as it were, always on the way to this extreme. Indeed, the following is what appears to spiritual perception (which can be called an intensified morphological vision). Man's middle portion, his rhythmic organism, is inclined to become a head with the predominance of the senses, but somehow is stopped on the way: what remains as invisible tendency in man, is displayed in its possible stages as the visible forms along which each class of vertebrates has developed. The vertebrates, morphologically speaking, have outrun man. His form is archaic, theirs is advanced."

Hermann Popplebaum, A New Zoology, 1961, Philosophic-Anthroposphic Press, Dornach/Switzerland

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apart from quoted material, text content © M.Alan Kazlev 2000

page uploaded 2 January 2000, relocated, last modified 23 December 2001