SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / Mammals SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / General SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biological Diversity
2-Volume Slip-cased set
The result of more than fifty years of research, Threefoldness in Humans and Mammals is the beautiful, authorized edition of Wolfgang Schad’s lifework. In chapter after chapter of this monumental two-volume work, Schad demonstrates in detail how the dynamic concept of the threefold organism—first described by Rudolf Steiner a hundred years ago—sheds new light on aspects of the mammals, such as their size, form, coloration, physiology, embryonic development, behavior, and habitat. Indeed, he shows how a key to understanding the extraordinary diversity of our closest animal relatives is, in fact, the threefold nature of the organism—consisting of the nerve–sense system on the one hand, the metabolic–limb system on the other, and the mediating circulatory–respiratory system.
Reading this book, one can experience a growing sense of satisfaction, even wonder, realizing that each species, through its particular constitution, actually explains itself—that right down into its specific features it expresses its own unique embodiment of the threefold organization. Moreover, the reader begins to experience the threefold organism itself—not as an abstract, rigid thought construct against which the mammals can be measured and categorized, but as a creative, lawful principle that comes to unique expression in each species.
Thus, Schad follows in the footsteps of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who said of his scientific pursuits: “The ultimate goal would be to grasp that everything in the realm of fact is already theory.... Let us not seek for something behind the phenomena—they themselves are the theory.”
The first volume offers a comprehensive description of the threefold human organism that lays the groundwork for a detailed consideration of the most familiar groups of mammals, including stunning chapters on antelopes and deer with their horns and antlers and a concluding chapter on mammals’ intimate relationship with their natural environment. The second volume begins with chapters on the more primitive mammals and continues with studies of mammalian embryology, milk, emotional life, and relationship to death. Volume 2 concludes with a chapter on human threefoldness.
The reader will do well to begin with the first chapters in volume 1, which introduce the main motifs that recur and build throughout the book. Although the content includes a great deal of specialized knowledge, it is presented in language accessible to the general reader. Moreover, the theme of threefoldness in humans and mammals uncovers the natural affinity between our own threefold organization and that of the mammals—an affinity that affords us direct experience of their particular nature and enhances our understanding and empathy for them.
The text is richly illustrated with well-chosen photographs and drawings. Numerous diagrams illumine the dynamic interrelationships within various groups of mammals. The two-volume set is protected in a sturdy, handsome slip case. In both form and content, this is a classic edition of a groundbreaking work that should find its place in every home, school, biology department, and library.
“Wolfgang Schad’s book Man and Mammals was a revelation when I first read it some years ago. Since then it has continued to inspire my work in palaeobiology and evolutionary science. This updated edition, with a new title and two very fine chapters on mammalian embryology, is very welcome.
“Anyone who seriously follows Schad’s arguments will understand that this book is by no means a completed project. It is a foundation for further research into the animal kingdom using the methodology of Goethean science, which Schad describes in an early chapter. The book is very detailed, but written such that the information is accessible to general readers as well as the open-minded specialist.
“I highly recommend this insightful approach to zoological research.”—Dr. Judyth Sassoon, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
“Wolfgang Schad’s genius demonstrates a compelling way to understand mammal biology, recognizing each well-known group as a larger ‘relational organism’ within its family, class, and biosphere environment. Brimming with warmth and wisdom born of a lifetime of all-embracing study and affection for the familiar class to which we humans belong, Schad’s insights are revolutionary and paradigm-changing. He sees what detached analysis so often misses, because it is right before our eyes: namely that each species’ morphology, physiology, behavior, even color and reproduction, is an organically understandable expression of its organized constitution, no less integrated within Class or superorganism Mammalia than our organs are within our body, or mammals within the biosphere.” —Dr. Martin Lockley, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Colorado Denver
“In this monumental work, Wolfgang Schad applies Goethe’s dynamic way of seeing and thinking, further elaborated by Rudolf Steiner’s threefold principle, to the morphology, physiology, embryology, diversity, and ecology of mammals.
“In recent years, in partial response to the explosive development of molecular biology, there has been a call to return to studying organisms as they present themselves to our direct experience. This is a well-considered invitation to look more comprehensively at the living organism from multiple perspectives in an effort to answer questions left in the dark by gene-centered research programs. For example, we still cannot satisfactorily explain what constitutes the coherence of an organism, what guides developmental processes, how the genotype is translated into the phenotype or how anatomical structures and organs typically grow where they’re supposed to grow, in the right dimensions, and in the right configurations.
“Clearly, this is an exciting time in biology, and there are numerous theoretical and experimental developments, which include the findings of heterochrony, epigenetics, evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), gene networks, and developmental trade-offs/compensations. Each of these calls for a new synthesis that integrates comparative morphology, physiology, and the complex findings of analytical anatomy and molecular biology. Schad’s work is a compelling answer to this call.
“We are so fortunate, and I am personally deeply grateful, that Wolfgang Schad has made the effort to share the fruits of his life’s work in a new, expanded, updated, and accessible format. There is enough between the covers of these two volumes to stimulate thought, research, and application by another generation or two.”—Dr. Mark Riegner, Environmental Studies, Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona
WOLFGANG SCHAD is Professor Emeritus at the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany. Born in southern Germany in 1935, he studied biology, chemistry, and education before becoming a science teacher in 1962 at the Goetheschule (Waldorf School) in Pforzheim. From 1975 until 1991, he taught at the Seminar for Waldorf Education in Stuttgart and, in 1992, was appointed head of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Morphology at the University of Witten/Herdecke, a position he held until retiring in 2005.