AA ARTICLE De verloren Dood – 2008 NL

De verloren Dood – In search of a lost body, by Jaap van der Wal, bound edition of an article, ISBN 90-806037-1-6. The article: The lost death – Metabolic actuality in the cutting room. In: Vandereycken, W. and De Visscher (ed.), Metabletic Perspectives, Acco – Leuven/Amersfoort, 167 – 198, 1995.


In his book The Human Body (Part I)1 J.H. van den Berg demonstrates in an unparalleled way how, in the period from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, a profound change took place in Western man’s view of the human body. The climax, the turning point of this development is marked by the publication of the classic work of Vesalius De humani corporis fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body) in 1543. This publication marks the first, well-documented beginning of modern Western anatomy and thus lays the foundation for today’s Western natural science medicine. The year 1543 is a classic example of a metabletic pivotal moment: a year with a historically documentable event or publication that marks a turning point in the consciousness and thinking of Western man. The purpose of this contribution is to show that this metabletic turning point in thinking and consciousness not only has a cultural-historical significance, but is currently recognizable in the way in which man and his corporeality are (often implicitly) regarded in our present time, and that this turning point is ‘repeated’ in a concise manner at the moment when the young doctor-to-be is confronted with the bodies of deceased people during his/her training, while entering the dissecting room for the first time. Just as there is an undeniable connection between phylogenesis (the emergence of species) and ontogenesis (the development of an individual organism) – after all, it seems that the embryonic development of an individual organism (ontogenesis) follows similar lines and order as the historical, evolutionary development of the species to which this organism belongs (phylogenesis) -, such a connection will (may) also apply to the consciousness development of a twentieth-century individual and the historical consciousness development of the culture to which that individual belongs.

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