Shifting Shapes of Bacteria with Goethe's Theory of Plant Metamorphosis

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By: Cyril H. Boynes, D.V.M.
On January 4, 1996, I attended a seminar in Trinidad, West Indies, given by Dr. Robert O. Young Ph.D., a microbiologist from Utah. In addition to his explanation of the prod­ucts of his company, Innerlight Interna­tional, I was most interested in his picto­rial views of the different forms to which bacteria ascend in their growth. In his book, Sick and Tired, Dr. Young explains that traditional Western medicine teaches and practices the microbiological doc­trines of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).

Pasteur advocated that all diseases are caused by external, non-change­able monomorphic (having one form) bacteria that invade the body. Dr. Young's innovative research, on the other hand, shows that bacteria actually change or metamorphose to fungi through various intermediate forms. His term for these many forms is 'pleomorphism', or the ability of mi­croorganisms to evolve and to change their shape and form. Using a high power phase contrast light microscope and live blood, Dr. Young came up with findings that corroborate one of his predecessors, Guenther Enderlein (1872-1968), who theorized that specific bacteria and fungi can change and take on multiple forms during the course of a life cycle.

Another advocate of pleomorphism, French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813-1978), once remarked that the germ is nothing, the terrain is everything. ‘Terrain’ describes the internal environ­ment of the body such as acidity, alka­linity or low oxygenation, and general health or illness.

Looking at Dr. Young's slides of pleomorphic organisms with their changes of form, with expansion and contraction occurring, I realized that this was the time for me to apply morpho­logical thinking. Morphological, or imaginative thinking lives in the medium of time and not of space as does our or­dinary thinking. Morphological think­ing is inwardly so mobile that it con­stantly produces one form out of another. In the body we go from head to neck to shoulders to thorax, etc., in an ordered fashion, and not from head to thorax. Morphological thinking takes the same ordered course in forms and pictures.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), a brilliant German poet and botanist striving to attain an intuitive knowledge of nature, followed Spinoza's premise that an adequate conception of the real attributes of God gives us the ba­sis for a knowledge of the real nature of things. Goethe as artist knew that an "idea" can lead to any form in nature.

Using morphological thinking he be­came convinced that what gives every plant its character, i.e. root, flower etc. has its origin in the simple form of a leaf, appearing through the interchanges of contraction and expansion. He called this the "Urpflanze," or "archetypal plant."

All plants, he said, metamorphose out of this one expanding and contracting idea of the leaf, and no matter how many various types of plants there are, this archetypal form is common to them all, namely, the creative formative (un­seen) principle which varies according to conditions of soil, climate, and spe­cies. Given the right faculties of knowl­edge, one could invent the types of all plants by producing the leaf of one.

This "idea," can also be found and applied to what is fully organic in every organism, without which it would not be an organism. It expresses its essential being more fully, more purely, than any single part could do. The "idea" of the organism is active in the organism as the entelechy, or force, which out of itself calls itself into exist­ence.

From what we have said about Goethe's theory of the plant and Dr. Young's research on the changing forms of bacteria we can now look at the “idea” of the disease process. A healthy or­ganism must be in balance both internally and externally. A sick organism contains in itself the same forces and impulses as the healthy one but these forces are no longer balanced. This lost inner equilib­rium can be viewed as the diseased con­stitution, a view which pleomorphic re­search can now support. The loss of the equilibrium has secondary consequences, as we see in certain bacterial infections of the mucus membranes of the mouth, nose and rectum.

How bacteria metamorphose de­pends on the conditions of the mucus membranes which, in turn, depend on the internal conditions or 'terrain.'

Just as Goethe found his archetypal plant to be a leaf, Dr. Young found his archetypal illness factor to be pleomor­phic molds or fungi.

Goethe would have been happy to­day to know that a young microbiologist, Dr. Robert Young, has confirmed his method of plant metamorphosis to be of value to the sense world — scientifically — with the production of excellent health products developed out of the idea of pleomorphism, or the principle of or­ganic metamorphosis.


About the Innerlight Products: Many of them are colloids, herbs and cell salts (Schuessler), vitamins, glandular ex­tracts, amino acids, essential fatty acids, etc.

I have successfully used the follow­ing three of the Innerlight International Health Products on animals:

1. Magnesium/Manganese Plus Collagen Product No. 73 in a 18 lb male dog with a slipped disc condition.

2. Pumpkin/Walnut Plus Product No. 135 for dogs with roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.

3. Yucca Plus Calcium Product No. 701 on two dogs age seven and ten years of age with arthritic conditions.


Reprinted with kind permission of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, 2214 Old Emmorton Road, Belau MD 21015, (410) 569-0795. Inquiries: (801) 763-8805



1. Goethe The Scientist, by Rudolf Steiner

2. The Metamorphosis of Plants, of J.W. von Goethe

3. Goethes World View, by Rudolf Steiner

4. Archetypal Relation Between Plant and Man, by W. Pelikan

5. Readings in Goethean Science, by Rudolf Steiner

6. The Plant, Volume I by Dr. Robert Grohman

7. Sick and Tired, by Dr. Robert O. Young


Author's Address:

Cyril H. Boynes DVM
Mays Landing Dog and Cat Clinic
907 Route 150
Mays Landing, NJ 08330
(609) 625-0699,

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