Original title: Métamorphoses
Through the results of contemporary biology research, as well as myths and literature, the author
of “The Life of Plants” lays down the foundations for a philosophy of the mysterious phenomenon
that is the metamorphosis.
Metamorphosis has always fascinated both scientists and fiction writers, yet it has rarely
been considered by philosophers. All living things are subjected to it: metamorphosis is the most basic and original experience of life, the one that defines its strengths and limitations. Butterflies and frogs aren’t the only ones affected by it.
The fact is, since Darwin, we have known that all species and all forms of life are just metamorphoses of other forms, many of which have since disappeared. Thus, humanity is no more than the metamorphosis that myriad animal-life forms were subjected to before becoming what we now are.
We experience metamorphosis on the scale of our own lives as well, when we are born, going from an “amniotic” existence to an “air-supported” life form. More generally, feeding of all
types is a perfect example of it: eating means being the place where the eaten undergoes metamorphosis into the flesh of the eater. All life, as a metamorphic act, is the simultaneous fashioning of a body and of the world in which it lives.