The metabolic-limb system forms the lowest part of the threefold human organism and is the physical tool through which our willing unfolds. Through its special construction, it enables man to walk upright.
In his curative education course, Rudolf Steiner also referred to the metabolic-limb system as an analytical system, to which the nerve-sense system is polar opposite as a synthetic system:
„Just as we have a synthetic process in the head, so we have an analytical process in the whole of the rest of the organism, especially in the metabolic-limb system. There, in contrast to the head, everything is kept apart. Whereas in the head the activity of the kidneys goes on together with the activity of the intestines, in the rest of the organism everything is kept apart, so that we can say that if we continue to draw schematically, for my sake the activity of the liver, the activity of the stomach, here they are separated from each other; in the head they flow into each other, everything flows together, there everything is synthesised. Now this flowing together - at the same time with a continual falling out of the substance, as if it were raining - now this synthetic activity of the head lies essentially at the basis of all thinking activity. In order that man may be able to think, in order that man may come forth and become active, that which comes from the spiritual-soul must receive towards the head the summarising function, and thereby synthetically subdivide the hereditary substance. In this way a mirror can be seen in the synthetically structured hereditary substance. So you have the following: if, on coming down, that occurs in the head, that the head organises synthetically, then the head becomes a mirror, and in it the outer world is reflected, and that gives the thinking which we usually observe. We must therefore distinguish between the two functions of thought, that which lies behind the perceptible, which the brain builds up - that is the lasting thing - and the function of thought, which is nothing real at all, which is only mirrored and is continually extinguished when one falls asleep and passes away if one does not think.
Another part of what comes down from the spiritual-mental now analytically builds up the metabolic-limb system, builds up the organs which fall apart, which have clearly distinguishable individual contours. If you now look at the whole body with its clearly distinguishable individual contours, we have in it liver, lungs, heart and so on, with which the limb-metabolic system is also connected; you do not see the rhythmic system, everything that is filled with physical substance belongs to the metabolic-limb system, even what you see in the brain is metabolism. Now, what these individual analytically constructed organs are, underlies the whole will-life of man, just as synthetic activity underlies thinking. Thus all that which is there in organs underlies the life of the will.“ (Lit.:GA 317, p. 14ff)
- Rudolf Steiner: Heilpädagogischer Kurs, GA 317 (1995), ISBN 3-7274-3171-7 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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