Human Origami

The Embryo as a Folding Life Continuum

  • Glenna Batson Wake Forest University


The human embryo creates a body without a brain. Just how it does this, remains mysterious. While advances in science and technology afford scientists a privileged view of developmental changes in vivo, the embryo’s dynamic growth patterns remain ill-defined. As Embryologists aligned with Goethean Science and Anthroposophy, another perspective has evolved: Phenomenological Embryosophy. Basic to this discourse is the concept that all biological organization and development is intelligent and meta-physical throughout the developmental timeline. Somatic education (Somatics) shares this holistic concept. Somatics is a living philosophy as well as an empirical approach to understanding the lived and living body through conscious movement practice. Throughout the 20th Century, Somatics spawned multiple movement practices, pathways to an embodied understanding of human potential and relational depth. Developmental movement has been critical to this study. In this article, the author draws from her personal engagement with Somatics, highlighting parallels between embryosophical theory and somatic practice. To illustrate key relationships, the author describes elements of her personal practice-based research called human origami.  Human origami is an improvisational exploration of bodily folding. The inspiration came from French phenomenologist Gilles  Deleuze who wrote extensively on the aesthetics of folding. Beyond the particulars of Deleuzian Phenomenology, human origami offers a means of re-enacting one’s biological history through mindful movement practice. 

Jul 26, 2017
How to Cite
BATSON, Glenna. Human Origami. International Journal of Prenatal and Life Sciences DOI:10.24946/IJPLS, [S.l.], p. 47-64, july 2017. ISSN 2945-011X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 may 2024.