Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
The Hypothesis of Biogenesis. Jena, 1903
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th Edition, Moscow, 1976,
Volume 38, pp. 329-330
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: 1930 in Lenin Miscellany.
Published according to the manuscript
Translated: Clemence Dutt
Edited: Stewart Smith
Original Transcription & Markup: K. Goins (2008)
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and
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The remarks on Max Verworn’s book “Die
Biogenhypothese”, Jena, 1903 (Max Verworn, The Hypothesis of
Biogenesis, Jena, 1903) are contained in a notebook following the note
on Volkmann’s book.
Note that this document has undergone special formating to ensure that
Lenin’s sidenotes fit on the page, marking as best as possible
where they were located in the original manuscript.
THE HYPOTHESIS OF BIOGENESIS
The author expounds a special theme
concerning “living substance” and its chem-
ical metabolism. A special theme.
cf. p. 9
A bibliography is provided on this question.
P. 112—a “working hypothesis,” this,
he says, is the essence. For example, he
says that materialism in the nineteenth
century was of great benefit to the natural
sciences,—but now “no philosophical nat-
ural scientist any longer considers the ma-
terialist conception to be adequate” (112).
There are no eternal truths. The signifi-
cance of ideas, their Fruchtbarkeit,
role as a “ferment”—“which creates and
|Characteristic here is the naïve ex-
pression of the view that “materialism”
hinders! Not the haziest conception of
dialectical materialism and complete
inability to distinguish materialism as
a philosophy from the individ-
ual hide-bound views of the philistines
of the day who call themselves mate-
The aim of the author is a “mechanical
analysis of the phenomena of life” (p. 1,
Preface)—a reference to the last chapter
of the Allegemeine Physiologie.
Instead of “living protein” (p. 25)—
said to be an unclear concept, and instead
of the “living protein molecule” (“since
a molecule cannot be alive”), the author
proposes to speak of the “biogen-molecule.”
The conversion of the chemical
into the living—that, evidently,
is the crux. In order to move more
freely in this new, still obscure,
hypothetical, down with “material-
ism,” down with antiquated shackl-
ing” ideas (the “molecule”), let
us invent a new term (biogen), in
order to seek new knowledge more
freely! NB. Concerning the ques-
tion of the sources and vital im-
pelling motives of modern “ideal-
ism” in physics and natural science
 Verworn, M., Die Biogenhypothese, Jena,
 On page 9 of his book, M. Verworn defines “enzyme”
as follows: “Enzymes are products of living substance distinguished by
the fact that they can cause a large number of spesific chemical compounds
to decompose, without themselves being destroyed in the process.”