By Roozbeh Gazdar January 2006 Biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of Morphic Resonance, by suggesting that all of creation is immutably linked, touches the realm of the spiritual. Nature, right from celestial objects to mountains, rivers, rocks, plants and animals, is an enthralling and beautiful phenomenon. Its subliminal mysteries – the coordinated flight of birds across the vastness of an open sky, the synchrony of a shoal of fish swimming as one, the intricacies of social interactions in human society – continue to elude us. Advancements in biotechnology notwithstanding, we are no closer to unlocking the deepest secrets of life. While mechanistic biology, a legacy of Cartesian thinking that saw living organisms as machines devoid of a soul, has led to the cracking of the genetic code and other stupendous achievements, we remain blank about the latent relationship we share with other fellow creatures and the thread that links us with the universe as a whole. It is these problems that the work of biologist Dr Rupert Sheldrake might now provide an answer to. Rejecting the mechanistic theory of a world governed by immutable laws, his theory of morphic resonance explains regularities of nature as the result of habits evolving over time. According to this radical theory, all self-organizing systems, including atoms and molecules, cells, crystals, living organisms, societies, celestial bodies and galaxies develop by interacting with a collective memory field derived from previous forms of their own kind. The TheoryThe theory of morphic resonance was first put forth by Sheldrake in his book, A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation; it caused a furore in scientific circles and the science journal, Nature, condemned the book as ‘the best candidate for burning there has been for many years’. In it Sheldrake proposed the existence throughout nature, of morphogenetic fields. Members of a species, he suggested, are united by the ability to access and transmit information to and from these fields through a process called morphic resonance. Organisms, according to Sheldrake, evolve by inheriting the habits of previous members of their species through this process. In his paper, Morphic Fields and Morphic Resonance – An Introduction, Sheldrake has explained, ‘The morphic fields of mental activity are not confined to the insides of our heads. They extend far beyond our brain through intention and attention. We are already familiar with the idea of fields extending beyond the material objects in which they are rooted… Likewise the fields of our minds extend far beyond our brains.’ Challenging the idea of the brain as a repository of information, Sheldrake proposes that it is more of a tuning system, like a TV antenna, to pick up memory inherent in the morphic fields. The implications of Sheldrake’s theory are tremendous. For instance, let’s say, a group of poodles in New York were to learn an original trick, all poodles everywhere would then find it very easy to pick up this trick. This is because the responses learnt by the original dogs are now part of the species’ collective information pool, the morphic field, accessed by all poodles. Evidence in NatureEvidence of this in nature, in the form of spontaneous spread of new habits, has been documented before. One of them concerns bluetits in England. In 1921 in Southampton, bluetits were observed to have learnt to pull out the caps and help themselves to the cream from milk bottles distributed on the doorsteps of houses; the phenomenon spread locally as more birds learnt the trick through imitation. Suddenly this behaviour started showing up 50 to 100 miles away from Southampton. Bluetits not being known to travel wide distances, the conclusion formed was that birds in all these populations were independently discovering the milk bottle trick! As time passed, the habit spread so rapidly that by the 1930s, this phenomenon began being observed in Scandinavia and Holland. Still more surprising facts emerged following German occupation of Holland when milk delivery there was stopped around 1939. Even though bluetits live only two to three years – which means that none of the birds who had learnt how to open the caps would be alive in 1948 – as soon as milk delivery resumed in that year, the habit once again sprang up rapidly. In spite of a sound scientific argument to back his views, Sheldrake has been criticized by the scientific community as a ‘fringe’ scientist. But if true, the theory of morphic resonance, not only completely reinvents our study of biology, but pushes through the traditional boundaries of science to provide a ‘scientific’ framework for paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, and angels, validating long held spiritual notions about the nature of reality and the existence of the soul. Not surprising, since Sheldrake himself has a long and abiding interest in spirituality, especially Indian philosophy, and the first draft of A New Science of Life was actually written while living in Shantivanam in Tamil Nadu, the ashram of Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine monk who attempted to integrate Hindu spiritual thought with Christianity. Universal SoulIn morphic resonance, Sheldrake the biologist talks of an interconnectedness between living beings that is more indicative of spirituality than science. As the invisible, non-material, organising principle that lies at the root of all things, Sheldrake’s morphic field may easily refer to the soul itself. Says Sheldrake in an interview posted on his website, ‘… the essential feature of morphic resonance is this kind of memory in nature… Now, it’s not clear to what extent memory and habit are inherent in the nature of God… But there have been, throughout the whole history of theological thought in the West, ideas which would say that within God is the world soul, the anima mundi… in modern terms, it would be the field of the universe – the universal field.’ Dr Robert Gilman is an astrophysicist and a noted visionary and advocate of global sustainability. He writes about morphic resonance, ‘It suggests that our identity is dual, like an electron that is both a particle and a wave. We have aspects that are unique and totally individual, yet at the same time much of our thought and behaviour is shaped by, and participates in, and helps create transpersonal morphogenetic fields… We are thus both individuals and expressions of and creators of a group mind – like the Jungian collective consciousness, but more extensive, and in some aspects more changeable. Because our brains contain levels (mammalian, reptilian, etc.) that connect us to other species, that group mind includes all life. We may even find, as we explore the possibilities of consciousness associated with what we now think of as non-living matter, that we are linked in consciousness to all creation. We would thus be linked to the stars not only through the chemicals in our bodies, but through our minds as well.’ The group mind referred to by Gilman, linking all living and non-living matter could be seen as being Brahman, the universal soul of Vedanta. RitualsMorphic resonance, also provides a context to appreciate religious rituals. In his paper Society, Spirit & Ritual: Morphic Resonance and the Collective Unconscious – Part II, he writes about the injunctions to perform rituals correctly with movements, gestures, words and music, where participants perform rituals exactly as they have been performed before, to enable participation with departed ancestors. He says, ‘… rituals have a kind of deliberate and conscious evocation of memory, right back to the first act. If morphic resonance occurs as I think it does, this conservatism of ritual would create exactly the right conditions for morphic resonance to occur between those performing the ritual now and all those who performed it previously. The ritualized commemorations and participatory re-linking with the ancestors of all cultures might involve just that; it might, in fact, be literally true that these rituals enable the current participants to reconnect with their ancestors (in some sense) through morphic resonance.’ According to Sheldrake, mantras, sacred sounds, as also prohibitions on blasphemy or the inappropriate use of mantras, supposed to weaken their power, can be similarly explained. ESPSheldrake also uses morphic resonance as a tool to understand phenomena such as telepathy and ESP. In Dogs that Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals, Sheldrake cites how animals exhibit telepathic powers. In The Sense Of Being Stared At, Sheldrake discusses this sense in the context of the human mind, arguing that premonitions constitute a seventh sense serving the purpose of biological communication in the face of danger. AngelsAngels are yet another phenomena to come under Sheldrake’s scrutiny. Inspired by the similarity between St. Thomas Aquinas’ descriptions of angels as without mass or body and Einstein’s points of Light according to the Theory of Relativity, his book, The Physics of Angels, co-written with theologian Matthew Fox, puts forth the possibility of angels as intelligences greater than our own that are operating in the universe. Books by Dr. Sheldrake including The Evolutionary Mind,The Presence of the Past, A New Science of Life, The Rebirthof Nature and Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness,published by Editions India, will shortly be available in India. ‘My spiritual interests and scientific work are complementary’ Rupert sheldrake was interviewed by roozbeh gazdar via email. How does morphic resonance change the way science understands living organisms?The idea of m
Life Positive follows a stringent review publishing mechanism. Every review received undergoes -
Only after we're satisfied about the authenticity of a review is it allowed to go live on our website
All our healers and therapists undergo training and/or certification from authorized bodies before becoming professionals. They have a minimum professional experience of one year
All our healers and therapists are genuinely passionate about doing service. They do their very best to help seekers (patients) live better lives.
All payments made to our healers are secure up to the point wherein if any session is paid for, it will be honoured dutifully and delivered promptly
Every seekers (patients) details will always remain 100% confidential and will never be disclosed