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Morphic Resonance

RUPERT SHELDRAKE
2009

Things are as they are because they were as they were.

  • Natural systems inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind, however far away they were and however long ago they existed. Because of this cumulative memory, through repetition the nature of things becomes increasingly habitual. Things are as they are because they were as they were. Memory is inherent in nature.
  • When people learn something new, such as wind-surfing, then as more people learn to do it, it should tend to become progressively easier to learn, just because so many other people have learned to do it already.
  • If memory is inherent in the nature of things, then the inheritance of collective habits and the development of individual habits can be seen as different aspects of the same fundamental process; the process whereby the past becomes present on the basis of similarity.
  • According to this hypothesis, the nature of things depends on fields, called morphic fields. Each kind of natural system has its own kind of field. Such fields shape all the different kinds of atoms, molecules, crystals, living organisms, societies, customs and habits of mind.
  • Morphic fields, like the known fields of physics, are non-material regions of influence extending in space and continuing in time.
  • Morphic fields do not disappear: they are potential organizing patterns of influence, and can appear again physically in other times and places, wherever and whenever the physical conditions are appropriate. When they do so they contain within themselves a memory of their previous physical existences.
  • The process by which the past becomes present within morphic fields is called morphic resonance. Morphic resonance involves the transmission of formative causal influences through both space and time.
  • The memory within the morphic fields is cumulative, and that is why all sorts of things become increasingly habitual through repetition.
  • The cosmos now seems more like a developing organism than an eternal machine. In this context, habits may be more natural than immutable laws. In the new cosmology the idea of evolution has been taken to its ultimate limits: the view that the whole universe is evolutionary. As a result, we can no longer take the eternal laws of nature for granted. Think of them as habitual.
  • In contemporary biology, one of the most promising ways of thinking about the development of living organisms is in terms of organizing fields, called morphogenetic fields. However, the nature of these fields has itself remained mysterious.
  • Final Anthropic Principle: Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will never die out.
  • As embryos develop they pass through stages that recall the embryonic forms of remote ancestral types; in some way the development of an individual organism seems to be related to the entire evolutionary process that gave rise to science.

These notes were taken from Rupert's book Morphic Resonance.
See his website at www.sheldrake.org


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