In 1981 Rupert Sheldrake (doctorate in botanic biochemistry from Cambridge University) published a book titled: ‘A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance’. To have any understanding of his hypothesis we need to understand the meaning of certain words:
- Morphic means having a specific form or shape; so morphic resonance basically means that a particular shape or structure is propagated via resonance.
- Morphogenesis (from the Greek ‘morphê’ (shape) and ‘genesis’ (creation), literally, “beginning of the shape”) is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape. … The process controls the organised spatial distribution of cells during the embryonic development of an organism. [Taken from Wikipedia]
- Morphogenetic Field means a field in which the information for organising the shape of an (embryonic or other) development is held. In the light of ‘morphic resonance’ we can add that an individual organism would then be influenced in the shape, or decisions, it takes by the relevant aspect of the prevailing morphogenetic field.
Before going further, it must be said that many representatives of established science have in general been critical of Sheldrakes work (9 own books and 8 co-authored):
The morphic resonance hypothesis is rejected by numerous critics on many grounds, and has been labelled pseudoscience and magical thinking. These grounds include the lack of evidence for it and its inconsistency with established scientific theories. The idea of morphic resonance is also seen as lacking scientific credibility because it is overly vague and unfalsifiable. Furthermore, Sheldrake’s experimental methods have been criticised for being poorly designed and subject to experimenter bias. His analyses of results have also drawn criticism. Excerpt from Wikipedia
To address some of that: ‘pseudoscience’ and ‘magical thinking’ are simply polemic, stemming from a mechanistic world view; lack of evidence – his books report plenty of experiments and observations, decide for yourself; ‘overly vague and unfalsifiable’ I find incorrect, they only appear vague from the mechanistic viewpoint – Sheldrake does not say how the field works or what it might consist of, he only describes its function.
Morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields in fact fit in very well with my own experience and the world view arising from it. I would say that morphogenetic fields are large, localised patterns in Consciousness, and morphic resonance the method by which these patterns interact with aspects of Manifestation. Such an aspect may be the shape of the body of, say, a rat; but another aspect may be the belief that resources are in short supply and that we must therefore fight over them.
So there is a morphogenetic blueprint for a human body: On the morphogenetic level it is simply information without substance; but it provides the insubstantial framework for the energy body of a human embryo, which in turn guides the physical cells of the body as they grow, and split, and the body takes shape.
Now we can return to the criticism ‘overly vague and unfalsifiable’. Reframing morphogenetic fields as patterns in Consciousness still leaves them ‘unfalsifiable’ (one cannot disprove them by logic or experiment), but it does open up the prospect of any individual subjectively proving the idea for themselves, by doing exercises in Non-local Perception and thereby perceiving through Awareness some of what’s going on in Consciousness.
Finally, another word for patterns in Consciousness is: Stories.