Morphic Fields and Morphogenic Resonance

Another short-coming of traditional Western science is its inability to
explain the existence of forms in nature. 
No matter how we magnify or manipulate the material world, no mechanical
model explains the emergence of the variety of unique and semi-unique forms in
nature.  Every type of rock, plant,
animal, organism, bacteria, all aggregate themselves into distinct and definite
types with traits/characteristics semi-unique to their form and completely
unique to them individually.  For example
each oak tree has many semi-unique features that characterize it clearly as an
oak and not a pine, like the shape of its leaves, being non-coniferous,
etc.  These features are semi-unique as
all oak trees share them, however on another level, no two oak trees are
exactly alike either.  Exact size, shape,
dimensions, growth patterns, ring patterns etc. are completely unique to each
tree.  So what is the mechanism in nature
which constantly creates these unique and semi-unique forms?  Newton’s model, nor the 300+ subsequent years
of material science since have been able to explain this.  British biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s concept
of morphogenic resonance, however, seems to be our best current theory.

British biologist Rupert Sheldrake has offered an incisive critique
of traditional science … He pointed out that in its single-minded pursuit of
‘energetic causation,’ Western science neglected the problem of form in
nature.  He pointed out that our study of
substance alone cannot explain why there is order, pattern, and meaning in
nature any more than the examination of the building materials in a cathedral,
castle, or tenement house can explain the particular forms those architectural
structures have taken.  No matter how
sophisticated our study of the materials, we will not be able to explain the
creative forces that guided the designs of these structures.  Sheldrake suggests that forms in nature are
governed by what he calls ‘morphogenic fields,’ which cannot be detected or
measured by contemporary science.  This
would mean that all scientific efforts of the past have totally neglected a
dimension that is absolutely critical for understanding the nature of reality
.”  -Stanislav Grof, “The Holotropic Mind” (11)

As an example Sheldrake asks us to consider the complexity of the human
body.  For instance, take notice of your
arms, how they twist, bend, and rotate, notice how your fingers separate and
clasp with opposable thumbs, giving your upper-limbs unique function and
purpose.  Now take notice of your legs,
how they are designed, how they bend and move, notice your feet/toes, and how
your lower-limbs perfectly serve their unique function and purpose.  Arms and legs look different; have different
functions and locations, but the DNA, chemicals, nerves, cells and molecules
composing them are exactly the same.  So
how did they become different and why? 
What property within leg cells determined them to become a leg, and what
property within arm cells determined them to become an arm? 

Sheldrake proposes a theory he calls Morphic Resonance.  This theory basically states that there is a
field of energy surrounding and permeating an organism which contains, among
other things, the form of the organism. 
He writes that each species has its own field, that there are fields
within fields, and that these fields have built-in memory, based upon what has
happened in the past derived from previous organisms or forms of a similar
kind.  In other words, each organism on
the planet shares fields of similar energy or we could say a specific frequency.”
  -Eric Pepin, “Handbook of the Navigator” (78)

What biological mechanism recognizes, stores, and develops the
evolution and various adaptations of a species? 
If a species of insect develops camouflage coloration like nearby
foliage to hide from predators, where is that information stored?  If a species of bird develops curvature in
its beak to assist in gathering low-laying food/materials, what mechanism
informs new beak cells to curve?   The
typical answer is that this information is stored and transmitted by genes/DNA,
however, no biologist can explain how this occurs.  Sheldrake compares it to studying building
materials at a construction site and attempting to determine the structure of
the house to be built.
British biologist Rupert Sheldrake has mounted one of the most
constant and vociferous challenges to this approach …Current genetic theory
also doesn’t explain, he says, how a developing system can self-regulate, or
grow normally in the course of development if a part of the system is added or
removed, and doesn’t explain how an organism regenerates – replacing missing or
damaged structures.  In a rush of fevered
inspiration while at an ashram in India, Sheldrake worked out his hypothesis of
formative causation, which states that the forms of self-organizing living
things – everything from molecules and organisms to societies and even entire
galaxies – are shaped by morphic fields. 
These fields have a morphic resonance – a cumulative memory – of similar
systems through cultures and time, so that species of animals and plants
‘remember’ not only how to look but also how to act … ‘Morphic resonance,’ is,
in his view, ‘the influence of like upon like through space and time.’  He believes these fields are different from
electro-magnetic fields because they reverberate across generations with an inherent
memory of the correct shape and form
-Lynne McTaggart, “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the
Universe,” (46-7)

The question of form and process in nature is still a complete mystery,
no matter how many fancy explanations or Latin terms scientists create.  How do embryos develop from fertilized
eggs?  How does a tiny seed grow into a
huge tree?  Inside every apple seed there
is the potential to grow an entire apple tree with deep roots, winding
branches, colorful leaves, and hundreds of apples with thousands more seeds inside!  Where is this amazing blueprint in those tiny
seeds?  How does part of the seed become
a root, another part become a branch, another part become a leaf, and another
part become an apple?

Imagine a little acorn planted in the ground.  The form and shape of that little acorn,
hidden in the earth, is vastly different from the giant tree it will become,
with branches sticking out in every direction, leaves and bark, roots reaching
far into the earth.  We could say that
the acorn contains some kind of genetic program that tells it how to grow and
how to form.  But, where is this
program?  If we said this genetic program
was within the DNA, science and biologists such as Rupert Sheldrake, tell us we
would be wrong.  DNA codes for proteins
and the micro components which make up proteins.  Coding the structure of single, solitary
parts that make up organisms, such as proteins, is very different than coding
the shape and structure of an entire organism
.” -Eric Pepin, “Handbook of
the Navigator” (77)
In 1921 an interesting phenomenon relevant to morphic fields was first observed
in Southampton, England.  In the morning when people came out to get
the milk from their doorsteps, they found the cardboard lids torn to shreds and
the cream disappeared from their bottles. 
It turns out blue tit birds in the area had learned to perch atop the
bottles, pull off the cardboard lids with their beaks and drink the cream.  Several months later this phenomenon began
occurring elsewhere in Britain about 50 miles away, then later about 100 miles
away, then again and again in many diverse locations throughout Europe:
Whenever the bluetit phenomenon turned up, it started spreading
locally, presumably by imitation. 
However, bluetits are very home-loving creatures, and they don’t
normally travel more than four or five miles. 
Therefore, the dissemination of the behavior over large distances could
only be accounted for in terms of an independent discovery of the habit … The
people who did the study came to the conclusion that it must have been
‘invented’ independently at least 50 times. 
Moreover, the rate of spread of the habit accelerated as time went on …
Here is an example of a pattern of behavior which was spread in a way which
seemed to speed up with time, and which might provide an example of morphic
.”  -Eric Pepin, “Handbook
of the Navigator” (79-80)
Decades later, further evidence for morphic resonance was provided by
Dutch blue tits.  Due to the German
occupation of Holland during World War II, their milk delivery ceased in 1939,
not to resume again until 1948 (9 years later). 
Since the average lifespan of a blue tit is only 2-3 years, it is safe
to assume that none of them alive in 1939 were still around in 1948, yet
mysteriously when milk delivery resumed, the phenomenon quickly sprang up again
in diverse locations spreading rapidly throughout the country.  This time, however, the behavior began right
away and independently popped up in various places at a higher rate of
frequency.  This lends credence to the
idea that the evolutionary spread of new behaviors are likely not genetic but
rather due to a kind of “collective memory” phenomenon like Sheldrake’s
morphogenic fields or Carl Jung’s collective unconscious.

Jung thought
of the collective unconscious as a collective memory, the collective memory of
humanity. He thought that people would be more tuned into members of their own
family and race and social and cultural group, but that nevertheless there
would be a background resonance from all humanity: a pooled or averaged
experience of basic things that all people experience (e.g., maternal behavior
and various social patterns and structures of experience and thought). It would
not be a memory from particular persons in the past so much as an average of
the basic forms of memory structures; these are the archetypes. Jung’s notion
of the collective unconscious makes extremely good sense in the context of the
general approach that I am putting forward. Morphic resonance theory would lead
to a radical reaffirmation of Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious
.”  –Rupert Sheldrake, “Morphic Resonance”

Biologist Lyall Watson in his book “Lifetide”
also offers evidence in support of Sheldrake’s theory with his discovery of
“the hundredth monkey effect.”  This
phenomenon was first observed during an experiment on a remote Japanese island
where scientists were leaving sweet potatoes on the beach to feed Macaque
monkeys.  These particular monkeys had
never eaten sweet potatoes before; they enjoyed them very much but didn’t like
eating the beach sand covering them. 
Soon one intelligent monkey started taking his potatoes to the shoreline
and scrubbing them underwater which both removed the sand and gave them a desirable
salty taste.  Shortly after this more and
more monkeys began to copy the potato washing habit until the entire island’s
monkey population was doing it.  Next,
strangely, whole communities of Macaques on many other unconnected islands not
part of the experiment, Macaques who already ate sweet potatoes as a staple
food, spontaneously began washing their potatoes in the sea as well!  There was no possible connection or
communication between the islands or various communities of Macaques, so how
and why did this behavior spread?

Consider the
hypothesis that if you train rats to learn a new trick in Santa
Barbara, then rats all over the world should be able to learn to do
the same trick more quickly, just because the rats in Santa Barbara have learned it. This new
pattern of learning will be, as it were, in the rat collective memory -in the
morphic fields of rats, to which other rats can tune in, just because they are
rats and just because they are in similar circumstances, by morphic resonance.
This may seem a bit improbable, but either this sort of thing happens or it
doesn’t. Among the vast number of papers in the archives of experiments on rat
psychology, there are a number of examples of experiments in which people have
actually monitored rates of learning over time and discovered mysterious
increases. In my book, A New Science of Life, I describe one such series of
experiments which extended over a 50-year period. Begun at Harvard and then
carried on in Scotland and Australia, the
experiment demonstrated that rats increased their rate of learning more than
tenfold. This was a huge effect – not some marginal statistically significant
result. This improved rate of learning in identical learning situations
occurred in these three separate locations and in all rats of the breed, not
just in rats descended from trained parents
.”  –Rupert Sheldrake, “Morphic Resonance” (6-7)

England of Nottingham
University’s Psychology
Department knew about Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance and devised an
interesting experiment to test for collective consciousness in humans.  She reasoned that if morphic resonance is
occurring, it should be easier to do today’s newspaper crossword puzzle
tomorrow than it would have been yesterday. 
Evening Standard newspaper provided their crossword in advance for her
experiment. First students all completed a control crossword to measure their
ability, then half were tested in Nottingham the day before and half the day
after the crossword was published in London.  Amazingly, the students who did the already
published crossword (the puzzle that had already been completed by thousands of
Evening Standard readers) improved their scores by an average of 25%  What can account for this huge jump in

In another similar study, two teams from Australia and Britain did an experiment with face
recognition.  They created a photo image
with over a hundred faces in it, big ones, small ones, faces within faces etc.
then asked people to point out as many faces as they could find within an
allotted time.  Because they were so well
hidden a control group of several hundred Australians could only see about six
to ten faces total.  Then back in England, the
other team of researchers showed a group of volunteers the picture on a
closed-cable BBC TV station with a narrator pointing out one-by-one every
single face.  A few minutes later the
Australian team repeated the experiment with several hundred more volunteers
ready and waiting.  Amazingly, this time
most people were able to find not just a few, but the majority of faces within
the allotted time limit!  What could
account for this other than some mechanism like Jung’s collective memory or
Sheldrake’s morphic resonance?  The
typical “DNA” explanation is insufficient.

As we will
see, this model does not work very well. The genetic program is assumed to be
identical with DNA, the genetic chemical. The genetic information is coded in
DNA and this
code forms the genetic program. But such a leap requires projecting onto DNA
properties that it does not actually possess. We know what DNA does: it codes
for proteins; it codes for the sequence of amino acids which form proteins. However, there
is a big difference between coding for the structure of a protein – a chemical
constituent of the organism – and programming the development of an entire organism.
It is the difference between making bricks and building a house out of the bricks.
You need the bricks to build the house. If you have defective bricks, the house
will be defective. But the plan of the house is not contained in the bricks, or
the wires, or the beams, or cement. Analogously, DNA only codes for the
materials from which the body is constructed: the enzymes, the structural
proteins, and so forth. There is no evidence that it also codes for the plan,
the form, the morphology of the body
.”  -Rupert
Sheldrake, “Morphic Resonance” (3-4)

More scientific
verification for Sheldrake’s theory came from Yale University
with Dr. Harold S. Burr’s studies of electromagnetic radiation fields.  He discovered that there are electrical
fields surrounding all organisms from molds, bacteria and plants to
salamanders, frogs and humans, and that within these fields there exists an
observable energetic blueprint of each organism’s future.  For instance plant seedlings have electrical
fields which resemble the eventual adult plant. 
Baby salamanders possess energy fields shaped like adult salamanders and
the energetic blueprint can even be seen in an unfertilized egg. 

Each species
has its own fields, and within each organism there are fields within fields.
Within each of us is the field of the whole body; fields for arms and legs and
fields for kidneys and livers; within are fields for the different tissues
inside these organs, and then fields for the cells, and fields for the
sub-cellular structures, and fields for the molecules, and so on. There is a
whole series of fields within fields. The essence of the hypothesis I am
proposing is that these fields, which are already accepted quite widely within
biology, have a kind of in-built memory derived from previous forms of a
similar kind. The liver field is shaped by the forms of previous livers and the
oak tree field by the forms and organization of previous oak trees. Through the
fields, by a process called morphic resonance, the influence of like upon like,
there is a connection among similar fields. That means that the field’s
structure has a cumulative memory, based on what has happened to the species in
the past.” 
–Rupert Sheldrake, “Morphic
Resonance” (5)

Elmer Lund at
the University of
Texas discovered that he
could control the regeneration of limbs in hydras using electrical fields.  By applying an electrical current strong
enough to override the hydras’ natural morphogenic field, he was able to cause
heads to form where tails should be and vice versa.  Similar experiments have been performed on
flatworms, salamanders and other organisms all of which have had their natural
“genetic” or “morphogenic” data re-programmed by electrical frequencies.  This provides yet more evidence that all
organisms must be involved in some type of energetic data transference that
determines things like form and process in nature.  It seems DNA holds the blueprint, but rather
than being set in stone, it is constantly being edited and re-worked by various
fields of influence both from within and outside our bodies.

Rather than a system of fortunate but ultimately random error, if
DNA uses frequencies of all variety as an information tool, this would suggest
instead a feedback system of perfect communication through waves which encode
and transfer information
.”  -Lynne
McTaggart, “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe,” (51)

One fact
which led to the development of this theory is the remarkable ability organisms
have to repair damage. If you cut an oak tree into little pieces, each little
piece, properly treated, can grow into a new tree. So from a tiny fragment, you
can get a whole. Machines do not do that; they do not have this power of
remaining whole if you remove parts of them. Chop a computer up into small
pieces and all you get is a broken computer. It does not regenerate into lots
of little computers. But if you chop a flatworm into small pieces, each piece
can grow into a new flatworm. Another analogy is a magnet. If you chop a magnet
into small pieces, you do have lots of small magnets, each with a complete
magnetic field. This is a holistic property that fields have that mechanical
systems do not have unless they are associated with fields. Still another
example is the hologram, any part of which contains the whole. A hologram is
based on interference patterns within the electromagnetic field. Fields thus
have a holistic property which was very attractive to the biologists who
developed this concept of morphogenetic fields
.”  –Rupert Sheldrake, “Morphic Resonance” (5)

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