Tuesday, October 10, 2006

river on friend: Rupert Sheldrake



- Born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England

British biologist, author and philosopher, who proposed the theory of “formative causation” and the concepts of “morphic fields” and “morphogenetic resonance”.

After getting his degree in natural science at Cambridge University he went to Harvard to study philosophy. Later he returned to Cambridge to take a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

A particular moment marked his work and carrier: one day, while he was at Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry, he saw a chart with a list of the different chemical reactions of the human body, and at the top of it, someone had written with a marker the phrase: KNOW THYSELF. This pushed Sheldrake towards a universe of reflections around the intersection between biological chemistry and inner-knowledge. “This brought home to me a huge chasm between these enzymatic reactions and my own experience.”

- Many of Sheldrake ideas appear to be based on the hologram model to explain different crucial biologic phenomena like memory sharing.

- It is said that he is deeply influenced by Goethe’s work.

- Books written by Rupert Sheldrake:

-A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation (1981)
-The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (1988)
-The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God (1992)
-Seven Experiments that Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science (1994).
-Dogs that Know When Their Owners are Coming Home, and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals (1999)
-The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (2003)

With Ralph Abraham and Terence McKenna:
-Trialogues at the Edge of the West (1992), republished as Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness (2001)
-The Evolutionary Mind (1998)

With Matthew Fox:
- Natural Grace: Dialogues on Science and Spirituality (1996)
- The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet (1996)

- In 1974 he moved to Hyderabad, India, to work for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. In this country he had close relations with sufi and hindu masters. He also met a very significant friend in his later life and works: Bedde Griffiths, an English Benedictine monk who lived in a Christian ashram located in the deep south of the country. After living with Griffiths in the ashram, for almost a year and a half, Sheldrake decided to write his first book: A New Science, which was dedicated to his friend.

- “Formative causation”

This theory tries to penetrate the cause of form related to the inherent capability of all natural system to self organize.

“The theory of formative causation is concerned with how things take up their forms, or patterns, or organization. So it covers the formation of galaxies, atoms, crystals, molecules, plants, animals, cells, societies. It covers all kinds of things that have forms, patterns, structures, or self-organizing properties.”

In response to this phenomenon, Sheldrake proposes answers based on the presence of form-shaping fields, a kind of organizing Aether which he has called morphic fields. These fields are composed by “the memory of nature” that is permanently fed by the existential habits of all natural system. The information resulting of this collective memory, through the history of certain specie or kind of being, serves as a self-organizing guide inherent to each one of his members. Basically every member has imposed behaviors by this source, and at the same time, it’s influencing it at every moment.

"The idea is that there is a kind of memory in nature. Each kind of thing has a collective memory. So, take a squirrel living in New York now. That squirrel is being influenced by all past squirrels.”

There have been some previous biologists, around 1920’s that suggested the birth of the form, the morphogenesis, had its origin determined by fields: Alexander Gurwitsch, Hans Spemann and Paul Weiss.

“I believe that the natural selection of habits will play an essential part in any integrated theory of evolution, including not just biological evolution, but also physical, chemical, cosmic, social, mental and cultural evolution.”

The morphic fields serve as a conduct for waves of information, not for energy. The info waves that are received permanently by each member of the specie, never lose their intensity. These fields determinate (through some kind of collective unconscious) what we usually call the genetic habits. They are recipients of patterns of existing forms and simultaneously they guide the formation of similar systems, whether it is a crystal, a galaxy or any biological system.

From this point of view the DNA is not the key element in the formation of a living organism. That information is basically contained in the morphic fields. DNA represents a main factor in the capability of each specie member to decipher and assume this info.

This process of holo-sharing biochemical information between members of a same specie and that is composed by all habits of all members during the complete history of the specie is called morphogenetic resonance.

“The whole idea of morphic resonance is evolutionary, but morphic resonance only gives the repetitions. It doesn't give the creativity. So evolution must involve an interplay of creativity and repetition.”

Fusion Anomaly

All is one and Sheldrake knows it….

--- For these reasons and more, Rupert Sheldrake is, indeed, a riveron friend: thank you Rupert.

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