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Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Fields (Scientific American Blog)

Horgan: I admit that I’m still not sure what morphic resonance is. Can you give me a brief definition?

Sheldrake: Morphic resonance is the influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar structures of activity organized by morphic fields. It enables memories to pass across both space and time from the past. The greater the similarity, the greater the influence of morphic resonance. What this means is that all self-organizing systems, such as molecules, crystals, cells, plants, animals and animal societies, have a collective memory on which each individual draws and to which it contributes. In its most general sense this hypothesis implies that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits.

Source: Scientific Heretic Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Fields, Psychic Dogs and Other Mysteries – Scientific American Blog Network


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  1. Tim B.

    “Morphic fields contain attractors (goals), and chreodes (habitual pathways towards those goals) that guide a system towards its end state, and maintain its integrity, stabilising it against disruptions.”

  2. Tim B.

    ” The hypothesized properties of morphic fields at all levels of complexity can be summarized as follows:

    1. ​They are self-organizing wholes.

    2. ​They have both a spatial and a temporal aspect, and organize spatio-temporal patterns of vibratory or rhythmic activity.

    3. ​They attract the systems under their influence towards characteristic forms and patterns of activity, whose coming-into-being they organize and whose integrity they maintain. The ends or goals towards which morphic fields attract the systems under their influence are called attractors. The pathways by which systems usually reach these attractors are called chreodes.

    4. ​They interrelate and co-ordinate the morphic units or holons that lie within them, which in turn are wholes organized by morphic fields. Morphic fields contain other morphic fields within them in a nested hierarchy or holarchy.

    5. ​They are structures of probability, and their organizing activity is probabilistic.

    6. They contain a built-in memory given by self-resonance with a morphic unit’s own past and by morphic resonance with all previous similar systems. This memory is cumulative. The more often particular patterns of activity are repeated, the more habitual they tend to become. ”

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