The biologist Rupert Sheldrake first developed his theory of morphic fields as a means of answering a huge problem faced by biologists: how do organisms take on their particular forms? Most of us who aren’t biologists assumed that the discovery of the DNA molecule resolved this question—but biologists know it didn’t. The mystery of how organisms take on their specific shapes remains unsolved and unaccounted for by DNA. DNA tells organisms what type of cells to form—but it doesn’t tell those cells what shapes to take. The DNA and cells are the same in both our arms and our legs—yet our legs and arms don’t have the same shape. So what tells a leg to form into a leg and an arm to form into an arm?
Sheldrake posited that everything has a morphic field surrounding it (“morphic” comes from the Greek word for form, morphe) which tells it how to form into whatever sort of thing it’s meant to be—a human, a fern, a bacterium, a crystal. There are many levels and many kinds of fields. Each general thing has its own distinctive field, but so does each individual within that category of thing. So there’s a morphic field for the human species but there’s also a morphic field for each individual human.
These fields are stable in the sense that they run on memory— for example, the field of a species will produce new members of the species based upon the collective memory of form lodged in that species’ field. Yet these fields are not static. They’re intelligent and responsive. They can alter, evolve and expand when new information comes into the species field as individual members of that species learn new skills.
Morphic fields accomplish this spread of positive innovation through the principle of morphic resonance. Morphic resonance just means that like influences like. So if the morphic field of one individual resembles the morphic field of another individual, then those two fields will be able influence and act upon each other, even at great distance, because morphic resonance is non-local. So if I’m a monkey and I do all the hard work of being the first monkey ever to learn to play the guitar, I’ve created an innovation in the energy patterns of my individual morphic field. I’ve changed my field through the introduction of new information (my mad guitar-playing skills). If you’re a monkey on the other side of the world, it will now be easier for you to learn to play the guitar because your individual monkey field will be influenced by the innovation in my individual monkey field through morphic resonance. This influencing happens because our morphic fields have a similar shape to begin with since we’re both monkeys. So we see that morphic resonance is the means by which morphic fields act upon one another and communicate information.
Yet it’s not just similarity of physical shape which can make individuals capable of influencing one another through morphic resonance—it’s also similarity of behavior or action. For example, in religious rituals, participants perform actions that have been performed over thousands of years by other believers in the same tradition. Through their ritual action, participants thus connect themselves via morphic resonance with the larger morphic field of the religion built up over time, and they thereby gain intuitive access to the knowledge and wisdom stored within that field.
It’s important to understand that morphic fields are creative. They create based out of habitually ingrained patterns, patterns that have become so habitual that they’re unconscious. This means that a field will continue to produce the same results unless new innovation, new information is introduced into it.
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