My interest quickened over twenty years ago, when I first read Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s book The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature. I was delighted to find a scientist who was taking such a down-to-earth approach. As a biologist, Dr. Sheldrake has advanced our understanding of how life develops.
His hypothesis of Formative Causation suggests that in addition to our genetic inheritance there are organising fields called morphogenetic fields (as in electrical fields, gravitational fields and magnetic fields). He suggests that morphogenetic fields are within and around the systems they organise, and each system draws on the appropriate memory of past systems using ‘morphic resonance’. For example, the morphogenetic field of an oak tree is in and around the tree, and the memory it draws on comes from past trees by morphic resonance. As such, habits in nature, built up over millennia, continue to affect and inform all new life, from conception onwards. For me, it was reassuring to read Dr. Sheldrake’s work. His approach to the science of life, viewing all of our sensory perceptions as being as natural to humans as they are to animals, appealed to me much more than the outdated concept of the supernatural.