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New updated and expanded edition of the groundbreaking book that ignited a firestorm in the scientific world with its radical approach to evolution • Explains how past forms and behaviors of organisms determine those of similar organisms in the present through morphic resonance • Reveals the nonmaterial connections that allow direct communication across time and space W New updated and expanded edition of the groundbreaking book that ignited a firestorm in the scientific world with its radical approach to evolution • Explains how past forms and behaviors of organisms determine those of similar organisms in the present through morphic resonance • Reveals the nonmaterial connections that allow direct communication across time and space When A New Science of Life was first published the British journal Nature called it “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.” The book called into question the prevailing mechanistic theory of life when its author, Rupert Sheldrake, a former research fellow of the Royal Society, proposed that morphogenetic fields are responsible for the characteristic form and organization of systems in biology, chemistry, and physics--and that they have measurable physical effects. Using his theory of morphic resonance, Sheldrake was able to reinterpret the regularities of nature as being more like habits than immutable laws, offering a new understanding of life and consciousness. In the years since its first publication, Sheldrake has continued his research to demonstrate that the past forms and behavior of organisms influence present organisms through direct immaterial connections across time and space. This can explain why new chemicals become easier to crystallize all over the world the more often their crystals have already formed, and why when laboratory rats have learned how to navigate a maze in one place, rats elsewhere appear to learn it more easily. With more than two decades of new research and data, Rupert Sheldrake makes an even stronger case for the validity of the theory of formative causation that can radically transform how we see our world and our future.


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New updated and expanded edition of the groundbreaking book that ignited a firestorm in the scientific world with its radical approach to evolution • Explains how past forms and behaviors of organisms determine those of similar organisms in the present through morphic resonance • Reveals the nonmaterial connections that allow direct communication across time and space W New updated and expanded edition of the groundbreaking book that ignited a firestorm in the scientific world with its radical approach to evolution • Explains how past forms and behaviors of organisms determine those of similar organisms in the present through morphic resonance • Reveals the nonmaterial connections that allow direct communication across time and space When A New Science of Life was first published the British journal Nature called it “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.” The book called into question the prevailing mechanistic theory of life when its author, Rupert Sheldrake, a former research fellow of the Royal Society, proposed that morphogenetic fields are responsible for the characteristic form and organization of systems in biology, chemistry, and physics--and that they have measurable physical effects. Using his theory of morphic resonance, Sheldrake was able to reinterpret the regularities of nature as being more like habits than immutable laws, offering a new understanding of life and consciousness. In the years since its first publication, Sheldrake has continued his research to demonstrate that the past forms and behavior of organisms influence present organisms through direct immaterial connections across time and space. This can explain why new chemicals become easier to crystallize all over the world the more often their crystals have already formed, and why when laboratory rats have learned how to navigate a maze in one place, rats elsewhere appear to learn it more easily. With more than two decades of new research and data, Rupert Sheldrake makes an even stronger case for the validity of the theory of formative causation that can radically transform how we see our world and our future.

30 review for Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    This book was difficult for me to read because of the jargon. I gave it a lower rating than it may have deserved simply because I feel like I don't fall into the intended audience. This book read like the thesis of a biochemistry graduate and not like a book directed to the layman. I struggled with parts like this, "Aggregative morphogeneses occur progressively in inorganic systems as the temperature is reduced: as a plasma cools, subatomic particles aggregate into atoms; at lower temperatures, a This book was difficult for me to read because of the jargon. I gave it a lower rating than it may have deserved simply because I feel like I don't fall into the intended audience. This book read like the thesis of a biochemistry graduate and not like a book directed to the layman. I struggled with parts like this, "Aggregative morphogeneses occur progressively in inorganic systems as the temperature is reduced: as a plasma cools, subatomic particles aggregate into atoms; at lower temperatures, atoms aggregate into molecules; then molecules condense into liquids; and finally liquids crystallize. In the plasma state, hydrogen atoms split up into electrons and naked atomic nuclei. The nuclei can be regarded as the morphogenetic germs of atoms; they are associated with the atomic morphogenetic fields, which contain the virtual orbitals of elections. In one sense these orbitals do not exist, but in another sense they have a reality that is revealed in the cooling plasma as they are actualized by the capture of electrons. Electrons that have been captured within atomic orbitals may be displaced..." That certainly wasn't written for the common man. I find the subject fascinating but I still have difficulty describing what morphic resonance is and what formative causation is. Here is how the book describes Morphic fields: "Morphogenetic fields organize morphogenesis. Motor fields organize movements; behavioral fields organize behaviour; and social fields organize societies. These fields are hierarchically ordered in the sense that social fields include and organize the behavioral fields of animals within the society; the animals' behaviour fields organize their motor fields; and the motor fields depend for their activity on the animals' nervous systems and bodies organized by morphogenetic fields. These are all different kinds of morphic field. "Morphic field" is a generic term that includes all kinds of fields that have an inherent memory given by morphic resonance from previous similar systems. Morphogenetic, motor, behavioral, and social fields are all morphic fields, and they are all essentially habitual." There are occasions where the phenomenon is better described. I understand morphic fields to contain information that we don't understand where it comes from. For example, the instincts of an animal: how can a baby bird (hatched from an egg and having never communicated with any other birds) know how to build a nest? How do monarch butterflies know how, where, and when to migrate? How do spiders know how to build a spider web? We used to think that we would find this information in DNA but we discovered that mapping the genomes of various species still proved to be insufficient to answer these questions. So the author proposes that this missing information exists in morphic fields and morphogenetic behaviour to be driven by knowledge that exists in the morphic field. "In some cases animals mend nests and other structures after they have been damaged. Potter wasps can fill holes made by the experimenter in the walls of their pots, sometimes using actions never normally performed when the pots are being constructed. And termites repair damage to their galleries and nests through cooperation and coordinated activities of many individual insects." Here's a story that attempts to describe how the chreode (likely path of the morphic field) comes into existence: "Hens come to the rescue of chicks in response to their distress call, but not if they simply see them in distress, for example behind a soundproof glass. According to the hypothesis of formative causation, recognition of these sign stimuli depends on morphic resonance from previous similar animals exposed to similar stimuli. Owing to the process of automatic averaging, this resonance will emphasize only the common features of the spatio-temporal patters of activity brought about by these stimuli in the nervous system. The result will be that only certain specific stimuli are abstracted from the environment, whereas others are ignored. Consider, for example, the stimuli acting on hens whose chicks are in distress. Imagine a collection of photographs taken of chicks in distress on many different occasions. Those taken at night will show nothing; those in the daytime will show chicks of different sizes and shapes seen from the front, the rear, the sides, or from above; moreover, they may be near to other objects of all shapes and sizes, or even concealed behind them. Now if all these photographs are super imposed to produce a composite image, no features whatever will be reinforced; the result will simply be a blur. By contrast, imagine a series of tape recordings made at the same time the photographs were taken. All bear the record of distress calls, and if these sounds are superimposed, they reinforce each other to give an automatically averaged distress call. This superimposition of photographs and tape recordings is analogous to the effects of morphic resonance from the nervous systems of previous hens on a subsequent hen exposed to the stimuli from a chick in distress: the visual stimuli result in no specific resonance and evoke no instinctive reaction, however pathetic the chick may look to a human observer, whereas the auditory stimuli do." I thought that the author went a little far when he proposed this idea. Consider a newly synthesized organic chemical that has never existed before. According to the hypothesis of formative causation, its crystalline form will not be predictable in advance, and no morphogenetic field for this form will yet exist. But after it has been crystallized for the first time, the form of its crystals will influence subsequent crystallizations by morphic resonance, and the more often it is crystallized, the stronger should this influence become. As I read on I discovered this was an already observed phenomenon. "For example, turanose, a kind of sugar, was considered to be a liquid for decades, but after it first crystallized in the 1920s, it formed crystals all over the world. Even more striking are cases in which one kind of crystal appears and is then replaced by another. For example, xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in chewing gum, was first prepared in 1891 and was considered to be a liquid until 1942, when a form with a mealtime point of 61'C crystallized out. Several year later another form appeared, with a melting point of 94'C, and thereafter the first form could not be made again." If the content of the quotations in this review weren't too overwhelming then maybe this book is for you. This book was thoroughly indexed and the author always cites his sources.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael DiBaggio

    The great contribution of this book is not that it convincingly establishes the existence of morphic fields and morphic resonance--It does not manage that, in my opinion--but that it shines a light on modern scientific orthodoxy and reveals it to be based on a great many questionable premises and flimsy assumptions. If you want to be provoked to think about things you've always accepted as a matter of course, read this book. The great contribution of this book is not that it convincingly establishes the existence of morphic fields and morphic resonance--It does not manage that, in my opinion--but that it shines a light on modern scientific orthodoxy and reveals it to be based on a great many questionable premises and flimsy assumptions. If you want to be provoked to think about things you've always accepted as a matter of course, read this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natylie Baldwin

    Three and a half stars. Sheldrake's ideas are brilliant and fascinating but I would recommend watching his presentations and interviews (available on YouTube), which are more accessible than this book. Three and a half stars. Sheldrake's ideas are brilliant and fascinating but I would recommend watching his presentations and interviews (available on YouTube), which are more accessible than this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Randall

    I made a real attempt to make it through "Morphic Resonance" but after arriving at the end of chapter five I'm abandoning it. The biggest problem with it is that it seems entirely unmotivated. The motivation seems to stem from the fact that predictions of forms of relatively simple materials using first principles of physics have not been achieved. Sheldrake takes this as a reasonable motivation for searching out other explanations for forms and arrangements of matter, but I think he makes a grav I made a real attempt to make it through "Morphic Resonance" but after arriving at the end of chapter five I'm abandoning it. The biggest problem with it is that it seems entirely unmotivated. The motivation seems to stem from the fact that predictions of forms of relatively simple materials using first principles of physics have not been achieved. Sheldrake takes this as a reasonable motivation for searching out other explanations for forms and arrangements of matter, but I think he makes a grave error. Since such predictions have been achieved for very simple materials and the complexity of the problem explodes as the number of atoms in a molecule increase to make this motivation sound he would have to first have evidence that more complex materials are fundamentally different in the way their forms precipitate but he seems to have none. Instead of evidence for complex forms being fundamentally different, he seems to start from the premise that there is a heretofore unknown principle at work in order to explain forms that we have not yet calculated ex nihilo. However, reaching for alternative explanations seems unmotivated given that we have made continual advances in such calculations and he presents no justifications for a claim that we should not continue doing so. Such as there is any motivational evidence it seems to come from the strange cases of "disappearing" polymorphs in crystallography. I don't find these cases to be sufficiently strange given the delicacy of obtaining particular crystallizations. I found a paper citing the Woodward letter that Sheldrake references discussing this issue. The conclusion seems useful to quote: "In any case, we believe that once a particular polymorph has been obtained, it is always possible to obtain it again; it is only a matter of finding the right experimental conditions." Dunitz and Bernstein, 1995, "Disappearing Polymorphs", http://www.researchgate.net/…/…/0f317... Sheldrake seems to start from an irrational belief and offer no convincing evidence for his explanation, all in the service of explaining phenomena that have alternative, rational explanations grounded in well accepted principles.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shirin

    I enjoyed reading this book though at first it looked rather like an elementary biology book and boring, if you flip through the pages quickly. This is due to the diagrams and illustration included to explain some of Sheldrake's experiment and/or observation of experiments done by others. Sheldrake was quite detailed in his descriptions of the experiments and this made the book easy to read. To be fair, I have been converted to Sheldrake's point of view, and that is to consider all the evidence I enjoyed reading this book though at first it looked rather like an elementary biology book and boring, if you flip through the pages quickly. This is due to the diagrams and illustration included to explain some of Sheldrake's experiment and/or observation of experiments done by others. Sheldrake was quite detailed in his descriptions of the experiments and this made the book easy to read. To be fair, I have been converted to Sheldrake's point of view, and that is to consider all the evidence before passing off judgment, which many materialist have chosen to ignore for fear of being considered unprofessional. Since I am no scientist, this means nothing to me, so I am all ears and my mind opens wide with the ideas Sheldrake to put forth about morphic resonance, morphogentic fields, influence of the past through morphic resonance, etc. He also included a chapter on his conclusions at the end and Appendices that detailed out experiments and his interview with David Bohm, a theoretical physicist who died in 1992. Before starting on this book I had read Sheldrake's other book, Science Set Free (UK) or the Science Delusion (USA) and I enjoyed that as well. For updates on his experiments and videos of his lectures, check out his website www. sheldrake.org.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter Pike

    A great book. Sheldrake's views are controversial, but he writes well and brings much to the table. I'm pretty convinced that something similar, if not identical, to morphic fields must be true to explain a lot of what we see in the world. I'm reading another of his books now, so I will hold off on a full examination of his views until then. But I would recommend this to anyone who is curious about why certain structures in nature look similar to each other, even though the processes by which the A great book. Sheldrake's views are controversial, but he writes well and brings much to the table. I'm pretty convinced that something similar, if not identical, to morphic fields must be true to explain a lot of what we see in the world. I'm reading another of his books now, so I will hold off on a full examination of his views until then. But I would recommend this to anyone who is curious about why certain structures in nature look similar to each other, even though the processes by which they are formed are so radically different (such as rivers looking like veins which looks like cracks in a rock face, and so on), as well as for those who might be curious if there's any scientific basis for things we often consider to be more paranormal, such as group knowledge, forms of telepathy, and the like.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Antony

    Has no real evidence an utter infuriating read with no proposal to a formation or cause of such an imaginary concept

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    Excellent reading, and worth reading again. Provides many mind expanding branches.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alison Lilly

    Part of my practice of believing six impossible things before breakfast, Sheldrake is a fascinating if controversial figure in modern science — and lucky for us, exceptionally lucid and accessible as a writer. His hypothesis (a testable one, he repeatedly reminds us) that the “natural laws” we take for granted are not eternal and fixed but “more like long-standing habits” is sure to ruffle feathers. You will either be the kind of person who can’t bear to read this book, or the kind who can’t put Part of my practice of believing six impossible things before breakfast, Sheldrake is a fascinating if controversial figure in modern science — and lucky for us, exceptionally lucid and accessible as a writer. His hypothesis (a testable one, he repeatedly reminds us) that the “natural laws” we take for granted are not eternal and fixed but “more like long-standing habits” is sure to ruffle feathers. You will either be the kind of person who can’t bear to read this book, or the kind who can’t put it down. It really depends on how comfortable you are suspending your learned disbelief long enough to hear him out. This book starts sluggish with a close study of the short-comings of current molecular biology (how exactly *do* polypeptide chains know which of the multiple minima energy states will result in a correctly folded protein for the specialized needs of a particular cell, anyway?) and gets much more interesting from there. ~~~ I should note, I’ve read some of Sheldrake‘s later (arguably more accessible) books before this one, which may explain why I found this one more readable than some of the other reviewers. Unfortunately, his later books will really sound crazy if you aren’t familiar with the ways his theories are grounded in specific criticisms of (and alternative theories to) current science. If you prefer fun stories about psychic pets, etc., read: Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, The Sense of Being Stared At, or one of his similar books.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vostok_landing_gear

    Sheldrakes hypothesis of formative causation is a great mind opener for personal exploration of the nature of reality. I love the idea of a resonance "governing" form, physical phenomenon and consciousness rather than eternal rigid laws of nature. This was a fun read, a little bit repetitive even though the repetition filled a purpose and overall a very fun read, would recommend for anyone interested in biology, physics, consciousness, spirituality and nonmechanistic theories of nature. Sheldrakes hypothesis of formative causation is a great mind opener for personal exploration of the nature of reality. I love the idea of a resonance "governing" form, physical phenomenon and consciousness rather than eternal rigid laws of nature. This was a fun read, a little bit repetitive even though the repetition filled a purpose and overall a very fun read, would recommend for anyone interested in biology, physics, consciousness, spirituality and nonmechanistic theories of nature.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Giovanni Paffen

    Decent scientific book

  12. 4 out of 5

    ISMUDDIN Jamalus

    Saya baru mau membaca buku ini, karena banyak dibahas oleh orang2 terkenal, seperti Menteri Syofyan Jalil.

  13. 5 out of 5

    SonicRim

    Rupetr Sheldrake has brought focus on the concept of collective memory. His theory of morphic resonance, and cover topics such as animal and plant development and behaviour, memory, telepathy, perception and cognition in general. According to this concept, the morphic field underlies the formation and behavior of holons and morphic units, and can be set up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts. The hypothesis is that a particular form belonging to a certain group which has already establ Rupetr Sheldrake has brought focus on the concept of collective memory. His theory of morphic resonance, and cover topics such as animal and plant development and behaviour, memory, telepathy, perception and cognition in general. According to this concept, the morphic field underlies the formation and behavior of holons and morphic units, and can be set up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts. The hypothesis is that a particular form belonging to a certain group which has already established its (collective) morphic field, will tune into that morphic field. The particular form will read the collective information through the process of morphic resonance, using it to guide its own development. At SonicRim, if we are truly curious about the human nature and of influencing human experience, we need to explore various interpretations of how people experience life. This one is a new and controversial science of life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zarathustra Goertzel

    Fairly decent, amusing book on an hypothesis elaborating "habits form" to the laws of physics (< chemistry < biology< behavior ... hierarchically). I already knew the gist of the idea, so the initial "motivation" a la "this shit isn't properly explained by the current mechanistic theories" was fairly tedious. Ok, but I can sorta see how it may be later. Or it's not necessarily so clear morphic resonance explains that solidly either. Sheldrake keeps an eye on how to test Reality for something like Fairly decent, amusing book on an hypothesis elaborating "habits form" to the laws of physics (< chemistry < biology< behavior ... hierarchically). I already knew the gist of the idea, so the initial "motivation" a la "this shit isn't properly explained by the current mechanistic theories" was fairly tedious. Ok, but I can sorta see how it may be later. Or it's not necessarily so clear morphic resonance explains that solidly either. Sheldrake keeps an eye on how to test Reality for something like morphic resonance. Fun thoughts on bridging "weird trippy metaphysical shit" and "normal science". (And if you question the interest in such thoughts, recall what Terence Mckenna said on the question "Are disincarnate and non-human entities mental projections or non-physical, autonomous entities?": those most in favor of explaining away such entities have the least experience with them :p)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Mutter

    "It becomes clear that current science presupposes uncritically one possible kind of metaphysics. When one faces this, one can at least begin to think about it rather than accepting one way of thinking about it as self-evident, taken for granted. And if one begins to think about it, one might be able to deepen one's understanding of it." "It becomes clear that current science presupposes uncritically one possible kind of metaphysics. When one faces this, one can at least begin to think about it rather than accepting one way of thinking about it as self-evident, taken for granted. And if one begins to think about it, one might be able to deepen one's understanding of it."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Fascinating concept, but a bit of a dry read. However, presenting the ideas in the form of a traditional essay, complete with detached, impersonal tone allows one to focus on the content rather than the writer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James

    Morphosis: out of potential through formative cause is Form coming into being. This process can be aggregative as well as epigenetic. I especially appreciate conversation of the place of implicate order (David Bohm) in these dynamics.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Interesting, but I found it lacked in scientific foundation. Some interesting hypotheses all the same.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Terrible.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Eloquent superbly written book. The truth is evident throughout this book. It just makes sense.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shibaz

    Fascinating ideas but a bit lacking in presentation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Belzazar

    The book is great, it informs about issues on metaphysics and the nature of fields of energy that are around us.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathleenlowell

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Thyme

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stardust

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Godwin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  28. 5 out of 5

    VINOD DESHMUKH

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andy Duncan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marshall

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