The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature

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9780002177856: The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature

Rupert Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance challenges the fundamental assumptions of modern science. A world-famous biologist, Sheldrake proposes that all self-organizing systems, from crystals to human societies, inherit a collective memory that influences their form and behaviour. Rather than being ruled by fixed laws, nature is essentially habitual. All human beings draw upon a collective human memory, and in turn contribute to it. Even individual memory depends on morphic resonance rather than on physical memory traces stored within the brain. Morphic resonance works through morphic fields, which organize the bodies of plants and animals, coordinate the activities of brains, and underlie mental activity. Minds are extended beyond brains both in space and time. This fully-revised and updated edition of The Presence of the Past summarizes the evidence for Dr Sheldrake's controversial theory, reviews new research, and explores its implications for biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and sociology. In place of the mechanistic worldview that has dominated biology since the nineteenth century, this book offers a revolutionary alternative, and opens up a new understanding of life, minds and evolution.

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Review:

'Engaging, provocative ... a tour de force' --New Scientist

'One of the most profound and far-reaching books of modern scientific philosophy ... eminently accessible to the general reader.' --Fortean Times

From the Back Cover:

Why are rabbits rabbit-shaped? Once blue tits began pecking the tops off milk bottles, why did the habit spread magically across Europe? After Roger Bannister ran the four-minute mile, why did it begin to be broken everywhere?

In 'The Presence of the Past' Rupert Sheldrake's explosive scientific theory provides a new and radical solution to the conundrums of life. Dr Sheldrake's hypothesis is that memory is inherent in nature – all natural systems from crystals to man inherit a collective memory of their kind. Thus, rabbits are rabbit-shaped not only because their DNA encodes their proteins, but also because nature has a 'morphic field', in their case, a rabbit-habit, that informs their growth and instinctive behaviour. According to Dr Sheldrake's theory of 'formative causation', this inherent memory depends on 'morphic resonance', a process that involves action at a distance in both space and time. Far from being stored as material traces within our brains, our own memories result from our tuning in to ourselves in the past.

"…few of us recognize revolutions in the making. Anyone who wants to be able to say in the future, 'I was there', had better read 'The Presence of the Past'
NICHOLAS HUMPHREY

"engaging, provocative … a tour de force"
NEW SCIENTIST

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