In this provocative book, The Presence Of The Past, Royal Society biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake proposes that there are no rules of nature, but rather deeply ingrained habits. Things are the way they are because there is a memory of their own past.
He proposes that this memory is carried by a non-material medium called a “morphogenetic field”. Thus rabbits are “rabbit-shaped” because they tune into the morphogenetic field and through a process of “morphic resonance” produce offspring that are also rabbits! The same is true of the shapes of molecules, the propagation of ideas, and the formation of ice crystals. Also, once a habit is broken, it becomes easier for others to do the same through this same morphic resonance. This is why, after Roger Bannister first broke the 4-minute mile, many hundreds of other athletes did the same within a year. A new “habit” was established.
It is definitely unusual for a mainstream scientist of Sheldrake’s caliber to come out with such a challenging theory such as this. However, he backs it up with numerous examples from the whole realm of nature. If his ideas are correct, they give a scientific basis mystical concepts that have existed for millennia.
479 pages. Published by Simon & Schuster