Inheriting a collective memory

Dr. Sheldrake (of the book ‘The Presence of the Past’) has been described as challenging the ‘fundamentals of established science.’ He has argued that science has to shed its restrictive materialism and reductionism, because of the major unsolved problems about consciousness, cosmology, etc. Most laymen might agree with that view. There seems to be a need for a major shift towards the virtual from the observable.

Sheldrake points out that 4% of matter and energy is ‘floating on a vast ocean of energy’ … from which virtual particles emerge and disappear; and that, in consciousness studies, all self-organising material systems (like electrons) display a mental activity, as well as a physical aspect. He theorises that mental activity, conscious and unconscious, takes within and through mental fields which, like other kinds of morphic fields, contain a kind of built-in memory.

Morphic resonance, as theorised by Sheldrake, refers to the influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar structures of activity, organised by morphic fields. These enable memories to pass across space and time from the past. Therefore, all self-organising systems – from molecules to animal societies – have a collective memory.

Thus, the laws of Nature are more like habits. In truth, are not the accepted laws of Nature any more than persistently repeated relationships between things or activities which have been observed? Sheldrake’s theory has an appeal which, hopefully, can somehow be verified.