by Wassily Kandinsky
Rupert Sheldrake has some revolutionary theories about
the way we as humans communicate.
One is the theory of Morphic Fields, which he links
with Jung's work on the collective unconscious.
Basically he states that each individual, each
animal, each group has a field around them. The field you are born into – ethnically,
geographically and so on – is readily accessible
to you instinctively, intuitively.
If you move into other fields, you have to get
to know how that field works, in other words you have
to 'tune in' to the wavelength of that field.
was born in Yorkshire in the North of England, so you
might say two fields I am in touch with are those concerned
with Yorkshire-ness and Englishness. But I have also lived in many other counties
in England, one county in Scotland and in one other country. Each time I had to get to know how those
areas work, but now I have ready access to the fields
around these places.
So much so, that in some cases I 'know' more than
I could factually know about that place and its history.
I have a feeling about historical events and suffering
would have called this racial memory; Sheldrake would
say I am tuning in to the morphic fields, and calls this
morphic resonance. Add to this that I am part of many other
social, professional and family groups, and I have the
potential to tune in to – and to make a contribution
to – many diverse morphic fields.
and work done (over a period of 50 years) around the theory
of morphic fields show that learning passes very quickly
between animals of the same species. In laboratory training, rats were taught
ways of learning new behaviour.
The experiments began in Harvard and continued
in Scotland and Australia, three separate locations with
identical learning situations. It was found that rats increased their
rate of learning more than tenfold in all these locations,
including rats not descended from trained parent-rats.
There are many other examples of this, including
instances observed in nature, not just in laboratory testing.
Observations were made watching flocks of birds
reacting as a whole to stimuli.
Measurements of reaction times showed that the
flock reacted faster than a single bird. The conclusion is that this reaction was
much faster than could be explained by visual cueing or
as a response to stimuli.
significance does this have to our understanding of global
problems today? Sheldrake extends his thinking about group
morphic resonance to the behaviour of groups such as football
crowds or mobs of rioters.
This might be said, in Jungian terms, to be the
shadow or darker side of human collective consciousness.
suggests that in the 1930's the shadow side of the collective
consciousness took tangible form in Nazi German.
The rapid spread of fascism took most European
countries by surprise.
something similar happening today with the enormous groundswell
in the terrorist activities of some fundamentalist groups? We see many outbreaks of violence in different countries,
perpetrated by co-ordinated groups as well as by small
cells of activists, suicide bombers etc.
To extend the comparison between the escalation
of fascism then and fundamentalist terrorism now conjures
up a picture too horrifying to contemplate.
appears to be a the minimum number – sometimes called
the critical mass or creative minority – of individuals
required before balance in the morphic field is changed.
In the case of rats, this was reached when enough
rats in similar learning conditions in three different
locations began learning at ten times their usual rates
of learning. The
learning of all rats in all the groups speeded up.
If we apply this to our present conditions, the
more individuals who stand for peace and unity, the sooner
we will reach the kind of numbers which will swing the
balance in favour of peace and unity, and away from terrorism
asked " how to unite and create a synergy between
all people". We can't all be shakers and movers in
a wider context, nor is that necessary for more than a
handful of humanity. Many of us become apathetic, feeling that
our lone voice won't make any impact. I suggest that if Rupert Sheldrake's theories are accurate,
we can make a difference in favour of peace and unity
simply by stating our allegiance to it, by speaking of
unity rather than disunity, by promoting less division
in word and action, by concentrating our efforts in our
own communities, by being ourselves and being counted
as part of the critical mass wherever possible.
When communities have sufficient people speaking,
singing, making music, writing and acting positively in
the cause of unity, then anyone coming into that field
of resonance will potentially be affected.
They in turn will be members of other fields, and
the spread of unity will increase exponentially.
What is more, each individual as I have shown is
a member of many fields, all of which will be affected
by his/her efforts to stand for unity. Fields within fields mean that the network
of connections is already in place. What we can do is, as Native Americans say, "Walk our
Talk", and unity will come to prevail.
_ . _
Sheldrake is a biologist and writer who published
his first book in 1981. His work gives us the opportunity to see
important philosophical and scientific issues together
in a new light. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute
of Noetic Sciences, San Francisco.
Tordoff was a therapist and counsellor for 20 years,
now a writer and editor with interests in poetry, good
stories, healing in its broadest sense, and unity.
= pertaining to the science of perception and thought
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