By Rupert Sheldrake, PhD
Why do many phenomena defy the explanations of conventional biology and physics? For instance, when laboratory rats in one place have learned how to navigate a new maze, why do rats elsewhere in the world seem to learn it more easily? Rupert Sheldrake describes this process as morphic resonance: the past forms and behaviors of organisms, he argues, influence organisms in the present through direct connections across time and space. Calling into question many of our fundamental concepts about life and consciousness, Sheldrake reinterprets the regularities of nature as being more like habits than immutable laws.
Excerpts from the Book
Excerpt from Chapter 11: Rat Learning and Morphic Resonance
Appendix A: New Experiments
The results of experimental tests since the first edition was published in 1981.
Appendix B: Sheldrake - Bohm Dialogue
A dialogue between Rupert Sheldrake and the physicist David Bohm.
"For decades, Rupert Sheldrake has been at the leading edge of highly innovative and controversial ideas about the organization of biological systems. Morphic Resonance poses a serious challenge to traditionalists and is a most welcome book about how we see the world and how we should head off into the future."
— Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals
"As far-reaching in its implications as Darwin's theory of evolution."
— Brain/Mind Bulletin
"Books of this importance and elegance come along rarely. Those who read this new edition of A New Science of Life may do so with the satisfaction of seeing science history in the making."
— Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Recovering the Soul and Reinventing Medicine
"Sheldrake is an excellent scientist; the proper, imaginative kind that in an earlier age discovered continents and mirrored the world in sonnets."
— New Scientist
By Marc Bekoff
Bekoff has spent many years studying social communication in a wide range of species, and in this book he shows how animals display wide range of emotions, including joy, empathy, embarrassment, anger and love. Emotions have evolved as adaptations, and they serve as a social glue to bond animals with one another. His conclusions have powerful implications for the way we treat and interact with animals.
"As a boy studying Buddhism in Tibet, I was taught the importance of a caring attitude toward others. Such a practice of nonviolence applies to all sentient beings -- any living thing that has a mind. Where there is a mind, there are feelings such as pain, pleasure, and joy. No sentient beings want pain; instead all want happiness. Since we all share these feelings at some basic level, as rational human beings we have an obligation to contribute in whatever way we can to the happiness of other species and try our best to relieve their fears and sufferings. I firmly believe that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes, therefore I welcome Marc Bekoff's book The Emotional Lives of Animals."
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"Move over Darwin. And prepare to be moved. In The Emotional Lives of Animals, world-class scientist Marc Bekoff argues forcefully that our emotions are the gifts of our animal ancestors. Bekoff's new book itself is a gift that invites us to explore and appreciate the passionate lives of animals. Weaving in the latest scientific data about empathic mice and elephants suffering from PTSD with wonderful stories about laughing dogs and pissy baboons, Bekoff's forward-looking book offers both an explanation and an ethical compass that opens the door for hope in the ways in which we interact with other animals."
- Dr. Marty Becker, resident veterinarian on Good Morning America and author of The Healing Power of Pets
By Simon Conway Morris
Morris shows that there are any examples of convergent evolution, in which different lineages have evolved very similar structures and functions. In addition to well known examples like the independent origins of camera eyes in vertebrates and invertebrates, Morris point to many others, and even has a 5-page index of convergences. He suggests there are "attractors of functionality" and that evolution is far less a matter of blind chance or contingency than is often assumed.
"Life's Solution is an absorbing presentation written to challenge and inform the mind of the reader. Life's Solution is a superb contribution to both Contemporary Philosophy Studies academic reference collections and University level and Evolutionary Biology reading lists."
- Is Library Bookwatch, December 2003
"Simon Conway Morris's bold new book, Life's Solution, challenges this Darwinian orthodoxy by extending ideas he presented in his Crucible of Creation. Conway Morris presents scores of fascinating examples that are less familiar. The lesson is clear. The living world is peppered with recurrent themes; it is not an accumulation of unique events."
- New York Times Book Review
"Simon Conway Morris's bold new book, Life's Solution, challenges [the] Darwinian orthodoxy by extending ideas he presented in his 'Crucible of Creation'...Conway Morris presents scores of fascinating examples that are less familiar. The lesson is clear. The living world is peppered wtih recurrent themes; it is not an accumulation of unique events."
- New York Times Book Review
By Rupert Sheldrake, PhD
Challenging the fundamental assumptions of modern science, this ground-breaking radical hypothesis suggests that nature itself has memory. The question of morphogenesis - how things take their shape - remains one of the great mysteries of science. What makes a rabbit rabbit-shaped? How do newts regenerate limbs? Why are molecules shaped the way they are? Why do societies arrange themselves in certain predictable patterns?
According to Sheldrake's hypothesis of formative causation, these questions remain unanswered in part because convention is hobbled by the reductionist assumption that finding the answers to such questions is largely a matter of figuring out the machinery of nature, of getting to the bottom of an ultimately mechanical universe. But, Sheldrake suggests that nature is not a machine and that each kind of system - from crystals to birds to societies - is shaped not by universal laws that embrace and direct all systems but by a unique "morphic field" containing a collective or pooled memory. So organisms no only share genetic material with others of their species, but are also shaped by a "field" specific to that species.
"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, author of The Inner Eye
"Bold, clear, and incisive, Sheldrake's thesis constitutes a sweeping challenge to the very fundamentals of established science. It may outrage or delight, but it will never fail to stimulate. Sheldrake has a remarkable ability to identify the weak spots of scientific orthodoxy."
— Paul Davies, author of The Edge of Infinity
"So compelling that it sets the reader to underlining words and scribbling notes in the margin."
— Washington Post
"Rupert Sheldrake is the most controversial scientist on Earth."
— Robert Anton Wilson, author of Prometheus Rising and The Illuminati Papers
By Gerald Pollack
This book describes how cells work. It challenges the current wisdom of cell function, and presents a new, simpler approach to fundamental processes such as movement, transport, division, and communication, based on sound physical principles. The book is profusely illustrated with many color figures. It is written for the non-expert in an accessible, often humorous style.
"Full of deep physical insights into biological structure / function relationships. I found it refreshingly iconoclastic, sensible, and believable."
- Peter Basser, Chief, Tissue Biophysics and Biomimetics, National Institutes of Health
"Cells and Gels reads like a detective story. I could not stop reading until the plot resolved."
- H. Ishiwatari, Dean, Grad School Health Sciences, Suzuka University, Japan