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A morphic field (a term introduced by Rupert Sheldrake, the major proponent of this concept, through his Hypothesis of Formative Causation) is described as consisting of patterns that govern the development of forms, structures and arrangements. The theory of morphic fields is not accepted by mainstream science.

That a mode of transmission of shared informational patterns and archetypes might exist did gain some tacit acceptance, when it was proposed as the theory of collective unconscious by renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung. A morphic field might provide an explanation for the concept.

Morphic fields are defined as the universal database for both organic (living) and abstract (mental) forms, while morphogenetic fields are defined by Sheldrake as the subset of morphic fields which influence, and are influenced by living things (the term morphogenetic fields was already in use in environmental biology in the 1920's, having been used in unrelated research of three biologists - Hans Spemann, Alexander Gurwitsch and Paul Weiss).

“The term [morphic field] is more general in its meaning than morphogenetic fields, and includes other kinds of organizing fields in addition to those of morphogenesis; the organizing fields of animal and human behaviour, of social and cultural systems, and of mental activity can all be regarded as morphic fields which contain an inherent memory.” - Sheldrake, The Presence of the Past (Chapter 6, page 112)

According to this concept, the morphic field underlies the formation and behavior of holons and morphic units, and can be set up by the repetition of similar acts and/or thoughts. The hypothesis says that a particular form belonging to a certain group which has already established its (collective) morphic field, will tune into that morphic field. The particular form will read the collective information through the process of morphic resonance, using it to guide its own development. This development of the particular form will then provide, again through morphic resonance, a feedback to the morphic field of that group, thus strengthening it with its own experience resulting in new information being added (i.e. stored in the database).

Through process of morphic resonance that leads to stable morphic fields, which are significantly easier to tune into, it can be explained how simpler organic forms self-organize into more complex ones and understand the process of evolution itself in a different, and in certain aspects, more explanatory way.


See also


  • Sheldrake, Rupert (1995). Nature As Alive: Morphic Resonance and Collective Memory. Source: [1] (Accessed: Thursday, 1 March 2007)
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