Rupert Sheldrake, fully Alfred Rupert Sheldrake

Sheldrake, fully Alfred Rupert Sheldrake

English Biochemist, Developmental Biologist, Telepathy Researcher, and Author who proposed a non-genetic account of morphogenesis

Author Quotes

What the Higgs Boson does do is remind us of how little we understand about the fundamental nature of matter. After all, the Higgs Boson is supposed to explain why anything has mass. We take for granted the fact that things have weight. If you buy a pound of fruit, it weighs a pound. We take weight and mass completely for granted. And yet it turns out it's completely unexplained in physics, and depends on this Boson that was detected elusively just a few months ago. Even then it leaves many questions unanswered.

What we have to do is recognize that consciousness depends on a kind of interaction between a mental dimension and the brain. Obviously, the brain has something to do with it. Brain damage can lead to a loss of memory. It can lead to unconsciousness, and so forth. Clearly consciousness involves the brain. But that doesn't prove it's nothing but the brain.

The ten dogmas of science [paraphrased]: 1. Everything is mechanical; only mechanistic explanations will do. 2. Matter is unconscious / inanimate. 3. The matter and energy of the universe is constant, and has remained constant since the Big Bang. 4. The laws of nature are fixed. 5. Nature is without inherent purpose, and evolution has no goal. 6. Biological inheritance is a purely material process. 7. Minds are located within heads, and are nothing but the activities of brains. 8. Memories are stored in the brain, and are wiped out at death. 9. Telepathy and other psychic phenomena are illusory. 10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works.

The whole universe is best thought of as an organism rather than a machine.

To describe the overwhelming life of a tropical forest just in terms of inert biochemistry and DNA didn't seem to give a very full picture of the world.

Well, I'm always hoping to hear from interested chemists and protein chemists, because I'd love for these experiments to be done properly.

Well, natural selection was an idea that Darwin developed by analogy with conscious human selection. That's where he got the idea from.

The sciences are being held back by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas, maintained by powerful taboos. I believe that the sciences will be regenerated when they are set free.

The simplest and cheapest of all reforms within institutional science is to switch from the passive to the active voice in writing about science.

The mechanistic theory of nature is a theory of nature, and one that I think is wrong, or at least too limited. It's not an eternal truth.

The mind itself and what the mind can do is almost virgin territory.

The point of what I'm doing is to talk not about science backed up by hundreds of committees, thousands of professors, and many tons of textbooks.

The formation of habits depends on a process called morphic resonance. Similar patterns of activity resonate across space and time with subsequent patterns. This hypothesis applies to all self-organizing systems, including atoms, molecules, crystals, cells, plants, animals and animal societies. All draw upon a collective memory and in turn contribute to it. A growing crystal of copper sulphate, for example, is in resonance with countless previous crystals of copper sulphate, and follows the same habits of crystal organization, the same lattice structure. A growing oak seedling follows the habits of growth and development of previous oaks. When an orb-web spider starts spinning its web, it follows the habits of countless ancestors, resonating across space and time. The more people who learn a new skill, such as snowboarding, the easier will it be for others to learn it because of morphic resonance from previous snowboarders.?

The facts of science are real enough, and so are the techniques that scientists use, and so are the technologies based on them. But the belief system that governs conventional scientific thinking is an act of faith.

Morphic fields are the fields that organize the shape or form of living organisms, like plants and animals. They are like the invisible plans that shape them. The idea of morphic genetic fields, or short form shaping fields, was quite well known in biology for a long time, over 90 years. That is not an original point of mine, it's a pretty mainstream idea. The key part of my theory is that there is a kind of memory in the field, and that each organism draws on the collective memory and in turn contributes to it. The evidence for that is the mysterious memory effects that occur in living things. For example, if you train rats to learn a new maze trip in New York, then rats all around the world should be able to learn the same trick more quickly just because the rats had learned it already in New York. And there is actual evidence from experiments at Harvard, in Australia and in Scotland that this effect really happens.

Organism is a much better metaphor for living beings. In fact it?s not really a metaphor, it?s just saying what they are? There?s no reason why we should lock all our thinking to one metaphor, a metaphor that?s based on projecting our modern human obsession with machinery onto the whole of nature. It makes more sense to think of nature as organic, and organisms as organisms

Over the course of fifteen years of research on plant development, I came to the conclusion that for understanding the development of plants, their morphogenesis, genes and gene products are not enough.

Physics is based on the assumption that certain fundamental features of nature are constant.

Science at its best is an open-minded method of inquiry, not a belief system.

Telepathy depends on social bonds.

The assumption of materialism is that the mind is nothing but the activity of the brain, therefore it is all inside the head. That means that when you look at somebody, your image of that person is inside your head, it's not out there in any way. So when you look at somebody, you shouldn't be able to affect them.

The beginning of wisdom, I believe, is our ability to accept an inherent messiness in our explanation of what's going on. Nowhere is it written that human minds should be able to give a full accounting of creation in all dimensions and on all levels. Ludwig Wittgenstein had the idea that philosophy should be what he called true enough. I think that's a great idea. True enough is as true as can be gotten. The imagination is chaos. New forms are fetched out of it. The creative act is to let down the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended and then to attempt to bring out of it ideas.

The commonest kinds of seemingly telepathic response are the anticipation by dogs and cats of their owners coming home; the anticipation of owners going away; the anticipation of being fed; cats disappearing when their owners intend to take them to the vet; dogs knowing when their owners are planning to take them for a walk; and animals that get excited when their owner is on the telephone, even before the telephone is answered.

I think that creativity depends on having sufficient indeterminacy around for a new pattern to arise up within it.

I think that the 'laws of nature' are also prone to evolve; I think they are more like habits than laws.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Sheldrake, fully Alfred Rupert Sheldrake
Birth Date

English Biochemist, Developmental Biologist, Telepathy Researcher, and Author who proposed a non-genetic account of morphogenesis