Rupert Sheldrake

Morphic Fields and Morphic Resonance

Descartes believed the only kind of mind was the conscious mind. Then Freud reinvented the unconscious. Then Jung said it’s not just a personal unconscious but a collective unconscious. Morphic resonance shows us that our very souls are connected with those of others and bound up with the world around us.

Just as the electromagnetic field is an interface between the matter fields and the mental, psychic, and morphic aspects of ourselves as human beings, so the electromagnetic field could be playing a similar role in the mental structure of the soul of the world.

There are a lot of people who think the universe is conscious or that the soul of the world in some sense is perceiving what’s going on. There are many theological traditions of divine omniscience. By definition, any theology of divine omniscience requires the divine mind to know everything. Knowing everything would include knowing all the properties and states of the electromagnetic and gravitational fields, so these would be essential aspects of divine omniscience.

I’ve found that when people think about divine omniscience, they treat it as an entirely miraculous process, totally disconnected from any kind of physical reality. However, divine omniscience must involve knowing from within—being within all things. Therefore, cosmic omniscience must pervade the electromagnetic field and all the fields of nature. This is like Newton’s notion that the medium of divine omniscience was Absolute Space, which he called the sensorium of God.

RUPERT SHELDRAKE is a biologist and author of more than 85 scientific papers and 9 books, and the co-author of 6 books. He was among the top 100 Global Thought Leaders for 2013, as ranked by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland’s leading think tank. On ResearchGate, the largest scientific and academic online network, his RG score of 33.5 puts him among the top 7.5% of researchers, based on citations of his peer-reviewed publications.

He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize (1963). He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow (1963-64), before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1967). He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge (1967-73), where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. As the Rosenheim Research Fellow of the Royal Society (1970-73), he carried out research on the development of plants and the aging of cells in the Department of Biochemistry at Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, together with Philip Rubery, he discovered the mechanism of polar auxin transport, the process by which the plant hormone auxin is carried from the shoots towards the roots.

Malaysia and India

From 1968 to 1969, as a Royal Society Leverhulme Scholar, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants. From 1974 to 1985 he was Principal Plant Physiologist and Consultant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, where he helped develop new cropping systems now widely used by farmers. While in India, he also lived for a year and a half at the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life, published in 1981 (new edition 2009).

Experimental research

Since 1981, he has continued research on developmental and cell biology. He has also investigated unexplained aspects of animal behaviour, including how pigeons find their way home, the telepathic abilities of dogs, cats and other animals, and the apparent abilities of animals to anticipate earthquakes and tsunamis. He subsequently studied similar phenomena in people, including the sense of being stared at, telepathy between mothers and babies, telepathy in connection with telephone calls, and premonitions. Although some of these areas overlap the field of parapsychology, he approaches them as a biologist, and bases his research on natural history and experiments under natural conditions, as opposed to laboratory studies. His research on these subjects is summarized in his books Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (1994, second edition 2002), Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999, new edition 2011) and The Sense of Being Stared At (2003, new edition 2012).

Recent books

The Science Delusion in the UK and Science Set Free in the US examines the ten dogmas of modern science and shows how they can be turned into questions that open up new vistas of scientific possibility. This book received the Book of the Year Award from the British Scientific and Medical Network. His two most recent books Science and Spiritual Practices and Ways to Go Beyond And Why They Work are about rediscovering ways of connecting with the more-than-human world through direct experience.

Academic appointments

In 2000, he was the Steinbach Scholar in Residence at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge University. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, a Fellow of Schumacher College in Devon, England, and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy, London.

From 2003-2011, Visiting Professor and Academic Director of the Holistic Thinking Program at the Graduate Institute, Connecticut, USA. In 2005, Visiting Professor of Evolutionary Science at the Wisdom University, Oakland, California.


In 1960, he was awarded a Major Open Scholarship in Natural Sciences at Clare College Cambridge, In 1962 he received the Cambridge University Frank Smart Prize for Botany, and in 1963 the Clare College Greene Cup for General Learning. In 1994, he won the Book of the Year Award from The Institute for Social Inventions for his book Seven Experiments That Could Change the World; In 1999 the Book of the Year Award from the Scientific and Medical Network for his book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, and won the same award again in 2012 for his book The Science Delusion (Science Set Free in the US).

He received the 2014 Bridgebuilder Award at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, a prize established by the Doshi family “to honor an individual or organization dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures, peoples, and disciplines.” In 2015, in Venice, Italy, he was awarded the first Lucia Torri Cianci prize for innovative thinking.