I like to think of myself as a skeptic of psycho-spiritual and the last to hop on to the new age wagon. Yet, I have found some of these ideas beneficial for navigating systems change and being a motivational force when nihilism takes over my mind.
Rupert Sheldrake is an English biologist who proposed the concept of morphic resonance. One thing upfront: his ideas, of course, lack mainstream acceptance, and his theories are considered pseudoscience. In an article in Scientific American, Rupert sums up morphic resonance as follows:
“Morphic resonance is the influence of previous activity structures on subsequent similar structures of activity organized by morphic fields. It enables memories to pass across both space and time from the past. The greater the similarity, the greater the influence of morphic resonance. What this means is that all self-organizing systems, such as molecules, crystals, cells, plants, animals, and animal societies, have a collective memory on which each individual draws and to which it contributes. In its most general sense, this hypothesis implies that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits.”
Everything in the world behaves more like habits than laws. And these habits get passed on by the morphic field. Memory then is not a function of matter but of time.
The theoretical physicist Lee Smolin came up with a similar idea called “the principle of precedence.” He draws on quantum mechanics and postulates that
“laws of quantum evolution arise from a principle of precedence, according to which the outcome of a measurement on a quantum system is selected randomly from the ensemble of outcomes of previous instances of the same measurement on the same quantum system. This implies that dynamical laws for quantum systems can evolve as the universe evolves because new precedents are generated by the formation of new entangled states.”
A less scientific but trendy book by Andrew Cohen takes it a step further and argues that an evolutionary impulse in the universe drives us to create because we have the power of choice. He urges us to become so conscious that we can make choices that move us in an evolutionary direction.
“When a free agency, the greatest gift of the evolved human, is liberated from unconscious and habitual patterns and becomes identified with a higher or cosmic will, the individual becomes a conscious agent of evolution.”
To the degree to which we change biological, psychological, and cultural habits within ourselves, we become a powerful agent for conscious evolution. If we are part of a greater whole and evolve in a specific direction, then what we do, think, and feel is part of the morphic, evolutionary field and part of the future. And suddenly, everything we do matters.