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Morphogenetic Fields Theory Makes Genetics Obsolete and Unnecessary … and Cellular Memory Understandable: The Theories of Morphic Resonance and “Prior Conditions”

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These Cellular Patterns Form Our Makeup, Our Thoughts, Our Feelings, and Our Way of Viewing the World: Biology As Metaphor and Mythology, Part Three — The Legitimacy of Cellular Memory

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The Legitimacy of Cellular Memory

Despite what I have just said concerning the importance of an analysis of the biological metaphors of form — especially as they exist on the cellular level surrounding conception — as reflecting something of importance to us in a hermeneutic or heuristic sense, I want to at least put out a case for the legitimacy of cellular memory as something in its own right. That is, the rest of Part Two will be based on a comparison of Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness with the observable events and forms (the behaviors of the specific biological forms) as they are known to occur through the observational aspects of the science of biology. Still, the interpretation between the philosophical system and the biological form will be aided, supported, and fed by, among other things, the direct experience of memories of these states and forms, down even to the earliest, by myself and by the reports of such experiences by others.

So while this analysis does not stand on the absolute veracity of those experiences by myself or by others, still the analysis is certainly aided and helped by a belief in their legitimacy. I will say a few words about how memory can occur of such events, and more importantly, how that memory can be related to the foundations of our consciousness. A complete explanation (as I see it) of exactly this — e.g., of how sperm and egg and zygote experience can lead to fundamental mythological, philosophical, and basic assumptions on the world, the self, and reality — can be found in two other recent works of mine (1993c, 1993d).

For our purposes here, let me just say that there are two possibilities that immediately come to mind: (1) what one might call the “prior conditions” theory and (2) Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields. Let us take them in turn.

The “Prior Conditions” Theory

What I am calling the “prior conditions” theory is simply that the end result of any learning process, at any point, contains within it, if somehow broken down, all the prior conditions that produced it. It is based on the simple idea that the upper stories of everything will be in some way related to its foundation, and, more exactly, that the actual and specific foundation of anything can be exactly determined by reversing or tracing back in turn each step of its progression or building up.

Thus, this proposition states that all the experience, all the learning that occurs, is based upon prior learning and that all that comes about is in some way founded or based on stages that preceded that stage. The way this is understood to occur is in somewhat the same way that in a computer program a later stage necessitates a prior stage or as in any formal operation or in any learning at all later learning builds necessarily on particular prior understandings.

For example, in the case of learning a language: The speaking of a language requires at one point that the various sounds were learned, which requires that further back pronunciation of the various letters that make up the sounds were learned. Therefore, even though one may not retain a memory of learning the sounds and the individual letters, those events are encapsulated within the end result. Those prior stages had to have been there, and in some way are part of the construction of the end development; so much so that breaking down the end result leads necessarily to the factors of which it is composed.

This can be demonstrated in the case of computer programs and of codes of various kinds. Either of them, given sufficient analytical power (as we can now harness with the help of computers) and sufficient time can be broken down into their original constituents and into their necessary pattern of development. This being true — and allowing, this one time only, the dispensation of leaning on a physicalist presumption — since brains are seen as comparable in many ways to remarkably powerful computers, would it be so bold to assert that it might be possible for them to come up with its exact original conditions out of the current resulting conditions?

The prior-conditions theory is at least one possibility, then, and it is consistent with current psychological understandings of learning, development, and related processes.

Furthermore, this sort of process is also demonstrated in the phenomenon in psychology called regression. In these instances people will revert to earlier and earlier states of being, exactly as they were originally built up. They will often wear the same sorts of clothes, get the same illnesses, have the same intonations in their speech, and so on.

We see thus that each later stage contains within it all earlier forms, in some way. And that this is not dependent simply on some psychological memory mechanism is demonstrated by the fact that we observe the same phenomenon at work in the physical world in the form of the building up of multistory skyscrapers as well as that of multistep computer programs.

So in understanding cellular memory in this sense it is simply a matter of extrapolating our understanding of psychological regression much farther back than we are used to and adding the notion that from each successive stage can be accurately deduced its prior stages in turn, that the later stages could not be exactly as they are save for that the earlier stages happened to be exactly as they are. So this is one way of understanding how this memory could be contained in the adult range of experiential possibilities and how it could be legitimate.

Morphogenetic Fields and Morphic Resonance

The other possible explanation, as I mentioned, is consistent with Rupert Sheldrake’s theory. It can be stated this way: That concerning Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields, if things are done a particular way, they tend to be done that particular way in the future. He gives the example of ritual. A ritual is performed in the same way it has been for thousands of years, and there is a perceived potency in doing it that way in that there is somehow an accumulated power in each subsequent repetition of that act. He contends that somehow the field, the field of form, the morphogenetic field, is strengthened; the pattern is strengthened. Therefore when one re-enacts that pattern one is tapping into the field, via morphic resonance, that has been established.

Let us turn our attention now to thinking in terms of certain patterns that happen, for example, on the cellular level, to certain patterns that have been enacted for millennia. Keep in mind that Rupert Sheldrake’s theory is not just concerning human beings and their thoughts and actions but applies also to all of Nature and the entire Universe. So there are morphogenetic fields acting on plants, e.g., in the way that they produce the leaves of each individual plant. There is morphic resonance in all the patterns of Nature, even in the ways crystals develop. Thinking now in terms of the cellular level, human beings have been sperm and egg, have been fertilizing eggs for many millennia, have been sperm and eggs uniting the exact same way in conception for untold millennia.

In fact many mammals reproduce exactly this way also. So, all told, there is a rather strong habit built up, a rather strong pattern that is a field that is of this pattern that exists in the Universe because of the repetition of this pattern over and over again in the Universe. So all of the aspects of sperm and egg experience — for example the experience of the sperm, that is, the struggle of the sperm — has been enacted practically an infinite number of times, more than can be imagined. For this is a strong morphogenetic field in the Universe, a strong morphic pattern. The point of all this is that since we resonate with things that are similar to us, and since a sperm is of a human being, then we would resonate with this pattern as we would resonate with this pattern of the egg and its experience or pattern. Likewise we would resonate with the pattern of conception itself and all that is subsumed under that, and afterwards also.

And of course all of the development of the fertilized egg and the blastocyst — the embryo and the fetus and all that — is part of a morphic pattern that is very well established. For our species it has been continuing practically an infinite number of times, having been enacted and being currently enacted, so that our species would find that this pattern would form part of our makeup, resonating with those patterns, and would form our thinking processes and feeling processes, and would help to structure our way of viewing the world and all else.

Finally the theory of morphic resonance states that we resonate with things with which we are more alike than not alike. Since we are more like ourselves than anything else, it follows that we would resonate more with our particular experience as a sperm and egg, for example, with its unique events, than with the experiences of other humans, or of other mammals or other species for that matter … though those possibilities are not ruled out and in fact those kinds of events—trans-species sharing of experience of morphogenetic field—is actually reputed to occur at times (Grof 1976, 1980, 1985). At any rate, it is most likely we would resonate with and pick up on the field laid down by our own experience as such by our selves as an entity, as well as to a lesser extent resonating with and contacting the way it is done “in general,” or “traditionally,” by the species one belongs to. This also explains what in species other than our own is called instinct . It also makes understandable such remarkable patterns of behavior shared across generations, while genetic explanations, by contrast, appear rather preposterous.

Anyway, this is another way of looking at how these events at such an early level can actually influence the way we think, feel, and see the world, and how they can determine our basic assumptions about all of this.


Continue with Mythology Tells the Tale of Our Lives as Cells: “Whatever Happened to Us in the Amnestic Years … Is Projected Toward Cosmogony, Magic and Other Human Beings.”

Return to Cellular Memory’s Challenge to Materialism and Support for Panpsychism: The Body Arises from Consciousness, Not Vice-Versa, but There Is a Legitimacy to Heuristic Inquiry Into Form

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Morphogenetic Field: Sperm, Egg


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Morphogenetic Field: Sperm Surrounding Egg

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Morphogenetic Field: Conception

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Morpogenetic Field: Fertilized Egg Multiplying, Zygote, Blastocyst

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Continue with Mythology Tells the Tale of Our Lives as Cells: “Whatever Happened to Us in the Amnestic Years … Is Projected Toward Cosmogony, Magic and Other Human Beings.”

Return to Cellular Memory’s Challenge to Materialism and Support for Panpsychism: The Body Arises from Consciousness, Not Vice-Versa, but There Is a Legitimacy to Heuristic Inquiry Into Form

To Read the Entire Book … free, on-line … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

Invite you to join me on Twitter:

friend me on Facebook:

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