Friday, April 30, 2010
MPL Book Trailer #24: Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals, by Rupert Sheldrake
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge, served as a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and has published a flotilla of technical papers and books. He also studied natural sciences at Cambridge and philosophy at Harvard. He is a scientist with a solid grounding in philosophical thought. This enables him to think beyond the standard limitations of a single discipline, to place scientific theory in a broader perspective. But make no mistake: Sheldrake is first and foremost a scientist, and he fully adheres to the objective, evidence-driven, scientific method.
This reliance on scientific procedures is evident in his many books about morphic resonance, Sheldrake's theory of the interconnectivity of existence and formative causation, the process by which energy systems organize and meaningfully interact. According to Sheldrake, energy fields exist, which he called morphogenetic fields, which are responsible for the organizing characteristics of systems--in biology, chemistry, and physics--throughout the universe. In particular, this theory explained non-sensory capabilities that psychics and mediums apparently possess, and it also answered mysteries of animal migratory and other so-called "instinctive" behaviors. The morphic fields not only shaped the universe; they also informed its inhabitants, providing a universal source of information, much like the Akashic Records of the Theosophists. Suddenly, one could understand extra-sensory perception (ESP): how nonlocality functioned in physics, how psychics could perform successfully in remote viewing experiments, how intuitive archaeology was possible, how psychokinesis could occur, and much more that parapsychologists and psychical researchers have wrestled with for over 150 years.
A complete bibliography of Sheldrake's books on morphic resonance is beyond the scope of this blog; however, here is one of his works, which is the subject of our book trailer below.
Morphogenetic fields, and the ways that organisms (and other matter) resonate with them to organize and acquire information through non-sensory means, could explain a commonly observed experience of which many pet owners have attested--namely, the ability that dogs, cats, and other pets or animals appear to have of knowing when their owners (or other significant humans) are coming home at unexpected, unusual times. Sheldrake constructed a series of scientific experiments testing this alleged ability, which the results validated. He theorized that morphic resonance could explain the animals' conduct.
It is a fascinating theory, and, in addition to Dogs That Know, I recommend Sheldrake's other books on this and related subjects [e.g., Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation (Park Street Press, rev. 3rd ed. 2009); The Sense of Being Stared At and Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (Crown, 2003); The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance & the Habits of Nature (Park Street Press, 1995); The Rebirth of Nature: the Greening of Science and God (Park Street Press, 1994); Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: a Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science (Riverhead Books, 1st American ed., 1995). Sheldrake has the writer's gift of communicating complicated scientific ideas so that a layperson may readily understand. He will excite and provoke your thinking, which should always be welcome for any reader.
MPL Indiana Room Librarian