Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rupert Sheldrake on habits and expectations

Does anyone out there not know who Rupert Sheldrake is? Rupert Sheldrake is an English biologist who has made a phenomenal reputation for himself in a field that he calls "morphic resonance." Seven years after completing a PhD in plant physiology at Cambridge he took a position in a plant research lab in Hyderabad, India. Three years later he joined an ashram run by Dom Bede Griffiths. Sheldrake gradually reached the conclusion that nature was ruled by habits, not by eternal, unchanging laws as envisaged since dawn of Modern era by scientific tradition. The idea of eternal laws may have been appropriate to the era in which modern science was born, when more or less absolute monarchs ruled many nation states. From his Eastern experience, Sheldrake changed his linear biology orientation and embraced the idea that the universe was intelligent, intuitive, non-random and spiritual. Morphic resonance recognizes that the universe is living and growing and that memory is inherent in all living things.

The idea of laws as no more than intellectual habits now offers a whole new foundation for scientific endeavor. Knowledge used to be confined to monasteries and was the domain of the Catholic Church. Our western canon of scientific thought was rarely seeded by thoughts from different cultures even through most of the past century. Our scientific "open-mindedness" until very recently has been the domain of DWEMs (dead white European males). This unchanging view of laws governing nature is being blown wide open by quantum physics, consciousness research and the invasion of other cultures on our established habits.

Therefore, is the scientifically "valid" idea that there is a disease called schizophrenia along with other mental illnesses no more than a long entrenched habit of thought, like the idea that the sun revolved around the Earth? I would say, yes, yes, yes. Change your belief system (your expectations) and you change the outcome. If you believe in the disease, you are the disease, and people will treat your accordingly.

Here is an excerpt from Rupert Sheldrake on "expectations."

Lurking in the background is the alarming thought that much of established science may reflect the influence of the experimenters' expectations, even through psychokinetic or other paranormal influences. These expectations may not only include those of individual investigators, but also the consensus among their peers. Scientific paradigms, models of reality shared by professionals, have a great influence on the general pattern of expectation and could influence the outcome of countless experiments.

It is sometimes suggested, in a joking way, that nuclear physicists do not so much discover new subatomic particles as invent them. To start with, the particles are predicted on theoretical grounds. If enough professionals believe they are likely to be found, costly accelerators and colliders are built to look for them. Then, sure enough, the expected particles are detected, as traces in bubble chambers or on photographic films. The more often they are detected, the easier they become to find again. A new consensus is established: they exist. The success of this investment of hundreds of millions of dollars then justifies yet further expense on even bigger atom smashers to find yet more predicted particles, and so on. The only limit seems to be set not by nature herself, but by the willingness of the US Congress to go on spending billions of dollars on this pursuit.



  1. True science always questions itself, is never 100% certain, always leaves room for doubt. Scientists are human beings, not gods. They make mistakes, they think inside certain belief systems, they have expectations, and they'd need to be 100% aware of it all the time, they'd need to be in a state of constant enlightenment, they'd need to be gods, if it were not to influence their work. Greg Craven has made some pretty interesting videos about what science is (or should be... ): "Nature of science", 1st part of 3.

    Most of the science the public today is presented with is not true science. At least not in the way the public is presented with it: as if it were the one and only truth. That's not science, it's religion -- and sometimes it will seem to me, that "science" is our time's religion --it's dogmatism.

    A little more Greg Craven: "How It All Ends". Now, if you look at his risk-benefit analysis concerning the climate debate, and what he says about the nature of science, and compare it to the "science" biopsychiatry engages in, biopsychiatric "science" in almost every regard both represents the opposite of science, true science, and in addition, because it isn't science but dogmatism, fails to conduct a sensible risk-benefit analysis.

    In order to really understand, find answers, solutions, we (or science)'d first of all need to accept our (minds') limitations. Instead of engaging in the kind of megalomanic, self-satisfied ego-worshipping biopsychiatric "science", among all the different, specific branches of science, maybe is the most glaring example of.

  2. Man is truly confined by the limits of his own imagination, his own beliefs, and the context from within which he thinks.

    The universe is infinitely more complex than we are capable of rationalizing it and all living organisms and matter are interconnected within the universe.

    The limitations of man's knowledge allow him to rationalize that which is symptomatic and partial in nature as being whole. This is why "modern" medicine cannot cure illness it can merely treat the symptoms of illness. Think about how many diseases are cured versus symptomatically treated.

    With reference to the treatment of psychosis it is naive to think that man's pharmaceutical intervention would have any greater effect than the body would have in remediating itself.

    I agree that whether man believes he can or whether he believes he cannot that he is right.


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