Excerpts from In Resonance: Interview with Rupert Sheldrake.
Roozbeh Gazdar: In his paper, Morphic Fields and Morphic Resonance – An Introduction, Sheldrake has explained, “The morphic fields of mental activity are not confined to the insides of our heads. They extend far beyond our brain through intention and attention. We are already familiar with the idea of fields extending beyond the material objects in which they are rooted… Likewise the fields of our minds extend far beyond our brains.”
INTERVIEWER RG: Would you see your work as being a “scientific” validation of Indian beliefs such as reincarnation, existence of a universal soul, and so on?
RUPERT SHELDRAKE: I don’t think my work in itself provides a “scientific” validation of reincarnation. It leads to a theory of collective memory, and leaves open the possibility that sometimes individual memories from one person could be transferred to another in a more specific way. But it raises a new question for the hypothesis for the doctrine of reincarnation. According to my view, memories can be transferred by morphic resonance, but it does not prove that the person who has these memories is the same person as the previous personality whose memories they have access to. Memory transfer does indeed seem to occur, as in the cases studied by Professor Ian Stevenson of children who remember previous lives. But this does not necessarily prove that these cases are ones of reincarnation. They simply show that there has been a transfer of memory.
My work would not automatically imply a universal soul. The idea of mophic fields would imply that the entire universe has a field, which could perhaps be taken to correspond to the universal soul. But it would not necessarily imply that the field of the universe was conscious. Most aspects of morphic fields are unconscious, since they organise habits. Most of our own habits take place unconsciously and much of our mind is unconscious.