Morphic Resonance, Growing Fields, Night and Day LO29277

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 10/09/02

Replying to LO29265 --

Dear Organlearners

Andrew Campbell < > writes:

>Sheldrake speaks in interview format at the
> < http:/ >
>about 'morphic resonances' and other things. There is a
>great deal LO theorists and practitioners can learn from
>his work.

Greetings dear Andrew,

Thank you very much for bringing this interview under our attention.

Sheldrake admits early in the interview that already as undergradate
student he was influenced by Goethe's thinking in which wholeness played
an essential role. He also mentions that no mention was made of holistic
ideas in his biology course at University of Cambridge.

Rupert Sheldrake is indeed a creative thinker whom i respect very much
despite what I am now going to write.

The father of holism was Jan Smuts. He also studied at the University of
Cambridge from 1991 to 1894. In 1926 his book "Holism and Evolution" was
published. In 1948 he was inaugurated as chancelor of the very University
of Cambridge.

It is strange for me that Sheldrake does not mention Smuts in that
interview. The reason is the way in which Smuts defined wholeness as
"consisting of a whole with its field"! Holism is about increasing this
wholeness with evolution in both the whole and its field as its result .
In Sheldrake's work Smuts' whole seems to become the organism and and
Smuts' field seems to become the morphic field! I would not be surprised
that should Smuts had lived up to now, he would have identified his holism
as a morphic field.

I myself was initially skeptical about Smuts since he never seemed to have
mentioned Goethe with regard to wholeness, although as a student he
studied Goethe's literature and even visited Strassburg in 1894 to study
Hegel's philosphy, closely linked to Goethe's thinking. But finally i came
upon a seminar which he had with students at the University of the
Witwatersrand in the thirties. (How i wish i was there that evening, but i
was not yet even a thought then ;-) In that dialogue Smuts clearly admits
how much Goethe's thoughts on wholeness enriched his own thoughts on
wholeness -- the continuity of thinking on wholeness preserved.

Should we want a science of human organisations, then that science will
have to walk on the two legs of every science -- profound observation of
its defining phenomena (its "morphemes") and awareness to the history
(continuity) of its theories ("morphogenesis"). Sheldrake says in the
interview that his idea of morphic fields also involves a memory
(continuity) of morphemes of the past. Later in the interview he says that
the ideas of the morphic field and morphic resonance can also be applied
to social groups within humankind.

In saying this, it entails that organisational science will then become a
morphic field of humankind's social dimension. However, as far back as
1976 John Ziman, also of the University of Cambridge argued in his book
"Force of Knowledge" that all subjects of science shape the social
dimension of humankind. The only difference is that he calls science a
social institution rather than a morphic field. In this he is not new
since already Copernicus said that thoughts based on careful observation
has more power to shape society than a thousand authorities on tradition.

The word "field" have many diverse uses. If only we were aware of the
sientific use of the word field and where it originated. As far as i could
ascertain, it was Michael Faraday who first used it in electricity and
magnetism. Smuts indicated in his Holism and Evolution that when the field
of wholeness is grossly simplified, it resembles the electric field of an
electron. Wholeness is to think of the electron and its field.

When we come to think of it, the twenties of the precious century had a
remarkable outburst on wholeness and evolution, but it soon ebbed away. I
think, for example, of

S. Alexander "Space Time and Deity" 1920
J.S. Haldane "Mechanism Life and Personality" 1921
Lloyd Morgan "Emergent Evolution" 1923
   "Life Mind Spirit" 1926
L.T. Hobbome "Development and Process * " 1924
C.D. Boodin "Cosmic Evolution" 1925
J.C. Smuts "Holism and Evolution" 1926
A. H. Whitehead "Science and the Modern World" 1926
L.T. Hobbome "Development and Process * " 1924

Perhaps it was because Einstein set the very example of increasing
wholeness by his three famous papers in short succession on relativity,
Brownian motion and photo-electricity.

Why did this outburst on wholeness ebbed away?

It was already in the nineteenth century that Lord Kelvin became extremely
worried in the second half of his magnificent scientific life that physics
was becoming fragmented into disciplines having little connection to each
other. His efforts were in vain because he could not foresee the future.

It was also in the twenties (1926) that Quantum Mechanics (QM) was
discovered by Erwin Schroedinger. I think that Niels Bohr fought a lost
battle when he warned that QM does not overturn Newtonian Mechanics (NM),
but that QM evolves from NM according to the Principle of Correspondence
(PoC). Bohr, of all physicists, had the very experience to say this
because his "heliosentric" model of the atom was the bridge between the
classical theory and the QM theory of the atom. The same could have been
said of Relativistic Mechanics (RM). The "Tower of Science" has resulted
in confusion like the Tower of Bable so that scientists began to speak in
the terminologies of many disciplines rather the language of science.

The PoC means the following. When launching a satelite to, say, the moon,
NM is used. It can be done extremely accurate. Trying to use QM or RM to
send that same satelite to the moon will end in gross failure. However, NM
fails in galactic dimensions (where RM succeeds) and also in atomic
dimensions (where QM succeeds). Consequently, anyone who claims that QM or
RM have replaced NM, knows nothing of NM, QM and RM, nor of the PoC, but
is merely passing on a fragmented opinion which reflects the increasing
fragmentation of science.

>At, a friend sent me seven 'points' from Leonardo applying
>to modern business/commerce activities as we try to
>cultivate them in LO theory and practice, number six
>is "corporalita" which means, a cultivation of grace,
>ambidexterity, fitness and poise (much easier in painting than
>writing ...esp. if a trained painter ;-) and number seven is,
>"connessione" which means, a recognition of and appreciation
>of the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena;-)
>Strange knot;-) how the there seems to be a series of "fit"
>between Sheldrake, Leonardo, Prigogine, Newton, Goethe,
>you and me. Looking around more and more that silly list
>seems to grow...Mmmmmmm.

Thanks to the "corporalita" and "connessione" of Dwig I am now able to
make a wonderful study of Benjamin Franklin's autobiography.

Dear Andrew, we can add the name of Franklin to this list. In pp 121-123
of his autobiography he describes 13 virtues which he gradually became
aware of by reading unsatiably and meeting people from all walks of life.
He desired already in his early twenties to grow in each of these virtues.
They are
   1 Temperance
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation
   2 Silence
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself;
avoid trifling conversation.
   3 Order
Let all your things have their places;
let each part of your business have its time.
   4 Resolution
Resolve to perform what you ought;
perform without fail what you resolve.
   5 Frugality
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself;
i.e., waste nothing
   6 Industry
Lose no time; be always employed in something useful;
cut of all unnecessary actions.
   7 Sincerity
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and,
if you speak, speak accordingly.
   8 Justice
Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits
of your duty
   9 Moderation
Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as
you think they deserve.
   10 Cleanliness
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
   11 Tranquility
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or
   12 Chastity
Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to
dulness, weakness or the injury of your own or another's
peace or reputation.
   13 Humility
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

It is no wonder that Franklin was destined to become a founding father of
the first union of states in America, leading to such a great nation
afterwards. Sadly, things have changed so much. Most of the Hollywood
movies as well as most of the news reports tell how much the opposites of
these13 virtues figure in American society. The "morphic resonance" with
the 13 "morphic fields" of Franklin's character are dwindling away.

Is it day or is it night or is the dawn of a new day appearing? When the
last happens, the birds are the first to tell us about it.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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