Bruce's Reviews > The Presence Of The Past

The Presence Of The Past by Rupert Sheldrake
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's review
Aug 18, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, outsider-science
Read in August, 2010

For a more timely overview of morphic resonance and the most current supporting experimental data I recommend the much newer 3rd edition of New Science of Life.

Having read New Science of Life first, I lightly skimmed the first half of this book which is an older telling of the same hypothesis of morphic resonance.

And as with New Science of Life, one of things that makes Sheldrake so compelling to me is his open acknowledgement that scientific theories are embedded in a metaphysic, his dissection of current popular ways of scientific thinking in terms of metaphysics, and his exploration of the metaphysics underlying the hypothesis of morphic resonance.

What is interesting in this book in particular is the relation of morphic resonance to animal and human behavior. This occurs in the second half of the book and I read it in detail.

Morphic resonance to me prompts this most important question: in a universe that exhibits conservative tendencies (things that happened before tend to happen again) rather than everything being random chance, where does new behavior come from?

His exploration of this idea is much more extensive in this book than in New Science of Life. While contemplating Sheldrake's ideas along these lines I dissolved into Robert Anton Wilson space: What we are looking for is the thing that is doing the looking.

Not an answer but an enlightenment.
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12/22/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Bruce It looks like there are differences between American (your?) and British/New Zealand (my) publication dates/titles/covers.

As far as I can tell from the description, Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation is the same as the updated 3rd edition of New Science of Life, which I reviewed here. But I can't say for sure ;-)

Bruce I've since been fortunate enough to talk to Sheldrake in person :-) He is rewriting or has rewritten all of his books. To get the definitive list you can look on It seems to be the case that books are being published with different titles in the US, as some of the original Sheldrake books were not initially published in the US.

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