Draft:Morphogenetic field

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For the concept in developmental biology, see Morphogenetic field

A morphogenetic field is a type of morphic field hypothesized by Rupert Sheldrake.

It is a term from the field of morphogenesis, introduced by embryologist Aleksander Gurwitsch, where it is used in a different sense than in the context of paranormal phenomena. Originally used in developmental biology, its usage was extended outside of the field by Rupert Sheldrake, without empirical foundations. A morphogenetic field is defined as a supposedly filled space field closer to an unspecified physical nature. This field, according to Rupert Sheldrake, gives a specific form of living organisms, acting as an additional genetic factor, in addition to DNA. This field also has a strong influence on the behavior of living organisms and their interactions with each other.

The term "formative causality" is also associated with the morphogenetic field. According to Sheldrake, every organism has the ability to transmit memories of frequently occurring events by writing them into the morphogenetic field, and then transmitting this information to their descendants and other living organisms through active contact with their fields.

Sheldrake did not present any convincing evidence of his theory, but tried to justify it in the following examples:

For example, a bird species learned before the World War II to open bottles of milk with its beak and steal cream from homes. After the war, milk was discarded for many years. However, when the milk bottles came back in front of the house, the bird relearned how to take them much faster, even though many of their generations passed away after the war. According to Sheldrake, this means that the memory of opening the bottle survived in the morphogenetic field. It is possible, however, to make a more accepted theory, which Sheldrake does not consider, that the bird's instinct to open the bottle was used for other purposes, such as picking fruit, and thus the method of opening bottles was passed on through next generations. It could also be a clean case, where in the long run learning could go slower half of the time and twice as fast the next time.

Another reference by Sheldrake was the BBC television program, which used incomplete pictures in which viewers could guess the rest. The images to be shown on the air were randomly selected from a larger pool. After the broadcast, it turned out that even in countries where these images were never shown, drawings on air were recognized more quickly than the rest. According to Sheldrake, this means that memory has survived in the morphogenetic field. But how was this study conducted after the issue? If the researchers knew which images were shown on the air, they could unknowingly suggest to the investigator. Sheldrake does not say that a double blind trial was used, but perhaps some of the investigators could still see these pictures while abroad. Moreover, not all countries in the world have had this effect, suggesting that either the experiment's statistical significance was questionable, or that some researchers were less suggestive than the rest.

Another attempted proof raises the fact that Morse code learning is faster than other artificially generated codes. This is attributed to a model written in the morphogenetic field by millions of people who know the Morse alphabet. Practically everyone has ever wiped the Morse alphabet from their memory (even if they have seen it in an encyclopedia), so he could unknowingly learn even one letter from him, so he learned it faster than any other code.

Mainstream biologists reject the existence of morphogenetic fields as contradictory to the current paradigm in biology and not empirically validated. Physicists also do not take this concept seriously. However, some of the schools of psychoanalysis, which treat it as a continuation of Jung's collective unconscious idea, take into consideration this hypothesis. This field also enjoys some popularity among authors of fantastic literature.

The concept of morphogenetic field was the subject of intellectual provocation prepared by Tomasz Witkowski and published by the magazine Nature, under "Knowledge straight from the field" .

See also[edit]



  • Władysław Kunicki-Goldfinger, "Szukanie możliwości. Ewolucja jako gra przypadków i ograniczeń" PWN, Warszawa 1989.
  • Adam Urbanek (2008). "Pole morfogenetyczne – nie całkiem bzdura" (PDF). Nauka. Retrieved 2017-07-31.