In 1981, Dr Rupert Sheldrake put forward his controversial theory of Morphic Resonance. In this, he claimed that all living things are bound together by a 'morphic field' which allows them to share and benefit from the experiences of others. I know … it all sounds a bit like The Force. Or, at worst, some kind of New Age gobbledegook. But Sheldrake claims to have found evidence of its existence. He states that there are many examples – both in the human and animal worlds – of times when an entire species finds it easier to do something once one individual or group somewhere has mastered it; even though there is no physical communication between them.
And Sheldrake claims that this happens in the human world too. For 250 years, campanologists had wondered whether it was possible to ring all permutations of seven bells following a certain bell-ringing pattern called Common bob Stedman triples. Then, on the 22nd January 1995, a team in London finally succeeded. Within days it emerged that two other groups, both working independently, had also solved the centuries-old mystery. Sheldrake says that such events are beyond mere coincidence. And he goes further, claiming that all of the physical laws of the universe might operate along the same lines.
It does seem odd that our ability to discover new and wonderful things has accelerated so rapidly. The first true humans – Homo Sapiens – appeared sometime between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. It took until 1903 for two of those humans to invent powered flight. But a mere 66 years after the Wright Brothers’ first faltering steps in aeronautics (their flight was a shorter distance than the wingspan of a Boeing 747), Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the Moon. Morphic resonance? Or the fact that communications have become more and more widespread and accurate, and that’s how people are learning from each other?