How Change Works: Morphic Fields

For social change makers, an understanding of Morphic Fields can help focus their work towards the shift in the collective they are looking for.


Rupert Sheldrake is a theoretical biologist who has developed the concept of Morphic Fields to explain how the universe works. Sheldrake is known by many for giving a “banned TED Talk,” where he risked his scientific career by pointing out that so-called constants in nature actually do change over time.

Science is based on some foundational assumptions that everything is matter, that there is no God, that nature is not conscious, that religions and spiritual practices are fantasies, that people who believe in them are delusional or must have some emotional illness. These opinions were speaking in the name of science, but were not based on science, they were based on personal opinions.

To make sense of phenomena that the scientific community was hoping to ignore, his theory of Morphic Fields builds on Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious.

The approach I am putting forward is very similar to Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious. The main difference is that Jung’s idea was applied primarily to human experience and human collective memory. What I am suggesting is that a very similar principle operates throughout the entire universe, not just in human beings.

What is the Morphic Field?

It can be thought of like an enormous piece of graph paper, with the entire universe sketched onto it. The earth, the sky, the galaxies are drawn in detail, including every human being, every creature — everything alive today is drawn in. The graph paper is multi-layered, so everything that has ever lived is also drawn in, on different layers.

This is the field on which change and transformation happens. Through the lines on the graph paper, each thing is connected to all of the other things, and can send signals to each other, across distances, and forward and backwards in time.

This interconnected system explains why you think of a friend you haven’t heard from in a while and then the phone rings and it’s them.

It is why the dog is waiting at the window when you come home, even though it is not the usual time and you are not in the usual car.

And it is why in family systems constellations, when a person with a burning question puts their hands on your shoulders and asks: “Would you represent my grandmother?” despite the fact that you are not a psychic, you agree and suddenly feel an inexplicable attraction towards certain people in the system and revulsion towards others.

These phenomena are explained because all of the forms are in the same constellation, the same system, the same unified field. The field is the ineffable “something” that holds the clusters of forms together. It is the invisible webbing that all of the pieces are suspended by. The mind that thinks and reasons and knows how to put words on things is only one channel. There are thousands of other channels that are broadcasting, lighting up, spinning, bouncing, ricocheting at any one time. All of the forms in the field are resonating with each other, what Sheldrake calls “Morphic Resonance.”

The good news for people who feel an impulse to change the world, is that the forms in the field can change, be re-shaped, morphed. Even things that seem unchangeable — the laws of the land; the tyrant in power; mathematical “constants”; laws of nature.

Sheldrake has observed and done experiments to show how change works and it boils down to habit. Through an incremental nudging of habit — whether it’s habits of thought, habits of doing, or habits of a great number of people, the form changes.

And when one form in the field changes, it informs the others. The things it is connected to are notified of the update, and respond accordingly.

This is why when a rat at Harvard University learns a new trick, it makes it easier for a rat at Stanford to do it the next time. And why when a person performs a private ritual, making peace with her great-grandfather who is long deceased, all of his descendants are emotionally buoyed by it.

We are not as far apart as we think we are.
And by making small changes to our habits, big changes are possible.


If you are interested in shifting the collective consciousness, be sure to Like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter. We will be continuing our series on what systems thinkers across disciplines say about how change works — from science, nature mysticism, and social movements.

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