Appendix G – An Interview with Rupert Sheldrake

Pursuant to Section 2 of Chapter 6 in Book Two, Even More Cracks in the Beaker, where we discuss the Case of Rupert Sheldrake, we provide the following transcript of an interview Hifzija Bajramovic and Paul H. LeMay conducted with him on May 16, 2004 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Alternatively, you can listen to the interview on YouTube by going here.

Hifzija Bajramovic: I wanted to ask you about your concept of time because you were kind of hinting yesterday some things about time, so I wanted to know how you understand time.

Rupert Sheldrake: Well I see it biologically. I mean I see everything as a process, the whole universe has an arrow of time. If the universe began with the Big Bang, and it’s expanding and growing, the expansion of the universe means there is an expansion in time, and a direction in time. So I think time has a polarity. There is a polarity between past and future. And within living organisms, all of them have a time because they are all moving towards a goal or an end. An embryo is developing towards maturity. A seedling is developing towards a mature plant. So just as there is an internal time toward an end or a goal in organisms, so there is in the universe. So I see this kind of biological time as primary. And cyclical time, the kind we get from cycles of the sun and the moon, that’s something that has arisen out of the cosmic developmental process, and because time has a polarity, I think there is a difference between past and future and morphic resonance is a memory principle, so each kind of things draws on the collective memory. And so I think there is a radical difference between past and future. I am not one of these people who thinks there is no such thing as time – [that] it’s all an illusion – and that everything is basically timeless. I think time is polar and the very condition of life in the universe.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Although when you talk about morphic field you seem to be saying it’s kind of timeless, really. [That] it’s out of time, which has the capacity to connect with the past or the future or now time, so to me, it’s kind of….

Rupert Sheldrake: I’m not saying it’s equally the past and the future. I think morphic resonance comes from the past [and that] it’s a habit principle, a memory principle. I don’t think it comes from the future because if it did you wouldn’t be able to test the theory because the future is limitless. We don’t know how much there is. Any theory that says there [are] influences from the future is untestable, because you don’t know how much future there is or what will happen… I think we’re open to the future in a different way: through pre-cognition, through premonitions. We get glimpses or influences from the future, but they are usually from the near future, and they are usually intermittent, whereas the memory, the influence from the past is from all the past, and there is a lot more of it. [Time mark: 3:21]

Hifzija Bajramovic: But how does that future come back into now? To me the time you are talking about is the time in the material world, which is linear? And it’s one directional. When the process materializes itself, it creates its own spatial and temporal existence.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes, yes.

Hifzija Bajramovic: It kind of creates its own life. And creates sequence of events that we call time or life? And it is one directional. But on the pure energy level, one has to think about is there time? And another question I want to ask you about is how you see the energy creating material world and material world going back into the energy [world] because when you create morphic field there [are] material things that are happening, constellation of those things that are happening? And they are creating energy field, which is pure energy as the knowledge to which we can access resonance? So how do you see those two interacting with one another?

[Time mark: 04:36]

Rupert Sheldrake: I don’t see energy as being outside time. I see energy as being a flow, a principle, a flow or change which is self-directional. I mean energy has a direction of flow. I mean… and the form it takes up is shaped by fields, so the morphic fields give form to the energy. I am talking about energy in the normal sense. I mean… the normal sense of energy is the principle of actuality or activity.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Like electro-magnetic energy or electricity or sound…

Rupert Sheldrake: Or heat energy, light energy. All these are forms of energy.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Which do seem to have this kind of uni-directional way.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes. So I don’t myself take the view that there’s a completely timeless world. I think that morphic resonance works across time. I don’t think it depends on how far in the past it was. So I think that all the past is potentially present everywhere. So I don’t think that if something is ten years ago it has ten times less influence than something one year ago. I think in that sense there is no diminution of influence over time. But that’s different from saying things are timeless or outside time. I mean… many people may experience a state of being outside time in mystical intuition but I don’t myself, and I’m not a Platonist. I’m not a believer in a kind of totally timeless realm. Even theologically I don’t believe the universe is outside time. I don’t think God is outside time. I think God participates in time and works through time.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Well talking about time, I have a trick question here, which is, you are so much ahead of other people, you are so much outside of other people’s time, how do you deal with the loneliness of it?

Rupert Sheldrake: Oh well, ah… I mean it’s not…

Hifzija Bajramovic: Last night I saw [Matthew] Fox. He was trying to be with you, right? But he actually brought you to him. So you were with him. He was not able to be with you. He understood some concepts of what you were talking about, but was trying to bring you to his level that you be with me and he kind of didn’t attempt to be with you. So I saw that kind of sense of loneliness of a leader.

Rupert Sheldrake: Well…

Hifzija Bajramovic: I don’t know how you deal with that.

Rupert Sheldrake: Well, in the science community, I don’t have a lot of people who are around doing the same kind of thing as I am doing. There are a few. I think there are on a daily basis maybe four or five colleagues in the world, mostly people working in parapsychology who I can talk to in a fairly straightforward way… They all have to different view of time. Some have a view that the past and the future are equal. … Some of my friends and colleagues take that view… Well I just find that at one level what I’m doing is not particularly lonely as far as I’m looking at ordinary experience where people do experience premonitions. They do experience telepathy. They do experience the sense of being stared at. These are things that most people have experienced. So lots of things I do research on far from being extraordinary and totally off the map of other people’s experience are actually to do with ordinary experience. And that’s why I can write about my research in popular newspapers and get a lot of people understanding what I’m staying. It’s not particularly lonely. It’s dealing with experience which is normally ignored by science. In terms of working within biology, the way I’m thinking about living organisms is definitely rather different from the way of molecular biologists and most of my colleagues think. I do think they are working with an extremely narrow and limited perspective. But you know, I don’t feel particularly lonely. I do wish sometimes there were more scientists open to a broader approach, but I find more who are open to it in private than in public. There are a lot of people who are prepared to be open and interested in private but very few will actually say so in public. Science is full of closet Holists (editor’s note: as in Whole-ists), but they don’t change the way they do research because they knew they wouldn’t get it funded, and they don’t like to speak about these things in public because they are afraid of others will think.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Well how do think that can change? What you are saying is that there is all kinds of judging out there and judging is based on previous norms, and all the previous norms work for a certain period of time when they were created but the more we move in time, the less they are fitting.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes.

Hifzija Bajramovic: And yet people tend to adhere to those and the judging becomes the most primitive way of adhering to those. I heard… well I better not mention names… anyway, well I had heard some people just using that, people who claim they are not doing that, but they were doing that yesterday at the meeting, so what is the hope there? How do we… how do we make the change? How do we make people open their minds and just be and see, see the simplicity of what you are saying? I think genius can see the simplicity of things and makes it obvious to everybody and I think that’s what you do.

Rupert Sheldrake: Well it’s nice of you to think that. Well, I think that part of the change is that in science will depend on a change in funding because most scientist just do what they are paid to do. If they get a grant to do something, they work on it. If there is lots of money for cancer research, they work on that. If there is lots of money for atomic bombs, they work on those. So the scientific activity entirely follows where the funding is. And so at the moment, I’m trying to think of different ways of science funding, and a scheme I’ve proposed in Britain, which I’ve actually got several politicians taking quite seriously – I published it in New Scientist, also in the New York Times – is this scheme where 1% of science funding should actually be given to fund research that actually interests tax payers, who pay for 100%. And the minute science is open to a kind of democratic spirit, which at present it isn’t, things would be very different. So I’m proposing opening up 1% to a kind of democratic principle leaving 99% as totally undemocratic, run by a kind of College of Cardinals, as it is at present. And you see in Britain, the Medical Research Council which decides where to spend government money for medical research, they spend about 1 billion pounds a year. This Council consists of a committee made up of establishment medical researchers who represent the conventional orthodox position of the mainstream, together with representatives of biotechnology and drug companies and one or two government officials, and they decide how all public money is spent. And because none of them are interest in alternative or complementary medicine, not one penny gets spent on that. Now, if we had 1% open up to public interest, and certainly most people in the public are interested in alternative and complementary medicine, then why shouldn’t some of the medical research money be spent on that? As soon as you open it up that way, it would change. And most people are interested in psychical research, telepathy and things like that. There has never been a penny of public money that has been spent on these things, why not? If science were democratically open, these are certainly topics that a lot of people would find interesting and there are a lot much more mundane things that people would find interesting. Consumer research: You know, which products are safe, what foods are safe, what dietary systems – there is virtually no money spent on the Atkins diet versus the low fat diet – I mean, people make pronouncements on these things but there are virtually no research done on these.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Paul [LeMay, the other interviewer present] is actually writing a book on diet and health, and some interesting finding about phosphorus and phosphates, and how they affect health. …That’s very interesting, we have a friend of ours, his name is Mio, and he says: “I don’t mind paying taxes, but I want to decide where my money goes.” So that’s the idea…

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes. This idea of making… the idea of 1% is a very modest proposal. Some would say why don’t you say 10%, or 20% or 50%, or 100%? I’ve deliberately proposed 100% because it is so small in amount that it’s very hard for the science establishment to object. If they say we don’t want 99% of your money, we want 100% of your money, it doesn’t sound too good. Not a very defensible position. Also I found that various people in the political world are quite open to this. They are not there to represent the science establishment. They would like to represent you know, the public. They think they would get votes through something like this, and they’d do it, and if they thought it could be administered in a reasonably simple way. So I think there is quite a good chance of science reform through science funding. As soon as there is a source of funding for other things, not within the limits of the present system, a lot of scientists would find new projects to work on. …It would liberate a lot of scientists. After all, most scientists don’t like the present system. They find it constrictive. It restricts originality. And you know, 20 years ago, in the NIH [editor’s note: National Institutes for Health] in the United States, more than 30% of its grants went to researchers under 35 years old. Today less than 4% goes to researchers under the age of 35 years old. Science has become more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer labs, with more and more powerful lab chiefs. And younger creative researchers…

[Time mark: 15:30]

Hifzija Bajramovic: Ya, ya, they could produce, [but those] who have no new idea just keep repeating the old stuff over and over again. Young people have ideas…

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes, and young people are on short-term contracts as post-doctoral fellows as kind of cheap labour for successful lab chiefs. So the system is not popular even among scientists. I think the chances of reforming it are quite great. It’s not just a battle of ideas. It requires a reform in the funding structure. I know this from years of experience. I often give talks in scientific institutes. I often find people who are open to what I’m saying. Some even say we’d like to do research on that, but of course we can’t because we’d never get a grant. And they’re right, they wouldn’t. I have people write to me at least one a month, saying they want to do PhD projects on the kinds of things I’m interested in, can they come and work with me? My answer is no, I have no funding at all. I couldn’t possibly help I’m afraid, and I wish it were otherwise. So the structure of the present system controls what happens through funding largely. You can do what you like, if you don’t require funding. No one physically stops me doing my research although it’s unpopular with some members of the science establishment. They can’t physically stop me. They can stop me getting money. But if I get money from elsewhere or if I can do really cheap research that doesn’t need much money, then I can do it. But I’m lucky…

Hifzija Bajramovic: You’re really great at doing that, to do research with practically no money, on shoestring…

Rupert Sheldrake: Well, it’s out of sheer necessity.

Hifzija Bajramovic: …And out of the goodwill of other people who are really enthusiastic about it. I saw that German team there. They were really enthusiastic about that in your presentation yesterday. I wanted to ask you another question, which is: I have a lot of problem with that myself, which is measurements. Measurements actually confirm themselves. They don’t necessarily measure the phenomena that we try to measure. So what’s your view of that? [Time mark: 17:34] Or another way: If you are a hammer, the whole world becomes a nail. And the research method, the whole scientific method is [based on the assumption that there is a] material world and all the measurements are done through [the] material world, through our five senses, and maybe a little extension of that, but you can only so far with that in order to measure, like morphic field. How do you measure [the] morphic field?

[Time mark: 18:07]

Rupert Sheldrake: You can only measure the morphic field through other effects. But you can only measure gravitational fields indirectly. You measure them through the swing of a pendulum or through the movement of a spinning weight as it twists toward another one. And you can measure electrical fields indirectly through electrical instruments. Or magnetic fields you measure through magnetic effects. I think that morphic fields would simply be measured through morphic effects. I mean that’s how you detect any field through it effects.

Hifzija Bajramovic: The point is: Is there any other way of approaching it directly or indirectly? We assume this is not so, so it must be so. Is there any, movement to move, to just go into pure energy measurements? I know that Valerie Hunt, she’s tried to measure the field around us by NASA, NASA technology, she’s done some work there…

Rupert Sheldrake: Well when people talk about measuring things, they nearly always mean measuring with some electrical apparatus. And there is no particular reason to assume that morphic resonance fields are electrical. You don’t measure gravitational fields with electrical apparatus. And you don’t measure quantum non-locality, you don’t do that…. so there is no reason why one has to have some electrical apparatus. Well of course the body has electrical fields, and Valerie Hunt and [other] people measure the body’s electrical fields. That’s fair enough, but we don’t have to assume that morphic fields are electrically measurable. They may be. I’m not saying that their not. But I’d be quite happy if you could measure them. But everything I’ve seen where people measure things with electrical apparatus lead to complicated and difficult results to interpret. Because…

Hifzija Bajramovic: “But that’s why I am saying that the measurements determine themselves, not necessarily the phenomena that you are observing. So that to me represents a problem.

[Time mark: 20:19]

Rupert Sheldrake: Well it depends why you want to measure things in the first place. I’d be interested in looking at how far morphic fields stretch out beyond the surface of bodies and so on. But you can look indirectly. If telepathy is a morphic field effect, which I think it is, then you can measure the effects of distance, like I did in my telephone experiments by doing it over different distances. To see if the effect falls off [and] it doesn’t. So that’s a measurement. You’ve got something you can quantify. You can measure the effect of distance. You can measure whether they work better with familiar people. They do. So you can actually make measurements using these biological methods, and after all within psychology, people do… they measure all sorts of things which are to do with our perceptual abilities. They, you know, they ask people: Imagine rotating this particular object and see whether it fits that shape or that shape. And so you look at some puzzling shape. You imagine rotating it and then you answer whether it’s this or this one… And they measure how long it takes you to do that. And they find if it only revolves a rotation of 30º or something you do it in half a second. If it involves a more complicated rotation, it takes one and half [you know] or ten seconds or something, so they can actually measure how long your mental processes of rotating something in your mind takes. So psychologists have already got all sorts of quantitative ways of getting at measuring mental processes – they are quite skillful in doing that.

Paul LeMay: One of the questions I wanted to ask you was you were mentioning how there is no effect of distance in relation to things like telepathy with morphic resonance fields, what occurs to me is that you’ve looked at the variable of emotional connectivity, if we can use that word, and as being a certain significant factor in the performance or the facilitation of those kinds of communication. Now, from a brain physiology point of view, which is obviously a structure and not so much just a field, we know that the right brain, or we generalize, the right brain tends to be intuitive in its orientation, or we just can say that those aspects or structures within the brain which are intuitive in their nature lend themselves to telepathy capability. That implies to me, this notion that the human brain, human mind perhaps as well is the emotional system is essentially a field-based system of detection as opposed to the left brain system which tends to be very specific in its organization of information, linear, logical, arithmetic, so forth, so I am wondering, you must have looked at that. Obviously you’ve had that finding. So you might have some thoughts about what you think is going on, and just some speculation.

Rupert Sheldrake:   Well I think the way the brain works is in terms of fields anyway. I think that after all, what we know about brain physiology is based on electro-encephalograph measurements, which are measurements of changing fields in the brain, so the brain certainly has electrical fields which are changing all the time. My view is that morphic fields would influence patterns of activity in the brain, in the left brain and in the right brain. I don’t think the right brain works like a digital computer. I don’t think any part of the brain works that way. I think the whole brain is a system of indeterminate sort of semi-chaotic dynamics which can [ah, ah] [result in] all sorts of possibilities. Changes are going on. It is highly unstable. And fields, morphic fields impose patterns on what would otherwise be indeterminate or random chaotic. And so there is a constant interaction with the brain which is sensitive to the influence of these fields. And these fields pattern to the activity of the brain. And I think that’s how the whole brain works. I don’t think that the left brain works in a digital computing way. I think that all field effects. It may be that right brain may have to do with larger scale fields. But actually, what we know about the way the brain, different parts of the brain involved in visual attention and so on, there are various areas of the brain that light up in these brain scans that all seem to be working together, even involving words and language, left brain activities. People in consciousness studies what they call this is the binding problem. If you got different bits of the brain involved in different things you don’t experience little fragments of activity. You experience a unified thing, like when I see you talking. I see you. I hear you talking. I understand your words. That’s left brain, but the visual thing is right brain, and the general feeling is probably right brain. But it’s integrated into a single experience. That’s the binding problem. I think that this integration which occurs all the time is a field phenomenon. I don’t see any other way how it can work.

[Time mark: 20:40]

Hifzija Bajramovic: But there is something in epilepsy that may confirm this. When we have a focus in one part, one side of the brain, after enough time the other part of the brain corresponding to that one develops the same focus. And so we now have two epileptic foci that’s been described in [the medical science] literature. So it can only happen if it’s a field in which the other part which has a capacity to resonate the part on the affected side, develops the same function, therefore creates its own structure to fit with the other one.

Rupert Sheldrake: I see. I didn’t know that. You mean that if the focus starts on one side, then there is a symmetrical activation.

Hifzija Bajramovic: There is a symmetrical activation and focus that develops on the other side as well. It has been described in [the medical science] literature. So that would fit that.

Rupert Sheldrake: That’s quite interesting yes.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Ya and also in rheumatoid arthritis, there is usually the same joints get affected on the opposite sides. So again, there must be something because of similar structures, and the same fields and they resonate the field, so they can develop the corresponding changes.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes. Well that’s interesting. I suppose the conventional view would be that both are equally susceptible to chemicals in the blood or something and both suffer similarly. But myself, I believe there’s a resonance between symmetrical structures. And I think it’s true in the inorganic world too, like in snowflakes, where you get each snowflake has six arms that are the same as each other, but every snowflake is different from every other one. So how is the growth of those arms coordinated? There must be a kind of resonance in the snowflake.

Paul LeMay: There is a question that a friend of mine [Lori-Ann Lothian] was hoping that I would ask and she was at your talk last night and saw the parrot experiment and was wondering if the effect being noted in the parrot we were giving too much credit to the parrot when in fact the owner of the parrot being the transmitter so to speak, shouldn’t be looked at to the same degree as the parrot? No doubt the parrot is echoing something, but have you done any research to look at what effect the transmitter might be having in this process of transmission of information?

Rupert Sheldrake: Well obviously telepathy is a relation between the two so it involves both the transmitter and the receiver, and so if they have an emotional bond then it works much better than if they don’t. And Aimée [owner of the parrot] is particularly psychic herself so she is probably particularly good as a transmitter. But Hunna who was here, the drummer, he lived with this parrot for years and it responded to him and it even responds to me telepathically when I visit sometimes. It seems to pick up… not as well as Aimée or with Hunna, but so I think it’s the relationship. I don’t think it’s just that the parrots are passive receiver, that’s just sort of picking up stuff beamed by Aimée. It seems to be attuned to what she’s doing and [with] telepathy you do have both sides involved because it’s a relational process.

Paul LeMay: Her concern was that it was [you know] the parrot was basically as we say in the idiom parroting, and it was like Charlie’s ventriloquist’s dummy echoing the…

Rupert Sheldrake: No I don’t think it’s like that. When you actually see the way the parrot talks it has its own personality. It says its own things. And it makes its own points. You know sometimes when she was taking the cameras out, she would say: Why are you going away? Come back. Why are you growly with me, the parrot would say, because it doesn’t like being left alone you see. And in these experiments, when she went to another room, the parrot was sometimes as she was going downstairs protesting about this and so it’s definitely got its own point of view, and it’s not simply time parroting what she thinks.

Paul LeMay: This brings me to a question about yoga. Now I know you spent considerable time in southern India, and probably studied both yoga and practice, and some of your comments last night and this sort of builds on what you were saying about the relationship in the principle, and certainly in Patanjali, was talking about when a being gives focus to a certain item, he goes into what we might call a yog, a union [ah] and comes to a knowledge. There is a practice called sanyam, you might know or heard of, where if an individual gives great focus to a particular object, he can actually come to know its essence. And of course these things were handed down with oral tradition and the written tradition ultimately in India and so in a sense this sort of represents one of the first evidence of maybe a morphic resonance principle, of course, these were not the terminologies they were using, but given the thought that you’ve lived in India and probably have been exposed to yoga, do you see a parallel between those two philosophies or your particular view and this philosophy?

[Time mark: 31:20]

Rupert Sheldrake: Well yoga is quite a complicated system. On the whole, I see quite a lot of parallels. I did study yoga to some extent in India and I practice, I always do the surya namaskar every morning, you know so the greeting of the sun exercise. I have done that everyday for 25 years including today. So part of my interest in yoga is purely practical, but [hesitancy] its relational, even the suryam namaskar is relating one to the sun and to the cycles of the day. Yes I, I don’t know, when they talk about the siddhis [psychic powers] and some of them are sort of telepathic, like understanding the cries of all creatures, they obviously depend on forming a close link with other things, and having a kind of telepathic knowledge. Yes, I think Indians understood this and formulated it, but I think all traditional people will do as well. You know if you look at shamanic cultures where… one of the roles of the shaman relates to animals, knowing where animals are, they relate to animal spirits, finding game animals, you know flying like a bird, and so on. A lot of it has to do with relating to other species by somehow connecting with their fields or their spirits. So I think that yoga grows out of that kind of thing, and that it’s just more systematic than the shamanic traditions. And it’s sort of got elaborated much more.

[Time mark: 33:00]

Paul LeMay: Based on what you said and you’ve talked about extended mind, the impression I have is that mind or [the] consciousness has this plasticity about it that it could literally focus on almost anything and develop a resonance with it, create a kind of field because emotional interactions of any sort where an emotional link is created, is creating effectively that field, the field comes into existence. From the western perspective, we’ve come to assume that the brain and the mind are co-located, and it seems to be that perhaps the brain evolved largely as a default locating area where the mind, because this is seen as a vehicle of emanation of, that we tend to associate the mind limited to the brain and the corporeal structure whereas really what we seem to be moving beyond is this boundary which says no, no, no, the mind is actually resident and resonant with, the potential for resonance with anything, anywhere.

Rupert Sheldrake: Usually the relationship is between ourselves and what’s embodied here in the particular place where we are and what we have over there and its place, so normally it’s located and [um] a lot of, I mean most of our, I mean the only places where it’s strictly located in our dreams, but even in the dreams there’s a kind of location, I have a dream body, I have a kind of body in my dreams which is in a particular place, even if it’s in an imaginary space, it’s it’s not everywhere, it’s somewhere, and it’s got a particular environment around it, so this is our normal condition, even when we are out of our bodies as it were. Even in our out-of-body experiences, we are still located somewhere – on the ceiling of the room looking down at their body – and then they can at will go somewhere else, but they are not “no where”. They are not spread out uniformly everywhere, so I think there is always a locational sense to our centre of consciousness, it has a kind of centre is some sort of space.

[Editor’s comment: This statement has a number of very deep implications in so far as how consciousness operates in relation to reality.]

Paul H. LeMay: Well I was just meditating this morning before I was going to interview you and I was recalling… the dialogue you were having with Matthew Fox about attending to and intending and what occurred to me is that a lot of times when we say love, [ah] we think of a love in relation to an object as opposed to just pure love, and I note that in eastern philosophy certainly within Hinduism, the notion of merging with God one literally becomes indistinguishable from God, and that it is mergence of the totality of whatever qualities, or pre-qualities God is, so that you have a love state that is not object-related either in time or space, but it’s just the pure field of love, and you’re just love period. You know, you not attending to an object anymore, we think of object perhaps because we are built with a sensory system and we tend to gravitate to the bias, well we just say that must be the case, but it need not be only so. It may be that we have a broader capability which is beyond object, and space and time.

Rupert Sheldrake: Well possibly. I see love as something to do with a relationship of parts of a whole. So there’s a field around any social group, and let’s say a couple, or a family, then they’re all part of a field, and then the inter-reaction between them is something we can often experience as love. Love for parents, for children, love for each other, and so on. So I would see it as within a field. Now if we take the field of God, the field of God includes the entire universe, then we are part of a whole which is the whole of all things, so that I think love is still bounded in the sense that it is within a larger system, it’s a relationship within a larger system. And in the Christian model of God, which is a relational model of God, like the Holy Trinity, then you have a kind of organic model of God, where God’s an organism with different parts in relation to each other, and the relationship between those is a relationship of love. In no part of this system do we have pure love totally undirected to any object and sort of detached from all other relations… So that’s the way I’d see it.

[Time mark: 37:47]

Hifzija Bajramovic: It seems like you have more tendency to stay with the form than the formless.

Rupert Sheldrake: I think the two are involved, you see, involved with each other. I see energy as a formless principle of change or activity, and form is the field principle which gives it form, shape, structure, and limitation…

Hifzija Bajramovic: Limitation of it, ya…

Rupert Sheldrake: I think that’s intrinsic actually in most fundamental models of reality. You know if you take the model of the Holy Trinity, which is the one I work with most since I am a Christian, you have the idea of the source of all things, which is God the Father. And then you have the formless principle, the Holy Spirit, which is the breath or the wind, it’s the moving principle, the principle of change. And when they translate Christianity into Indian languages, even Baptist missionaries, the only word they can use for the Holy Spirit there is Shakti. So you’ve got the Shakti principle, the spirit principle, and you’ve got the form principle, the logos, the second person of the Trinity is the principle of form limitation, order and structure, which in nature is reflected in fields. So you got energy and fields. And the modern view of science is that everything is made of energy and fields. That…. no energy is without some form or structure, even radiant light energy has particular wavelengths and photons, it’s quantized et cetera… It can take on different forms, but it’s always an interplay of energy and fields. And what makes things different from each other, each species of plant, each species of animal, each place, the quality of everything depends on the fields, not on the energy. But of course, without energy nothing would exist. The other [thing] I find helpful is the Christian metaphor of spirit and word, you know, the word of God, the spirit of God, there’s the two persons of the Trinity and God which is the source of both, the principal metaphor there is simply speaking that without the flow of breath no words come out. You can have silent words in your mind, but unless they are born on the flow of the breath, nothing can come out into the world. And if you don’t have the words, you just have the flow of the breath, and there is no word, no meaning. But as I am speaking now: It’s a combination of form, structure, limitation, pattern, and flow, and that I think is a model of the way reality is. And the Hindu model of Shiva and Shakti, where in the tantric model, Shakti is this formless principle of energy or change, undirected change, whereas Shiva is in that model of form, structure, it is another way of expressing it.

Hifzija Bajramovic: If I can use a reductionary model of what you are saying: What I hear you say is that the field is really translator or gateway from energy to matter, and the other way around.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes, that matter is according to modern physics energy bound within fields.

Hifzija Bajramovic: Right.

Rupert Sheldrake: That’s what it is, and if it is not bound, it’s always within fields, and light energy is within fields too, and the atom, the electron, the proton and so on, all of these according to quantum field theory are quantized energy within fields, so all matter is energy in fields, and so Carl Potter is a philosopher of science, I like quoting him because you know he says through modern physics materialism has transcended itself, because matter is no longer the fundamental reality, but it emerges from fields and energy.

Hifzija Bajramovic: May be some questions that a... I like teaching medical students because they ask naïve questions which open doors. I hate teaching residents because their mind is closed already.

Rupert Sheldrake: No, it’s a most enjoyable conversation, thank you. I’ve forgotten where you’re based. Oh Ottawa, yes.

Hifzija Bajramovic: I’m in Ottawa. I’m teaching at the University of Ottawa in Psychiatry.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes. I see. Well you must find, well talking about things with colleagues, you must find yourself…

Hifzija Bajramovic: …alone,

Rupert Sheldrake: …slightly out-of-tune…   [laughter]

Hifzija Bajramovic: That’s why I asked you the question.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes. Yes.

Hifzija Bajramovic: You got it.

Rupert Sheldrake: Yes. But, actually…

Hifzija Bajramovic: Because they are not there. Most of them are not there, or they don’t dare to be there.

Rupert Sheldrake: No, the thing is I find that more people are open than one initially imagines. I’ve been to… a very revealing thing happened. I was asked to speak in Cambridge at the Department of Animal Behaviour, in the Veterinary School, talking about my work with psychic pets. And this is a group of people who work on companion animals. They work on pets as their subject. And so I just talked about what I do. I just told them about the experimental results and the guy who invited me was very interested and that’s why he invited me, and afterwards he said: You know, I am so glad you did this because I’m really interested and think that what you are doing is really important but the others are really straight. And one by one, they all took me aside and told me: “That’s why I really went into this because I thought pets could do this. But I can’t talk about it to my colleagues because their so straight.” So afterwards, all six members of the department said this to me after including the professor, so when I had them altogether later I said why don’t you guys come out, because you’ll have so much more fun, because they’ve been all pretending. They’ve known each other for years and I think that within science there’s in my experience plenty of people who are open minded but they keep it very very quiet. And I think the model we need in science is the gay liberation movement because there is plenty of people there, closet holists and so on, and if they all came out, science would look completely different. Conversations would be going on in science departments and universities completely different from what they are now.

Hifzija Bajramovic: I gave a talk on body, mind, spirit and soul to psychiatrists and the department of psychiatry and the heads and I had some strange comments when I mentioned your work and work of Valerie Hunt and I had someone who is doing healing using the energy, so I had some strange looks from some people. And it’s very interesting that nurses who were there, a few of them, they responded beautifully to that. They have open mind for some reason, medical students too. Ya.

Rupert Sheldrake: Well may even the psychiatrists with strange looks may have felt they ought to give you strange looks. That was sort of required. You were speaking heresy, and so therefore, they should show that they recognized it was heresy. But that may independent of what they actually believe. So my own view is that I’d make no secret, I have nothing to lose you see because I lost everything in terms of official funding et cetera. So I mean I am free. I speak quite freely wherever I go and I find that a lot of people are actually much more open than what you’d think. The most surprising invitation of all last year [2003] was when I was asked to speak to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidleberg, which is the absolute hard core reductionist centre of science, and I was very surprised they invited me. I went there, and I gave this seminar, the main seminar room was completely packed, standing room only. And I talked about the kinds of things that I was talking about last night. I thought there was no point pretending to be doing something else. I’ll just say what I’m really doing. And they were extraordinarily open. And you know the leading guy there, there was a silence, they waited at the end to see which way he went. You know he said that when I came into this room I was a skeptic. As a standard skeptic, he said, I hadn’t thought about it. I just got the standard views that everyone was brought up with in science. He said: “But after what you said, this sounds like science. You are doing real experiments, after all, if in quantum theory you can have electrons influencing each other at a distance, then you know…he said what’s the big with telepathy. And then he got into the detail. He asked me about some of the experiments. He said: Did you do that control? [I said:] Here are the data. Then what happens if you analyzed it this way? I said: “Okay, here it is”. But then he said: “What if you do it that way?” I said I hadn’t thought of it, good idea, I’ll try it. And so we were talking science, you see? And the general attitude there was one of science, and as a result of it, I had two weeks ago received, as a result of that, a request from a special edition of the Journal of Molecular Biology asking me to write a paper for the Journal of Molecular Biology based on what I’d talked about in my talk in Heidelberg, a field approach to the mind and then how this might be relevant to developmental biology. So you know there are people who are open much more than one might think. I would never have guessed that that would be a place where there would be openness to this on any level, let alone virtually the entire institute being open.

[Time mark: 47:46]

Paul LeMay: Hopefully that will foreshadow something good for the future.