Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and author. Together they discuss: consciousness, prayer, angels, science and spiritual practices, magic, dreams, hell, the unconscious, rituals, enlightenment, atheism, materialism, and more.
The accusation of pseudo-science is often made against those involved in the New Age, and sometimes rightly so. But as Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss in the latest episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, there is a lot more to the sneering and ridicule than meets the eye. They explore how science itself might morph into pseudo-science, which is perhaps a reason that scientists can be so nervous of novel ideas. They look at the origins of science's authority in the modern world, and the power of an impression of scientific rigour, whether or not justified. They discuss various disciplines in particular, from physics and biology, to economics, psychology and astrology. We need to be able to discern what merits the label “scientific” and what does not, especially in a time of pandemic, ecological and political fear.
World religions and inspired individuals alike say they are the recipients of divine revelation. But what might that mean? In this new episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss the nature of revelation. They explore how revelation is a means of channelling and connecting with insight and intelligence in the domains of both religion and science. They ask how different revelations can be discerned and developed. The question of how revelation might be cultivated arises, as does the meaning of contemporary psychedelic revelations. Then there is issue of how revelation relates to what it is to be human. Might we be co-creators with the life within which our life is embedded?
The Flip, A discussion of Jeffrey Kripal’s book
Did you know Albert Einstein advocated telepathy research or that Marie Curie attended seances? In this edition of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss, The Flip, a new book by Jeffrey Kripal. The title refers to the range of experiences, from precognitive dreams to NDEs, that “flip” individuals from a mechanistic and materialist worldview. They become much more open to possibilities such as panpsychism and idealism. Kripal’s contention is that flips are common and, were they talked about, they would change culture. But would they? The conversation ranges over the links between psychic phenomena and spiritual experiences, to whether there are better ways of discussing psi beyond the perennial issue of proof? Is panpsychism an adequate way forward? And what is the meaning of the flips that people undoubtedly have?
David Bohm: his life and ideas
A new film, Infinite Potential: The Life and Ideas of David Bohm – https://www.infinitepotential.com – has just been released for free online. In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss its excellent telling of the dramatic life and revolutionary insights of this deep scientific thinker. Rupert first met Bohm in 1982 soon after the publication of his book A New Science of Life precipitated a negative reaction from the militant materialists; the editor of the leading scientific journal Nature tried to excommunicate him. Bohm had a similar experience forty years earlier with the quantum physics community. Mark and Rupert talk about what Bohm drew from Krishnamurti, and how the formalisms of quantum theory are influenced by psychological and spiritual perceptions. They also explore the ways in which Bohm’s notion of an implicate order resonates strongly with that of morphic fields, and discuss Bohm’s engagement with the ideas of Owen Barfield, about whom Mark has written. They highly recommend the film.
Cathedrals are increasingly welcoming novel explorations of their tremendous interiors. In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss the powerful experiences that come with feeling free in sacred spaces. They look at how to access the sense of presence they hold, from lying on the ground to sitting in silence, noting that how you approach a building or shrine affects the spiritual qualities revealed. It’s also about the rediscovery of invocation and ritual, gesture and stance, and how they yield different dimensions of reality. This can happen without words, too, in subtle forms of search. The Coronavirus and lockdown only underlines the blessings received by visiting sacred places. They also ask how sacred places can be made at home.
Subtle Energies and Healing
Psychotherapies that work, though with no agreement about how they work, are becoming mainstream. For example, EMDR is widely used in the treatment of trauma. So what can be said about their efficacy and what, if anything, do they have to do with subtle energies, morphic resonance, quantum phenomena or even the soul? In this episode of the Sheldrake-Vernon dialogues, Mark Vernon asks Rupert Sheldrake how his theory of morphogenetic fields might relate to various types of therapy and healing. They consider how certain explanations can appear “hand wavy” and how to be more discerning when discussing these things. It turns out that there is good evidence that a variety of such therapies work, but how they work is not understood. So arguably it is better to avoid pseudo-scientific explanations and let the treatments, and their efficacy, speak for themselves.