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The Theory of "Formative Causation" and its Implications for Archetypes, Parallel Inventions, and the "Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon"

Carolin S. Keutzer
The Journal of Mind and Behavior
Vol. 4, No. 3 (Summer 1983), pp. 353-367
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43852985
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Theory of "Formative Causation" and its Implications for Archetypes, Parallel Inventions, and the "Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon"
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Abstract

The theory of "formative causation," proposed by plant physiologist Rupert Sheldrake (1981b) has implications and explanatory power for a number of hitherto unexplained phenomena: Jung's concepts of archetypes, synchronicity and the collective unconscious; the phenomenon of parallel inventions; the resonant effect of group meditations; Watson's (1979) "Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon"; the learning of new behavior in untrained animals; and a host of other physical and biological anomalies. The "formative causation" hypothesis proposes that all systems are regulated not only by known energy and material factors but also by invisible organizing matrices (termed "morphogenetic fields"). The structures of these fields are derived from the morphogenetic fields associated with previous similar systems; that is, the morphogenetic fields of past systems influence subsequent similar systems by a process called "morphic resonance." Thus this hypothesis proposes that the characteristic organization of systems depends on influences that lead to a repetition of the form and patterns of previous systems. It enables some regularities ornature to be regarded more as habits than as products of chance, neo-Darwinian evolution, or Lamarckism. An exposition of the theory is herein presented and the author attempts to demonstrate the intrinsic compatibility of the hypothesis with three important, comprehensive, and ascendent models of reality.

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