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An interdimensional tennis match?

Posted on 06 May 2014, 15:02

If we can agree that there are both spiritual and physical dimensions, then we can ask which dimension is boss, so to speak. Some people say it is the see-and-touch world, others say that world is, so to speak, a kind of illusory dream, created by the spiritual dimension. But perhaps the fact is, that there is a kind of interdimensional tennis match going on.

Let’s look at some of the evidence for the “tennis match”.  First we have to put aside as evidence the normal psychic phenomena, such telepathy, clairvoyance, communications from the dead: they don’t settle the question, which is boss? We have these experiences because all of us are spiritual-physical beings.

High up on a list of evidence for the “tennis match” would be the work of biologist Rupert Sheldrake who does accept that evolution occurs through survival of species with advantageous genetic change, but maintains there is also a process he calls formative causation, involving a non-energetic organising field which he calls a morphogenetic field. (From the Greek morphe = form, and genesis = coming into being.)  By a process he calls “morphic resonance” the morphic field is formed and modified by the experience of the organisms it helps to create. The morphic field is probably timeless and spaceless, and can be seen as a kind of Akashic record, a memory belonging to the Whole. That such a field exists is suggested by a number of phenomena: Monarch butterflies for instance have a regular migratory path of several thousand kilometres from one specific location to another, which takes several generations of Monarchs to complete. The locations are specific, and there can be no conceivable way of instructing individual butterflies as they are born as to the route and eventual destination that the progeny of their progeny will eventually arrive at. This leaves us with the impression that they must be following some kind of map or instructions that is exterior to themselves, i.e. a morphic field.

The bar-tailed godwits annually fly between Alaska and rivers in Canterbury New Zealand. Certainly an individual bird does complete the whole journey of many thousands of kilometres between specific locations, but it would still make sense to suggest that they are following instructions from a timeless, spaceless memory field.

I find the following, in Guy Lyon Playfair’s If this be magic: He writes that the psychologist William McDougal carried out a lengthy “experiment designed to see if a trained group of rats could, over the generations, learn a task progressively more quickly than the untrained control group and its descendents. The experiment took fifteen years, and thirty-two generations of rats, and was later repeated in Australia with fifty generations….MacDougall found that there was a gradual increase in learning, which is what Sheldrake’s hypothesis would predict.

There was something else… an increase in the control group’s learning rate as well.” (p158) This implies that rats in general were learning, not merely those involved in the research.  Such results support Sheldrake’s idea of “formative causation”: namely that the memory of the animals and birds is recorded in this spaceless timeless field, which in turn becomes the memory of the new born bird, animal or insect, and determines their behaviour. If we consult Sheldrake’s many writings, we will find many more persuasive examples of our “tennis match” with the ball going backwards and forwards over the net.  Sheldrake also gives many examples where group human learning has also been enhanced.

The “tennis match” idea is suggested by the case of the lantern fly, Laternaria servillei. (below). “It is about 85 mm long, a third of its length being taken up by its head, most of which is hollow. What is astounding is the way the head had evolved into a perfect miniature model of the head of another animal species twenty to thirty times its own size, namely an alligator. It has a bulging pair of false eyes, in addition to its real ones, and there is even a little white mark on them that imitates light as reflected from a real eye. The jaws are open to reveal a row of false white teeth which are.. rendered not only in colour, but in bas-relief.” (p.165 Playfair)


Would it be reasonable to suggest that the fly’s head is the result of random genetic change? When we think of the tiger’s stripes, the giraffe’s neck, the many ways sea creatures disguise themselves from preditors, “random” changes don’t seem credible. Much more likely, there is a “tennis match” of varying kinds.

“Presumably, this little insect deceives predatory birds into thinking it is an alligator, bird-brains being thought to be more receptive to information on shape and colour than on size. This imitation is not of a predator but of its predator’s predator. It is all very well to say that it evolves its alligator-like appearance in order to frighten off the birds. It did not work that out for itself. It cannot have any idea what an alligator is… This intriguing mini-monster shows to what extent information can be received at an unconscious level and translated into major alterations in a physical body.” (p.165)

I personally see this mystery as an example of the phenomenon of synchronicity, where unlikely combinations of events come together so meaningfully that chance cannot be put forward as an explanation. The components come together so meaningfully that they can only be seen as components within a Great Thought.  I do not think we are going to solve the mystery of the lantern fly by seeking for chains of cause and effect. We live in a mental universe, where thoughts have no boundaries.

Here is a quote from the renowned physicist Arthur Eddington, (Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington) where he expresses similar ideas:

“In physics we have outgrown [A for] archer and apple-pie [non-abstract]  definitions of the fundamental symbols. To a request to explain what an electron really is supposed to be we can only answer, It is part of the A B C of physics. The external world of physics has thus become a world of shadows. In removing our illusions we have removed the substance, for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions. Later perhaps we may inquire whether in our zeal to cut out all that is unreal we may not have used the knife too ruthlessly. Perhaps, indeed, reality is a child which cannot survive without its nurse, illusion. But if so, that is of little concern to the scientist, who has good and sufficient reasons for pursuing his investigations in the world of shadows and is content to leave to the philosopher the determination of its exact status in regard to reality. In the world of physics we watch a shadowgraph performance of the drama of familiar life. The shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow table as the shadow ink flows over the shadow paper. It is all symbolic, and as a symbol the physicist leaves it. Then comes the alchemist Mind who transmutes the symbols. The sparsely spread nuclei of electric force become a tangible solid; their restless agitation becomes the warmth of summer; the octave of aethereal vibrations becomes a gorgeous rainbow. Nor does the alchemy stop here. In the transmuted world new significances arise which are scarcely to be traced in the world of symbols; so that it becomes a world of beauty and purpose — and, alas, suffering and evil. The frank realisation that physical science is concerned with a world of shadows is one of the most significant of recent advances.” [From the introduction to The Nature of the Physical World: Gifford Lectures (1927)]

I was prompted to entitle this blog “An interdimensional tennis match” with Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields in mind. If we see this world of see and touch as solid, and the spiritual as otherwise, then “tennis match” will do as a picture.  But, as Eddington points out, we cannot take any picture too seriously.

We may remember the quote from physicist-astronomer-mathematician James Jeans, “The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.”

If it is the case that the universe is a great thought, then other questions arise: What is the boundary between the thought of breakfast yesterday and dinner tomorrow?  In a great thought there are no boundaries, no dimensions, no distances. In which case there is no “tennis match”, no cause and effect, and the lantern fly exists as part of that thought.

Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.

Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.

His forthcoming book, Into the Wider Dream will be published summer 2014 by White Crow Books.

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Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr - Michael Cocks


I see science and Bible revelation coming ever closer together.  Reading and writing on Care of Creation and Climate Change it is remarkable that discoveries are constantly being made now of molecules, kinds of carbon, tiny creatures, which are just the thing to help us into a cleaner world as we recognise how we have over done use of some sources of energy and some chemicals.  These things have mostly been in existence a long time but we did not know.  Why is is hard to accept that the Thought, Mind, Word that created does not continue to deal with situations as they arise, and give us tips and help on the way?

Jim Hunt, Thu 16 Jul, 06:48

Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘morphogenic field’ is just one of many proposals in the field. He postulates a theory of the integration of physical/mental/ material that is both evolution and creation. Established natural science presumes animal capacity for ‘reading’ signs that are beyond us such as utilizing magnetic fields and genetic pre-disposition but most often in learned group behaviour where the habits and flight patterns of older members teach the same to the young ones.

I wonder if the issues are not between chance and programme but inclusive of evolution and heritage, collective memory and a wider reading of invisible forces such as radiation, gravity, magnetism - which are physical and God-consciousness, relationships, and love which are spiritual.
Even here I have a reluctance to be too particular about dividing lines.

John Marcon

John Marcon, Wed 7 May, 02:03

For me, it’s been more of an interdimensional piano duet!

I have often noticed a small example of this group learning in dance classes.  Sometimes we struggle and struggle to learn a difficult sequence of movements.  Later new students come into the class and pick up those moves quickly and effortlessly.  It’s like the pattern already has been established in the class and so when new people come into the “class field” it’s much easier for them to learn.

Elene, Tue 6 May, 20:51

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