Sheldrake's Morphogenic Field - Innovation (Evolution)

by BBella @, Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 20:43 (510 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: The information and the collective memories may allow for innovation, but they do not cause it.

BBELLA: This is the question then [...] Subtract all information and all collective memory from all that IS, and what would we have? Would there be anything for an intelligent, conscious observer to view? Even more importantly, could there then be any intelligence if there were no memory or no collected information to gather from? Would there even be consciousness if there is no memory of information to be conscious of?

[...]I find it hard to believe that a stone has consciousness. But I know from experience that I can use the information embedded in the stone in order actively to influence the world around me. (I can break somebody's window with it.) This simple fact leads to what I think is the crucial difference between us at this juncture of the debate:

I have no problem with your example, but it doesn't address or seems to me to side track my point (or question) of whether innovation is not caused by the morphic field. For me, the answer lies in the understanding that if you subtract the collective memory of everything that is or ever was (the morphic field), if conscious intelligence would still be conscious? Or by substracting all memory are we deleting consciousness all together? Without memory of the past or anything to innovate with is there still something? Can one exist without the other. Is innovation "caused" by the collective memory of the morphic field? I cannot see how it cannot be.

BBELLA: I have difficulty separating the collective information from the collector as easily as you (maybe Sheldrake as well) seem to be able to do. Is there a separation? If there is a separation, where would the line be drawn? And what would the one be like without the other?

This is basically the clash between holism and atomism. The ALL THAT IS comprises every element, conscious and unconscious, and all are interdependent, but that does not mean the parts can't or don't have an existence of their own. I can't throw the stone if there is no stone, and the information can't be extracted from the stone and used by me if there is no me. And so on the holistic level there is no separation, but on the atomic level there is, and each is as valid (in my view) as the other.

I completely agree with you. But this doesnt answer the questions: Where is the separation between the parts and the whole? And can we have consciousness without something to be conscious of?

This brings us to innovation. Of course no organism can innovate if (a) it doesn't exist, (b) it has no environment, (c) it has no existing information to work with. But if it is conscious of the information contained in itself and in its environment (more generally, in the morphic field), it can use that information to invent. The invention will provide new information which in turn will become part of the morphic field. The latter is not static, but expands in a never ending process of development.

No argument here.

However, you have asked: "Is the collective information of all that IS also the acting intelligent collective conscious of all that IS?" As I see it, that would remove the individuality of all organisms (including humans) from the picture.

I disagree. Because the very term itself- inter-connectivity - expresses individual parts connected. You can't connect that which is not separate. Where the line is drawn between individuality and connectivity is what we are really trying to distinguish in our discussion.

As David says, it is the universal consciousness he calls God (if we leave out all the religious attributes). In my evolutionary hypothesis, I have allowed for David's God to endow individual organisms with their own consciousness, and his belief in human free will follows the same principle, which means that holism and atomism can still live together, though David's concession is much more limited than mine. Your proposal makes no concession at all.

I completely disagree. In fact, I am saying just the opposite. Every conscious decision is made by each individual consciousness.

If the ALL THAT IS is actively conscious and individuals cannot add to existing information (because it is the conscious WHOLE that invents), all life forms are puppets.

I have not said that new information cannot be added to existing information. New information is being added in every moment. But whether new information becomes part of the existing field is another thing.

Maybe we are. But common sense and daily observation tell me we are not. I think technology, the arts, languages, our often murderous economic and social systems all suggest that at different times humans have used existing information to create new information. And I would suggest that all the natural wonders David has shown us, and all the different forms of life that have come and gone, also indicate a continuous process of individual organisms changing the morphic fields through their own consciousness, as opposed to a collective consciousness making all the decisions.

I completely agree. I did not mean to give the impression that (one) collective consciousness makes all decisions. Each "decision" is made by each individual conscious entity.

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