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Re: [dogme] Morphic resonance and the nature of language

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  • rob
    Hi Mark, It s been a while since I read Call of the Wild, and I would say the book is primarily about primitivism, so genetic memory , as you call it, would
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 8, 2013
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      Hi Mark,

      It's been a while since I read Call of the Wild, and I would say the book is primarily about primitivism, so "genetic memory", as you call it, would make sense

      Sheldrake is saying something else, which I think you'll realize upon further reading; Sheldrake is arguing that evolution is habit, based on memory that does not reside in the brain, which is the materialist view.

      On Feb 8, 2013, at 6:50 PM, mcjsa@... wrote:

      > Hi Rob,
      > I'll read this in detail later but wanted to mention that Jack London
      > returns to this theme often in his many books. He uses it in a
      > particularly memorable scene in Call of the Wild as the protagonist, a
      > dog named Buck, dozes by a fire watching his (human) friend who appears
      > strangely simian, clothed in animal skins and walking about the fire
      > with an ape like gait.
      > The scene is presented as something of a waking dream. There are many
      > other examples of this in London's books. The idea of genetic memory
      > may have been a popular theory in the 1920s, when the book was written;
      > this is it's core theme with the dog eventually reverting to it's
      > primal state - hence the title.
      > Mark
      > On Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 12:06 AM, Rob wrote:
      > I'm absorbed by Rupert Shedrake's book Presence in the Past, and I find
      > myself constantly drawing parallels and creating analogies between his
      > theories and those of SLA. Here's an excerpt from the Introduction:
      > “This book explores the possibility that memory is inherent in nature.
      > It suggests that natural systems, such as termite colonies, or pigeons,
      > or orchid plants, or insulin molecules, inherit a collective memory
      > from all previous things of their kind, however far away they were and
      > however long ago they existed. Because of this cumulative memory,
      > through repetition the nature of things becomes increasingly habitual.
      > Things are as they are because they were as they were.
      > Habits may be inherent in the nature of all living organisms; in
      > crystals, molecules, and atoms, and indeed in the entire cosmos. A
      > beech seedling, for example, as it grows into a tree, takes up the
      > characteristic shape, structure, and habits of a beech. It is able to
      > do so because it inherits its nature from previous beeches, but this
      > inheritance is not just a matter of chemical genes. It depends also on
      > the transmission of habits of growth and development from countless
      > beech trees that existed in the past.”
      > Yes, it echoes James Hillman's Acorn Theory, and Jung's collective
      > consciousness and archetypes, so no surprise I find it rather
      > enthralling. I know the so-called Hundreth Monkey Effect has been
      > discredited, but there seems to be sound science behind this work.
      > As far as language learning goes, Sheldrake refers to Chomsky's "deep
      > structure" ideas and Pinker's notion that we have a disposition to
      > learn language. Sheldrake, however, presents a more organic view of
      > language learning, explaining it in the context of what he calls
      > morphic resonance, which he defines as:
      > “The influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar
      > structures of activity organized by morphic fields. Through morphic
      > resonance, formative causal influences pass through or across both
      > space and time, and these influences are assumed not to fall off with
      > distance in space or time, but they come only from the past. The
      > greater the degree of similarity, the greater the influence of morphic
      > resonance. In general, morphic units closely resemble themselves in the
      > past and are subject to self-resonance from their own past states.”
      > Morphic resonance is a concept traditional science still grapples with
      > although the eminent physicist Niels Bohr, and others of his stature
      > have found Sheldrake's work appealing. With regard to language
      > acquisition Sheldrake maintains:
      > “The young child resonates with the speakers around it and with
      > millions of speakers of the language in the past. Morphic resonance
      > facilitates its learning of the language, just as it facilitates other
      > kinds of learning. Likewise, morphic resonance facilitates the
      > acquisition of sign languages by deaf people, who tune in to past users
      > of these languages. There is no need to suppose that genes for ordinary
      > languages or for sign languages lie latent in everyone’s DNA.”
      > Excerpts From: Sheldrake, Rupert. “The Presence of the Past.” Park
      > Street Press, 2012-03-18. iBooks.
      > It is a far out notion, but reading how Sheldrake places his theories
      > within the context of evolutionary biology and cosmology, I become less
      > skeptical. I
      > I believe this all relates very well to the ZPD, social constructivism,
      > and humanism, pillars of Dogme as near as I can tell. It seems worth
      > considering if you have the time and Muse.
      > Rob
      > --
      > Mark Johnstone
      > Alfaisal University Preparatory Program
      > Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
      > upp.edu.sa
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