Why Biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s Work is So Interesting for Fans of Mixed Martial Arts and Occultists

The sense of being stared at is only one aspect of Dr Sheldrake’s research but it’s the area most obviously relevant to the archetypal image of an occultist. If you really can occasionally ‘feel’ yourself being looked at, as his work appears to suggest, this could reveal something of the long suspected human “telepathic” abilities of ancient legend.

Sheldrake argues our minds actually connect with objects as they percieve them:

“The sense of being stared at works because our minds reach out to touch what we’re looking at and sometimes we can feel that, or animals can feel it, so we can affect what we’re looking at, simply by looking at it. So, there’s something coming out of our eyes, as well as going in.”[1]

Furthermore this might even be a skill you can learn to enhance. Experiments conducted into the phenomena have been altered to include instant feedback for the person being stared at. Over time and with training, it appears people are better able to know if someone is focusing upon them.

When asked about this Sheldrake’s response spoke to the initially surprising connection (which is also emerging online) between the worlds of MMA and the occult community:

“I haven’t tried training programmes myself, my main focus is on finding out whether it happens and how it happens, but the people who are the most experienced in training it are in the martial arts. And, a lot of martial arts techniques involve training people to become more sensitive to when someone’s staring at them from behind […] I think the best way to learn it would be through the martial arts. Because that’s where people have the most experience in teaching it.”

His ideas are not what you would call “orthodox science” but he is frequently published in peer-reviewed papers and enjoys a certain level of patronage from the UK’s mainstream scientific community. Even so he is not shy of biting the hand that occasionally funds him. Regarding his work on the sense of being stared at he acknowledges “scientists have ignored this, but on the other hand most people have experienced it, so it’s something science ought to have looked at. Unless science is  some narrow dogmatic limited system, for some scientists it is!” [2].

When I interviewed Sheldrake about his work we discussed one explicitly ‘occult’ aspect of it in detail:

“All over the world it’s widely believed that if you look at someone with envy you can harm the person you’re looking at, that’s what’s called ‘the evil eye’. […although…] it’s going further than what I’m saying, I’m saying people can tell when they’re being looked at, the gaze has a power to affect somebody. Whether you can affect them negatively by envy, that I don’t know. But that’s what a lot of people, all over the world believe”.

If this phenomena, studied by Sheldrake, holds weight it would likely carry an impact upon people who find themselves ‘in the public eye’ as well.

However the ideas he advocates go even further than this in terms of their implications for people who have an interest in magick and occultism. This is most apparent in his masterpiece “A New Science Of Life” where the theory of ‘morphic resonance’ is outlined. In a nutshell the idea is that biological forms which hold a similar shape can resonate and connect with each other across both time and space. So, for example, a spider’s instinctive ability to spin a web comes not just from its genetics but also the success of previous spiders who have done the same thing in the past. It is the physical patterns of the spider that are, in a sense, tuning into the memory of previous arachnids and their successes or failures.

Furthermore, the more like something your biological form is the greater you will resonate with it and the more closely those patterns are reproduced in the future the more of a link there will be to the past. This is his way of accounting for memory. You are resonating most closely with your own self in the past and so you effectively tune in to your own memories via this process.

The reason this is relevant to those who indulge in ritual and, for want of a better word, “magick” is that it supports their belief that replicating the pattern of a previously successful occultist might in fact endow you with some of their proven ability. It is the pattern itself which, in this theory, becomes important and so the closer you can recreate the precise movements of a successful ritual the more likely you will be to tune into the abilities of your predecessors.

Obviously there is significant debate surrounding Sheldrake’s ideas but as an articulate and educated man he puts up a robust defence of them. Whether or not you agree with him there’s no doubt he’s towering figure in the world of any self respecting Disinfonaught.

Nick Margerrison (my twitter)

[1] All quotes taken from a series of interviews I did with him, available as a free download here.

[2] Sheldrake elaborates on these thoughts in his excellent interview with Matt Staggs regarding “The Science Delusion” on The DisinfoCast here.

Further reading:

A New Science of Life on Sheldrake’s personal website.

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I’m pretty sure there are people, possibly whole schools of people, honing these senses. Tai Chi practitioners, definately, also Qii Gong.

    I think morphic resonance has applications to natural ways of movement as studied in disciplines such as “the Alexander Technique” In my personal experience There seems to be a field, where in by connecting with it, you connect to your body’s natural way of moving and navigating your surroundings. I think this is an element of Parkour.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I’m pretty sure there are people, possibly whole schools of people, honing these senses. Tai Chi practitioners, definately, also Qii Gong.

    I think morphic resonance has applications to natural ways of movement as studied in disciplines such as “the Alexander Technique” In my personal experience There seems to be a field, where in by connecting with it, you connect to your body’s natural way of moving and navigating your surroundings. I think this is an element of Parkour.

    • Anarchy Pony

      David Belle does seem to have mystical abilities.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        I’ve done something similar to that and I feel there really is a mystical aspect to it. There may be a “civilization” morphic field or something directing you to walk down the sidewalk, stay off the grass,. follow the grid, etc. But there is also a superior field that is more natural and healthy for the body that you can connect with that will guide you to do seemingly amazing things. Its seems to be more connected to inhabiting the present moment and relies less on the “rational mind” because the rational mind often has a false idea of limitation.

        Wild animals move much more gracefully than domesticated ones.

        • LucidDreamR

          I believe I’ve experienced what you are referring to whilst running through the woods as fast as possible where there are no trails. Here in Maine the forests are very thick and after you break a certain speed movement seems to become more instinctual.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Yeah, I think we’re referring to the same phenomenon.

          • Alex B

            I think what happens is that the immediate danger of missing a step forces your mind into a meditative trance. If you do not have your complete attention on the moment and environment, you could die; so your mind is forced to shut down it’s thought process. This is also what is referred to as “mushin” in Japanese martial arts; A state of no mind.

          • Alex B

            I think what happens is that the immediate danger of missing a step forces your mind into a meditative trance. If you do not have your complete attention on the moment and environment, you could die; so your mind is forced to shut down it’s thought process. This is also what is referred to as “mushin” in Japanese martial arts; A state of no mind.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            i think Fedor fought with that.

          • Alex B

            Also, I believe it is when your active thought process and ego concerns are shut down that we are most apt at being able to use our intuition, creativity, our own or collective unconscious, and maybe connected to Dr. Sheldrake’s morphic field.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            probably we are always connected to the morphic field but our ego mind interferes with it and takes our consciousness out of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gene.semel Gene Semel

    Nice work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gene.semel Gene Semel

    Nice work!

  • Alex B

    There is this idea called “sakki” in some Japanese martial arts; The intent to kill. As mentioned in the article, some believe they can train to recognize it as can be seen here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-GidagO6C8

  • GeorgeBlot

    Sorry to nit-pick, but mixing up “affect” and “effect” gets on my tits.

    “… the gaze has a power to effect somebody.”

    If this were true, you probably wouldn’t need martial arts.

    Interesting take on things otherwise. I’m a fan of RS; he’s the only person trying to build a science of these things. He might be crazy, he might fail, but at least he’s trying.

  • Jonas Planck

    I get the idea about the invisible connection between the perceiver and the perceived, but how does this extrapolate to media? Does a hated celebrity experience the “evil eye” effect every time someone rolls their eyes at a photograph of them on a magazine cover… or sees a viral video of them saying something stupid and offensive? Or is it like David Lynch illustrated in the bizarre “dying on stage” scene in Mulholland Drive– Art, once created, becomes its own entity unto itself, no longer tied to its creators’ existence? Not even requiring the creator to be alive to continue doing what it does to people.
    I write these stupid comments as a form of psychic attack on a certain level. When you read and understand my words, my thoughts are going into your head, like an invasive parasite. Gotcha! Sometimes they stay (that’s called “agreement”) and sometimes they get rejected by the host brain (that’s called “disagreement,” or more commonly, “you’re full of shit, Jonas!”). But once these thoughts are put out there for anyone to perceive. I no longer have to keep thinking them. Hell, I can change my mind entirely, and the post will still be sitting there on the web or in an NSA database, infecting any mind that stumbles across them.
    Art, communication, and creativity, is therefore a kind of proxy for our own mystical willpower. Autonomous little pieces of ourselves designed to propagate and infect our ideas and personalities into other hosts. This “morphic resonance” as he calls it is more commonly known as “aesthetics” in this arena. New ideas are more likely to infect a host that already has similar ideas.
    … Interesting. Art is psychic warfare. And almost everything we do is art.

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