We continue our meditation on the conversation between biologist Rupert Sheldrake and myself, in our book Natural Grace.
Fox: One question I have is this: Can computers, multimedia, techno-art call in the echoes and the voices of our ancestors and the angels in our time? How do they do it, or how do they not do it? Can the Christ who calls himself the light in all things arrive on beams of light, because in this century we have learned to harness beams of light? Can we take them back from the corporate makers of television?
To me it comes down to a basic question—how do we tap into the morphic fields? How does ritual allow us to do this, and have new means been discovered in our time? The theology of light is so rich that when you tap into the technology of light in our generation, you are not just conserving but connecting to and bringing forward a powerful revolution.
In our Cosmic Masses VJs make use of art forms that lassoo light and offer dancing images and fractals creating an ambiance in which people can dance in their presence, taking in the story they tell of a common theme. The results have proven to be very powerful.
Then there is the ecological crisis. The failure of our eco-systems is obviously due to habits—you know, this is part of morphic resonance that we don’t talk enough about–not only do good habits get easier, but bad habits do too.
Consumerism is a habit much more advanced today than it was one hundred years ago. So is what we take for granted—you’ve got to have a refrigerator, a car, air-conditioning, and many other things that our grandparents would never have thought were necessary for surviving on this planet.
Your theory of morphic resonance is extremely important for shedding light on addiction and bad habits, and hopefully moving beyond them.
Sheldrake: As you point out, morphic resonance would sustain bad habits as well as good ones; it would also help them to spread. I’m saying that habits are part of the nature of Nature, the nature of society and of human nature.
Bad habits can be a problem in religion as in everything else. Any habit, even a good habit, tends to unconsciousness. When rituals become entirely habitual, they become boring, lulling people into a kind of stupor, their minds wandering. But at the creative moments in religion, the habits are not yet established and do not have this dulling effect. The creative principle by definition is extremely strong at those originating moments.
The use of ritual in a proper way can enable people to resonate with those original creative moments and therefore connect with that original time of insight, making it present so that there can be a continual renewal of that creative potential. That is their aim, I suppose. The trouble is that the ritual forms can be cloned, but not the openness and inspiration. This is probably true in many other contexts and institutions, not just in religion.
Adapted from Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science, pp. 171, 182f.
For more on the Cosmic Mass, see Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, pp. 363-370, 390, 448.
Banner Image: A visual jockey’s conception of an angel, projected during a Cosmic Mass.
Do you recognize bad habits as well as positive ones that get enhanced with repetition? How do we cleanse ourselves of those?
Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake
Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.