Sheldrake, Rupert – Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home

  • telepathy/ sense of direction/ precognition. Usually, the phenomenon of parapsychology is divided in two halves: the psychokinesis (PK) or “psi-kappa” phenomena – like materialization, dematerialization, levitation, etc; and the extrasensory perception (ESP) or “psi-gamma” – like telepathy, sense of direction, precognition, etc. (Irwin & Watt, 2007). To this classification, Stanley Krippner added a third half: the survival phenomena – as: poltergeists, apparitions, reincarnation memories, etc (Krippner, 1977). However, of much interest in writing the book “Dogs that know when their owners are coming home” for Rupert Sheldrake was just three concepts related to extrasensory perception: the telepathy, the sense of direction and the precognition. First, the word telepathy “implies that the animal is reacting to the thoughts, feelings, emotions or intentions of a distant person”. Second, the sense of direction is visible in such events as “the ability to find the way home”. Thirdly, by precognition Sheldrake understands “knowing beforehand about future events”. These three concepts are included in the general concept of extrasensory perception (ESP) known as “the sixth sense”. Behind these scientific definitions, in fact, are some relations between human/ animal (the telepathy), human/ space versus animal/ space (the sense of direction), and human/ time versus animal/ time (the precognition). Here are some example of those three types of relations: i) animals that know when their owners are coming home, ii) animals that react to distant death and distress, iii) animals that “read people’s minds” and respond to their intentions, iv) animals that are homing (i.e. returning home) and migrating (i.e. the double-homing), v) animals that have premonitions, precognitions and presentiments: they predict earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches, disasters (like bombing raids, falling trees, road accidents) and failures (as epileptic seizure, hypoglycemia, heart attacks). vi) And so on and on. Please keep in mind that those relations are interpreted not by objective, external “I-it” scientific explanations, but by subjective and internal “I-thou” para-scientific meanings. According to the first one – the I-it scientific explanations – those relations are explained in terms of coincidence, subtle sensory cues, wishful thinking or fraud. But, according to the last one – the I-thou para-scientific meanings – those relations are understood in terms of morphic germ/ morphic unit/ morphic field/ morphic resonance. By the way, they are developed in two books written by Sheldrake: “A new science of life” (1981) and “Morphic resonance” (2009) where he is making a distinction between: 1) members, named “morphic germs”, that are forming 2) groups (or “morphic units”). 3) The bonds, or “morphic fields”, are linking together the members of a social group: they include bonds within species (man-man/ animal-animal) as bonds between species (ex. man-animal). Finally, the morphic fields are developing according to the rule of 4) “morphic resonance”, or the influence of like upon like across space and time, by which the memory is transferred from past to present, on the one hand; and on the other hand, the imagination is brought to life from future to present. Be they as may be, the I-it explanations and the I-thou understandings are only hypothetical for the examples of telepathy, sense of direction and precognition remain, still in our days, unexplained and non-understood: they are awaiting their Newton or Einstein to make sense of them.

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  • Rupert Sheldrake (1981): “A new science of life. The hypothesis of formative causation”, Blond & Briggs
  • Rupert Sheldrake (1999/ 2011): “Dogs that know when their owners are coming home. And other unexplained powers of animals”, Three Rivers Press
  • Rupert Sheldrake (2009): “Morphic resonance. The nature of formative causation”, Park Street Press
  • Harvey J. Irwin & Caroline A. Watt (2007): “An introduction to parapsychology”, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
  • John White & Stanley Krippner (1977): “Future science. Life energies and the physics of paranormal phenomena”, Anchor Books

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