Rupert Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance challenges the fundamental assumptions of modern science. An accomplished biologist, Sheldrake proposes that all natural systems from crystals to human society inherit a collective memory that influences their form and behaviour. Rather than being ruled by fixed laws nature is essentially habitual. THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST lays out the evidence for Sheldrake's controversial theory exploring its implications in the fields of biology physics psychology and sociology. At the same time Sheldrake delivers a stinging critique of conventional scientific thinking which sees nature as a machine that although constant and governed by eternal laws is nonetheless somehow evolutionary. In place of the mechanistic neo-Darwinian world-view he offers a new understanding of life matters and mind. Rupert Sheldrake is a former Research Fellow of the Royal Society and was a scholar of Clare College Cambridge and a Frank Knox Fellow at Harvard University.