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 behavior. 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. In place of the mechanistic, neo-Darwinian worldview he offers a new understanding of life, matter, and mind.