At its most basic definition, a field is a defined area. We have farmer’s fields and we have fields of study (a punny joke in our family is that some researcher is “outstanding in his field”). When we hear someone talk about energy fields or morphogenetic fields, however, the term means more than that.
The simplest way to envision a field is to think about a magnet. Remember when, in school, you put a magnet under a sheet of paper and watched the iron filings line up around the end? Or, if you took sewing, how the pins would organize themselves around the magnetic pin keeper? There are toys based on magnets that let you build shapes that hold themselves together—within the field of the magnet in the base. As soon as you pull the pieces away from the magnet, or the magnet away from them, nothing holds them any more.
Usually a field has a source, like a magnet, and it’s strongest nearest the source, getting gradually weaker as the distance increases. The source is usually some electrical activity, like a car generator or even an electric wire. Because most of our bodies’ activities include the electrical exchanges at nerve endings, each of us has several different fields. Sometimes the field pulses, like a heart beat, and it’s possible to measure it at different points along the pulse. For the field created by our heart, that seems to be at the skin, then 3 inches, 6 inches, 12 inches, etc. getting weaker at each distance. Electrocardiograms (EKGs) measure the health of the heart by “reading” this field.
The earth has at least one magnetic field, which is constantly being measured and is currently much weaker than it was 50 years ago. This field exists not because of electrical activity, but because the earth is built like a “magneto,” the kind of magnet that big scrap metal yards use to lift cars and things. The rocky outer layer spins around a mass of incredibly hot liquid iron which is constantly moving (and may have a core of solid iron in the center) and so is generating an electrical charge. The North and South poles are like the north and south ends of a magnet, and the field covers the whole planet, just like a magnet, and repels charged solar particles just like a magnet repels another magnet. The aurora borealis and aurora australis are what we see when the field is doing its job.
Sheldrake’s “information fields” may work the same way as magnets. If so, then they would repel some kinds of information and attract others. Or not—we don’t know enough yet to be sure.