I haven’t read any Rupert Sheldrake this century – but only because I always lend away my best books (and get them back, rather less-than always).
He theorizes right at the edge of what I can ‘buy’ critically – one might think of him almost as an experimental philosopher or poetic-mystic working on the same sort of reality-fundamental material that David Bohm goes after primarily from the quantum physics side.
He thinks about human animal telepathic resonance, has a whole book called “The sense of being stared at” and spends a lot of time investigating the question of the how our perception and reaction to the universe is an important part of what makes it what it actually is – rather than any of the infinite number of other possible things that it might, in that particular instant, have ended up being (depending on the combination of all of those little variability-chances, all decided at once).
Observer/object entanglement – a familiar (and functional) idea for any artist!
Which translates as – the observer-participant collapsing of the state-vector – which brings us all the way back around to Bohm’s interpretation of physics – and I only mention that top-end quantum physicist because it sounds almost silly to suggest that how we perceive things, could influence what they ultimately end up becoming (from within the vast field of possible-outcomes only, mind you) – but this idea really is in fact, sitting-there inside the math.
This is not, I must stress, the only possible explanation (quantum physics would be no fun at all if they weren’t constantly fighting about what the math ultimately ‘means’) but it’s not baseless, either – better minds than you or I…
As for the design approach of this most prolific and to me, highly appealing young artist, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t much change-it now, by observation – it’s possibilities were almost all very nicely actualized at the moment the ink hit the paint – but it’s not at all hard to visualize a thought experiment in which the appearance of a security guard on the landing below could have altered the selected and finally actualized outcome, is it? In speed, at very least!
Postscript notes – Curious – had a quick Wikki check here – much fulmination and debate on Rupert which amuses me highly – no one seems to be able to read anything as other than total anymore. Worse, they assume the audience can’t read between the lines either, and must be protected from challenge and thought! Would I subscribe to his cosmology totally? No way! Is it fascinating, creatively stimulating, and very helpful for illuminating the limitations of the paradigms we all have shoved down our throats from birth – oh-my yes, it most certainly is! (Lamarck is problematic for predictive description, so is Leibniz – but they also happen to be non-dismissible, because they usefully illuminate areas which their victorious competitors do not).