- "Perhaps humans are the same, with our minds and thoughts existing separate from our bodies. Our "core" is in our head, of course. We all have individual brains, think individual thoughts, and act according to individual wills. That makes communication difficult, though. So, we're forced to rely on inefficient mediums like language, photographs, non-verbal cues, etc, to transmit information. Each one of us is an individual, and we have no direct connection to anyone else. But... is that really true? In the dimensions we are most familiar with, yes, it is. If we look at things from another, higher dimension, however... We may all be connected after all. Like the branches of a tree... Or a rhizome..."
- — Akane Kurashiki talking about morphogenetic field theory, Virtue's Last Reward
The morphogenetic field is a psychological idea that is important to Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. It is also lightly mentioned in Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward and Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma.
Rupert Sheldrake originally came up with this theory through the idea of morphogenetic resonance. It states that the "shapes of living organisms and their behavioral patterns are transmitted through a field not visible to the eye". In other words, the thoughts and behavior patterns of living organisms are subconsciously made into a intangible "shape" on the morphogenetic field and sent out to other organisms.
The morphogenetic field depicted in Zero Escape
Those who are able to access the morphogenetic field are known as "espers". It is unclear whether if it's all organisms (animals) or just humans in Zero Escape who can access and are affected by the morphogenetic field.
In the Zero Escape realm, some people are able to access and manipulate the field in a conscious and strong way. Two humans can even possibly send mental messages to each other via an invisible field, similarly to telepathy, not needing to use words. However, the ability to do so is fairly limited to only those who are born with a gift. Unlike telepathy, the communication can span over long distances and possibly even different time periods. As revealed in Virtue's Last Reward, it can also cross different timelines. What can be sent doesn't seem to be limited should the person be strong enough at accessing the morphogenetic field, as it's demonstrated that it's possible to send entire consciousnesses back in time.
Accessing the morphogenetic fields, as explained in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, are affected by two things. Those things are epiphany and danger, and while not required, they boost one's ability to access the field. By how much is unknown, but assumed a significant amount. Epiphany is explained as the feeling of when one is working on a difficult problem and the answer just sort of "pops" in their head. The second factor, danger, is required to be life or death.
In Virtue's Last Reward, this is added onto. In the Clover Ending, it's explained that if multiple people who can access the field are in close proximity, the powers of the weaker ones are "absorbed" by the stronger ones.
Brother/Delta and the poisoned morphogenetic field
Brother, also known as Delta, had a special power, described as being able to "touch the thoughts of other people and see into them" - mind resonance and the ability to see into the hearts of humans. These were esper abilities which he referred to as Mind Hacking.
Unfortunately, it left him constantly exposed to the negative corrupt side of humanity and all of humanity's worst aspects, such as thoughts of anger, greed, blame, hate, selfishness, inferiority complexes, superiority complexes, vanity, narcissism, superficiality, jealousy, envy, lust, materialism, attachment and enslavement to a monetary system, stupidity, blind adherence to authority instead of truth, humans constantly comparing themselves to others, herd mentality, lack of bravery and courage (cowardliness), racism, sexism, and so on. This fueled Brother's misanthropy and disgust of humanity.
Brother realized humanity was being severely brainwashed and these contagious toxic thoughts were poisoning the morphogenetic field, like a cancerous consciousness. Human consciousness was literally trapped in hell. Brother realized this leads to sadness, sorrow, pain, suffering, chaos, war, bloodshed, death, violence, etc (impure thoughts lead to impure manifestations in reality, and impure manifestations in reality lead to impure thoughts, like a vicious cycle). He also realized this brainwashing dated back a long, long time - more than hundreds and thousands of years - since time immemorial, explaining the poor current state of humanity in his lifetime - all of the genocides, conflicts and World Wars and the like.
Brother decided that in order to purify and cure the morphogenetic field from its cancerous consciousness, he needed to purify humanity and create a utopia where everyone focused on purity and obtaining a pure consciousness devoid of negativity such as harmful greed, lust, etc. Thus, Free the Soul was born from Brother's wish to teach humanity the truth and show humanity the way to salvation and peace. Free the Soul eventually gained 1,000,000 followers.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
The idea of the morphogenetic field is first mentioned by Lotus, who talks about it in the 2nd class cabin behind Door 4, using the funyarinpa as an example. Lotus states that she saw the dog picture in one of Sheldrake's books about the Morphogenetic Field Theory. Lotus asks what Junpei and Santa think the picture is of. After Junpei gives his answer, Lotus states that it is a picture of a dog. She explains that an experiment in Great Britain had taken place that asked a group of 1000 people to identify two pictures. One picture was the dog picture, while the other is a picture of a woman wearing a hat. About 9.2% of people figured out the lady picture, while only 3.9% identified the dog picture as a dog. Lotus goes on saying that after the experiment, another one was conducted where British TV could not reach. The experiment had only 850 people and had the subjects identify the same pictures. While the amount of people who identified the lady picture correctly only went up to 10%, the dog picture's results doubled. Lotus says that this increase could have only occurred because of morphogenetic fields. She explains that the solution to the pictures was transmitted through this field. However, she states that she doesn't believe that morphogenetic fields exist and insists on leaving.
It is revealed that Ace sought to gain this ability in order to deal with his prosopagnosia by making the First Nonary Game to research and test this ability. Ace found 9 pairs of sibling children who could tap into this ability. Among the 18 children were Lotus' daughters Nona and Ennea, as well as Snake, Clover, Santa, and June. Ace separated the siblings, sending 9 aboard the Gigantic, while the other 9 were sent to a facility in Nevada known as Building Q, so that one of the siblings would be a transmitter of information, while the other would be the receiver of the information. Due to a mix up, Akane and Aoi were sent to the Gigantic together, while another pair of siblings were at Building Q. Despite this, all of the children on the Gigantic manage to escape. However, Ace throws Akane into the incinerator when she returned back into the ship to retrieve an important doll. Unfortunately, Akane could not solve the puzzle inside the incinerator and perished.
This past is altered when Junpei manages to connect to Akane, 9 years prior to the events of 999. With the help of Junpei's morphogenetic resonance, Akane successfully solves the puzzle and escapes, altering the past and creating the present. It was for this purpose that Junpei was involved in the Second Nonary Game in order to prevent a time paradox, which would kill Akane.
After the events of the Second Nonary Game, the SOIS gathers the children involved in the First Nonary Game, except for Akane, Aoi, and Junpei (who was gone missing searching for Akane) to develop their morphogenetic abilities. They are named Espers for this ability. Clover and Snake became particularly skilled in their ability to morphogenetically resonate with each other because they are siblings.
Virtue's Last Reward
The AB Project was formed to have Sigma Klim and Phi send their consciousnesses through time (by using morphogenetic fields) in order to prevent a global pandemic that originated in Nevada. Junpei and Clover were also part of the project in order to strengthen Sigma and Phi's time jumping capabilities.
Zero Time Dilemma
During the events of the Decision Game, the Morphogenetic Field is used by Carlos, Junpei, Akane, Diana, Sigma, and Phi throughout the multiple timelines of the game. It is explained that Sigma and Phi's timeline jumping abilities in Virtue's Last Reward is a Morphogenetic Field technique called SHIFT, freely allowing them to swap their consciousness with themselves in other timelines in order to finish the Decision Game. In the True Ending, all nine participants of the Decision Game tap into the Morphogenetic Field with Eric, Mira, and Sean using its power via proxy thanks to the six natural SHIFTers among themselves.