David Bohm

David_Bohm

David Joseph Bohm (December 20, 1917 – October 27, 1992) was an American scientist who has been described as one of the most important theoretical physicists of the 20th century and who contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind, or consciousness. Along with Einstein, Tesla, and the quartet of scientists mentioned in the earlier article here entitled “The Science Mystics“, Bohm was a cross-over personality who had a foot in both worlds — science and mysticism — and his life’s work contributed significantly to erasing the artificial boundaries between the two.

Bohm advanced the view that quantum physics meant the old Cartesian model of reality – that there are two kinds of substance, the mental and the physical, that somehow interact – was too limited. To complement it, therefore, he developed a mathematical and physical theory of “implicate” and “explicate” order. He also believed that the working of the brain, at the cellular level, obeyed the mathematics of some quantum effects, and postulated that thought was distributed and non-localised in the way that quantum entities do not readily fit into our conventional model of space and time.

Implicate order and explicate order are concepts coined by David Bohm to describe two different frameworks for understanding the same phenomenon or aspect of reality. He uses these notions to describe how the same phenomenon might look different, or might be characterized by different principal factors, in different contexts such as at different scales.

The implicate order, also referred to as the “enfolded” order, is seen as a deeper and more fundamental order of reality. In contrast, the explicate or “unfolded” order include the abstractions that humans normally perceive. As he writes:

“In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the “explicate” or “unfolded” order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the implicate orders.”

Bohm often warned of the dangers of rampant reason and technology, advocating instead the need for genuine supportive dialogue which he claimed could broaden and unify conflicting and troublesome divisions in the social world. In this his epistemology mirrored his ontological viewpoint. Due to his youthful Communist affiliations, Bohm was targeted during the McCarthy era, prompting him to leave the United States. He pursued his scientific career in several countries, becoming first a Brazilian and then a British citizen.

His main concern, and the thrust of his life’s work, has been all about understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole, which according to Bohm is never static or complete but which is an unending process of movement and unfoldment.

Bohm was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States, to a Hungarian Jewish immigrant father Samuel Bohm and a Lithuanian Jewish mother. He was raised mainly by his father, a furniture-store owner and assistant of the local rabbi. Despite being raised in a Jewish family, he became an agnostic in his teenage years. Bohm attended Pennsylvania State College (now Pennsylvania State University), graduating in 1939, then the California Institute of Technology for a year. He then transferred to the theoretical physics group directed by Robert Oppenheimer at the University of California, Berkeley, where he obtained his doctorate.

Bohm lived in the same neighborhood as some of Oppenheimer’s other graduate students (Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz, Joseph Weinberg, and Max Friedman) and with them became increasingly involved not only with physics, but with radical politics. Bohm became active in Communist and Communist-backed organizations including the Young Communist League, the Campus Committee to Fight Conscription, and the Committee for Peace Mobilization.

During World War II, the Manhattan Project mobilized much of Berkeley’s physics research in the effort to produce the first atomic bomb. Though Oppenheimer had asked Bohm to work with him at Los Alamos (the top-secret laboratory established in 1942 to design the atom bomb), the director of the Manhattan Project, General Leslie Groves, would not approve Bohm’s security clearance, after evidence about his politics (Bohm’s friend, Joseph Weinberg, had also been suspected of espionage).

Bohm remained in Berkeley, teaching physics, until he completed his Ph.D. in 1943, by an unusual circumstance. The scattering calculations (of collisions of protons and deuterons) that he had completed proved useful to the Manhattan Project and were immediately classified. Without security clearance, Bohm was denied access to his own work; not only would he be barred from defending his thesis, he was not even allowed to write his own thesis in the first place. To satisfy the university, Oppenheimer certified that Bohm had successfully completed the research. He later performed theoretical calculations for the Calutrons at the Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, used to electromagnetically enrich uranium for use in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

After the war, Bohm became an assistant professor at Princeton University, where he worked closely with Albert Einstein. In May, 1949, the House Un-American Activities Committee called upon Bohm to testify before it— because of his previous ties to suspected Communists. Bohm, however, pleaded the Fifth amendment right to refuse to testify, and refused to give evidence against his colleagues.

In 1950, Bohm was charged for refusing to answer questions of the Committee and was arrested. He was acquitted in May, 1951, but Princeton University had already suspended him. After the acquittal, Bohm’s colleagues sought to have him re-instated to Princeton, and Einstein reportedly wanted Bohm to serve as his assistant. The university did not renew his contract. His request to go to Manchester found support with Einstein, but was unsuccessful. Bohm then left for Brazil to assume a professorship of physics at the University of São Paulo at the invitation of Jayme Tiomno, and by recommendation of Einstein and Oppenheimer.

During his early period, Bohm made a number of significant contributions to physics, particularly to quantum mechanics and relativity theory. As a post-graduate at Berkeley, he developed a theory of plasmas, discovering the electron phenomenon known now as Bohm-diffusion. His first book, Quantum Theory published in 1951, was well received by Einstein, among others. However, Bohm became dissatisfied with the orthodox interpretation of quantum theory, which he had written about in that book. Starting from the realization that the WKB approximation of quantum mechanics leads to deterministic equations and convinced that a mere approximation could not turn a probabilistic theory into a deterministic theory, he doubted the inevitability of the conventional approach to quantum mechanics.

Bohm’s aim was not to set out a deterministic, mechanical viewpoint, but rather to show that it was possible to attribute properties to an underlying reality, in contrast to the conventional approach. He began to develop his own interpretation (De Broglie–Bohm theory), the predictions of which agree perfectly with the nondeterministic quantum theory. He initially referred to his approach as a hidden variable theory, but later referred to it as ontological theory, reflecting his view that a stochastic process that would underlie the phenomena described by his theory may be found. Bohm and his colleague Basil Hiley later stated that they found their own choice of terms of an “interpretation in terms of hidden variables” to be too restrictive, in particular as their variables, position and momentum, “are not actually hidden”.

After his arrival in Brazil on October 10, 1951, the U.S. Consul in São Paulo had confiscated his passport, informing him he could retrieve it only to return to his country. This reportedly frightened Bohm, and significantly lowered his spirits, as he had hoped to travel to Europe. He applied for and received Brazilian citizenship, but due to then-Brazilian law he had to give up his U.S. citizenship and could retrieve it only decades later, in 1986, after pursuing a lawsuit.

At the University of São Paulo, Bohm worked on the causal theory that became the object of his publications in 1952. Jean-Pierre Vigier traveled to São Paulo, where he worked with Bohm for three months; Ralph Schiller (a student of cosmologist Peter Bergmann) was his assistant for two years; he worked with Tiomno and Walther Schützer; and Mario Bunge stayed to work with him for one year. He was in contact with Brazilian physicists Mário Schönberg, Jean Meyer, Leite Lopes, and had discussions on occasions with visitors to Brazil, including Richard Feynman, Isidor Rabi, Léon Rosenfeld, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Herbert Anderson, Donald Kerst, Marcos Moshinsky, Alejandro Medina, and the former assistant to Heisenberg, Guido Beck, who encouraged him in his work and helped him to obtain funding. The Brazilian CNPq explicitly supported his work on the causal theory and funded several researchers around Bohm. His work with Vigier was the beginning of a long-standing cooperation between the two and Louis De Broglie, in particular, on connections to the hydrodynamics model proposed by Madelung. Yet the causal theory met much resistance and skepticism, with many physicists holding the Copenhagen interpretation to be the only viable approach to quantum mechanics.

In 1955, Bohm relocated to Israel, where he spent two years working at the Technion at Haifa. Here he met Sarah (“Saral”) Woolfson. The couple married in 1956. In 1957, Bohm relocated to the United Kingdom as a research fellow at the University of Bristol. In 1959, Bohm and Aharonov discovered the Aharonov–Bohm effect, showing how a magnetic field could affect a region of space in which the field had been shielded, although its vector potential did not vanish there. This showed for the first time that the magnetic vector potential, hitherto a mathematical convenience, could have real physical (quantum) effects. In 1961, Bohm was made Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of London’s Birkbeck College, where his collected papers are kept.

At Birkbeck College, much of the work of Bohm and Basil Hiley expanded on the notion of implicate, explicate and generative orders proposed by Bohm. In the view of Bohm and Hiley, “things, such as particles, objects, and indeed subjects” exist as “semi-autonomous quasi-local features” of an underlying activity. These features can be considered to be independent only up to a certain level of approximation in which certain criteria are fulfilled. In this picture, the classical limit for quantum phenomena, in terms of a condition that the action function is not much greater than Planck’s constant, indicates one such criterion. They used the word “holomovement” for the activity in such orders.

In collaboration with Stanford neuroscientist Karl Pribram, Bohm was involved in the early development of the holonomic model of the functioning of the brain, a model for human cognition that is drastically different from conventionally accepted ideas. Bohm worked with Pribram on the theory that the brain operates in a manner similar to a hologram, in accordance with quantum mathematical principles and the characteristics of wave patterns.

Bohm was alarmed by what he considered an increasing imbalance of not only man and nature, but among peoples, as well as within people, themselves. Bohm mused: “So one begins to wonder what is going to happen to the human race. Technology keeps on advancing with greater and greater power, either for good or for destruction.”

He goes on to ask:

“What is the source of all this trouble? I’m saying that the source is basically in thought. Many people would think that such a statement is crazy, because thought is the one thing we have with which to solve our problems. That’s part of our tradition. Yet it looks as if the thing we use to solve our problems with is the source of our problems. It’s like going to the doctor and having him make you ill. In fact, in 20% of medical cases we do apparently have that going on. But in the case of thought, it’s far over 20%.”

In Bohm’s view:

“…the general tacit assumption in thought is that it’s just telling you the way things are and that it’s not doing anything – that ‘you’ are inside there, deciding what to do with the info. But you don’t decide what to do with the info. Thought runs you. Thought, however, gives false info that you are running it, that you are the one who controls thought. Whereas actually thought is the one which controls each one of us.

Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally. This is another major feature of thought: Thought doesn’t know it is doing something and then it struggles against what it is doing. It doesn’t want to know that it is doing it. And thought struggles against the results, trying to avoid those unpleasant results while keeping on with that way of thinking. That is what I call ‘sustained incoherence’.”

Bohm thus proposes in his book Thought as a System a pervasive, systematic nature of thought:

“What I mean by “thought” is the whole thing – thought, felt, the body, the whole society sharing thoughts – it’s all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it’s all one process; somebody else’s thoughts become my thoughts, and vice versa. Therefore it would be wrong and misleading to break it up into my thoughts, your thoughts, my feelings, these feelings, those feelings… I would say that thought makes what is often called in modern language a system. A system means a set of connected things or parts. But the way people commonly use the word nowadays it means something all of whose parts are mutually interdependent – not only for their mutual action, but for their meaning and for their existence. A corporation is organized as a system – it has this department, that department, that department. They don’t have any meaning separately; they only can function together. And also the body is a system. Society is a system in some sense. And so on.

Similarly, thought is a system. That system not only includes thoughts, “felts” and feelings, but it includes the state of the body; it includes the whole of society – as thought is passing back and forth between people in a process by which thought evolved from ancient times. A system is constantly engaged in a process of development, change, evolution and structure changes…although there are certain features of the system which become relatively fixed. We call this the structure…. Thought has been constantly evolving and we can’t say when that structure began. But with the growth of civilization it has developed a great deal. It was probably very simple thought before civilization, and now it has become very complex and ramified and has much more incoherence than before.

Now, I say that this system has a fault in it – a “systematic fault”. It is not a fault here, there or here, but it is a fault that is all throughout the system. Can you picture that? It is everywhere and nowhere. You may say “I see a problem here, so I will bring my thoughts to bear on this problem”. But “my” thought is part of the system. It has the same fault as the fault I’m trying to look at, or a similar fault.

Thought is constantly creating problems that way and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn’t notice that it’s creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates.”

Bohm views physical processes as determined by information of more and more subtle levels which interact, and does not limit this consideration to matter alone. In an article of 1990, A new theory of the relationship of mind and matter, he resumes his view that there exists a close link to mental processes: “the whole notion of active information suggests a rudimentary mind-like behaviour of matter”. In his view, mental processes as well can be understood as representing levels of activity of increasing subtlety which act upon each other. He recalls that thought is intricately connected with physical reactions, as is known from everyday experience. Yet on the mental side, action as response to information need not be immediate; rather, in some cases at least, it can be mediated by “suspension” of physical action and the resulting train of thought.

Bohm suggests that the mental and the physical sides, which he sees as two “poles” of a unified whole, are closely interlinked and that “at each level, information is the bridge or link between the two sides”. A relationship between the mental and matter may exist at indefinitely great levels of subtlety, while nonetheless each kind and level of mind may have a relative autonomy and stability. His article concludes with the statement that “knowledge of matter (as well as of mind) has changed in such a way as to support the approach that has been described here. To pursue this approach further might perhaps enable us to extend our knowledge of both poles into new domain.”

Beyond Bohm’s creative work in physics, he also expressed interest in panpsychism, of which he said “Even the electron is informed with a certain level of mind”. Likewise, he had interests in the work of Count Alfred Korzybski (Science and Sanity), the morphogenic fields of Rupert Sheldrake, the orgone energy of Wilhelm Reich, and the marvels of parapsychology.

To address societal problems during his later years, Bohm wrote a proposal for a solution that has become known as “Bohm Dialogue”, in which equal status and “free space” form the most important prerequisites of communication and the appreciation of differing personal beliefs. An essential ingredient to this form of dialogue is that participants “suspend” immediate action or judgment and that they give themselves and each other the opportunity to become aware of the thought process itself. Bohm suggested that if these “dialogue groups” were experienced on a sufficiently wide scale, they could help overcome the isolation and fragmentation which Bohm observed was currently present in society.

Bohm continued his work in quantum physics past his retirement in 1987. His final work, the posthumously published The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory (1993), resulted from a decades-long collaboration with his colleague Basil Hiley. He also spoke to audiences across Europe and North America on the importance of dialogue as a form of sociotherapy, a concept he borrowed from London psychiatrist and practitioner of Group Analysis Patrick De Mare, and had a series of meetings with the Dalai Lama, as well as dialogues with J. Krishnamurti. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990.

Near the end of his life, Bohm began to experience a recurrence of depression which he had suffered at earlier times in his life. He was admitted to the Maudsley Hospital in South London on 10 May 1991. His condition worsened and it was decided that the only treatment that might help him was electroconvulsive therapy. Bohm’s wife consulted psychiatrist David Shainberg, Bohm’s long-time friend and collaborator, who agreed that electroconvulsive treatments were probably his only option. Bohm showed improvement from the treatments and was released on 29 August. However, his depression returned and was treated with medication.

Bohm died after suffering a heart attack in Hendon, London, on 27 October 1992, aged 74. He had been traveling in a London taxicab on that day; after getting no response from the passenger in the back seat for a few seconds, the driver turned back and found that Bohm had collapsed.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bohm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicate_and_explicate_order

The following article discusses the vision David Bohm intuited from his insight (gnosis) into the quantum world. This vision discerns the characteristics of an evolving cosmos in process; and, also, it ponders upon the implications for humanity.

http://www.bizcharts.com/stoa_del_sol/plenum/plenum_3.html

For an article by Michael Talbot on the holographic nature of the universe, including Bohm’s vision and contribution in this area, see here:

http://www.therealityfiles.com/the-amazing-holographic-universe/

The co-exploration of consciousness by the unique spiritual figure J. Krishnamurti and world-renowned theoretical physicist David Bohm took place in a series of more than 30 investigative dialogues. The following website focuses on them:

http://bohmkrishnamurti.com/

Among many videos available with David, here are two that are representative:

Some quotes from David Bohm:

Bohm jpeg

“I would say that in my scientific and philosophical work, my main concern has been with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole, which is never static or complete but which is an unending process of movement and unfoldment….”

“Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today.

Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture.

The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.

In some sense man is a microcosm of the universe; therefore what man is, is a clue to the universe. We are enfolded in the universe.”

“Perhaps there is more sense in our nonsense and more nonsense in our ‘sense’ than we would care to believe.”

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

“Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture? ”

“There is a difficulty with only one person changing. People call that person a great saint or a great mystic or a great leader, and they say, ‘Well, he’s different from me – I could never do it.’ What’s wrong with most people is that they have this block – they feel they could never make a difference, and therefore, they never face the possibility, because it is too disturbing, too frightening.”

“The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.”

“Universe consists of frozen light.”

“Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum as opposed to a vacuum, and is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves. The universe is not separate from this cosmic sea of energy.”

“For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution. Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles. It is the main point of this book that the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing of which our civilization is most proud, and therefore the one thing that is “hidden” because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own individual lives and in the life of society.”

“There is a universal flux that cannot be defined explicitly but which can be known only implicitly, as indicated by the explicitly definable forms and shapes, some stable and some unstable, that can be abstracted from the universal flux. In this flow, mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of our whole and unbroken movement.”

“The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts.”

“If each one of us can give full attention to what is actually ‘blocking’ communication while he is also attending properly to the content of what is communicated, then we may be able to create something new between us, something of very great significance for bringing to an end the at present insoluble problems of the individual and of society.”

“The question is how our own meanings are related to those of the universe as a whole. We could say that our action toward the whole universe is a result of what it means to be us.”

“But what is [the] quality of originality? It is very hard to define or specify. Indeed, to define originality would in itself be a contradiction, since whatever action can be defined in this way must evidently henceforth be unoriginal. Perhaps, then, it will be best to hint at it obliquely and by indirection, rather than to try to assert positively what it is.

One prerequisite for originality is clearly that a person shall not be inclined to impose his preconceptions on the fact as he sees it. Rather, he must be able to learn something new, even if this means that the ideas and notions that are comfortable or dear to him may be overturned.

But the ability to learn in this way is a principle common to the whole of humanity. Thus it is well known that a child learns to walk, to talk, and to know his way around the world just by trying something out and seeing what happens, then modifying what he does (or thinks) in accordance with what has actually happened. In this way, he spends his first few years in a wonderfully creative way, discovering all sorts of things that are new to him, and this leads people to look back on childhood as a kind of lost paradise. As the child grows older, however, learning takes on a narrower meaning. In school, he learns by repetition to accumulate knowledge, so as to please the teacher and pass examinations. At work, he learns in a similar way, so as to make a living, or for some other utilitarian purpose, and not mainly for the love of the action of learning itself. So his ability to see something new and original gradually dies away. And without it there is evidently no ground from which anything can grow.”

“All effort to bring order into disorder is disorder.”

“Ultimately, all moments are really one, therefore now is an eternity.”

“The notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion.”

“Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder, and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who have to live in it.”

“Individual thought is mostly the result of collective thought and of interaction with other people. The language is entirely collective, and most of the thoughts in it are. Everybody does his own thing to those thoughts – he makes a contribution. But very few change them very much.”

“Being guided by a fragmentary self-world view, man then acts in such a way as to try to break himself and the world up, so that all seems to correspond to his way of thinking. Man thus obtains an apparent proof of the correctness of his fragmentary self-world view though, of course, he overlooks the fact that it is he himself, acting according to his mode of thought, who has brought about the fragmentation that now seems to have an autonomous existence, independent of his will and of his desire.”

“The almost universal habit [is] taking the content of our thought for ‘a description of the world as it is’. Or we could say that, in this habit, our thought is regarded as in direct correspondence with objective reality. Since our thought is pervaded with differences and distinctions, it follows that such a habit leads us to look on these as real divisions, so that the world is then seen and experienced as actually broken up into fragments.”

“Thus, in scientific research, a great deal of our thinking is in terms of theories. The word ‘theory’ derives from the Greek ‘theoria’, which has the same root as ‘theatre’, in a word meaning ‘to view’ or ‘to make a spectacle’. Thus, it might be said that a theory is primarily a form of insight, i.e. a way of looking at the world, and not a form of knowledge of how the world is.”

“If we supposed that theories gave true knowledge, corresponding to ‘reality as it is’, then we would have to conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while relativity and quantum theory suddenly became the truth. Such an absurd conclusion does not arise, however, if we say that all theories are insights, which are neither true nor false but, rather, clear in certain domains, and unclear when extended beyond these domains.”

“Clarity of perception and thought evidently requires that we be generally aware of how our experience is shaped by the insight (clear or confused) provided by the theories that are implicit or explicit in our general ways of thinking.”

“What prevents theoretical insights from going beyond existing limitations and changing to meet new facts is just the belief that theories give true knowledge of reality (which implies, of course, that they need never change).”

“So what is needed is for man to give attention to his habit of fragmentary thought, to be aware of it, and thus bring it to an end. Man’s approach to reality may then be whole, and so the response will be whole.”

“Some might say: ‘Fragmentation of cities, religions, political systems, conflict in the form of wars, general violence, fratricide, etc., are the reality. Wholeness is only an ideal, toward which we should perhaps strive.’ But this is not what is being said here. Rather, what should be said is that wholeness is what is real, and that fragmentation is the response of this whole to man’s action, guided by illusory perception, which is shaped by fragmentary thought.”

“What is called for is not an integration of thought, or a kind of imposed unity, for any such imposed point of view would itself be merely another fragment. Rather, all our different ways of thinking are to be considered as different ways of looking at the one reality, each with some domain in which it is clear and adequate.”

“The illusion that the self and the world are broken into fragments originates in the kind of thought that goes beyond its proper measure and confuses its own product with the same independent reality. To end this illusion requires insight, not only into the world as a whole, but also into how the instrument of thought is working. Such insight implies an original and creative act of perception into all aspects of life, mental and physical, both through the senses and through the mind, and this is perhaps the true meaning of meditation.”

“Science itself is demanding a new, non-fragmentary world view.”

“Relativity and quantum theory agree, in that they both imply the need to look on the world as an undivided whole, in which all parts of the universe, including the observer and his instruments, merge and unite in one totality. In this totality, the atomistic form of insight is a simplification and an abstraction, valid only in some limited context.”

“It is widely felt that if there is to be any general world view it should be taken as the ‘received’ and ‘final’ notion concerning the nature of reality. But my attitude has, from the beginning, been that our notions concerning cosmology and the general nature of reality are in a continuous process of development, and that one may have to start with ideas that are merely some sort of improvement over what has thus far been available, and to go on from there to ideas that are better.”

“Aside from what I feel to be the intrinsic interest of questions that are so fundamental and deep, I would, in this connection, call attention to the general problem of fragmentation of human consciousness. It is proposed there that the widespread and pervasive distinctions between people (race, nation, family, profession, etc., etc.), which are now preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, even for survival, have one of the key factors of their origin in a kind of thought that treats things as inherently divided, disconnected, and ‘broken up’ into yet smaller constituent parts. Each part is considered to be essentially independent and self-existent. When man thinks of himself in this way, he will inevitably tend to defend the needs of his own ‘Ego’ against those of the others; or, if he identifies with a group of people of the same kind, he will defend this group in a similar way. He cannot seriously think of mankind as the basic reality, whose claims come first. Even if he does try to consider the needs of mankind he tends to regard humanity as separate from nature, and so on. What I am proposing here is that man’s general way of thinking of the totality, i.e. his general world view, is crucial for overall order of the human mind itself. If he thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole.”

“When one works in terms of the implicate order, one begins with the undivided wholeness of the universe, and the task of science is to derive the parts through abstraction from the whole, explaining them as approximately separable, stable and recurrent, but externally related elements making up relatively autonomous sub-totalities, which are to be described in terms of an explicate order.”

“Although our modern way of thinking has, of course, changed a great deal relative to the ancient one, the two have had one key feature in common: i.e. they are both generally ‘blinkered’ by the notion that theories give true knowledge about ‘reality as it is’. Thus, both are led to confuse the forms and shapes induced in our perceptions by theoretical insight with a reality independent of our thought and our way of looking.”

“One must then go on to a consideration of time as a projection of multidimensional reality into a sequence of moments.”

“Both observer and observed are merging and interpenetrating aspects of one whole reality, which is indivisible and unanalysable.”

“A proper world view, appropriate for its time, is generally one of the basic factors that is essential for harmony in the individual and in society as a whole.”

“We probed into the nature of space and time, and of the universal, both with regard to external nature and with regard to mind. But then, we went on to consider the general disorder and confusion that pervades the consciousness of mankind. It is here that I encountered what I feel to be Krishnamurti’s major discovery. What he was seriously proposing is that all this disorder, which is the root cause of such widespread sorrow and misery, and which prevents human beings from properly working together, has its root in the fact that we are ignorant of the general nature of our own processes of thought. Or to put it differently it may be said that we do not see what is actually happening, when we are engaged in the activity of thinking.”

“For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution. Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles. It is the main point of this book that the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing of which our civilization is most proud, and therefore the one thing that is “hidden” because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own individual lives and in the life of society.”

“Suppose you have two religions. Thought defines religion — the thought about the nature of God and various questions like that. Such thought is very important because it is about God, who is supposed to be supreme. The thought about what is of supreme value must have the highest force. So if you disagree about that, the emotional impact can be very great, and you will then have no way to settle it. Two different beliefs about God will thus produce intense fragmentation — similarly with thoughts about the nature of society, which is also very important, or with ideologies such as communism and capitalism, or with different beliefs about your family or about your money. Whatever it is that is very important to you, fragmentation in your thought about it is going to be very powerful in its effects.”

“Difference exist because thought develops like a stream that happens to go one way here and another way there. Once it develops it produces real physical results that people are looking at, but they don’t see where these results are coming from — that’s one of the basic features of fragmentation. When they have produced these divisions they see that real things have happened, so they’ll start with these real things as if they just suddenly got there by themselves, or evolved in nature by themselves.”

“We often find that we cannot easily give up the tendency to hold rigidly to patterns of thought built up over a long time. We are then caught up in what may be called absolute necessity. This kind of thought leaves no room at all intellectually for any other possibility, while emotionally and physically, it means we take a stance in our feelings, in our bodies, and indeed, in our whole culture, of holding back or resisting. This stance implies that under no circumstances whatsoever can we allow ourselves to give up certain things or change them.”

“If I am right in saying that thought is the ultimate origin or source, it follows that if we don’t do anything about thought, we won’t get anywhere. We may momentarily relieve the population problem, the ecological problem, and so on, but they will come back in another way.”

“Of course, one of the main legitimate functions of thought has always been to help provide security, guaranteeing shelter and food for instance. However, this function went wrong when the principle source of insecurity came to be the operation of thought itself.”

“Culture is shared meaning. Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture?”

“Dialogue, as we are choosing to use the word, is a way of exploring the roots of the many crises that face humanity today. It enables inquiry into, and understanding of, the sorts of processes that fragment and interfere with real communication between individuals, nations, and even different parts of the same organization. In our modern culture men and women are able to interact with one another in many ways: they can sing, dance, or play together with little difficulty, but their ability to talk together about subjects that matter deeply to them seems invariably to lead to dispute, division, and often to violence. In our view this condition points to a deep and pervasive defect in the process of human thought.”

“It is proposed that a form of free dialogue may well be one of the most effective ways of investigating the crisis which faces society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness today. Moreover, it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated.”

“A key difference between a dialogue and an ordinary discussion is that, within the latter people usually hold relatively fixed positions and argue in favor of their views as they try to convince others to change. At best this may produce agreement or compromise, but it does not give rise to anything creative.”

“What is essential here is the presence of the spirit of dialogue, which is in short, the ability to hold many points of view in suspension, along with a primary interest in the creation of common meaning.”

Advertisements

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, and our lazy dog, Amos, in a lovely little mountain town called Paradise, situated on the ridge of the Little Grand Canyon, in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: http://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Free Transliterations of Spiritual Texts: http://freetransliterations1.blogspot.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to David Bohm

  1. Bob OHearn says:

    http://theawakenedeye.com/pages/scientist-meets-philosopher/

    In this fascinating blog post from my Friend Miriam Louisa Simons, David Bohm discusses his relationship with J. Krishnamurti, and the real process of meditation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob OHearn says:

    https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/05/david-bohm-on-dialogue/

    Decades before the social web as we know it and long before Rebecca Solnit came to lament how our modern noncommunication is changing our experience of solitude and communion, Bohm cautions:

    “In spite of this worldwide system of linkages, there is, at this very moment, a general feeling that communication is breaking down everywhere, on an unparalleled scale… What appears [in the media] is generally at best a collection of trivial and almost unrelated fragments, while at worst, it can often be a really harmful source of confusion and misinformation.”

    He terms this “the problem of communication” and writes:

    “Different groups … are not actually able to listen to each other. As a result, the very attempt to improve communication leads frequently to yet more confusion, and the consequent sense of frustration inclines people ever further toward aggression and violence, rather than toward mutual understanding and trust.”

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s