Mod+ David Bohm on Consciousness, QM, Paranormal, etc. [Resources]



Making this a resource thread with the usual rules.

3-5 posts discussing a linked resource then please make a new thread to carry on the conversation.




David Bohm: A New Theory of the Relationship of Mind and Matter

The relationship of mind and matter is approached in a new way in this article. This approach is based on the causal interpretation of the quantum theory, in which an electron, for example, is regarded as an inseparable union of a particle and afield. This field has, however, some new properties that can be seen to be the main sources of the differences between the quantum theory and the classical (Newtonian) theory. These new properties suggest that the field may be regarded as containing objective and active information, and that the activity of this information is similar in certain key ways to the activity of information in our ordinary subjective experience. The analogy between mind and matter is thus fairly close.

This analogy leads to the proposal of the general outlines of a new theory of mind, matter, and their relationship, in which the basic notion is participation rather than interaction. Although the theory can be developed mathematically in more detail, the main emphasis here is to show qualitatively how it provides a way of thinking that does not divide mind from matter, and thus leads to a more coherent understanding of such questions than is possible in the common dualistic and reductionistic approaches. These ideas may be relevant to connectionist theories and might perhaps suggest new directions for their development.
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Understanding Bohm’s Holoflux: Clearing Up a Conceptual Misunderstanding of the Holographic Paradigm and Clarifying its Signifigance
to Transpersonal Studies of Consciousness

The significance of Bohm’s assertion— that we can participate in the noumenon —cannot be underestimated. It invites the consideration that humankind is capable (at least in certain discrete states of consciousness) of being able to access the very source of reality beyond the veil of appearances (Tart, 1975, 1986). If this claim could be proven it would have a profound influence on transpersonal theory. But this paper’s focus is not a thorough examination of transpersonal theory and how Bohm’s views influence it. Rather, this paper’s purpose is to help clarify how Bohm’s views have been misunderstood, misused, and distorted. It is tempting to want to leap ahead and begin to theorize and contemplate the relevance that Bohm’s unifying vision of cosmos and consciousness—the implicate order—has had and will have on transpersonal psychology. However, before attempting this, the more immediate task of clarifying some essential points about his theory must be first undertaken.
Also check out Josephson's views on touching this transcendental reality.



"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...." (David Bohm: Wholeness and the Implicate Order)
I am having trouble disproving the possibility that consciousness is emergent from the right kind of neural network; and of course the only kind of neural net that we know produces consciousness is the brain. For those of us who are either spiritualists, hopeful of an afterlife or in the existence of psi, the scientific community has not been helpful. Most of their theories are deliberately pessimistic about an afterlife and are avoidant of such models. Probably because they don't want to lose their jobs.

However, I have an idea for how an afterlife might be possible. Quantum entanglement is a hot research topic now. We are told that quantum entanglements are fragile and break easily. But of course we don't know if there are other kinds of entanglements that are either more stable or are more dynamic. What if there exists an all pervasive quantum entanglement mesh that exists everywhere in space, inside the space-time continuum and beyond it. What if it behaves like a neural network and has those special properties that can create consciousness? So when you die physically, your consciousness escapes the physical body and returns to this quantum entanglement mesh?

Could this be occuring?


Hey Ghost, I know Koons addresses the subject of a neural network emulating a human mind in this talk:

Regarding an afterlife in accordance with quantum physics - there was that quantum soul thread...and Ethan mentioned a new kind of locality that has been discovered.

I'm not sure Bohm believed in personality survival...I think the answer is no but I'll check around. Fred Alan Wolf believed the Holographic Universe, which Bohm identified with the Implicate-Explicate Order, did suggest an afterlife. He talks about meeting the spirit of his son in a dream here:

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Hey Ghost, I know Koons addresses the subject of a neural network emulating a human mind in this talk:

Regarding an afterlife in accordance with quantum physics - there was that quantum soul thread...and Ethan mentioned a new kind of locality that has been discovered.

I'm not sure Bohm believed in personality survival...I think the answer is no but I'll check around.
I would think that if any of these experts in physics or neuroscience even suggested that physical creation exists within some quantum entanglement network field that is so like a neural network that it can manifest consciousness, that they would lose their job and all respect even for suggesting it. But that would have nothing to do with whether or not it is actually true or not. We could keel over and die and find out that such a quantum entanglement network is still generating our consciousness.

I have to confess sciborg, this attempt to reconcile science with consciousness is exhausting and is unsustainable as a pursuit. It is just easier to admit that an afterlife exists, but is unreconcilable with physics. But physics and cosmology have their own problems with fine tuned universes popping out of nothing, and biology behaving more intelligently than materialists expect.

I have to withdraw to my basic beliefs as a Spiritualist and Theosophist, and apologize that I won't be able to show logically that a spirit world exists. But it does look like science won't be able to consolidate its discoveries into a nice neat package of equations with a pretty bow. So for all we know, there really are grey aliens popping out of the aether and abducting people, demons running amuck, and beings of light meeting us in the afterlife when our brain stops working.


I have to confess sciborg, this attempt to reconcile science with consciousness is exhausting and is unsustainable as a pursuit. It is just easier to admit that an afterlife exists, but is unreconcilable with physics. But physics and cosmology have their own problems with fine tuned universes popping out of nothing, and biology behaving more intelligently than materialists expect.
As Tallis notes, the problem is more fundamental than that, going right to the intelligibility of causality itself.

Bohm's ideas also contain some spirituality

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 never change). Although our modern way of thinking has 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 way of looking. This confusion is of crucial significance, since it leads us to approach nature, society and the individual in terms of more or less fixed and limited forms of thought, and thus, apparently, to keep on confirming the limitations of these forms of thought in experience. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)

If man 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 then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)

The notion that all these fragments is 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 live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)


Recalled posting this in another thread, putting it here for organization's sake (note the similarity to the views of Whitehead's process theology & Matthews' Taoist panpsychism):

Bohm’s Implicate Order, Wheeler’s Participatory Universe, Stapp’s Mindful Universe, Zurek’s Quantum Darwinism and the Buddhist Mind-Only Ground Consciousness

The fundamental Buddhist definition of consciousness is ‘clarity that cognizes.’ This primordial nature is an essentially unified field of clarity, or emptiness, which is not the same as nothingness but, rather can be conceived of as a field of potential experience, which has the core function of perception or cognition. Because of this fundamental nature there is an inner tension at the heart of reality.

The fundamental nature of awareness-consciousness is undivided (jnana) but its function is cognition, and cognition is a process which involves duality. This is why nondual awareness-wisdom (jnana) spontaneously divides itself into dualistic appearances in the illusory divided realm of dualistic consciousness (vijnana).

The prefix ‘vi’ indicates a cut or division; cognition cannot take place without a rift, a division, in the basic nature of the fundamental awareness (jnana). Within this paradoxical nature of the self-perceiving ground of reality lies the solution to the riddle of existence.

And within the mechanism of ‘quantum karma’ lies the understanding of the process of experiential dualistic seeming reality which really is just a cycle of endless perception, giving rise to manifestation, driven by the universe’s ‘craving’ to perceive its own nature.


'If we supposed that theories gave true knowledge, corresponding to 'reality as it is', then we would have to conclude that Newtonian Mechanics 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.

... Man is continually developing new forms of insight, which are clear up to a point and then tend to become unclear. In this activity, there is evidently no reason to suppose that there is or will be a final form of insight (corresponding to absolute truth) or even a steady series of approximations to this. Rather, one may expect the unending development of new forms of insight (which will, however assimilate certain key features of the older forms as simplifications, in the way that relativity theory does with Newtonian theory). Our theories are to be regarded primarily as ways of looking at the world as a whole ('world-views') rather than as 'absolute true knowledge of how things are'.

-David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order


The Wholeness of Quantum Reality: An Interview with Physicist Basil Hiley

At a conference a few week ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Basil Hiley, Bohm’s longtime collaborator and co-author of his final book, The Undivided Universe. Hiley is a theoretical physicist at Birkbeck College of the University of London, where Bohm ended up after he couldn’t take Brazilian food anymore. What follows in an abridged transcript of our chat. Hiley, like his late mentor, has such an unconventional way of thinking about physics that I didn’t really follow much of what he said. In this transcript, I took the liberty of shifting around blocks of text and omitting passages on technical mathematics to try to make sense of it all. If it piques your interest, a good next step would be Hiley’s exhaustive Wikipedia page. If nothing else, Bohm’s theory is a good subject to talk about with a beer in hand.
And then David came in, with all these exciting ideas, suggesting that quantum mechanics was a beautiful wine, but we were putting it in old bottles. And the idea was to make new bottles, so that the beautiful wine would fit consistently. That’s not an easy thing to do—to think deeply about the nature of reality.
Therefore, my problem was: what’s wrong with it? It works. Whether particles actually follow trajectories or not, I don’t know. But there are the formulae, you just apply them, and there it is.

GM: Did that start to get David interested?

BH: That got David interested in it again. We dropped the more speculative stuff, the more esoteric stuff about pre-space. It’s always in the background. But then we worked more closely on this. David was very excited by it. When we showed him the trajectories, he was: “Oh wow. We can get out that out of that?”

From my position, and also David’s position, this was just a sort of an average behavior of this deeper underlying process. And that’s what we were aiming to try to understand. We didn’t get very far, I’m afraid. You know, it’s a difficult thing. We’ve tried lots of different ideas, and none of it really seems to work. There’s something missing still.

GM: Tell me some of those ideas that you played with.

BH: We were interested in undivided whole. How do you describe wholeness without breaking it up into pieces? Bohr said you can’t analyze any further: don’t make the division between the subject and the observing apparatus, because everything is a whole, and as soon as you break it into pieces, you’ve lost it; you’ve changed the phenomenon. I took a lot of insight from Bohr. If you read our book, we never say Bohr was wrong, whereas most other people say Copenhagen is nonsense. What we disagreed with Bohr about is that he couldn’t analyze it further. What we’ve been trying to do is analyze it further.

Our idea was to say, yes, you can do it. You can talk about the individual, but it’s the quantum potential which puts in what you’ve left out. So it brings the information of the environmental conditions, the boundary conditions, and feeds it to this local entity—so this local entity knows that it’s part of the whole.

How this does it, I don’t know. But what David and I suggested was that the quantum potential is actually an information potential, and we introduced the idea of active information. I was very worried about using the word “information” because everybody would immediately go to Shannon information. Shannon information is not information; it’s just information capacity. There’s no meaning there, and the whole point was to get meaning into this and that this was information for the particle.

Then, of course, they thought we’d gone mystically East. But I mean the quantum potential is not a classical force. It’s not a classical potential. It’s something extraordinary, very strange. It doesn’t get propagated, as far as we can find out. But that was the way I reconciled wholeness with divisibility. If we divide, we must have something to put it all back together again.
BH: Yeah, but don’t forget, if you just do the simple Bohm theory, you don’t see any of this. I’m now telling you we see the Bohm theory in the light of this deeper process. I used to give the lectures on the Bohm theory, because you cannot ignore it. It’s there whether you like it or not. But then people believed that’s what I really thought nature was. But to me, that’s a Mickey Mouse model. It’s not the driving force of what David and I were doing. This would just be a certain level of abstraction.

So I am not a Bohmian in the Bohmian mechanics sense. Chris Fuchs came down to me once after a lecture and says, “How nice it is to meet a Bohmian.” And I said: “I beg your pardon? Where?” I’m not a Bohmian. What we are discussing is not mechanics. Bohm says in his quantum-theory book, the original one, quantum mechanics is a misnomer. It should be called quantum non-mechanics.

GM: Because you shouldn’t think of it in terms of a mechanistic motion of particles?

BH: Yes, it’s nothing like that. It’s not mechanism. It organicism. It’s organic. Nature is more organic than we think it is. And then you can understand why life arose, because if nature is organic, it has the possibility of life in it.


On Quantum Mechanics and the Implicate Order: an Interview with Dr. BASIL J. HILEY

HILEY: I find the notion of continuous transformations between wave-like and particle-like aspects very confusing. No one actually observes the wave-like properties. What one observes is a statistical distribution of individual events. When one analyses it, it LOOKS as if one can account for the result by some wave-like feature. But we have never actually seen the wave-nature of the quantum. The results of experiments are discrete events, which can be explained if we assume the wave-like quality. The continuous transition between wave and particle becomes blurred, it is not smooth.

The de Broglie-Bohm interpretation is the only interpretation of QM that provides an ontology. If one looks at the position of Niels Bohr, and particularly the people who analysed Bohr, you get a feeling that Bohr has given us the most consistent interpretation of QM, but it is an epistemological interpretation. This arises, it is argued, because of the problem of separating the observed from the observing apparatus. John Wheeler has written to me saying that there is no ontological interpretation of QM, but we have shown that one is possible. Here it seems that you have to move away from mechanism into some kind of organism or organicism. In that context you can still maintain a particle with the wave influencing the particle. The wave now seems to have a new quality; it is like an informational field. But when you go to relativity, even this view becomes difficult to maintain. We are not sure whether there is a permanent structure of electrons and whether they are always following continuous traectories. So maybe something deeper is involved. The wave function approach was maintained because it managed to provide a KIND of ontology, but the individuality could not be fitted into the Cartesian category. There is a contradiction. David Bohm and myself were addressing the question of alternative categories for QM. In that context Bohm had the idea of implicate and explicate order. The particle now was a series of unfoldements from a more deeper structure which we call holomovement.


No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning

Ali and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end.

Old ideas revisited

The physicists emphasize that their quantum correction terms are not applied ad hoc in an attempt to specifically eliminate the Big Bang singularity. Their work is based on ideas by the theoretical physicist David Bohm, who is also known for his contributions to the philosophy of physics. Starting in the 1950s, Bohm explored replacing classical geodesics (the shortest path between two points on a curved surface) with quantum trajectories.

In their paper, Ali and Das applied these Bohmian trajectories to an equation developed in the 1950s by physicist Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri at Presidency University in Kolkata, India. Raychaudhuri was also Das's teacher when he was an undergraduate student of that institution in the '90s.
No singularities nor dark stuff

In addition to not predicting a Big Bang singularity, the new model does not predict a "big crunch" singularity, either. In general relativity, one possible fate of the universe is that it starts to shrink until it collapses in on itself in a big crunch and becomes an infinitely dense point once again.

Ali and Das explain in their paper that their model avoids singularities because of a key difference between classical geodesics and Bohmian trajectories. Classical geodesics eventually cross each other, and the points at which they converge are singularities. In contrast, Bohmian trajectories never cross each other, so singularities do not appear in the equations.

In cosmological terms, the scientists explain that the quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term. These terms keep the universe at a finite size, and therefore give it an infinite age. The terms also make predictions that agree closely with current observations of the cosmological constant and density of the universe.
New gravity particle

In physical terms, the model describes the universe as being filled with a quantum fluid. The scientists propose that this fluid might be composed of gravitons—hypothetical massless particles that mediate the force of gravity. If they exist, gravitons are thought to play a key role in a theory of quantum gravity.

In a related paper, Das and another collaborator, Rajat Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, have lent further credence to this model. They show that gravitons can form a Bose-Einstein condensate (named after Einstein and another Indian physicist, Satyendranath Bose) at temperatures that were present in the universe at all epochs.

Motivated by the model's potential to resolve the Big Bang singularity and account for dark matter and dark energy, the physicists plan to analyze their model more rigorously in the future. Their future work includes redoing their study while taking into account small inhomogeneous and anisotropic perturbations, but they do not expect small perturbations to significantly affect the results.

"It is satisfying to note that such straightforward corrections can potentially resolve so many issues at once," Das said.


Old link from awhile ago:

Morphic Fields and the Implicate Order - A dialogue with David Bohm

David Bohm was an eminent quantum physicist. As a young man he worked closely with Albert Einstein at Princeton University. With Yakir Aharonov he discovered the Aharonov-Bohm effect. He was later Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College, London University, and was the author of several books, including Causality and Chance in Modern Physics 1 and Wholeness and the Implicate Order. 2 He died in 1992. This dialogue was first published in ReVision Journal, and the editorial notes are by Renée Weber, the journal’s editor.


Two part Pentamental Podcast:

Infinite Potential w/ F. David Peat:

Physicist & author David Peat discusses the historical relevance/impact of David Bohm, the meaning of quantum theory, and the microphysical origins of consciousness.

Topics: David Bohm, Copenhagen, Hidden Variable, Red Scare, In-Formation, Holo-Movement, Process & Reality, Rheomode/Language, A Scanner Darkly, E-Prime, Science/Order/Creativity, Random Walks, String Theory, Chaos, Penrose/Twistor Theory, Hawking, Basil Hiley/Academia, Philosophy, LHC & Data, Pauli & Jung, Proto-Mind, Hypnotism
The Order Between w/ Dr. John Briggs:

Professor & author John Briggs discusses the history of scientific reductionism, the emergence of creative order, and the interplay between artistic expression and process physics.

Topics: Art & Physics, Metaphor/Fractals, Science & Reductionism, Math/Mysticism, Education, Creativity & Order, Irony/Trickster, Kierkegaard, Oedipus, Meaningfullness, Unreality, Kant, Uncertainty, Imprinting/Perception, Information, Synchronicity, Animism, Inner-Child, Goethe, Curiosity Cabinets, VHS, Birds of Paradise, Primal Paradox


From The Bohm Documentary site

"We invite you to join us on an incredible journey into eternal presence, a journey existing outside the bounds of space and time, no future no past, beginning in the now unfathomable depths of un-manifest formless consciousness, always enfolding and unfolding into manifest form consciousness, from the implicate to the explicate… Enter the ever present Infinite Potential of David Bohm and participate in the making of this fascinating and extraordinary feature documentary film on the Life and Ideas of David Bohm, brilliant physicist and explorer of consciousness."

Some selections:

Where is The Implicate?

Where is that mythical territory David Bohm called The Implicate? If we were to draw a map would it be upward or downward from our home base location in The Explicate? North or south of us?

In his theory of the Undivided Universe, Bohm posited that the whole of reality is a nesting of increasingly subtle layers. Our most immediate and familiar layer is what he called “explicate.” Beyond it were the layers of the “implicate,” the “super-implicate” and perhaps many more layers, each progressively more subtle, more general, and more powerful.

The explicate is our perception of the material world, a vast variety of separate and distinct “things” outside of us and outside of each other (1) which is best described through Newtonian physics. In his words, “Clearly the manifest world of common sense experience refined where necessary with the aid of the concepts and laws of classical physics is basically in an explicate order.” (2)

Behind the explicate world is the implicate, the layer or order which holds the patterns that give form to our perceptions. He gave examples of the implicate and explicate. Think of a seed. Within it lies the essential pattern (implicate level) of a particular species of plant which will guide its growth into form (explicate level). Another example: The television set acts as a receiver of broadcasted image patterns (implicate level) which are displayed on the TV screen (explicate level).

Order Between and Beyond

After we had finished writing Science, Order and Creativity, Bohm and I felt we should begin work on a new book. At that time Bohm had been thinking about such ideas as “the space between”, rather than the “space beyond”, or of ideas of outer space and extending space. But what about the space between events? Connected to this was the notion of a “space between”. Ideas tend to get polarized and broken into categories—romanticism and classicism, reason and imagination, holism versus reductionism, mind and body, conscious and unconscious, Darwinism and Lamarckism, Deconstruction and Structuralism. But what about investigating a creative space that lies between these extremes?

We began work, exploring these “orders between” but then began to feel that an Order Between could involve some sort of compromise, a weaking of a position, an avoidance of confrontation. And so we began to think of an “order beyond”. We continued our discussions in London and at the Bailey farms. I made many notes but by now Bohm’s health had deteriorated and his depression had worsened. We did meet but progress on the manuscript slowed. In addition because of his heart condition we did not go on our usual long walks to discuss ideas. Then in 1992 Bohm died with the manuscript incomplete.

The publisher Routledge wanted to bring out a new edition of Science, Order and Creativity so I combined some of our working notes into a new last chapter entitled “The Order between and Beyond”.