David Bohm - science and spirituality (1917-1992)
Famous for his 'Implicate and Explicite Order', quantum physicist David Bohm combines a knowledge of current day physics with a spiritual vision of the universe.
His parents were immigrant European Jews, but David went to college and worked with one of the greats in theoretical Physics: Robert Oppenheimer. During WWII his work was harder because the government didn't trust him. Oppenheimer vouched for him, and Bohm did calculations that helped create the Atomic bomb.
After the war, during the McCarthy-era, Bohm refused to testify against colleges and went to work in Brazil, after a brief period of working with Albert Einstein himself.
He has also contributed to neuropsychology and is most famous outside the scientific world for his theory of implicate and explicate order (see below).
What is the Implicate Order?
The basic underlying assumption of David Bohm is that there is an underlying unity behind all the various seemingly separate things we see. This makes him a controversial figure in among scientists, but a popular one in 'New Age' circles. His views fit in with long time western esoteric views on holism, which also bridge the gap between western and eastern philosophy.
Implicate order: The underlying unity of everything as an ordered whole.
Explicate order: The phenomena in the universe that can be seen and measured.
Holism: The view that things can be best understood in their context - ultimately as part of the whole universe. This view is used to better understand mental health problems, cultural issues, the environment etc.
A reader on a previous version on this page writes:
As I understand Bohm, the implicate order (IO) is far more complex than simply 'holism' and occupies a wholly different level of reality to the explicate order: the EO being every'thing' in the Universe including the space-time fabric. The IO lies below, outside, and the EO is subtended upon it, dependant upon it.
Further he was of the view that what 'happens' in the EO can affect the IO, despite the IO 'lacking' 'Time', as it is not dependant on time for causation.
The 'simple' / religious way of describing the IO is 'supernatural', albeit it is 'super' in the sense of superior to Nature and the natural, physical world of matter.
Further there are levels of the IO, each dependant upon the one below. But this is not a 'turtles all the way down' concept. At the 'base' is the Uncaused, Cause of all - God. The Primary.
David Bohm and Jiddu Krishnamurti
"The Bohm-Krishnamurti dialogue set a profound precedent in being one of the first enduring dialogues between a leading Western physicist and a world-renowned Eastern spiritual master. Their discussions probed deeply into various dimensions of human knowledge and experience, including in-depth discussions of the limitations of human thought, the nature of insight and intelligence beyond thought, as well as many other topics such as truth, reality, death, existence, fragmentation, and the future of humanity. In exploring the distinction between truth and reality, for example, some of the jewels of insight that emerged may be summarized as follows (which, in the spirit of Bohm and Krishnamurti themselves, should perhaps be read slowly and contemplatively to be absorbed). There is a gulf between truth and reality; they are not the same thing. Illusion and falsehood are certainly part of reality, but they are not part of truth. Truth includes all that is; it is one. Reality is conditioned and multiple. Truth is beyond reality; it comprehends reality, but not vice versa. Reality is everything; truth is no-thingness. We need truth, but our minds are occupied with reality. We seek security in reality, but authentic security comes only in complete nothingness, that is, only in truth. The seed of truth is a mystery that thought cannot encompass; it is beyond reality.
Such insights are characteristic of Krishnamurti's teachings. Indeed, perhaps the greatest impact of these dialogues on Bohm was a cultivated understanding of the limitations of human thought, as well as a deep realization of the existence of pure awareness beyond thought, wherein lies the source of all true insight, intelligence, and creativity. Bohm also had a number of meetings with other spiritual masters, most notably the Dalai Lama. The influence of spiritual teachings are apparent in all of Bohm's later work, and, indeed, they are perhaps particularly significant in his formulation of the superimplicate order, which will be discussed shortly. Bohm's work in physics is unique in that he built a spiritual foundation into his theories that gives them a profound philosophical and metaphysical significance while rigorously preserving their empirical and scientific basis."
Thought runs you - a David Bohm quote
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.
Best Books by David Bohm
David Bohm was one of the foremost scientific thinkers and philosophers of our time. Although deeply influenced by Einstein, he was also, more unusually for a scientist, inspired by mysticism. Indeed, in the 1970s and 1980s he made contact with both J. Krishnamurti and the Dalai Lama whose teachings helped shape his work. In both science and philosophy, Bohm's main concern was with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular. In this classic work he develops a theory of quantum physics which treats the totality of existence as an unbroken whole. Writing clearly and without technical jargon, he makes complex ideas accessible to anyone interested in the nature of reality.