light to matter

” I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research” – Einstein

David Bohm is considered among the worlds leading and most influential theoretical physicists of our age. His work has been primarily concerned with the basics of quantum theory and relativity and their philosophical meaning. He is also among a handful of scientists whose interest also reaches beyond science into the area of metaphysics and the implications of the scientific discoveries for consciousness and the hidden dimensions of the universe.

While sceptics can easily discount views by sociologists like Redfield and intellectuals like Zukav, even physicists like Capra and Russel as over imaginative and obtuse indulging in far-fetched linkages which cannot withstand the highest standards of empirical research, when confronted by a physicist of Bohm’s eminence and standing, ideas emerging from his mind cannot be dismissed and have to be respectfully heard and given due consideration.

Dr. Renee Weber

Dr. Renee Weber professor emeritus of philosophy at Rutgers university, N.J. in the eighties undertook an amazing dialogue with scientists and mystics and produced  an insightful book in pursuance of a search for unity of man, nature, consciousness and matter seeking the integration of science and mysticism. Below I have sought to summarize and present the gist of her probing  dialogues which seek to  bring out the views of the great scientist David Bohm.

As we know, Newton’s mechanistic model of the world exists only at our ‘macro’ level but doesn’t work as we go down to smaller and smaller units at the micro level. According to Bohm at that level the behaviour of matter becomes not mechanical but subtle, very like large masses of humans conform to predictable patterns of behaviour but individually they are ‘subtle’. When asked whether the electron behaved as if it was alive Bohm replied that it could be. It behaved in strange ways, being a wave and a particle at the same time, jumping from one state to another without passing in between. He remarked that if it were not ‘alive’  it was certainly a mystery. He felt that there was a hidden order at work beneath the seeming chaos and lack of continuity of individual particles. He remained highly dissatisfied by the current interpretations of Quantum Theory and the manner in which physicists approached the subject. There interest was confined to presenting findings through mathematics and equations without attempting any rational meaning or interpretation of the implications of the findings for us.

David BohmTo set this right he conceived of a framework, a matrix, a complexity within which the findings of Quantum Mechanics could make sense beyond the confines of the experiments and equations. He believed that the ‘findings’ could only carry ‘meaning’ if seen from such a perspective. He then explained that the level at which the Newtonian mechanistic model worked was a three dimensional one of space, time and objects, which he named ‘THE EXPLICATE ORDER’. This was both contained within and emerged from an all-encompassing field or matrix in a muti-dimensional reality which was not manifest and from which arose Time, Space, and forms but which was itself beyond them. This he called ‘THE IMPLICATE ORDER’.

All potential forms were contained  and latent within it and manifested and ‘unfolded’ from it into the Explicate Order from time to time, though only a small part of what was enfolded within it was unfolded and became real and visible. The Implicate Order was immensely bigger than the Explicate. Matter was a ripple in an ocean of energy which was not manifest because it was in a multi- dimensional matrix. ‘Folding’ and ‘Unfolding’ keeps taking place (this is what Quantum Mechanics appears to show) from energy to matter and back, first manifesting and later unmanifesting. In its stable form it is our visible world and universe, the enfolding and unfolding being arrested for a time in a state of balance, creating the stability of matter. Bohm calls matter as condensed or frozen light.

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Beyond the Implicate Order he conceives of a Super-Implicate Order within which the former is contained and beyond that further orders beyond our conception, each containing the other. According to him such a state of orders alone would make some sense of the apparent chaos and lack of continuity of quantum Mechanics.

Bohm then applies the Implicate Order concept to nature, holding that our very consciousness is a form of subtle matter which derives from the ‘consciousness’ of nature. Our creativity and insight are a manifestation of the same phenomenon in nature. The amazing diversity  of forms are the manifestation of this creativity and insight. Nature in a sense may be said to be ‘alive’, intelligent, and both material and mental. When forms are created it is an evidence of creative intelligence. The multiplicity of form goes way beyond the need of survival. Without such a creativity, a complex form like that of the human brain could never have come about. Nature, Bohm avers has deep intentionality, creativity and purposefulness, which he implies, derives from the Implicate Order. He believes that matter and mind are inseparable, the separation being only an intellectual abstraction.

Bohm then moves to the concept of unity in diversity:   Your unique insight ( he says ) does not come from your pre-dispositions, it comes from the whole. The word individual itself means something that cannot be divided!  Ego-centredness is not ‘individuality. Ego-centredness centres on a self-image which is an illusion, a delusion!  True individuality is an ‘unfolding’  from the whole in a certain way, at a certain moment. True individuality is only possible by being grounded in the whole.

There are no events in the universe, nothing ‘happens’, everything ‘is’, the past, the present and the future are all contained within it. Deep down the consciousness of man is one.

After reading the dialogues so kindly made available by Dr. Renee Weber in her book ‘Dialogues with Scientists and Sages – The Search For Unity’ (1986) I was simply overwhelmed by all the ideas streaming in, forming a kind of critical mass. I just sat back with a kind of mental explosion. I sat quietly allowing confirmation of the many wisdoms imparted by my culture, by reaffirmation of my ideas that developed through me in my life of interaction with nature and a host of new thoughts. The circuits of my mind began the inevitable process of linking, modifying, reforming, till in that silent meditation there began to emerge a whole new mind-set configured from the old and the new, the spiritual and the scientific, a new mind-set that is now with me and is me.

I am sure that not many will have the same reaction. Each one with their own ‘individual’ backgrounds, environments, associations and developments are bound to react in their own ways. After all we are each an ‘individual’ apart, like the whirring electrons observing the energy uniquely, coming from the ‘whole’ which forms us and which, indeed contribute to forming and shaping it – as Bohm says – unfolding out of and enfolding into it.

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