David Bohm and Nietzsche: Reality // Consciousness | Philosophy and Quantum Theory

“He is not a result of a special design, a will, a purpose; he is not the subject of an attempt to attain to an ‘ideal of man’ or an ‘ideal of happiness’ or an ‘ideal of morality’ – it is absurd to want to hand over his nature to some purpose or other. We invented the concept ‘purpose’: in reality purpose is lacking… one is necessary, one is a piece of fate, one belongs to the WHOLE, one is the WHOLE – there exists nothing which could judge, measure, compare, condemn our being, for that would be to judge, measure, compare, condemn the whole… but nothing exists apart from the whole!” – that no one is any longer made accountable, that the kind of being manifested cannot be traced back to a causa prima, that the world is a unity neither a sensorium nor as spirit.” – Nietzsche

What strikes me about this selected quote from twilight of the idols from a section called: What alone can be our teaching? Is that it is kind of the precursor to david Bohm’s idea of the implicate order, this idea of wholeness and unity, Nietzsche is known with his idea of eternal recurrence whereby to some degree it can relate to quantum physics but not many (if any) have raised this comparison of David Bohm and Friedrich Nietzsche in regards to wholeness, consciousness and the implicate order, on the whole, this video will mostly focus on the ideas of David Bohm as opposed to Friedrich Nietzsche.

David Bohm was a well renowned theoretical physicist who worked in the disciplines of quantum theory and philosophy, in his book: wholeness and the implicate order he attempts to generate an ontological concept to explain the two sided coin of phenomena in reality, that of the implicate order and the explicate order, these concepts in the scientific domain were developed in order to try and explain the bizarre behaviour of subatomic particles within quantum physics but also to try and understand consciousness and reality itself.

The implicate order for bohm is an idea of enfoldment, something of wholeness which contained a deeper reality which we cannot completely perceive, on the other hand, the explicate order is one of an unfolding order which shows the abstractions of reality which humans would normally perceive that display themselves as specific.

These two orders of reality fundamentally pronounce the perspective that there is an authority of structure over individual objects and that objects of particularity or individuality are only part of an underlying process, this concludes the idea in physics that quantum particles only have a relative degree of autonomy which I get onto in a bit.

Bohm believed that the implicate order was the bedrock of reality and that all understood human phenomena was of a surface level reality, an explicate form which had unfolded from the underlying deeper level of the implicate order, with this view it is that reality emerges from the implicate order.

These ideas have many analogies which bohm agreed with for example: how The signal, screen, and television electronics from a TV represent the implicate order while the image produced represents the explicate order.  Another is this; consider a pattern produced by making small cuts in a folded piece of paper and then, literally, unfolding it. Widely separated elements of the pattern are, in actuality, produced by the same original cut in the folded piece of paper. Here the cuts in the folded paper represent the implicate order and the unfolded pattern represents the explicate order, other analogies in relation to holograms are also used.

This all outlines the beginnings of an interpretation of physics and quantum mechanics which Bohm called: Holomovement, this key concept of David Bohm’s was an approach which brought together his holistic conception of “undivided wholeness” and the idea (which both heraclitus and nietzsche accepted) which is that of everything being in a state of becoming, this is what bohm called: “universal flux”

The starting point for Bohm’s approach to physics or what he would have called the “new order in physics” is his notion of wholeness. This primary premise is the key to understanding holomovement: this is the view that interconnected phenomena are woven together in an underlying unified fabric of physical law. Or I quote, that: 

“elementary particles are actually systems of extremely complicated internal structure, acting essentially as amplifiers of information contained in a quantum wave.” 

The law in the holomovement or law of the whole is based primarily on order and laws of organisation, instead of looking at and explaining the whole in terms of its parts, for bohm, the law of holonomy is rather the opposite, Bohm from the perspective of undivided wholeness see’s that the parts are the abstract derivatives of the whole itself, this proposes that a different perspective is needed when viewing reality using the implicate order and holomovement; instead of seeing reality as only in terms of external interactions between independent things we should rather view the world or reality and it’s processes as an internal, enfolded relationship AMONG things. A definite example of the implicate order would be of human Consciousness because it is internally related to everything and itself and therefore the enfoldment of everything we know and see, thus, individuality is only possible if it unfolds from wholeness or the implicate order.

The primary premise of holomovement is this: autonomy is limited by interaction, therefore relatively autonomous things such as particles for example are therefore associated by interaction, this association is what bohm called the law of heteronomy, that things are not as self autonomous as we think, that interaction acts as a limitation towards autonomy which alludes to the possibility that there exists a wholeness, this is what Bohm goes on to call: Holonomy, holonomy is basically the the law of the whole which I quote: 

“includes the possibility of describing the ‘loosening’ of aspects from each other, so that they will be relatively autonomous in limited contexts”

This idea of holomovement is essentially a different way of looking at reality whereby reality itself is an internal, enfolded relationship among things; not something of separate, autonomous existences which interact between each other, because, due to the law of heteronomy, things themselves can only be of a certain level of autonomy due to the existence of interaction which acts as a limiter. 

Bohm goes on to say that this view of reality would be of better observation in the sciences then viewing things as having autonomy against totality, I quote:

“Scientific investigations have generally tended to begin by relevating apparently autonomous aspects of totality. The study of the laws of these aspects has generally been emphasized at first, but as a rule this kind of study has led gradually to an awareness that such aspects are related to others originally thought to have no significant bearing on the subject of primary interest.”

“The actual order (the Implicate Order) itself has been recorded in the complex movement of electromagnetic fields, in the form of light waves. Such movement of light waves is present everywhere and in principle enfolds the entire universe of space and time in each region. This enfoldment and unfoldment takes place not only in the movement of the electromagnetic field but also in that of other fields (electronic, protonic, etc.). These fields obey quantum-mechanical laws, implying the properties of discontinuity and non-locality. The totality of the movement of enfoldment and unfoldment may go immensely beyond what has revealed itself to our observations. We call this totality by the name holomovement.”

It’s interesting how nietzsche talked about unity and wholeness in just a short paragraph from twilight of the idols, how he claims that due to this wholeness that, I quote: the world is a unity” and how nothing exists outside the implicate order or the whole, so far from what I can see I have not come across any inkling that bohm was ever influenced by Nietzsche, But with that said what was nietzsche take on consciousness, was it the same as david bohm’s view? David Bohm saw consciousness as the most obvious example of the implicate order because it enfolds everything we can possibly know.

I quote:

“Consciousness is a coherent whole, which is never static or complete but which is an unending process of movement and unfoldment”

Nietzsche see’s consciousness as something which is in a process of continuous development 

I quote:

“Consciousness is the latest development of the organic and hence also what is most unfinished and unstrong”

Nietzsche believes that due to our believed superiority with consciousness with regards to other animals, this causes many to fall into error with the belief that they don’t need to further develop it’s domains  due to it’s supposed “full performance”

Nietzsche points out that there is an error with our preconceived ideas of consciousness and this prevents us attaining a fast development of consciousness because the individual believes they already possess consciousness in full performance and consequently do not exert themselves to continue its further development.

I think Nietzsche’s viewing of consciousness in error is very associative to Bohm’s view of thought, Bohm believed that thought was in a sense conditioned, this is due to the ways in which the brain (in a close to material way) records past emotions, techniques, expressions relative to past experiences which accompany themselves with a crutch of prejudices, fears and irrationalities, therefore, both Bohm and Krishnamurti who were both in very close association saw thought as a form of self deception, for example flattery, in a interview he gives an example of a child who attains early on: bad educational experiences which makes them believe they are stupid, this becomes ingrained in the mental programme but then later on he does something really impressive but does not think he is gifted due to the pre-programmed thought of self deception.

For Nietzsche when he sees that development of consciousness is prevented by our own believed thought of it’s superiority and existence is in a way only maintained by a self deceptive thought which becomes programmed in the mind of many, either way both bohm and nietzsche see that consciousness is something which needs and can be developed but is only possible if we fundamentally reconfigure the programmes which control us.

Bohm and krisnamurti says that the fatal error with thought in relation to consciousness is that when it comes to thought or looking inside ourselves we are never directly informed with something like the senses, something of such a nature for the mind would be of great use, but, instead; thoughts (when they come about) only have access to memory which is still connecting themselves to the programme of prejudices and irrationalities which is thus, still part of the problem, the best way to try and overcome this is by trying to get in touch with the programme which is controlling you to help develop consciousness so that certain irrational mental programmes don’t deceive our abilities of the mind, I quote:

“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? ”


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