David Bohm on Insight

One of the best ways of understanding what insight means is to look at certain theories, especially those which deal with universal order. The word “theory” comes from the same root as the word theater. It means to look, to make a spectacle. You could say a theory was originally a way of looking at the world. The idea that theories could be proposed and discussed freely began with the ancient Greeks. Before that time, theories of universal order were incorporated into religious systems which were not freely discussed or questioned. The Greeks proposed and discussed, with great passion, a wide range of fundamental theories. In these discussions a certain notion of universal order developed which was carried forward into medieval Europe.

It was believed that heavenly matter, being most perfect, would move in perfect orbits, and the most perfect orbit was considered to be a circle. Actual observations showed, even to the ancient Greeks, that the planets were not moving in circular orbits, but this did not prevent them from holding onto the idea of perfection. Rather, they accommodated the idea by saying they are circles superimposed on circles called epicycles. By adding enough epicycles you could still account for the heavenly motions and retain the notion of circularity. In a deeper sense however, it was an evasion of afundamental challenge.

One reason why observation didn’t lead the Greeks to question increasing perfection was their belief that reason was of highest value, while the senses were regarded as unreliable and deceptive, which they often are. The very idea of universal order also generates strong feelings and any challenge may be sensed as a threat to the whole of existence. Therefore, there is a great reluctance to question notions of universal order.

Toward the end of the Middle Ages Roger Bacon suggested that observation and experience could criticize ideas that appeared to be reasonable. This was revolutionary and the beginning of the scientific approach. It made it possible to correct the Greek bias toward reason and to limit the extreme power of knowledge, which at that time was so great that nothing could really challenge it.

As this approach began to take hold, observation and experience accumulated showing there was nothing particularly perfect about heavenly matter. In general, people were not aware of how this knowledge was a fundamental challenge to prevailing ideas about the nature of matter. Newton sensed this challenge and was the first to face it fully.

According to the story, he saw an apple falling, and by implication must have asked himself, “Why isn’t the moon falling?” And his answer was very simple, “The moon is falling,”and, indeed, because all matter is basically the same, every such free body is falling toward every other, which implies a universal force of gravitation. This discovery was a flash of perception, an insight.

David Bohm on Science

From all that has been said about the role of insight in science, it should now be clear that although Roger Bacon’s suggestion of experience and experiment as a means of criticizing ideas that appear to be reasonable was an important contribution to making modern science possible, it was not enough to prevent the blocks inherent in the active functioning of common knowledge from imprisoning us in fixed beliefs and false presuppositions. These are generally unyielding, even in the face of a great deal of experimental evidence that should reasonably lead them to be questioned. What is needed further is the energy of insight, which dissolves such blocks. This has to be emphasized very strongly, as there is now little realization of the ultimate inability of the scientific approach to avoid the tendency to self-deception inherent in the active functioning of knowledge, if this is not penetrated by insight. – David Bohm

David Bohm on Proprioception of Thought

“We could say that practically all the problems of the human race are due to the fact that thought is not proprioceptive.” — David Bohm

Bohm’s notion of proprioception of thought is one of his most profound and important contributions.  We have put together a page with various quotes and talks of his on this subject: David Bohm on Proprioception of Thought

“So, the idea of thought-proprioception is not so strange as it may sound at first. Thoughts and felts are movements and therefore we suppose that it must be possible to have proprioception of them. Since the body has the ability to sense it’s own movements, which is proprioception in a physical sense, we should also be able to extent this ability in the psychological realm. It is only a natural extension of body-proprioception. In fact, it’s very strange that we haven’t developed it very much, not enough anyway.” — David Bohm

David Bohm and the Big Bang

On account the recently published scientific paper by Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das, Cosmology from quantum potential, David Bohm and his work is being mentioned again.

Salon states: “In their paper, Ali and Das applied these Bohmian trajectories to an equation developed in the 1950s by physicist Amal Kumar”.

And see, for example, No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning.

We will take this opportunity to share some of David Bohm’s comments on the Big Bang:

“With all this in mind let us consider the current generally accepted notion that the universe, as we know it, originated in what is almost a single point in space and time from a “big bang” that happened some ten thousand million years ago.  In our approach this “big bang” is to be regarded as actually just a “little ripple”.  AN interesting image is obtained by considering that in the middle of the acutal ocean (i.e., on the surface of the Earth) myriads of smal waves occasionally come together fortuitously with such phase relationships that they end up in a certain small region of space, suddenly to produce a very high wave which just appears as if from nowhere and out of nothing.  Perhaps something like this could happen in the immense ocean of cosmic energy, creating a sudden wave pulse, from which our “universe” would be bron.  This pulse would explode outward and break up into smaller ripples that spread yet further outward to constitute  our “expanding universe.” The latter would have its “space” enfolded within it as a special distinguished explicate and manifest order.”  — David Bohm

“I propose something like this: Imagine an infinite sea of energy
filling empty space, with waves moving around in there, occasionally
coming together and producing an intense pulse. Let’s say one
particular pulse comes together and expands, creating our universe of
space-time and matter. But there could well be other such pulses. To
us, that pulse looks like a big bang; In a greater context, it’s a
little ripple. Everything emerges by unfoldment from the holomovement,
then enfolds back into the implicate order. I call the enfolding
process “implicating,” and the unfolding “explicating.” The implicate
and explicate together are a flowing, undivided wholeness. Every part
of the universe is related to every other part but in different degrees.” — David Bohm