The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Implicate Order

The field that Bohm introduced in the equations to fix Heisenberg’s indeterminism represents a “sub-quantum” reality.

Bohm's quantum potential does not act within the four-dimensional geometry of spacetime; it acts beyond it. In a sense, it defines a common pool of information, a way to connect everything together, just like dancers can use the music to move together in harmony.

Bohm thought that this field must be fluctuating rapidly and what Quantum Theory observes is merely an average over time (just like Newton's physics reads a value for quantities that are actually due to the Brownian motion of many particles). Quantum physics deals with mean values of an underlying reality just like Newton's physics deals with mean values of thermodynamic quantities.

At this “sub-quantum” level, quantum effects all but disappear: a particle’s position and momentum are well-determined. The mystery of the collapse of the wave function, of the discontinuity in the transition from the quantum world to the classical world, occurs only at the quantum level, whereas Bohm believes there is a deeper level at which the apparent discontinuity of the collapse disappears.

After all, the study of "elementary" particles has shown that even elementary particles can be destroyed and created, which means that they are not the ultimate components of the universe, that there must be an underlying reality, or, in Bohm's terms, an underlying "flux".  Bohm thought that the basic problem lay in an obsolete notion of "order".

Thus, Bohm distinguished between the "explicate" order (the world of isolated spacetime thing-events that our senses experience) and the "implicate" order (all thing-events are part of a whole, the "holomovement"). The explicate order emerges from the holomovement. The holomovement contains all instances of explicate order as potentialities.

Cartesian order (the "grid" of space-time events) is appropriate for Newtonian physics in which the universe is divided in separate objects, but inadequate for Quantum and Relativity theories to reflect their idiosyncrasies and in particular the undivided wholeness of the universe that Bohm has been focusing on.

Bohm's solution was to contrast the "explicate order" that we perceive and that Physics describes (the Cartesian order of isolated space-time thing-events) with the "implicate order", which is an underlying, hidden layer of relationships.  The explicate order is but a manifestation of the implicate order. Space and time, for example, are "forms" of the explicate order that are derived from the implicate order.

The implicate order is similar to the order within a hologram: the implicate order of a hologram gives rise to the explicate order of an image, but the implicate order is not simply a one-to-one representation of the image. In fact, each region of the hologram contains a representation of the entire image.  The implicate order and the explicate order are fundamentally different.  The main difference is that in the explicate order each point is separate from the others.  In the intricate order, the whole universe is "enfolded" in everything, and everything is enfolded in the whole. In the explicate order "things" become (relatively) independent. In the implicate order, all thing-events are part of a whole, the "holomovement". The explicate order emerges from the holomovement. The holomovement contains all instances of explicate order as potentialities.

Bohm suggested that the implicate order could be defined by the quantum potential, the field consisting of an infinite number of pilot waves. The overlapping of the waves generates the explicate order of particles and forces, and ultimately space and time.

Since Bohm’s quantum field is affected by all particles (the pilot-wave that guides all particles is affected by all particles), nonlocality is a feature of reality: a particle can depend strongly on distant features of the environment.

Bohm's universe is one indivisible whole.

Everything in the universe is entangled in everything else, and ultimately in the whole. It does not make sense to analyze particles of subsets of the world as independent and separate parts.


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