[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Holograms as metaphor for creation

May 30, 1998 08:42 PM
by Bjorn Roxendal


The challenge from Bohm : Undivided wholeness

The physicist David Bohm, who died in 1992, developed a
sophisticated approach to this concept of the universe, which he
termed 'undivided wholeness'. Bohm outlined his approach in the
classic 1980 book, 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order'. He used
the analogy of the hologram to illustrate the concept of undivided
wholeness. A hologram is a special kind of photographic plate
produced with the highly coherent light of a laser source, i.e. light
which is all of the same frequency and which does not disperse.
Whereas an ordinary photographic plate records a flat image of an
illuminated object, a hologram provides a three-dimensional
reconstruction of the object. If a hologram is illuminated with the
same coherent light with which it was produced, then the optical
effect is as if the original object were being observed. When the
observer moves his/her head around, different perspectives of the
object can be seen. A remarkable property of holograms is that
even if only a portion of the plate is illuminated the whole of the
object is reconstructed, although the resolution of the reconstruction
is not as great as when the complete plate is illuminated. One may
say that the reconstructed object is embedded in any arbitrary
segment of the plate.

Now, the physics of holograms is well understood. The point here is
that the hologram serves as a simple analogy for Bohm's concept of
undivided wholeness. The universe is like a hologram, in which the
whole image is contained within every segment. In other words, the
whole is enfolded within each segment. By shining laser light on a
part of the hologram, an unfolding occurs in which the form and
structure of the whole become apparent. Similarly, processes of
unfolding occur continually in the universe, yielding the patterns and
structures which we can see and measure.

Bohm argued that the fundamental particles and fields so beloved of
most physicists are no more than what he termed the explicate
order, that part of the universe which is made manifest by use of our
senses (or, extending our senses, scientific instruments). In the
explicate order, which essentially corresponds to the Standard
Model, objects occupy only their own particular region of space
(and time), distinct from regions occupied by other objects. These
explicate objects (e.g. quarks, leptons) are essentially unchanged
when interacting with each other.

However, underlying this explicate order, is an implicate order in
which the 'totality of existence is enfolded in each region of
space (and time).' In other words, any apparently independent
object such as a 'fundamental' particle actually contains within itself
the sum of all other seemingly independent objects. Bohm restated
Anaxagoras's hypothesis as follows: 'Ultimately, the entire
universe…has to be understood as a single undivided whole, in
which analysis into separately and independently existent parts
has no fundamental status.'

However, Bohm did much more than this. He developed a direction
for quantum physics in which both relativity and quantum theory
were themselves abstractions (i.e. approximations or limiting cases)
of the underlying implicate order. He also formulated a consistent
mathematical description of this implicate order. Even more
significantly, he opened up a path linking matter and consciousness
as an unbroken whole. Intriguingly, there are links between Bohm's
ideas and aspects of Buddhism. If fundamental physicists seek
beauty in the universe then they can do worse than look more
seriously at Bohm's work.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application