|The Implicate and Explicate Orders|
Some phrases in this excerpt from David Bohm's "A New Theory of Mind and Matter" sound like the mystical literature of the East. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 44)
The question of the relationship of mind and matter has already been explored to some extent in some of my earlier work in physics. In this work, which was originally aimed at understanding relativity and quantum theory on a basis common to both, I developed the notion of the enfolded or implicate order. The essential feature of this idea was that the whole universe is in some way enfolded in everything and that each thing is enfolded in the whole. From this it follows that in some way, and to some degree everything enfolds or implicates everything, but in such a manner that under typical conditions of ordinary experience, there is a great deal of relative independence of things.
The basic proposal is then that this enfoldment relationship is not merely passive or superficial. Rather, it is active and essential to what each thing is. It follows that each thing is internally related to the whole, and therefore, to everything else. The external relationships are then displayed in the unfolded or explicate order in which each thing is seen, as has already indeed been indicated, as relatively separate and extended, and related only externally to other things. The explicate order, which dominates ordinary experience as well as classical physics, thus appears to stand by itself. But actually, it cannot be understood properly apart from its ground in the primary reality of the implicate order.
Because the implicate order is not static but basically dynamic in nature, in a constant process of change and development, I called its most general form the holomovement. All things found in the unfolded, explicate order emerge from the holomovement in which they are enfolded as potentialities and ultimately they fall back into it. They endure only for some time, and while they last, their existence is sustained in a constant process of unfoldment and re-enfoldment, which gives rise to their relatively stable and independent forms in the explicate order.
The above description then gives, as I have shown in more detail elsewhere, a valid intuitively graspable account of the meaning of the properties of matter, as implied by the quantum theory. It takes only a little reflection to see that a similar sort of description will apply even more directly and obviously to mind, with its constant flow of evanescent thoughts, feelings, desires, and impulses, which flow into and out of each other, and which, in a certain sense, enfold each other (as, for example, we may say that one thought is implicit in another, noting that this word literally means 'enfolded').
Or to put it differently, the general implicate process of ordering is common both to mind and to matter. This means that ultimately mind and matter are at least closely analogous and not nearly so different as they appear on superficial examination. Therefore, it seems reasonable to go further and suggest that the implicate order may serve as a means of expressing consistently the actual relationship between mind and matter, without introducing something like the Cartesian duality between them.