Monthly Archives

March 2014

Little sensations

In an earlier posting we saw how Bohm believed that the laws of physics were contained within his physical body. On occasion he experienced this directly. Once when working on an equation he felt a strong sensation within his body and, as he continued to work, a counter sensation. These sensations appeared to correspond directly to the mathematics he was writing down. Bohm spoke to Einstein about this who told him that when working on his field equations he would squeeze a hard rubber ball and note the sensations in his arm. When thinking Bohm also had the habit of tossing a group of coins from one hand to another. This annoyed Robert Chambers who occupied an office separated by a lightweight partition from Bohm’s. Month after month he had to put up with the sound of Bohm’s pacing up and down and the jingling of coins.

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Order Between and Beyond

After we had finished writing Science, Order and Creativity, Bohm and I felt we should begin work on a new book. At that time Bohm had been thinking about such ideas as “the space between”, rather than the “space beyond”, or of ideas of outer space and extending space. But what about the space between events? Connected to this was the notion of a “space between”. Ideas tend to get polarized and broken into categories—romanticism and classicism, reason and imagination, holism versus reductionism, mind and body, conscious and unconscious, Darwinism and Lamarckism, Deconstruction and Structuralism. But what about investigating a creative space that lies between these extremes? We began work, exploring these “orders between” but then began to feel that an Order Between could involve some sort of compromise, a weaking of a position, an avoidance of confrontation. And so we began to think of an “order beyond”. We continued our discussions in London and at the Bailey farms. I made many notes but by now Bohm’s health had deteriorated and his depression had worsened. We did meet but progress on the manuscript slowed. In addition because of his heart condition we did not go on our usual long walks to discuss ideas. Then in 1992 Bohm died with the manuscript incomplete. The publisher Routledge wanted to bring out a new edition of Science, Order and Creativity so I combined some of our working notes into a new last chapter entitled “The Order between and Beyond”.

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Bohm at Oxford

Bohm had been invited to become a fellow of one of the Oxford Collages and so together we took a trip to Oxford. We walked around the college and ended up in the impressive dining room. The walls were lined with paintings of past masters and fellows in their gowns. Bohm looked at these paintings and remarked “too much history”. That was it. Oxford collages were not for him. Being in Oxford was also the opportunity for Bohm to meet Anthony Storr, a psychiatrist and author of “The Act of Creation” which explored the lives of a number of creativity people including Virginia Woolf. Storr explained how many highly creative people suffered from mental instability and while talking about Woolf Bohm remarked to me, “yes, that’s right, that’s me.”

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