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The Spirit of Dialogue

“What is essential here is the presence of the ‘spirit’ of dialogue, which is, in short, the ability to hold many points of view in suspension, along with a primary interest in the creation of a common meaning.” David Bohm and David Peat, ‘Science, Order and Creativity’ When I came across this quote several years ago, I thought, yes, that’s it! Like Bohm and Peat I’d been deeply troubled by the feeling that something essential was missing; and that missing thing that was causing all the problems in the world. What made me aware of this were the brief moments

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Looking for Meaning in All the Wrong Places

Where is meaning to be found? Bohm had a different answer than his peers in the field of theoretical physics. Bohm had excelled at math, yet he saw those around him clinging to mathematics in a way that seemed to avoid the central issue, that being to understand what the mathematical equations meant. Even though throughout his career he needed to use mathematics as a way of resolving technical aspects of his research, he always had a deep distrust that the math alone was trustworthy. Never, he thought, could a mathematical transaction be entirely free of unexamined assumptions, and the

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Wholeness and Fragmentation

We all find that the groups to which we belong function really well sometimes … and then there are those other times, the ones when it’s hard to see through the clashes or to avoid the landmines. Why do those clashes happen? How do we mend the tears in the fabric of our groups or societal world once they have been torn? Bohm thought about that a lot. Why is it that inevitably we seem to get into such societal muddles? He worried – or as David Peat describes it he agonized – over the state of the world in

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Dialogue and Outcomes

What would it be like to have a meeting without specified outcomes to be achieved? Why would we meet if there weren’t something specific to be accomplished. How would we operate with no agenda to follow? In contrast to our Western ideas about how to “meet,” David Bohm was quite specific in his intention for the “free space” of Dialogue: “…In dialogue, insofar as we have no purpose and no agenda and we don’t have to do anything, we don’t really need to have an authority or a hierarchy. Rather, we need a place where there is no authority, no

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Where is The Implicate?

Where is that mythical territory David Bohm called The Implicate? If we were to draw a map would it be upward or downward from our home base location in The Explicate? North or south of us? In his theory of the Undivided Universe, Bohm posited that the whole of reality is a nesting of increasingly subtle layers. Our most immediate and familiar layer is what he called “explicate.” Beyond it were the layers of the “implicate,” the “super-implicate” and perhaps many more layers, each progressively more subtle, more general, and more powerful. The explicate is our perception of the material

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Bohm at home

From Birkbeck College Bohm would take a short walk to Goodge Street tube station and then take the Northern Line to his home in Edgware. His home was cosy and welcoming, and cared for by his wife Saral. In his younger days as a student, and later as a researcher in Berkeley and Princeton, Bohm must have clearly been able to look after himself, but here in Edgware he seemed very impractical. For example Saral would make tea and then put it in a small saucepan with milk and tell David that when she was out he should light the

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Quantum cloud

Science had broken down the world to the point where quantum theory could discuss the smallest particles of matter—the elementary particles. But in what domain did these particles exist? If matter could be broken down, what about space and time? Did there exist something below space, something out of which space itself was formed? Bohm believed there was and called this pre-space. With his colleague, Basil Hiley, he looked to create a theory of pre-space. Pre-space itself would be built out of what are called non-commuting algebras. In 2000 I held a meeting of artists and scientists in the October

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Bohm and the Blackfoot

Back in the 1980s I received a phone call from someone called Leroy Little Bear inviting me to a circle on the Blackfoot lands in Alberta. It was a meeting of the World Wide Indigenous Network run by Apela Colorado. I went to the meeting and over the next years had many meetings with Leroy as well as attending the Blackfoot Sun Dance. As it turned out Leroy had also read some of David Bohm’s writings and wanted to meet with him. As a result in 1992 he and I arranged a meeting at the Fetzer Institute in Michigan of

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The Aharonov-Bohm Effect

An explanation of the A-B effect, as it became know, would be quite technical so below I give only a brief overview of the physics involved. When Bohm moved to Israel he encountered two outstanding students, Yakir Aharonov and Gideon Carmi which he then took with him to Bristol University. Aharonov for his part was interested in what is known as the Vector Potential. Bohm encouraged him and so the two began to work together. The vector potential is a way of interrelating electrical and magnetic fields. According to orthodox physics this vector potential has no real, material existence but

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David Bohm Inner Explorer: Creativity Beyond Boundaries – Bohm, Einstein, Krishnamurti

David Bohm was an explorer in fundamental physics who felt that it had lost its way. He saw that researchers at the forefront were no longer deeply interested in creative insight into fundamental processes and structures but were satisfied merely to produce algorithms, without much concern about why these mathematical forms produced results. Bohm looked to earlier greats in physics who had gone beyond the forms and norms of the science that had preceded them and who, through revolutionary insight, had created an understanding that was profoundly new. Bohm also studied creativity itself. He came to feel that true creativity

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