David Bohm and “Domains of Relevance”

I haven’t made a secret of my admiration for physicist David Bohm as being exemplary of the kind of new integral consciousness anticipated by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin. So I want to briefly indicate how that new consciousness is being embodied and coming to the fore in David Bohm.

In his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Bohm describes the three cosmic pictures — the Newtonian or classical, the Einsteinian relativistics, and the quantum realm — as three “domains of relevance”. Although they contradict one another on certain key points, they do function effectively within their particular domains of relevance.

Bohm concludes from this that they are all particular instantiations of a yet more common fundamental reality than any one of them has touched upon, and he calls that fundamental reality “undivided wholeness in flowing movement” or “infinite potential” which underlies and pre-exists even the spacetime system, but which is itself spaceless and timeless. Moreover, his statements in this regard leave no doubt that he regards this spacetime-free reality as awareness.

In those terms, what Bohm is describing is clearly the same as Gebser’s “ever-present origin”, also described as spacetime-free awareness and originally represented in what he calls “archaic consciousness”, a non-differentiated and non-differentiating mode of awareness that, however, he likened to a state of “deep sleep” when the soul, as such, had not yet awakened to itself. Moreover, this state of oneness remains a fundamental constituent of our psychic structure and of what we are as a whole.

Bearing this in mind, we might well wonder then whether Bohm’s three domains of relevance, as instantiations of this underlying wholeness, might be affiliated with the other three structures of consciousness identified by Gebser — the magical, the mythical, the mental-rational — and they do, in fact bear features of those three historically realised modes of consciousness and perception.

Firstly, the Newtonian-Cartesian (and Galilean) world picture is the one Gebser clearly identifies with the perspectival or mental-rational structure. It is a mechanical world view based on the Clockwork of quantified time with clearly identified cause-effect relations. However, if time is considered at all, it is assumed to be homogenous and uniform throughout the cosmos, running at the same mechanical tempo, and thus Newton’s laws of motion are deemed universal and applicable everywhere and at all times.

Einsteinian relativistics contradicts this particular conception of the cosmos, particularly on the issue of a universally homogenous and uniform time. In fact, the whole emphasis shifts to time as the “fourth dimension”. The fixed spaces of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm become more like a fluid in the Einsteinian universe for they are inseparable from time in the spacetime field. The fact that time is not uniform and homogenous through the cosmos (or even here on Earth) leads to the conclusion that there is no “Universal Present” or “Universal Now” as such.

This new emphasis on temporics and temporicity highlights the affinity of this particular domain of relevance with Gebser’s mythical consciousness structure. And that affinity with the mythical mode and structure of consciousness is underscored, too, by Einstein’s famous remark that “imagination is more important than knowledge”. Imagination and temporicity are two key features of Gebser’s mythical consciousness structure.

The third domain of relevance is the quantum domain, and it is characterised by features Gebser associates with the magical structure of consciousness. In fact, “magic” is a term very frequently invoked by quantum physicists themselves to describe quantum phenomena. Characteristically, too, Einstein could never square himself with the quantum worldview just as the mythical consciousness could never square itself with the magical, and was hostile to it just as the mental-rational consciousness was hostile to the mythical.

(This historic hostility of the consciousness structures towards each other is reflected in the mutual hostility and discord of Blake’s “four Zoas” of disintegrate Albion).

Quantum timelessness is characterised by transluminous effects called “non-locality” or “entanglement” — the apparent ability for two particles to remain in instant communication with each other even though they might end up on different sides of the galaxy. That communication like this could happen at faster-than-light speeds is what disturbed Einstein — the apparent violation of the lightspeed constant (actually, more than “apparent”, but actually experimentally verified as a fact). This “acausal connecting principle” is the subject of Paul Halpern’s new book Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect. In effect, though, this phenomenon of “synchronicity” is characteristic of Gebser’s “magical structure of consciousness”.

So, these three domains of relevance do indeed resemble the three consciousness structures identified by Gebser as the mental-rational, the mythical, and the magical, all emergent strands, as it were, or instantiations from a more fundamental reality of “undivided wholeness in flowing movement” but following from an “implicate order” within that undivided wholeness which does indeed resembled Gebser’s time-free and space-free “ever-present origin” or “archaic consciousness”.

The recognition of this deeper common reality of “infinite potential” that unfolds according to a pattern provided by “the implicate order” is what provides the basis for an integral conception of the domains of relevance which are now perceived as being various articulations of that more fundamental underlying wholeness. This leads Bohm to his “rheomode” or “flowing” mode of thinking which is likewise a phasic process, not of analysis, but of articulation — an method by which to make the implicate order explicate. This corresponds to what Gebser calls “concretion of the spiritual”.

(Bohm’s terms “implicate” and “explicate” are the same as Gebser’s “latent” and “manifest”. I am still trying to determine, though, whether Bohm’s reference to “hidden variables” is a reference to the structural factors and elements of the latent, implicate order, which is apparently identical with the Heraclitean “Logos“).

The implicate order is not just a structure that provides the pattern for the emergence of the spacetime field itself. Bohm also believes it is the implicit form of the human being itself in which case the three domains of relevance are quite autobiographical of the implicit human form. So the suggestion is that these three domains of relevance would directly involve Blake’s “Zoas” who Blake describes as “our Energies”.

It’s in those terms, then, that what Gebser detected in his history of civilisations as “consciousness structures” as unfoldings from a “pre-existing pattern” would be identical with Bohm’s “implicate order”.

All these correspondences between Bohm’s work and Gebser’s make Bohm a pretty intriguing character to pay attention to.


12 responses to “David Bohm and “Domains of Relevance””

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Einsteinturm observatory in Potsdam, Germany, erected in honour of Einstein it has a quite unique structure reminiscent of spacetime as flow, but also as something mythical, avoiding stark angles and lines, like a hobbithouse.


  2. Scott Preston says :

    It’s my suspicion that most conspiracy theories (like “deep state”) are connected to the return of the repressed, and actually projections of inner processes that are surfacing in the psyche, causing psychic irritation and turbulence that get externalised via projection, in which someone or something external becomes surrogate for these inner disturbances (George Soros, Deep State, etc, etc). This is connected with the issue of what is called “symbolic belief”.

    Hunting the Jabberwocky or the Snark, as it were.

  3. Yeffen Ray says :

    [Averitable Steiner, Rudolph…] Click Google Images

    If you cut the picture at the crest of the lowest fourth window, it looks like a race into a shoe…
    G-D and time di-synchrony


    See “Seminal Identity”.

    The surface of earth can always use another observatory for special insights…

    • Steve says :

      “When one contemplates the streak of insanity running through human history, it appears highly probable that homo sapiens is a biological freak, the result of some remarkable mistake in the evolutionary process. The ancient doctrine of original sin, variants of which occur independently in the mythologies of diverse cultures, could be a reflection of man’s awareness of his own inadequacy, of the intuitive hunch that somewhere along the line of his ascent something has gone wrong.”
      ― Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine

      This is a better argument that some conspiracy theories might be true.

      • Steve says :

        I have a friend in the FBI. He assures me Epstein did not commit suicide.
        Is that a conspiracy theory?

      • Scott Preston says :

        There is always a kernel of “truthiness” to some conspiracy theory, in some way or another. But like the proverbial tall tale, it keeps getting embellished with the retelling of it.

        As for Original Sin and the Fall — an alleged conspiracy of Satan that continues to this day. There’s an element of truthiness to that, just not as it has been embellished in the telling. The original sin was the fall into time. Even Gebser has some conception of original sin — progression as being distantiation from origin. Few people would observe, though, that Gebser’s concept of progression is just another way of saying “original sin”.

        Nonetheless, even Adam Smith recognised that men of the same trade seldom got together except to conspire against the public. And there seems to be plenty of that today. Still, it’s why we pay investigative journalists — to track down and expose such conspiracies. A beautiful recent example of that was Carol Cadwalladr’s Guardian expose of Cambridge Analytica, Steve Bannon’s implication in that and the shadowy network of influence it ran.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    Our only real hope now is that people’s propensity for self-sabotage will work in our favour this time.

    This is an interesting phenomenon, usually unconsciously driven. The bad conscience of the actor works, in effect, to mobilise unconscious intentions to effect a self-sabotage — something like a suicidal drive. Right now, it’s about the only thing that I can think will resolve the current situation.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    What you are seeing out there in lalaland is the hive mind collapsing into gibberish. This alone is a portent of immanent collapse. It will bring about it’s own downfall.

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