David Bohm makes a rare connection between ignorance and evil. One reason why this idea is anathema to many and so politically incorrect is that the concept of ignorance can be applied to those mentally and socially handicapped as well as to the intellectually lazy and prejudiced. My own preferred interpretation of what he may mean is that the ignorance of those who could be less ignorant or who distort information for their own private uses is a great evil, as it results in not just individual injustices but in a sabotaging of a vital process of creation itself.
One of the greatest evils of our present times is the suppression of the human imagination itself, such as in acts of censorship carried out under the guise of protecting the purity of children. For example, these acts have succeeded in banishing all images of the beauty of the nakedness of children. To abolish such images of beauty, whether through legislation, censorship or police monitoring, is almost certainly evil, especially where it results in the actual physical destruction of an image which is in fact beautiful. To burn such an image is to destroy a thing of beauty, which is evil.
David Bohm had the good fortune to live and die before our present age of extreme moral panic where creative intelligence is censored, because he believed that creative intelligence originates in the depths of the generative order - that is, the implicate order, from which it ‘has unfolded’. "In the free play of thought, creative intelligence responds to opposition and contradiction with new proposals." Here he shares with Teilhard de Chardin the idea that every aspect of human experience, whether physical or mental, emotional or intellectual, can be 'profoundly affected by creative intelligence, wherever this is able to act'. Teilhard more clearly describes how our intellectual efforts can affect the universe itself. Bohm believed that through the action of cosmic creative intelligence 'everything may take on a new meaning'.
For this to happen, we have to be tuned into the cosmic creative intelligence.
What follows is taken from a book about the British group action against Operation Ore. It is in a chapter where a man falsely accused under Ore lies in a car in the mountains, having, seven hours before, attempted to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills. He had been reclining in a sleeping bag in the passenger seat.
The first sensation in what was to be his new life was an extraordinary vision through the front windscreen of the car from a full sitting up position in the driver's seat, not the passenger's where he had been fully reclining, looking out at where the forest should have been. Instead of the trees, there was a different view or something he now began to participate in. Later, he had a memory of a few boxed shaped spaces, perhaps four or six, each containing a major and highly significant concept. While there were no lines around each box, the concepts, while related, or inter-connected, sat separately in each frame. These concepts were both familiar and joyful, but later no clear memory of what they were remained. What he could say is that they were instantly recognizable to him as obvious things he had always known, or known from some antecedence, but had somehow forgotten in his present life, and they were also so childishly simple and obvious that he laughed to think that he had forgotten them. He was both contemplating them and engaged with and participating with or within them.
There was great oneness - He bathed in it, participated in it, celebrated it, experienced it as a totality of being. It pervaded him. Later he remembered its 'relatedness', where he was as one in a symbiosis with the cosmic process, and the inter-connectedness of it all. There was great joy. The barrier had dissolved, and he was transported into it, becoming as it were one with it. His very perception of being was fully realized. He exulted in his 'being' and in his renewed recognition of its place in all else.
The objects or concepts he tried to describe as separate but linked were the oneness itself, in all of its joyful and childlike state, but they were more than one. They were a unity through a relatedness or a participating of a few. But they were beyond all conscious analytic or verbal definition, even more beyond - beyond his capacity to hold, remember, comprehend, record, or describe.
Was it the grand unified theory, so long sought after by the physicists and still eluding them? Not expressed mathematically, but both perceived and experienced. The grand expression, which, on his death bed, Whyte confessed had driven him to the point of despair by its tantalising elusiveness. The attainment of which was denied to Bohm by his sudden death in a taxi cab.
Perhaps, in addition to our inability to perceive and experience it while still in our mortal state where we lack or are denied access to the required enhanced faculties, we are not yet allowed to celebrate it.
The passage in the book where this was described is more limited than this as the writer has provided more information here than he has been previously prepared to provide. To this day he will not generally or widely discuss the details of this and he gives several reasons. One that the very few people he tried to explain it to did not want to hear about it, another that he can not find the words to describe or even make meaning from the parts of it he remembers, and, finally, that he believes that either a hidden faculty, hitherto inaccessible to him, was opened up for him or a dimension up to then hidden was briefly revealed to him.
This requires much consideration and has been recorded here in the hope that it assists both writer and reader to step cautiously in a moment into an exploration of what it is that the individual above fears that he can never get anyone to listen to, let alone describe. The few people he tried to describe it to, although trusted friends and loved ones, shut him off or ran from it, possibly because the subject of suicide caused them to devalue any experience he might have had including a near-death one, but possibly also because they recognized instantly that any such matter was beyond their normal powers of conception. On that same note his own awareness that he too lacked the faculties, briefly activated at the time of the vision, needed to even adequately remember it and some of which at least were required to describe it, also contributed to his reluctance to try to share it. Not the least problem was that the most central part of its content was also beyond language itself.
The chapter from which the above experience in the woods was taken continues with the equally extraordinary information that after the vision the individual experienced an unexplainable, what some would explain as 'miraculous', rescue. The book, which is published freely HERE is The Appalling vista - the fight-back against Operation Ore.
Neither Bohm nor Teilhard de Chardin would be surprised by a combination of vision and apparent miracle. In the years since the experience described above, the individual in question has searched for any writings on a possible interaction of vision and miracle in a near death experience, and found this on page 136 of the Fontana edition of Teilhard de Chardin’s Le Milieu Divin: “Under the influence of our faith, the universe is capable - - - of becoming more supple, more fully animate - of being 'sur-animated'. Sometimes this 'sur-animation' expresses itself in miraculous effects - when the transfiguration of causes permits them access to the zone of their 'obediential potency'." This is very close to the David Bohm inspired idea that in the morphically charged (not his expression*) moment we move into the implicate order, or at least we become aware of it, and we or it cause effects, which may be both local and distant and in different time periods. *A Lancelot Law Whyte expression. His work appears below.
Bohm believed that the individual who uses inner energy and intelligence can transform mankind. The collectivity of individuals has reached the 'principle of the consciousness of mankind', but they have not quite the 'energy to reach the whole, to put it all on fire'. This is also very similar to ideas of Teilhard and the other great philosopher/physicist Lancelot Law Whyte,
whose diaries are here.
Bohm describes wrong world views that propagate ignorance, (perhaps our current obsession with ‘appropriate sexual behaviour’) as the 'pollution of the ages'. In another idea shared by Teilhard and Whyte he suggests that the transformation of consciousness involving an intense heightening of individuals who have shaken off this pollution of ignorance and who come into close and trusting relationship with one another can begin to generate the immense power needed to ignite the whole consciousness of the world. There is, he says, in the depths of the Implicate Order, a 'consciousness, deep down - of the whole of mankind'. Any group that has come together to fight ignorance and injustice will be warmed by such words.
Teilhard referred to this collective consciousness of mankind as the ‘noosphere’, using the expression to describe what is truly one and indivisible, while Bohm added that it is the responsibility of each human person to contribute towards the building of this consciousness of mankind, this noosphere: "There's nothing else to do - there is no other way out. That is absolutely what has to be done and nothing else can work."
And now we come closer to the attempt to describe a vision granted through revelation. Both Teilhard and Bohm believed that the individual will eventually be fulfilled upon the completion of cosmic noogenesis. We and all the elements of the cosmos are projections of an ultimate totality. As we participate in something as profound as a great glimpse through revelation, the survival of a personal catastrophe, a peak of deep intellectual work or spiritual meditation, the joining with others of a truly worthwhile cause, we each take part in the process of the totality and we are fundamentally changed as may be the activity or reality we are trying to change.
If as Bohm believed consciousness is an exchange between the explicate and implicate orders, then consciousness is part of the play of the cosmic process, grasping itself (through its sub-totalities) into higher and higher levels of consciousness. Only a few individuals may be developing towards higher levels of personhood, but Teilhard believed that as few as a dozen could change the universe. Both of them believed that, through the feedback interchange, the cosmos is becoming progressively personalized as well.
Bohm saw the Holy as a 'being beyond what can be grasped in thought', and he called the Subtle Nonmanifest 'holy' in the sense that it is whole. It is a Presence within cosmic energy. This 'holiness' may have existed since the foundation of the cosmos and is present in the cyclical process of the universe. It is pure, active intelligence from which all that is manifest in the cosmos comes. It acts through an inwardness in consciousness. It enfolds information into the many levels of consciousness, into all of life.
An update on the revelation
Since the above experience of revelation 20 years ago, there have been virtually no other examples with which to compare it. There was one reference to an American Beat generation poet apprehending 'the connectedness of the universe' under the influence of drugs, which was very close.
There are a number of cult-type believers in near death experiences and even some 'studies' which may be hoaxes, but it is at least possible to compile a summary of what those who claim to have had the experience describe as happening. This must include an assumption of caution or scepticism that many of those who want to believe or who invent experiences will repeat the most common occurrences. These would include references to light and emerging from tunnels, both of which might promote suspicion.
The common sensations described are: A feeling of detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of an overwhelming light.
These have now been shown to the subject of the revelation 20 years ago and his reaction was.
"Less a feeling of detachment from the body and of levitation, not because they did not exist, but because they were completely subordinate to the feeling of total dissolution, being infused into, integrated, becoming as one with what I was joyfully experiencing.
"Less any presence of an overwhelming light as the 'light' in my case was the instant recognition of something I had always known, but forgotten, which was mainly the childishly obvious connectedness, obvious during those precious moments, but, alas, gone now.
"Definitely total serenity, security, and warmth - indeed, overwhelming joy."