The Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Book by Professor David Bohm an…

The Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Book by Professor David Bohm an…


Professor David Bohm, (1917-1992) was a renowned scientist. His books on quantum theory were widely acclaimed. He was a close associate of J.Krishnamurti from the early 1960s and also associated with the Krishnamurti School in Brookwood Park. Prof Bohm and J.K used to have regular discussions on various topics on Philosophy, the most important being ‘The Ending of Time’ and ‘the Future of Humanity’

He independently worked on his own Philosophy and hypothesizedv the theory of ‘The Wholeness and the Implicate Order’; which was published by ARK paper backs, London.

The book consists of seven chapters namely,

1. Fragmentation and wholeness
2. The rheomode – an experiment with language and thought
3. Reality and knowledge, considered as course of action
4. Hidden variables in the quantum theory
5. Quantum theory as an indication of a new order in physics, Part A: The

Development of new orders as shown by the history of physics

6. Quantum theory as an indication of a new order in physics, Part B: Implicate and

Explicate order in physical law

7. The enfolding-unfolding universe and consciousness

The contents of the book are highly philosophical and scientific in character and meant for serious readers of Philosophy of Science. Let a fleeting review of the contents along with own derivations based on Master Intelligent Plan be given in the following paragraphs.

II. What is ‘Implicate Order?’

According to David Bohm’s theory, implicate and explicate orders are characterised by the following clarification: ‘in the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the principal factors calculating the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an thoroughly different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the “explicate” or “unfolded” order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the implicate orders ‘


In this book, the learned Professor puts forth the theory that we are guided by a self willed view and perceive and also experience the world as fragmented. Such a view is false because it is based on our mistaking the contents of our thought for a description of the world. Bohm, however, introduces the concept of an implicate ORDER in which any component contains within itself the totality of the whole Universe known as the WHOLENESS. The most important thing which is to be noted is that this theory includes both matter and consciousness. In another discussion with Dr Renee Weber, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University, he describes consciousness as an ‘implicate order’ which is manifested as a part of wholeness, and wholeness as the container of the implicate order.

Prof Weber compares each individual to a bee serving the beehive which is the whole, while Prof Bohm compares it to individual notes making a symphony. One who has seen the huge temple towers of South India might see that hundreds of carvings on the huge Gopuras (Temple towers) make the complete tower. Here, beehive, symphony or tower is the wholeness and the individual bees, musical notes and the carvings are the implicate order.

One is striken with the astonishing similarity between Vedanta and what Bohm expresses in the following words, ‘ an individual is eternally unfolding his possible’. J.K in other places puts it as ‘continuously flowering, revealing more and more what it is’.

Regarding the discussions on the book, the following three concepts deserve special attention
A. Cosmology and the Implicate Order:
B. the Implicate order, Life and the force of overall necessity and
C. Consciousness and the implicate order.

Reading of the above three sub titles will suffice to provide a thorough knowledge of the topic of wholeness and the implicate order. They will, in general have the following meaningful factors:

1. a set of implicate orders.
2. A special distinguished case of the above set, which consists of an explicate order of manifestation.
3. A general relationship or law expressing a force of necessity which binds together a certain set of the implicate order in such a way that they contribute to a shared explicate end.

The three examples given above clarify the above factors and these factors constitute the essence of the book and the readers are welcome to go by the contents and have an understanding of the points mentioned therein.

III: LIGHT as the Implicate Order:

As a famous scientist, he is dealing with physical matter, light, space and time. He describes matter as condensed or ‘frozen’ light. When we come to light, we are coming to the basic activity in which existence has its ground. Movement is the chief reality in perception and when we say there is no speed at light it is ordinary language. But, in a self referential state, it method there is no time, no speed nor space. It is approaching a timeless state and Bohm logically derives that time originates out of Timeless.

Professor Bohm puts a very interesting hypothesis that Particles are implicit in the information content of light. He makes a bold declaration “the light, as it were, determines itself to make particles, to allow for a richer Universe. In other words, Light (the wholeness) transforms aspects of itself into particles (implicate order) in order that the particles will show the light.


About Time, Prof Bohm indicates that Time is enrichment of Eternity. Can we visualise nothing happens but everything just ‘is’. Past and future are always present as overtones of the ‘present’. Past, we remember as memory. But memory is present. Future is our expectation in the present. consequently “the past ends in the presence extending into the endless future”- J.Krishnamurti.

Bohm says: The present idea of this Universe may represent some age of the Universe. The Universe of light is eternal as far as we are concerned. But at a certain stage, some of these light rays got together and made the big bang. And that unfolded the present Universe which may have its end. But the Universe of life is beyond time and consequently they could be other Universes. There may be many ages, not necessarily in series.

V: Implicate Order, Consciousness and Master Intelligent Plan:

Implicate order would be the material aspect and the Super implicate order would be the conscious aspect. (There could be super-super implicate orders too) while the wholeness is the origin indicated in all these. A fleeting description of Master Intelligent plan will clarify this aspect. In the theory of Master Intelligent plan, it was clearly defined that space and time are explicit forms of energy, a Universal energy known as Master Intelligent Plan. That cosmic energy is the cause of the complete Universe. Dissipation and/or accumulation of the energy cause various objects and change we observe. Such objects, including the so called Ether constitute space and measurements of such changes constitute time. Time and space are only measurement or observation of various changes in the single source of energy

consequently Master Intelligent Plan of Holistic Philosophy is a replica of the Wholeness in the implicate order Philosophy.

VI. The concept of ‘GOD’:

Having discussed the commonness in Wholeness and the Holistic Philosophy, it may be appropriate to conclude this article with a discussion on GOD. Some scientists may be averse in using the information God; there are some great scientists like, none other
than Einstein who declared that the complete Universe is according to a ‘grand design’ of God. But is there a famous scientist who has clarified the existence of God in unambiguous, that too in scientific terms?

Professor David Bohm by propounding the Wholeness theory has explained clearly that there is a ‘super’ strength or Intelligence which is represented in all the matter and consciousness, which again try to enhance the wholeness as explained in the above paragraphs. The super intelligence need not be neutral and it is benevolent and compassionate. Which are precisely the attributes to God as per Vedanta.

In fact, one is stricken with the similarity between Vedanta and what Prof Bohm expresses in the book under discussion. Two quotations from Vedanta will make these points clear.

“THAT which is in the Universe is in the molecule and THAT which is in the molecule is in the Universe”

“THAT is more ancient than the most ancient and

THAT is more nascent than the most nascent”

The information THAT is very important. Upanishads say OHM TAT SAT which method
“THAT is” and here the information THAT contains the complete Universe and all the time, present, past and the future..
God is considered as an acronym consisting of the three words Generator, Operator and Destroyer. Here, all the three roles are done by the wholeness or the Master Intelligent Plan with the difference that there is no destruction, but only a Changing course of action, because the energy “is eternally unfolding its possible”. He quotes J.K as saying “continuously flowering, revealing more and more what it is”. This may be called ‘creative Lila’ (Eternal Play). We may also call it, ‘flowering’, as J.K puts it.


consequently one of the very serious books on Philosophy is simplified in the above paragraphs for readers to read and understand. Along with examples of the author of the book own examples were also given to make matters simple. The greatest contribution of this article to Philosophy of Science is an Explanation to the Philosophy of God is given in scientific terms. The correlation between Professor Bohm’s Wholeness Philosophy with Vedanta is presented in simple terms.

One important aspect of this article is that, the implicate order and the wholeness is represented in all the concepts explained therein..

In short, readers who are interested in Scientific Philosophy will be greatly benefited by reading this article.

We wish the readers all the best.

leave your comment