Books By or Including David Bohm

Listed in chronological order:


1951

Quantum Theory

Although it presents the main ideas of quantum theory essentially in nonmathematical terms, it follows these with a broad range of specific applications that are worked out in considerable mathematical detail.

Addressed primarily to advanced undergraduate students, the text begins with a study of the physical formulation of the quantum theory, from its origin and early development through an analysis of wave vs. particle properties of matter.

In Part II, Professor Bohm addresses the mathematical formulation of the quantum theory, examining wave functions, operators, Schrödinger's equation, fluctuations, correlations, and eigenfunctions.

Part III takes up applications to simple systems and further extensions of quantum theory formulation, including matrix formulation and spin and angular momentum. Parts IV and V explore the methods of approximate solution of Schrödinger's equation and the theory of scattering. In Part VI, the process of measurement is examined along with the relationship between quantum and classical concepts.

Throughout the text, Professor Bohm places strong emphasis on showing how the quantum theory can be developed in a natural way, starting from the previously existing classical theory and going step by step through the experimental facts and theoretical lines of reasoning which led to replacement of the classical theory by the quantum theory.

A quote from the book:

"The entire universe must, on a very accurate level, be regarded as a single indivisible unit in which separate parts appear as idealisations permissible only on a classical level of accuracy of description. This means that the view of the world being analogous to a huge machine, the predominant view from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, is now shown to be only approximately correct. The underlying structure of matter, however, is not mechanical." In a footnote Bohm adds: "This means that the term quatum mechanics is very much a misnomer. It should, perhaps, be called quantum nonmechanics." -- David Bohm

Reviews:

"In the Fifties, when I sent it [Bohm's Book "Quantum Theory"] around to various physicists including [Niels] Bohr, Einstein, and [Wolfgangl Pauli. Bohr didn't answer, but Pauli liked it. Einstein sent me a message that he'd like to talk with me. When we met he said the book had done about as well as you could do with quantum mechanics. But he was still not convinced it was a satisfactory theory." -- David Bohm

"Well, I had several conversations with Einstein. After writing this book on quantum mechanics, which I wrote to try to understand it (based on my graduate course), I sent a copy to various scientists including Einstein. He wanted to discuss it with me, and we discussed it. He felt that the book was as good as you could present the ordinary point-of-view, but he still didn’t accept it. So we discussed it for a while, and meanwhile I myself had been feeling that it wasn’t all that clear, and that therefore these two things together made me feel that the interpretation of quantum mechanics was not satisfactory. So I began to think about it, and I produced another interpretation, which came out in two papers in Phys. Rev, in 1952, two papers, using a particle and a wave, the causal interpretation I called it. And I discussed all those things with Einstein; we also had correspondence afterwards when I was in Brazil." -- David Bohm


1957

Causality and Chance in Modern Physics

In this classic, David Bohm was the first to offer us his causal interpretation of the quantum theory. Causality and Chance in Modern Physics continues to make possible further insight into the meaning of the quantum theory and to suggest ways of extending the theory into new directions.

This book delves into the fundamental assumptions of science and scientific methodology and exposes some of Bohm's early and seed thoughts on the nature and limitations of science as it was constituted.

A quote from the book:

"The notion of a thing is thus seen to be an abstraction, in which it is conceptually separated from its infinite background and substructure. Actually, however, a thing does not and could not exist apart from the context from which has thus been conceptually abstracted. And therefore the world is not made by putting together the various “things” in it, but, rather, these things are only approximately what we find on analysis in certain contexts and under suitable conditions."

Reviews:

"Of exceptional importance. A genuine philosophy of nature, written by a physicist." -- Hibbert Journal

"Bohm's ideas deserve careful study... Through the stimulus it will provide for the thoughtful investigation of some of the most searching questions of modern physical science, this book serves a very useful purpose." -- Physics Today

"Bohm’s challenging book perhaps marks the beginning of a retreat from high-flown obscurantism and a return to common sense in science." -- Scientific American

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1962

Quanta and Reality

In boldly confronting the physical and philosophical implication of quantum mechanics, Quanta and Reality provides an extraordinarily clear understanding of the problems facing the physicist today. First presented on the distingusihed BBC Third Programme, the volume is a brilliantly successful symposium on the strange and complex concepts dominating modern science.

Chapter 4 features a discussion between Maurice Pryce and David Bohm.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1965

The Special Theory of Relativity

In these inspiring lectures David Bohm explores Albert Einstein’s celebrated Theory of Relativity that transformed forever the way we think about time and space. Yet for Bohm the implications of the theory were far more revolutionary both in scope and impact even than this. Stepping back from dense theoretical and scientific detail in this eye-opening work, Bohm describes how the notion of relativity strikes at the heart of our very conception of the universe, regardless of whether we are physicists or philosophers.

A quote from the book:

"...one of the basic problems that has to be solved in every act of perception is that of taking into account the special point of view and perspective of the observer. The solution of this problem depends essentially on the use of a number of levels of abstraction, all properly related to each other. Thus a person not only perceives the immediate elliptical appearance of the disk in front of him. He can also perceive the changes in appearance of the disk, which result from certain movements which he himself actively undertakes. From these changes his brain is able to abstract information about his relationship to the disk (e.g., how far away it is). The essential point here is that through many levels of abstraction, all going on simultaneously in the mind, it is possible to perceive not only a projection of the object of interest but also the relationship of the observer to the object in question. From this it is always possible in principle to obtain an invariant notion as to what is actually going on. This is represented in a higher level of abstraction, for example, by imagining space containing the disk and the observer himself, in which both are represented in their proper relationships. When a person says that the object is really circular, he is then evidently not referring to an immediate sensation of the shape of the object but to this extended process of abstraction, the essential results of which are represented in this imagined space, containing both the object and himself."

Reviews:

"Bohm presents a highly original view of what it means to look at the world with new eyes." -- Journal of Consciousness Studies

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1976

Fragmentation and Wholeness

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: No.


1980

Wholeness and the Implicate Order

David Bohm was one of the foremost scientific thinkers and philosophers of our time. Although deeply influenced by Einstein, he was also, more unusually for a scientist, inspired by mysticism. Indeed, in the 1970s and 1980s he made contact with both J. Krishnamurti and the Dalai Lama whose teachings helped shape his work. In both science and philosophy, Bohm's main concern was with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular. In this classic work he develops a theory of quantum physics which treats the totality of existence as an unbroken whole. Writing clearly and without technical jargon, he makes complex ideas accessible to anyone interested in the nature of reality.

A quote from the book:

My suggestion is that at each state the proper order of operation of the mind requires an overall grasp of what is generally known, not only in formal logical, mathematical terms, but also intuitively, in images, feelings, poetic usage of language, etc. (Perhaps we could say that this is what is involved in harmony between the 'left brain' and the 'right brain'). This kind of overall way of thinking is not only a fertile source of new theoretical ideas: it is needed for the human mind to function in a generally harmonious way, which could in turn help to make possible an orderly and stable society.

Reviews:

“Bohm is a tremendously exciting thinker, and this is undoubtedly a book of the first importance." -- Colin Wilson

“One of the most important books of our times." -- Resurgence

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1982

The Holographic Paradigm

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1985

Unfolding Meaning

A quote from the book:

The weekend began with the expectation that there would be a series of lectures and informative discussions with emphasis on content. It gradually emerged that something more important was actually involved — the awakening of the process of dialogue itself as a free flow of meaning among all the participants. In the beginning, people were expressing fixed positions, which they were tending to defend, but later it became clear that to maintain the feeling of friendship in the group was much more important than to hold any position. Such friendship has an impersonal quality in the sense that its establishment does not depend on a close personal relationship between participants. A new kind of mind thus begins to come into being which is based on the development of a common meaning that is constantly transforming in the process of the dialogue. People are no longer primarily in opposition, nor can they be said to be interacting, rather they are participating in this pool of common meaning which is capable of constant development and change. In this development the group has no pre-established purpose, though at each moment a purpose that is free to change may reveal itself. The group thus begins to engage in a new dynamic relationship in which no speaker is excluded, and in which no particular content is excluded. Thus far we have only begun to explore the possibilities of dialogue in the sense indicated here, but going further along these lines would open up the possibility of transforming not only the relationship between people, but even more, the very nature of consciousness in which these relationships arise.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1985

The Ending of Time

The provocative and penetrating philosophical classic of science and spirituality—a discourse between the revered spiritual leader Krishnamurti and renowned physicist Dr. David Bohm, exploring the origin of human conflict and what we can do about the barriers that stand in the way of insight and consciousness, now revised and updated with a new introduction and added dialogues.

The Ending of Time is a series of important and enlightening dialogues in which Jiddu Krishnamurti and Dr. David Bohm—men from vastly different backgrounds in philosophy and physics, respectively—debate profound existential questions that illuminate the fundamental nature of existence, probing topics such as insight, illusion, awakening, transcendence, renewal, morality, the temporal, and the spiritual. Along the way, Krishnamurti and Bohm explore a person’s relationship to society and offer new insights on human thought, death, awakening, self realization, and the problem of the fragmented mind.

The Ending of Time also refers to the wrong turn humanity has taken—a state that they argue can be corrected. Though they insist that mankind can change fundamentally, they warn that transformation requires going from one’s narrow and particular interests toward the general, and ultimately moving still deeper into that purity of compassion, love and intelligence that originates beyond thought, time, and even emptiness.

A quote from the book:

K: To put on a different coat. It is always the same. So the mind which is functioning with the `me' is always the same mind. Good Lord, you see, we are back again!

We have tried everything - fasting, every kind of discipline - to get rid of the `me' with all its knowledge and illusions. One tries to identify with something else, which is the same thing. One then comes back to the fundamental question, what will make the blank wall totally disappear? I think this is only possible when the man who is blocked can give total attention to what the free man is saying. There is no other means to break down the wall - not the intellect, not the emotions, nor anything else. When somebody who has gone beyond the wall, who has broken it down, says, `Listen, for God's sake listen,' and I listen to him with my mind empty, then it is finished. You know what I am saying? I have no sense of hoping for anything to happen, or anything to come back, or concern with the future. The mind is empty, and therefore listening. It is finished.

For a scientist to discover something new, he must have a certain emptiness from which there will be a different perception.

DB: Yes, but only in the sense that usually the question is limited, and so the mind may be empty with regard to that particular question, allowing the discovery of an insight in that area. But we are not questioning this particular area. We are questioning the whole of knowledge.

K: It is most extraordinary when you go into it.

DB: And you were saying the end of knowledge is the Vedanta.

K: That is the real answer.

DB: But generally people feel they must keep knowledge in one area to be able to question it in another. You see it might worry people to ask, with what knowledge do I question the whole of knowledge?

K: Yes. With what knowledge do I question my knowledge? Quite.

DB: In a way, we do have knowledge, because we have seen that this whole structure of psychological knowledge makes no sense, that it is inconsistent and has no meaning.

K: From that emptiness that we were talking of, is there a ground or a source from which all things begin? Matter, human beings, their capacities, their idiocies - does the whole movement start from there?

DB: We could consider that. But let's try to clarify it a little. We have the emptiness.

K: Yes, emptiness in which there is no movement of thought as psychological knowledge. And therefore no psychological time.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1986

The Future of Humanity

The two dialogues which appear in this book took place three years after a series of thirteen similar dialogues between Krishnamurti and David Bohm, which appeared in the book “The Ending of Time.” The starting point for the discussions is the question: “What is the future of humanity?” This question is by now of vital concern to everyone, because modern science and technology are clearly seen to have opened up immense possibilities of destruction. It soon became clear as they talked that the ultimate origin of this situation is in the generally confused mentality of mankind, which has not changed basically in this respect throughout the whole of recorded history and probably for much longer than this. Evidently, it was essential to inquire deeply into the root of this difficulty if there is ever to be a possibility that humanity will be diverted from its present very dangerous course.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1986

Dialogues with Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity

Conversations with scientists and "sages" such as Hawking, Bohm, Sheldrake, Prigogine, the Dalai Lama, Father Bede Griffiths and Krishnamurti about the unity underlying experience.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1987

Science, Order, and Creativity

In Science, Order and Creativity the authors call for a new creative urge in science and, in doing so, explore how creativity itself can be fostered, not only in science but in society and in the life of each individual.

A quote from the book:

It is proposed that a form of free dialogue may well be one of the most effective ways of investigating the crisis which faces society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness today. Moreover, it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated.

Reviews:

"An outstanding probe of the creative process in science." --Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy

"A rare combination of depth and breadth, this probing book stirs both the mind and the heart, and attracts and inspires on many levels: philosophical, scientific, existential and spiritual." -- Dr. Renée Weber, author of Dialogues with Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1990

David Bohm - Meeting with Students - Oak Grove School - Ojai, California (Pamphlet)

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: No.


1991

Changing Consciousness

Physicist and philosopher David Bohm shows how people need to adopt a new way of thinking in order to solve the crises facing the planet. His thesis is presented in dialogue form, accompanied by a photo essay. Through the examination of a totality or whole system, Bohm suggests that we may learn more than by examining its parts. The book consists of two sections: a photo essay by Mark Edwards and an exploration in dialogue form of the deeper causes of why civilization, human life and the planet itself are threatened by technological development, while at the same time new possibilities for living creatively and productively have emerged. The photographs introduce the reader to a direct and non-verbal expression of the problems brought about by the patterns of daily living and the fundamental similarity of human beings everywhere regardless of their technological level. The photo/essay is followed by Bohm's probing of the underlying cause of the crisis, which is a basic and pervasive lack of harmony between the intellect and the emotions. Human beings are out of balance according to Bohm, and the way out is through a radical re-examination of the thinking process.

A quote from the book:

For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution. Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles. It is the main point of this book that the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing of which our civilization is most proud, and therefore the one thing that is "hidden" because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own individual lives and in the life of society.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1993

The Undivided Universe

Bohm, one of the foremost scientific thinkers of our time, and Hiley present a completely original approach to quantum theory which will alter our understanding of the world and reveal that a century of modern physics needs to be reconsidered.

Reviews:

"This is a brilliant book, of great depth and originality. Every physicist and physics student who wants to understand quantum mechanics should read this book." - Physics Today

"A remarkable piece of work." -- Times Higher Education Supplement

"One of the most important works on quantum theory to appear during the last twenty years." -- Journal of Consciousness Studies

"This is a rich and stimulating book. It is indispensable reading for anyone with a serious interest in the interpretation of quantum theory." -- John Polkinghorne

"You will be very impressed by this wise and deep book that will certainly broaden your horizens and start you thinking about many things you thought you were sure of." -- Science

"This book disturbs the reader, because the profound originality of its thinking differs so much from mainstream physics and from what the new age has made of physics. It could be that it will in the course of time disturb also the course of physics." -- Network

"An important, forward-looking book." -- New Scientist


1994

Thought as a System

A transcription of a seminar by David Bohm held in Ojai, California from November 31 to December 2, 1990.

A quote from the book:

What I mean by 'thought' is the whole thing — thought, 'felt', the body, the whole society sharing thoughts — it's all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it's all one process; somebody else's thought becomes my thought, and vice versa. Therefore it would be wrong and misleading to break it up into my thought, your thought, my feelings, these feelings, those feelings. I would say that thought makes what is often called in modern language a system. A system means a set of connected things or parts. But the way people commonly use the word nowadays it means something all of whose parts are mutually interdependent — not only for their mutual action, but for their meaning and for their existence. A corporation is organized as a system — it has this department, that department, that department... they don't have any meaning separately; they only can function together. And also the body is a system. Society is a system in some sense. And so on.

Similarly, thought is a system. That system not only includes thought and feelings, but it includes the state of the body; it includes the whole of society — as thought is passing back and forth between people in a process by which thought evolved from ancient times. Thought has been constantly evolving and we can't say when that system began. But with the growth of civilization it has developed a great deal. It was probably very simple thought before civilization, and now it has become very complex and ramified and has much more incoherence than before.

Now, I say that this system has a fault in it — a 'systematic fault'. It is not a fault here, there or here, but it is a fault that is all throughout the system. Can you picture that? It is everywhere and nowhere. You may say "I see a problem here, so I will bring my thoughts to bear on this problem". But "my" thought is part of the system. It has the same fault as the fault I'm trying to look at, or a similar fault.

Thought is constantly creating problems that way and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn’t notice that it's creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1996

On Dialogue

Never before has there been a greater need for deeper listening and more open communication to cope with the complex problems facing our organizations, businesses and societies. Renowned scientist David Bohm believed there was a better way for humanity to discover meaning and to achieve harmony. He identified creative dialogue, a sharing of assumptions and understanding, as a means by which the individual, and society as a whole, can learn more about themselves and others, and achieve a renewed sense of purpose.

A quote from the book:

But in fact you can get evidence that thoughts and feelings move as a processes on their own; they are not being run by “me.” They are not being produced by the me, and they are not being experienced by the me.

There is, however, some self-reference built into this whole system. There is what is called proprioception, or “self-perception”. Physically, a person is aware immediately that he has moved a part of his body. If some outside force suddenly moved your arm, you could tell that that is different from having moved it yourself. The nerves are built so as to be able to know that. … So there is proprioception in the body – the distinction between actions which originate in the body, and those which originate outside, is perceived as a functional difference. In this light, the notion that there is a self as a kind of centre, in the body as a centre of activity, is natural. Animals obviously have it too, and they can make that distinction. We can therefore say that this notion of “I” cannot be entirely wrong, or it probably would never have arisen.

The question is: how does this natural, useful distinction turn into the contrdictions of the ego? Something that was correct and useful has somehow developed in way which has gone wrong. Thought lacks proprioception, and we have got to learn, somehow, to observe thought. In the case of observing the body, you can tell that observation is somehow taking place – even when there is no sense of a distinct observer.

Is it possible for thought similarly to observe itself, to see what it is doing, perhaps by awakening some other sense of what thought is, possibly through attention? In that way, thought may become proprioceptive. It will know what it is doing and it will not create a mess.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1998

On Creativity

Creativity is fundamental to human experience. In On Creativity, David Bohm, the world-renowned scientist, investigates the phenomenon from all sides: not only the creativity of invention and of imagination but also that of perception and of discovery. The creative impulse is instinctive to everyone, but its revolutionary potential is rarely realised. For, he argues, its success depends upon the individual's ability to jolt the workaday mind into a dynamic state that enables true creativity and originality to become possible. By awakening this creative state of mind each person can then discover the creative harmony that lies not only within their own psyche but also behind everything that they experience.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1999

The Limits of Thought

The Limits of Thought is a series of penetrating dialogues between the great spiritual leader, J. Krishnamurti and the renowned physicist, David Bohm. The starting point of their engaging exchange is the question: If truth is something different than reality, then what place has action in daily life in relation to truth and reality? We see Bohm and Krishnamurti explore the nature of consciousness and the condition of humanity. These enlightening dialogues address issues of truth, desire awareness, tradition, and love. Limits of Thought is an important book by two very respected and important thinkers. Anyone interested to see how Krishnamurti and Bohm probe some of the most essential questions of our very existence will be drawn to this great work.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


1999

Bohm-Biederman Correspondence

"It was sheer chance that I encountered David Bohm's writing in 1958 ... I knew nothing about him. What struck me about his work and prompted my initial letter was his underlying effort to seek for some larger sense of reality, which seemed a very humanized search." -- Charles Biederman, from the foreword of the book.

This book marks the beginning of a four thousand page correspondence between Charles Biederman, founder of Constructivism in the 1930s, and David Bohm the prestigious physicist known for his interpretation of quantum theory. Available for the first time, we are given a rare opportunity to read through and engage in a remarkable transatlantic, intellectual discussion on art and science, creativity and theory.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.


2002

The Essential David Bohm

There are few scientists of the twentieth century whose life's work has created more excitement and controversy than that of physicist David Bohm (1917-1992). For the first time in a single volume, The Essential David Bohm offers a comprehensive overview of Bohm's original works from a non-technical perspective. Including three chapters of previously unpublished material, each reading has been selected to highlight some aspect of the implicate order process, and to provide an introduction to one of the most provocative thinkers of our time.

Held at the David Bohm Society Archive: Yes.