David Bohm’s Holoflux, Holomovement, and Holographic Paradigm
David Bohm did not propose a holographic universe.
Holomovement: “The thought occurred to me: perhaps the movement of enfoldment and unfoldment is universal, while the extended and separate forms that we commonly see in experience are relatively stable and independent patterns, maintained by a constant underlying
movement of enfoldment and unfoldment. This latter I called the holomovement. The proposal was thus a reversal of the usual idea. Instead of supposing that matter and its movement are fundamental, while enfoldment and unfoldment are explained
as a particular case of this, we are saying that the implicate order will have to contain within itself all possible features of the explicate order as potentialities, along with the principles determining which of these features will become actual.” — David Bohm
Holoflux: “Holomovement is a combination of a Greek and Latin word and a similar word would be holokinesis or, still better, holoflux, because “movement” implies motion from place to place,
whereas flux does not. So the holoflux includes the ultimately flowing nature of what is, and of that which forms therein.” — David Bohm
Hologram: “The holograph, on the other hand, is merely a static recording of movement, like a photograph: an abstraction from the holomovement. We therefore cannot regard the
holograph as anything very basic, since it is merely a way of displaying the holomovement which latter is, however, the ground of everything, of all that is.” — David Bohm
The Relationship of the Holomovement to the Implicate Order: “The implicate order is the one in which the holomovement takes place, an order that both enfolds
and unfolds. Things are unfolded in the implicate order, and that order cannot be entirely expressed in an explicate fashion. Therefore, in this approach, we are not able to go beyond the holomovement or
the holoflux (the Greek word might be holorhesis, I suppose) although that does not imply that this is the end of the matter.” — David Bohm
About the Hologram as an Analogy
“…the word ‘hologram’ is too limited. There’s nothing static anywhere. To make a hologram, you must have something fixed to record it in, such as little particles of silver in a photographic plate. The hologram is just an arrangement
of these particles. On the other hand, if the holomovement is fundamental, then all the manifest features that appear to us are just recurrent, stable, and separable forms, whose ground is the ultimately undefinable and unanalyzable holomovement.” — David Bohm
“It [the analogy of the hologram] does [have value], up to a point. As you say, you could overdo it, because first of all, even for quantum mechanics, it is only a partial analogy. I think it would be best if people could realize that it doesn’t cover all the important issues” — David Bohm
Paavo Pylkkänen provides an excellent summary of the utility of the hologram analogy in the context of David Bohm’s work:
If we consider Bohm’s remark about the role of the lens as support for the mechanistic view of
nature in the light of Chalmers’ comment above, we could say that the lens ﬁrst gave rise to
epistemic assumptions (we can only perceive and conceive things that are constituted of localized
elements); then to modal assumptions (it is not possible for there to be physical entities that are
not constituted of localized elements); and ﬁnally to metaphysical assumptions (the world is made
up of localized elements; that is, the explicate order is the fundamental order of the world). In
contrast, the hologram suggests that we can easily conceive how the whole can be enfolded in each
part, and likewise how the part can be enfolded all over the whole. This can encourage us to make
the modal assumption that there can be physical phenomena that are not constituted of localized
elements but that instead the whole can be enfolded in each part and the part enfolded in the
whole. And ﬁnally, given the experimental evidence coming from quantum and relativity physics, we
could with some justiﬁcation make the metaphysical assumption that some such holistic order
actually prevails as the most fundamental order of the world, as it is known today.
The hologram is extremely valuable for Bohm’s project because it helps to illustrate the idea of
the implicate order in a sensibly perceptible way. But he goes on to remind us that it is only an
instrument whose function is to make a static record (or “snapshot”) of this order.
The order that is being recorded is the order in movement, namely in the complex movement of
electromagnetic ﬁelds, in the form of light waves.
Such movement of light waves is present everywhere and in principle enfolds the entire universe
of space (and time) in each region (as can be demonstrated in any such region by placing one’s eye
or a telescope there, which will “unfold” this content. (Bohm 1980, p. 177).
Thus we do not really need a hologram to get an example of the implicate order. As mentioned in
Chap. 1, the implicate order is there right in front of you, wherever you go, for it is the order
that prevails in the movement of electromagnetic ﬁelds. Information about the whole universe can be
enfolded in a small region of space, and this information can be unfolded by a suitable instrument.
To consider a more down-to-earth example, when one is in a room, the light waves in each region
typically enfold information about the objects in the whole room. Thus information about the
“explicate order” of, say, the furniture in the room is stored in an implicate form in the movement
of light waves in each region of the room.
Secondary Sources on the Holomovement
Mark A. Schroll’s article titled Understanding Bohm’s Holoflux: Clearing Up a Conceptual Mistunderstanding of the Holographic Paradigm and Clarifying its Signifigance to Transpersonal Studies of Consciousnes goes into detail about the subtleties of Bohm’s notion of the holoflux, holomovement, and hologram.
In Paavo Pylkkänen’s book Mind, Matter, and the Implicate Order we also find comprehensive coverage of the holomovement and the theories that are related to it and in support of it.
Bohm’s References on the Holomovement
In David Bohm’s book Wholeness and the Implicate Order we find a subsections in the chapter “Quantum Theory as an Indication of a New Order” titled “The Holomovement and Its Aspects” and “Law in the Holomovement”.
In Bohm and Hiley’s book The Undivided Universe we find these statements:
Recalling that the essential qualities of fields exist only in their movement we propose to call this ground the holomovement. It follows that ultimately everything in the explicate order of common experience arises from the holomovement.
And, much in the same vain:
All things found in the explicate order emerge from the holomovement and ultimately fall back into it. They endure only for some time, and while they last, their existence is sustained by a constant process of unfolded and re-enfoldment, which gives rise to their relatively stable and independent forms in the explicate order.
But otherwise the holomovement is not the focus of this book.
Interviews with Bohm in the book The Holographic Paradigm along with John Welwood’s interview of David Bohm ask numerous questions on the subject of the holomovement.