Tag Archives: David Bohm

theoretical incompleteness

14 Dec
  • That the human mind does not perceive what is “there”, but what it believes should be “there”. H. von Foerster   
  • “The Theory is only proposing a more detached view of the place in which our Consciousness is spacing; it is meant to be a more holistic kind of Physics. On the other hand, we must accept the fact that all theories, including the present one, are only approximations of the Truth. Only if Man had an infinite mind he/she would be able to grasp Total Reality. By just verbalizing something, we have already approximated it. Math comes closer, but it is still an approximation, because Nature has too many domains from which it emanates. The fact that it is open-ended at its outer edge doesn’t allow us to take seriously any Theory of Everything.”R. Lampis
  • Thus it is most likely the case that no human endeavor is immune to theoretical incompleteness. This would then imply that any idea or concept cannot be completely defined, axiomatized or contextualized. It would also mean that a general correspondence theory of truth is unattainable and, moreover, that the notion of truth, itself, is undefinable. J.Mathen  
  • Vasubandhu writes “Thought involves a transformation of consciousness. For that reason, what has been thought does not exist. Therefore, all this is mere concept.” There is no denial of an object here. What is denied is the existence of a real object that is reflected “as it is” in consciousness. The fact that consciousness, while reflecting the object, has passed through several transformations makes it impossible for the object to be known “as it is.” For this reason, all that is available is a “concept” (vijnapti), not an ultimate reality or substance, either in oneself or in the world of experience. D.J. Kalupahana
  • Basic reality, i.e., reality which exists independently of the observer, is in principle not accessible in any DIRECT WAY. Rather, it is observable or describable by means of pictures on different levels, i.e., levels of reality. W. Schommers
  •  Everything is located in the head, not only the products of fantasy and scientific laws, but those things which we understand as “hard” objects. This is because we do not have the “hard” objects actually in front of us but “only” their pictures. W. Schommers The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment. B. d ‘Espagnat
  • When we reflect we abstract, that is, we divert attention from all that does not concern our purpose, and we generalize and construct in reflection only under the logical conceptions which are appropriate from our standpoint.       Thus we study a living being from one or another outlook. It is sheer fallacy to assume that because one of those views is itself justified the others are therefore false.       Reality is more than what in each case it has taken by abstraction to be, and if it is so no single order of conceptions is adequate to complete explanation. Viscount Haldane
  • “The entire universe has to be understood as a single, undivided whole, in which analysis into separately and independently existent parts has no fundamental status.” Bohm
  • The reason we see our world as we do is because of what we use to observe it. The human body is a just barely adequate measuring device. Quantum mechanics does not always wash itself out, but to observe its effects for larger and larger objects we would need more and more accurate measurement devices. We just do not have the sensitivity to observe the quantum effects around us. In essence we do create the classical world we perceive, and as Brukner said, There could be other classical worlds completely different from ours. Brukner and Kofler
  • There must exist, beyond mere appearances (…) a ‘veiled reality’ that science does not describe but only glimpses uncertainly. In turn, contrary to those who claim that matter is the only reality, the possibility that other means, including spirituality, may also provide a window on ultimate reality cannot be ruled out, even by cogent scientific arguments.” B.d’Espagnat
  • David H. Wolpert, a physics-trained computer scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center, has chimed in with his version of a knowledge limit. Because of it, he concludes, the universe lies beyond the grasp of any intellect, no matter how powerful, that could exist within the universe. Specifically, during the past two years, he has been refining a proof that no matter what laws of physics govern a universe, there are inevitably facts about the universe that its inhabitants cannot learn by experiment or predict with a computation.
  • Continuous time then appears epistemologically as a heuristic abstraction just as are ALL concepts describing reality. H.D.Zeh
  • As Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, puts it: “That your predictions about the universe are fundamentally constrained by you yourself being part of the universe you’re predicting, always seemed pretty obvious to me.”
  • According to classical physics, the universe consists of bodies in space. We are tempted to assume, therefore, that we live in a physical world consisting of bodies in space and that what we perceive consists of objects in space. But this is very dubious. J.J.Gibson  
  • The objective reality of the universe, if such can be supposed to exist, must forever be unknowable to Man as to Microbe. Wei Wu Wei We are only aware of that aspect of the universe of which the senses we possess are able to inform us. Wei Wu Wei  
  • A man has six senses – as oriental psychology has always understood – for he is aware of that aspect of the universe which is his mind. If we had further senses we may suppose that we should become aware of further aspects of the universe. To imagine that the universe is restricted to that of which we are aware is probably as ill-founded in our case as in that of the insect. Wei Wu Wei  
  • In this post-modern world we must update the old positivistic, reductionist, deterministic, non-duality paradigms. Rodger   
  • Bohm termed the world of the “implicate order”. While the explicate order deals with seperateness and independence, the implicate order is holistic and mutually enfolding. To lapse into “explicate language” for a moment, the implicate order is much vaster than the explicate. It is like a great ocean reaching below the surface of the explicate. The fact that our world appears stable is not so much that objects remain static in our world, but that the same patterns are constantly being born again only to die away as fast as thought.Only limited aspects of the implicate order can be made explicit, one at a time. Thus the entire implicate can never be totally accounted for. F. David Peat 
  •   …all knowledge in the conscious content is a differentiated system that cannot by definition articulate the universal principle of order.  M Kafatos, R Nadeau
  • The observer as an observer necessarily always remains in a descriptive domain, that is, in a relative cognitive domain. No description of an absolute reality is possible. Such a description would require an interaction with the  absolute to be described, but the representation which would arise from such an interaction would necessarily be determined by the autopoietic organization of the observer, not by the deforming agent; hence, the cognitive reality that it would generate would unavoidably be relative to the knower. H.R. Maturana
  • Somewhat ironically, science, having set out to know the ultimate nature of reality, is discovering that not only is this world beyond any direct experience, it may also be inherently unknowable P. Russell
  • Human thinking can only imagine reality, just as a portrait represents a person. And as a portrait is not “the person” it represents, likewise any theory is not “the reality” it describes. We then must humbly recognize that our minds’ coherence and logic do not necessarily match the consistency of reality. And that also entails that reality does “occur” and that we cannot conclude it is an “illusion of our minds” simply because we cannot make sense of it. Henri Salles 
  • If the thing and the thought about it have their ground in the one undefinable and unknown totality of flux, then the attempt to explain their relationship by supposing that the thought is in reflective correspondence with the thing has no meaning, for both thought and thing are forms abstracted from the total process. The reason why these forms are related could only be in the ground form from which they arise, but there can be no way of discussing reflective correspondence in this ground, because reflective correspondence implies knowledge, while the ground is beyond what can be assimilated in the context of knowledge. D. Bohm
  • “When you  perceive intelligently, you always perceive a function, never an object in the physical sense. Cameras always register objects, but human perception  is always the perception of functional roles. The two processes could not  be more different…. Stanislaw Ulum
  • The primary source of our confusion in analyzing the results of the experiments testing Bell’s inequality is that we have committed what Whitehead termed “fallacy of misplaced concreteness”. We have accepted abstract theoritical statements about concrete material results in terms of single categories and limited points of view as totally explanatory. The fallacy is particulary obvious in our dealings with the results of the Aspen and Gisin experiments. Although the results infer wholeness in the sense that they show that the conditions for these experiments constitute an unanalyzable and undissectible whole, the abstract theory that helps us to coordinate the results cannot in principle disclose this wholeness. Since the abstract theory can only deal in complementary aspects of the complete reality disclosed in the act of measurement, that reality is not itself, in fact or in principle, disclosed…. With the discovery of nonlocality, it seems clear that the whole is not identical to the sum of its parts and that no collection of parts, no matter how arbitrarily large, can fully disclose or define the whole. R. Nadeau,M.Kafatos


26 Jul
  • Time is a mystery. Some thoughts by thinkers. ——————————————————————-  

The picture that emerges is the following:  symmetrical physical laws describe potentialities, not actualities. In order to have actual events in an actual world, the symmetries of those laws must be broken by the imposition of constraints in the form of boundary conditions. Such boundary conditions may not always specify which actual event or form will exist – often that specific event will arise from spontaneous symmetry breaking — but they serve to precipitate that actuality.  In the case of Edgerton’s milk droplet coronet structure, the precipitating boundary condition is the physical limit of the thinning of the milk surface in the rising splash. In the case of energy propagation, the precipitating boundary condition is the preponderance of absorbers compared to emitters; and further, in the quantum case, the restriction of energy propagation to discrete quanta. Neither the milk droplet coronet structure nor the transfer of energy would take place in the absence of the relevant boundary conditions.

Since the direction of positive energy transfer dictates the direction of change (the emitter loses energy and the absorber gains energy), and time is precisely the domain of change (or at least the construct we use to record our experience of change), it is the broken symmetry with respect to energy propagation that establishes the directionality or anisotropy of  time. [7]  The reason for the ‘arrow of time’ is that the symmetry of physical law must be broken: ‘the actual breaks the symmetry of the potential.’

It is often viewed as a mystery that there are irreversible physical processes and that radiation diverges toward the future. The view presented herein is that, on the contrary, it would be more surprising if physical processes were reversible, because along with that reversibility we would have time-symmetric (isotropic) processes, which would fail to transfer energy, preclude change, and therefore render the whole notion of time meaningless.

7. Conclusion

It has been argued that the ‘arrow of time’ is a result of symmetry breaking of the physical laws governing energy propagation. The same boundary conditions necessary for propagation of energy in a time-symmetric theory may serve to explain thermodynamic irreversibility when that theory is extended to the quantum domain which underlies all macroscopic processes. Thus the most economical and natural explanation of both aspects of the ‘arrow of time’ is that basic physical laws are symmetrical with respect to both space and time but describe only potentialities, and that actual events and processes arise because of symmetry breaking due to contingent boundary conditions .ruth E. Kastner

The illusion of the passage of time arises from the confusing of the given with the real. Passage of time arises because we think of occupying different realities. In fact, we occupy only different givens. There is only one reality.” Kurt Gödel

“Gödel concluded that time travel is indeed theoretically possible, rendering time, as we know it, meaningless. Time, that mysterious and seemingly self-contradictory being, as Gödel put it, which, on the other hand, seems to form the basis of the world and our own existence, turned out in the end to be the world’s greatest illusion. For Gödel, time was the philosophical question” Palle Yourgrau, ‘A world without time’

“Ultimately all moments are really one. Therefore, now is eternity.” David Bohm
“…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Albert Einstein

“I am therefore inclined to think that “the Real”- alais human independent reality- is not embedded in space-time. And indeed, I go as far as speculating that, quite the contrary, the nature of space-time is… not ‘noumenal’ but ‘phenomenal’, that space-time is a ‘reality-for-us.’” Bernard d’Espagnat  

” …As a result, all change must be gauged by correlations. Ultimately, everything must be correlated with the size of the Universe. Any vestige of a moving present has faded completely…Remember that Einstein spoke of an illusion…Might it be that our strong sense of the flow of time is an illusion akin to giddiness, perhaps connected with the way our memories operate?” Paul Davies   

“The world just does not happen, it simply is…” Hermann Weyl 

“All these Nows,  just exist.  They do not appear and then vanish; they just are.   From a global perspective, there is no answer to the question, “What time is it?”  There are just different experiences at different Nows. From any given vantage point, you look back, and remember other times – so that the question, “Why is it this time right now, rather than some other time?” seems to make sense.  But there is no answer. When I came to this understanding, I forgot the meaning that Time had once held for me. Time has dissolved for me, has been reduced to something simpler that is not itself timeful. I can no longer conceive that there might really be a universal time, which is somehow “moving” from the past to the future.  This now seems like nonsense.” Eliezer Yudkowsky 

“One cannot though conclude how the variations are taking place, over what timescales they are taking place or even how old the universe is. The universe could be 10×10 years old or 5 x 10-44 sec (the Planck time)old, or any time in between. Time is strictly a parameter that can be introduced in the scale-invariant relationships. It has no meaning by itself. The universe appears to be evolving as the number of particles and ratios are varying.” Menas Kafatos, Sisir Roy and Richard Amoroso   

“…the present moments of reality are now replacing one another, where if one had direct awareness of reality one would know reality as transcendental efficient moments” Fyodor Ippolitovich Stcherbatsky

“From non-nirvanic awareness, one experiences imaginary causal connections between moments and thus fabricates the illusion of persistence and duration of objects. But when one experiences reality, one only experiences the efficient moments, rapidly replacing one another, like the flames of a fire. Buddha: the whole world is burning. The non-nirvanic observer, unaware of the fiery, boiling nature of reality, is unaware that they will not exist beyond this present instant, and that any volition or hope is unneeded and illusory, and is based on the misery of unreality.” J. Grupp  

The Buddha said, “Even so was my past existence at that time real, but unreal the future and present existence; and my future existence will be at one time real but unreal the past and present existence; and my present existence is now real, but unreal the past and future existence. All these are merely popular designations and expressions, mere conventional term of speaking, mere popular notions” (Digha-nikaya). Hence the Buddha has only one time, that is “Eternal Present”.” Chen Hsiongcai

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” Alan Watts

“Time, as self-determination of the eternal “Now”, is essentially contained in this Now. There where time is, contained and extinquished, personality appears, as content of eternity.” Nishida

“The Universe is a dynamic system in a permanent dynamic equilibrium, there is no beginning and no end of the universe.” A.S.Sorli

“So in summary, the universe we see is just a fragment nested in a timeless (everything) whole, rather than a single material world magically arisen above some primordial nothing. All universes exist without beginning or end in the ultimate arena of time, and each moment we experience exists forever.” Gevin Giorbran  

“This means that because, in reality, there is no coming or going in time, when we cross the river or climb the mountain we exist in the eternal present of time; this time includes all past and present time.” Dogen  

“Dogen writes, ‘Entire being, the entire world, exists in the time of each and every now.’ Thus the mind, body, being, world, and time form a unity. Not only are entities time, and not only is time in me, but activities are time. ‘As the time now is all there is, each being-time is without exception entire time.’ Dogen emphasizes the now moment because there is never a time that has not been or a time that is coming. ‘…all is the immediate presencing here and now of being-time.’ Thus time is a continuous occurrence of ‘nows’. The Buddha-nature is a present actuality.” Carl Olson

“Dogen frees himself from the representational mode of thinking without subverting time and remaining convinced that each moment is complete in itself and cannot be undermined.” Carl Olson    

“The universe would be completely self contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.”  Stephen Hawking

“Whether or not reality has one universe or many, it had no beginning and was not created. It neither was nor will be. It just is.” Victor J. Stenger

“What suggests itself is that psychologically – and perhaps eventually for the deepest level physically – we can’t use time as the essence. Rather, the moment NOW is the essence, because all the past and the future that we ever will know are in this moment. The past and the future are now – namely, in so far as it has left any impression, whatever has happened is now. And our experiences are now. Thus we could say that now may be the starting point. One picture you could make of an electron would be that it sort of flashes into and out of existence so fast that when picked up in the usual equipment it looks continuously existent. It might have a certain regularity, so that it appears to obey an order of necessity. But it might be that it is basically creative; the creative act may create this order of necessity.” David Bohm

“We are always moving (inflationary cosmology)(arrow of time) but also always remain in the now. The ‘phenomenal’ now is relative, experienced as eternal but intuitively we grasp and psychologically represent a moving existence by remembering a past and projecting into a future.” Rodger Ricketts

“Time is like a ‘field’ – there is no fixed, locatable present. It always vanishes upon close examination. The moment you try to pinpoint it, it has already passed and a future moment is now present.” Trinh Thuan

In 1949 the great logician Kurt Gödel constructed the first mathematical models of the universe in which travel into the past is, in theory at least, possible. Within the framework of Einstein’s general theory of relativity Gödel produced cosmological solutions to Einstein’s field equations which contain closed time-like curves, that is, curves in spacetime which, despite being closed, still represent possible paths of bodies. An object moving along such a path would travel back into its own past, to the very moment at which it ‘began’ the journey. More generally, Gödel showed that, in his ‘universe’, for any two points P and Q on a body’s track through spacetime (its world line), such that P temporally precedes Q, there is a time-like curve linking P and Q on which Q temporally precedes P. This means that, in principle at least, one could board a ‘time machine’ and travel to any point of the past. Gödel inferred, in consonance (as he observes) with the views of Parmenides, Kant and the modern idealists, that under these circumstances there could be no such thing as an objective lapse of time, that time or, more generally, change, is an illusion arising from our special mode of perception.” John L. Bell