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David Bohm's holographic paradigm of the cosmos

  1. Aug 26, 2008 #1
    Hi. I read a book about 2 years ago called The Holographic Universe, written by Michael Talbot. It described David Bohm's theory that the universe is like a Hologram. He describes all matter, and everything really, in an implicate order that we cannot perceive. The implicate order is like an interference pattern of energy waves, interacting with itself. He then goes onto say that conciousness receives these waves like a radio antenna receiving radiowaves and translates it into the explicite order: The world we normally expirience. He uses this theory to provide explanation to miracles and paranormal events, saying that if we just perceived the energy waves of the cosmos in which we can walk on water, then, we could walk on water and preform miracles. He also stated it provides explanation to phenomena such as quantum tunneling and, the one with particles being in two places at the same time.

    I hate to qoute Bill Hicks, because he has nothing to do with physics at all, but he described it very clearly in the following statement: "All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration... we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves."

    However, he made that statement with a reference to LSD.
    This theory is very new age/metaphysical. I understand its incredibly outlandish.

    I want to know if you have heard of this theory by David Bohm, and if it has any credibility. I mean, he did work with Einstein and Bohr. Maybe he was onto something. Einstein himself described reality as an illusion. I would think it requires an infinite amount of energy for everything to be everywhere at the same time, however, only in the implicate, not the explicate order. I dont know...is that reasonable?
    What do you think of this theory?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2008 #2
    Sounds interesting, but I wouldn't take it too seriously, Bohm was easily fooled it seems:


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  4. Aug 27, 2008 #3
    It sounds like crackpot non-sense. However, no details were given, so it is not clear what the theory even is (cannot be tested as presented).

    There is the holographics principle. And there are foundational issues of quantum-mechanics of "what is a measurement". But what you wrote has too much metaphysics and it would be a stretch (to say the least) to get it to touch base with established physics.

    That reminds me of this:

    So I guess the quesion can be rephrased: Do you belive you are informed with a certain level of consciousness?

    Weird stuff, but interesting indeed.
    Thanks for sharing that quote.
  5. Aug 28, 2008 #4
    So, guess everything is conscious, or nothing is. I would say consciousness, in that case, is undefined.
  6. Sep 30, 2010 #5
    I read The Holographic Universe recently, initially persuaded by the apparently scientific angle. There was very little about the nature of reality - 90% of it is an attempt to use a vague idea to prove a litany of paranormal events (including Talbot's own psychic powers). Many of the references are "private conversation with the author" or some such, many are other books on the paranormal, only a handful have any connection with science. There are points where he attributes the lack of evidence to skepticism. And he often uses phrases like "If this is true..." where its obvious he has already assumed it is true. His conclusion is that the scientific method needs to change, that scientists need to be less objective(!).

    I'm reminded of P.D.Ouspensky and L Ron Hubbard. I found this kind of stuff amusing when I was a kid. It is now very boring. There is maybe a germ of an idea here, though no thanks to Talbot who, through this book, helps to bury its chance of becoming a scientific idea.
  7. Sep 30, 2010 #6


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    David Bohm was a very complex person. During his life, he had 3 very different phases:
    1. Copenhagen Bohm
    2. Hidden-variables Bohm
    3. Eastern-mysticism Bohm
    His contributions to these 3 phases should be valued differently.

    Personally, I find his contributions to 1. very good, to 2. brilliant, and to 3. meaningless. This thread refers to his 3. phase.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  8. Sep 30, 2010 #7
    or 1. v good 2. interesting 3. bonkers

    for 1. see 'Quantum Theory' - D Bohm 1951, this is very good (a classic)

    for 2. see 'The Undivided Universe' - Bohm/Hiley 1995 (published shortly after Bohm died), this is good for general QM foundational issues and understanding de Broglie-Bohm interpretation especially from a critical stance, since (for example) they struggle with relativistic extensions to the theory.

    for 3. see 'The Matrix', apparently the Wachowski's were influenced by the 70/80s mysticism angle on theoretical physics, which maybe explains the silly Deus Ex Machina when Neo could 'feel' the Sentinels at the end of Matrix Reloaded. :wink:
  9. Sep 30, 2010 #8
    and the 'holographic paradigm' of Talbot et al shouldn't be confused with the 'Holographic Principle' from mainstream Physics (they have nothing in common)
  10. Sep 30, 2010 #9


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    Good point! :approve:
  11. Sep 30, 2010 #10


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    And to add more confusion, the last Chapter of this (otherwise excellent) book tries to make physical sense of the 3. Bohm.
  12. Sep 30, 2010 #11


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    To further illustrate how complex person Bohm was, let me note that in this book Bohm presented a "proof" that hidden variables are impossible. Ironically, only one year later he has written his famous 2 papers in which he found the first (and still best known and most successful) theory of hidden variables.
  13. Sep 30, 2010 #12
    Bohmian interpretation is known since 50 years but it was shifted to metaphysics because the matter and physics laws were created of a pure non-material information. We can't investigate a non-material information so we accept the probabilistic Copenhagen interpretation.
    Recently Bohmian interpretation and Holographic Principle comes back:
    Gerard 't Hooft, Leonard Suskind (String Theory) Juan Maldacena (AdS/CFT), Verlinde (gravity), Smoot (Universe's expansion). There are prominent physicists, some of them are Nobelists.
  14. Dec 31, 2011 #13
    At this point, this forum is only speculating on the mind and the understanding of Bohm. We do know that he was as good a physicist as any. But yes, any one can see connections where there may be none.

    Yet I am puzzled by the refusal (negligence) by Susskind and Lee Smolin (in his book on Quantum Gravity) in at least acknowledging a great mind like David Bohm on his thoughts that corresponded to the notions that the Universe has holographic features and that there are only processes (changes and movements) and not things.
  15. Dec 31, 2011 #14
    Bohm's holographic universe idea is interesting. Talbot's book (where this thread started) has nothing to do with that idea.

    The holographic universe is a conjecture based on a just-about-theory which is near impossible to understand. Talbot says it explains telepathy and such. Its a non-sequitur at best.

    imo Brian Greene's "The Hidden Reality" gives a better description of the holographic universe idea.
  16. Dec 31, 2011 #15
    I've often wondered if the holographic principle could be responsible for life on earth. Instead of supposing some outside intelligent design, all we need is some entropy reducing process in the universe that increases the potential of creating forms that store information. Then I heard about the accelerated expansion of the universe and that the entropy inside an horizon is limited to the information stored on the surface of the horizon itself.

    So if the universe started accelerating about 5 billion years ago, then our cosmological horizon beyond which we will never be able to see should start shrinking and the surface area on which information is stored should start decreasing. There would then be a force within the area of the horizon for the creation of complex structures, such as life? Interesting that life arose on earth at about the time that the universe started accelerating. Any comments?
  17. Jan 3, 2012 #16
    Accelerating universe, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, curvature of the space-time, uncertainty principle, acceleration of the particle in gravity and other problems are simpler explained by the relation between information as a holographic projection.
  18. Jan 3, 2012 #17
    As I understand it, the holographic principle places a limit to the amount of entropy inside a given volume. So I'm wondering if this can be tested. For example, is it possible to see how quickly a complex form can be destroyed? Is this measureable? Or would it put you in conflict with the uncertainty principle?
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