Mary Coelho’s AUEP, Ch. 3

You take hydrogen gas,
and you leave it alone,
and it turns into rosebushes, giraffes and humans.
–Brian Swimme

This is a challenging chapter for me.
I’ll start with the Hologram, where I have some sense of understanding.
Most of us know that it is possible to create a holographic image, a hologram, by illuminating the original object with laser light and recording the reflected information on a holographic plate.
Then, when laser lights are shined on the plate they reflect/recreate a three-dimensional image of the original object in space.
Wonderfully, if the plate is broken and laser light is shined on a portion of it, the entire 3-D image will still be recreated, although in less detail. That’s because each portion of the plate receives reflected light from the entire original image. Mary puts considerable effort into explaining how this is possible, which I found somewhat helpful, after adding a good deal of work on my part.
Here, I’ll just say, “it happens. I’ve seen several laser images in my life.”

OK, brace yourself.
David Bohm was an extraordinary guy who worked with Einstein and many of the quantum mechanics crowd, and was friends with the Indian philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and some communists (oops, no Nobel Prize for you, David). He had a clear enough grasp of reality to make significant contributions to the development of the A-bomb, despite being refused a security clearance. As he struggled with the realities of the cosmos Mary touched on in chapter 2, and some more we will touch on later, both the math and the science led him to postulate a Holomovement as the best explanation of what was going on. This concept stretches ordinary human comprehension, but many people I can understand find it helpful. Personally, I like where it takes me, even if I’m not sure how I got there. So I’ll do my best to represent the holomovement.

Not long after the Big Bang (The Great Flaring Forth), everything was hydrogen. Before the hydrogen, the universe was sort of a plasma, unimaginably hot. Later on, the universe was mostly hydrogen, plus some other things, like helium.
So, was “all-hydrogen” just a stage the universe went through, and if so, how did it get into that stage and then out of it? Bohm’s solution was to postulate an all-ness that contains the whole space-time kaboodle, the plasma, the uniform hydrogen, and what came after. The holomovement. And we’re talking space-time, here, not just something that got bigger and turned from one thing to another.

Mary has a nice picture. (All-Hydrogen would have been just a hair to the right of “a,” on this diagram.)
Big Bang to Nowp049_f4.jpg

So that’s what we’re in, according to Bohm, and a bunch of other people who understand him, like David Peat. The expanding universe is a holomovement, which like the hologram, contains, in each part of it (including you), some aspects of all earlier times, and some aspects of all space, everywhere.
You might wonder why Mary felt it necessary to introduce this in chapter 3, rather than near the end of the book. As we go forward, and Mary adds more and more pieces to her mosaic –like union with God– we will find ourselves repeatedly asking “how could this be?”
In time, “the holomovement” may come to look like a refuge, a place we might go where it could all make sense.

(Digression/overview: Mary is trying to introduce us to a “way of seeing,” rather than trying to lay out “reality” as a set of facts, a body of information.
A reader might complain, “it doesn’t all add up,” but Mary, with her wide-ranging chapters, isn’t trying to paint a picture. She’s trying to trying to cajole us, maybe even trick us, into getting a certain perspective, a point of view. It’s about where you are looking from, as much as what you are looking at.)

Alright, back to our all-hydrogen universe.
So, let’s tentatively accept that our universe is a wholeness, a space-time unity,
with each fragment participating in the whole thing, like the fragment of the hologram.
How then do we think about the all-hydrogen part of universe, before, during the time when the universe was hot plasma?
“Where” was the all-hydrogen universe at that plasma space-time?
As Bohm and his friends groped with these questions, he came up with the concept of an “implicate order.” In this language, the hydrogen was implicate in the plasma. It wasn’t yet manifest –explicate– but the plasma had “going-to-be-hydrogen” built into it, like an oak tree is implicate in an acorn.

Mary is offering us an overview of a huge amount of human thought and experience, and I couldn’t do justice to it here, even if I did fully understand it.
Since I must select, let me pick out Plotinus. He did most of his teaching in Rome, in the third century CE. He was very concerned with clear thinking and reason, as Plato had been, but Plotinus also investigated reality mystically, through meditation/communion.
If we are to trust his friends and students, he went to some pretty amazing places. His report-back on full-spectrum reality is one I love, and one that has had a profound effect on Western Civilization, over the centuries.

He reasoned-out-had-mystical-union-with what he called Nous, or at least the emanations of Nous. I bring it up here because “holomovement” sounds like Bohm was talking about the same thing Plotinus was.

So we have a theme here: “everything is connected” might be called the weak mystical-rational insight; “everything is in everything else and is all the same thing” might be called the strong mystical-rational insight.
And, come to think of it, the cultures of many pre-literate people say this.
People who are famous for their intuition and insight say this about their work in the fields of music and the literary and visual arts. There’s a kind of fusion or flow-state, where one is hooked up, or hooked into, a larger, implicate reality.

And then there’s consciousness.
You and I, having this conversation, are trading in consciousness, right?
When Plotinus and Bohm try to represent their understanding and experience, they are sharing or exchanging consciousness.
So, when Plotinus visited the Nous, what about the things he didn’t notice, wasn’t conscious of? Were they there, and consciousness just missed them? Or is consciousness more than a flashlight beam illuminating an existing reality?
Does consciousness kindle reality, like Love is kindled by the gaze of a soon-to-be lover?
Whatever the answer to those questions, Bohm says the holomovement includes consciousness.

Bohm believes that both matter and consciousness are rooted in the implicate order, they are not ultimately to be seen as distinct, fundamentally separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of one whole and unbroken movement. … mutually enfolding aspects of one overall order.”
AUEP, p.58

About Richard O Fuller

Quaker, living in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.
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