Steve Shaviro's workblog
Bohm’s vision is remarkably congruent with that of Whitehead. They share in criticizing ‘simple location.’ What is in one respect localized is in another respect “enfolded throughout the whole of space (and time)” (above, p. 40). For both thinkers the physical is characterized by dominant inheritance from the past, the mental by appropriation of the new (above, p. 41). Still, there are significant differences. Bohm interprets the implications of his theory as close to that of Spinoza (above, p. 41), whereas Whitehead consciously differentiated himself from Spinozistic monism. For Whitehead each entity or momentary event is a holomovement enfolding in some measure, however trivial, its entire given universe, but the universe in its entirety is made up of innumerable past individual holomovements. They resemble one another through their enfolding of much the same universe of events, but they differ because no two have identical perspectives. Bohm, after developing the notions of implicate order and holomovement in relation to particular entities or events, attributes this order to the universe as a whole rather than to its individual parts. What Bohm calls ‘the implicate depths of the holomovement’ corresponds with what Whitehead calls the ‘primordial nature of God.’ But for Whitehead this principle of novelty and concretion by itself is abstract and does not include or subordinate to itself the events of nature to which it provides ordered novelty and novel order. Thus Whitehead is pluralistic where Bohm tends toward monism in his stress on the underlying unity.
John B. Cobb, Jr. on the similarities and differences between Bohm’s “implicate order” and Whitehead’s thought. From the book Mind in Nature. I am trying to think through how Whitehead rejects the extremes, both of an underlying monism on the one hand, and of an anti-relationalism on the other hand. Graham Harman tends to argue that any ontology that doesn’t maintain separate objects ends up “undermining” objects by dissolving them into an universal goo or flux. I think that this is true in some cases, but not all. I would exempt Simondon from Harman’s criticism, as well as Whitehead; and perhaps Iain Hamilton Grant as well (cf. Grant’s response to Harman’s critique in The Speculative Turn). This is precisely where Whitehead differs from Spinoza, and allows for a thought of “nonlocality” (which Bohm’s interpretation of quantum mechanics might help us to think more fully) that is, however, not total or holistic in manner of Bohm.