Bohm claims that the ramifications of the ego process - both individual and collective - are at the root of human fragmentation and suffering.
At the heart of his dialogue proposal was the prospect that awareness of the movement of ego, willingly engaged in by a number of people simultaneously, might quicken insights into the ego process that could take much longer if approached only on an individual basis.
Creativity appears to be incompatible with external and internal rewards or punishments.
The reason is clear.
In order to do something for a reward, the whole order of the activity, and the energy required for it, are determined by arbitrary requirements that are extraneous to the creative activity itself.
This activity turns into something mechanical and repetitious, or else it mechanically seeks change for its own sake. The state of intense passion and vibrant tension that goes with creative perception then dies away. The whole thing becomes boring and uniteresting, so that the kind of energy needed for creative perception and action is lacking.
As a result, even greater rewards, or punishments, are needed to keep the activity going.
Bohm: One view would be if we say society consists of a lot of people who are interrelated. You can say that they are interrelated by information exchange. You can say that is crucial, without that the society would collapse. So that is part of the reality of society.
Interviewer: Could you elaborate on your view if you take it to societal analogies. How would your world view, if you give it a description as human affairs in society.
Bohm: Yes, well you see if you think of society, if you compare if every individual would have his own pool of information and leading to chaos. Or you could have people trying to move together with a common pool.
Of course you can have the attempt to impose the pool, but that might lead to a conflict with the pool.
I think it is essential to have coherence and order and harmony, that the whole society moves together with a common pool of information. Like this ballet dancer. Which is not imposed. But what is established by exchange and dialogue.
Interviewer: Do you think that we are moving in that direction.
Bohm: I think potentially we are, we need to. And some people may be, but the general trend has not gone very far. Because everything is divided into nations and religions and other kinds of groups which behave as if they where independent as they are not.
So people will have to give that all up and they might find that hard. To deal with the ecological problem people will have to give a great deal of that up.
Interviewer: So you are moving the emphasis from the person as individuals, the divided part, to the information flow, the information field of society.
Bohm: Yes, that is right. But I would say that each individual contains the whole information field of society in his own way.
Bohm: Well, it is in his mind, in his brain. You see, everything you know comes from society practically. Both information and misinformation. It determines what you do.
Interviewer: But you have to read books to get the information.
Bohm: Yes, but that comes from society right. Books are part of society. So I would say that the individual is formed out of society, but together the individuals form society.
Now the individual needs to have freedom to look at all the information and determine in his own way whether it is right or not.
But finally he has to be part of society. We call it the culture if you like then. So the individual, now what we need for this is that is that we have so many different individuals each with his own view and different groups and that view and they are coming into clash.
We have got to be able to talk about it, to dialogue, to entertain each others view, to look at it, calmly. So that each one can look at all the views.
Each individual, when he holds all the views then he holds the whole. He does not necessary agree with them but out of that I think will emerge a common pool of information which would guide society.
Interviewer: And when you say that each individual himself or herself has the whole human experience or knowledge, how does it get in there?
Bohm: In many ways. It gets in there first of all by osmosis. They pick it up, implicitly, from family, from friends, from school, what you read, what you watch on television. Television is making this much more so right.
And also it might be build in, some instinct of information which is common. And there may all we know be hidden connections and which we don’t know but implicitly each person contains the whole.
It is like a hologram which contains the whole without all the details.
As we become aware of our own assumptions and those of others, we have the capacity to examine and challenge those assumptions. It is through a respectful process of considering and challenging assumptions that we are able to shift our thinking and come to understand something in a new way. This can lead us to finding common ground and creating a path forward founded on the shared values that underlie different perspectives and approaches.
The key point is that everyone must be able to question with great energy and passion whatever is not clear. It's necessary to sustain this questioning in spite of whatever difficulties may arise.
This questioning is not an end in itself and its purpose is not mainly to give rise to answers. Rather, it's essential in the whole movement of life which can only be harmonious when this ceaseless questioning frees the mind of the tendency to hold indefinitely to contradictory and confused knowledge.
If you question in this way, there may be the energy of insight which is crucial for opening up the mind to new directions. To do this is a tremendous challenge, not only because of our habit of wanting important ideas to be secure, but because of very deep and subtle questions involving how the mind operates.
Generally, frustration will lead, on one hand to alienation or on the other to violence.
It could be argued that a great deal of our culture is dedicated to distracting us from our frustrations in an attempt at defusing them. The painful experience of frustration is, therefore, something that needs to be sustained in the dialogue so that its meaning can be displayed and understood.
I have come to suspect that frustration may have to be seen as the crucial motivating force that can drive the dialogue deeper into unknown territory and thus toward the experience of creative insight.
From 0.38-2.45 min: Our thinking process, I would, perhaps, now make a distinction between thinking and thought. Thinking is an active verb, think-ing. It means you are doing something. One thing you are doing is criticizing your thoughts, seeing whether they cohere. And if they don’t, you begin to change them and experiment with others. You get new intuitions, new insights.
And thought is the past particle. It is what has been done. I goes on the record, somewhat like a computer program, but that is not a very good analogy. I call it conditioning, you see.
If we take Pavlov and his dogs, the dogs would salivate when they saw food. He rang a bell and the dogs associated it with the food, so later, they began to salivate just by the sound of the bell. So, there is an elementary thought here, which was, whenever a bell rings. The first reflex was whenever food is there, salivation occurs. That may have been built in instinctively. The second reaction, which is conditioned, is, whenever the bell rings, salivation must occur. The dogs did not have to go through this step of saying, this means the same as seeing the object, right? Now I think that is kind of an elementary thought. Every thought is active in that way.
So, if you say, whenever this happens, I need to dot this, whenever X happens, I need to do Y. Now with that, you don’t have to think. Immediately when X happens, you are already doing Y, right? It is a reflex. Now, that is the nature of thought. And one reflex leads to another.
You say, whenever I think this, I must conclude that. Whenever I conclude that, I must go to the next step, you see, it may be established by association, or by other ways, like reasoning, where you try to organize it logically, or by similarities - association in time is the simplest, association by similarity, or a connection by logic. But, once it is done, it is all the same, it is a reflex, you see, logic is a reflex.