Meaning as being

This is a post in my organizing ”between and beyond” series. Other posts are here.

Arleta Griffor has written two essays in The Search for Meaning, which is a book edited by Paavo Pylkkänen. Griffor writes about the self-organizing nature of the implicate order and how to deal with misinformation, among other things. This post is based on Griffor’s first essay The Mental and the Physical.1

Matter, mind, and the implicate order
Arleta Griffor writes that it’s important to note that David Bohm’s proposal of the implicate order actually is a change from what is usually meant by matter. It’s a new way of understanding of what matter is.2 Bohm suggested that both matter and mind are in the implicate order. This may help us to understand how they are related.3 The implicate order is a dynamic unfolding-enfolding activity inseparable from what is generated. The implicate order is essential to what things are.4

Self-organization and active information
The implicate order can be regarded as a self-organizing activity. Bohm introduced the notion of active information.5 and proposed that elementary particles are self-active.6 Each elementary particle is inseparable from a quantum wave. The movement of the self-active particle is guided by the information content in the wave function. The information content concerns the entire context of the particle. The particle cannot be separated from the whole of its relevant environment.7 The information does not fall off with distance.8

Self-activity and meaning
The activity of each particle reflects the state of the whole system.9 The form of movement of the particles and the form of the connection between the particles depends on the state of the whole system.10 The creation, sustenance, and annihilation of the particles is guided by a deeper second implicate order. The second implicate order acts on the first implicate order, organizing it into manifest structures of the explicate order. Active information gives rise to activity. Bohm called this activity meaning.11 Meaning signifies the activity of unfoldment of enfolded information.

The many levels of implicate orders
The information in the first implicate order is, for example, the meaning of more enfolded information in the second implicate order, and so on. The self-organizing activity of the many levels of implicate orders can be discussed in terms of meaning.12 That is, we come to an activity involving a series of levels of meaning, or meanings of meaning, where each level organizes the next more manifest one. Bohm suggested that we deal with basically the same overall activity of meaning in the context of matter and the context of mind.13

Meaning as being
Bohm inquired into what matter is, and what mind is, and arrived at meaning. Meaning, in general, is objectively present and active in both matter and mind. The structure of meaning involves an indefinite, perhaps infinite, number of levels and comprises a whole order of relationships. Meaning can be said to be intrinsic to the whole universe and encompass the whole of existence.14 In other words, meaning is being.15

1 Paavo Pylkkänen (editor), The Search for Meaning: The New Spirit in Science and Philosophy, (Crucible, 1989), pp. 178–193.
2 Ibid., p. 178.
3 Ibid., p. 181.
4 Ibid., p. 182.
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid., p. 183.
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid., p. 191.
9 Ibid., p. 183.
10 Ibid..
11 Ibid., p. 184.
12 Ibid., p. 185.
13 Ibid., p. 187.
14 Ibid., p. 188.
15 Ibid., p. 189.


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