David Bohm on Free Will

Quotes from David Bohm, Thought as a System

p.  72 “We have to be able to think on this clearly; even though, as I said, that by itself won’t really change the reflexes. But if we don’t think of it clearly then all our attempts to get into this will go wrong. Clear thinking implies that we are in some way awakened a little bit. Perhaps there is something beyond the reflex which is at work – in other words, something unconditioned.”

p. 72 “The question is really: is there the unconditioned? If everything is conditioned, then there’s no way out. But the very fact that we are sometimes able to see new things would suggest that there is unconditioned. Maybe the deeper material structure of the brain is unconditioned, or maybe beyond.”

p. 72 “If there is the unconditioned, which could be the movement of intelligence, then there is some possibility of getting into this.”

p. 73 “If we say that there cannot be the unconditioned, then it would be foolish for us to try to do anything with the conditioning. Is that clear?”

p. 73 “If we once assume that there cannot be the unconditioned, then we’re stuck. On the other hand, if we assume that there is the unconditioned, again we are going to be stuck – we will produce an image of the unconditioned in the system of conditioning, and mistake the image for the unconditioned. Therefore, let’s say that there may be the unconditioned. We leave room for that. We have to leave room in our thought for possibilities.”

p. 220 “freedom is the creative perception of a new order of necessity.”



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