chapter  30
Meaning as being in the implicate order philosophy of David Bohm: a conversation: Renée Weber
Pages 15

Weber You are more and more interested in meaning, so can we explore what meaning is; not the definitive essence of it, but why are you interested in it? Bohnl I am interested in meaning because it is the essential feature of consciousness, because meaning is being as far as the mind is concerned. Weber Is meaning being? Bohm Yes. A change of meaning is a change of being. If we say consciousness is its content, therefore consciousness is meaning. We could widen this to a more general kind of meaning that may be the essence of all matter as meaning. Weber We understand the idea of meaning in the human world, but how can it apply to the non-human world? Bohm There are several ways of looking at it. Let's take the notion of a cause. Now we know that Aristotle had four notions of causation; of these, the material and the efficient cause are still recognized by modern science. The other two, the formal and the final cause, are not. But if we could bring in this notion of the formal and the final cause, we might say that the form that a thing has is its cause and also its aim, its goal, its end. The two go together. If we think of the dynamics of the establishment of form, it requires some sort of end in view, so the formal and final cause must go together. This is also the basic essence of Rupert Sheldrake's idea of the formative cause [ed. in Sheldrake's A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation]. The formative cause is basically very similar to meaning. Meaning operates in a human being as a formative cause: it provides an end toward which he is moving; it permeates his attention and gives form to his activities so as to tend to realize that end.