Quantum Mechanics and Marketing

Physicist David Bohm concluded that quantum theory and relativity contradicted one another, and that this contradiction implied that there existed a more fundamental level in the physical universe. He claimed that both quantum theory and relativity pointed towards this deeper theory and that this more fundamental level represents an undivided wholeness and an implicate order, from which arose the explicate order of the universe as we experience it.

David Bohm’s implicate order applies both to matter and consciousness, and he proposed that it could explain the relationship between them. Mind and matter are here seen as projections into our explicate order from the underlying reality of the implicate order. Bohm claims that when we look at the matter in space, we can see nothing in these concepts that helps us to understand consciousness.

In trying to describe the nature of consciousness, Bohm discusses the experience of listening to music. He thinks that the feeling of movement and change that make up our experience of music derives from both the immediate past and the present both being held in the brain together, with the notes from the past seen as transformations rather than memories. The notes that were implicate in the immediate past are seen as becoming explicate in the present. Bohm views this as consciousness emerging from the implicate order.

Bohm sees the movement, change or flow and also the coherence of experiences, such as listening to music as a manifestation of the implicate order, pointing to evidence he derives evidence for this from the work of Jean Piaget’s study of infants. Bohm contends that these studies show that young children have to learn about time and space, because they are part of the explicate order, but have a “hard-wired” understanding of movement, because it is part of the implicate order. This idea compares this “hard-wiring” to Chomsky’s theory that grammar is “hard-wired” into young human brains.

Heady stuff  to be sure, but there are some underlying points that we can use in marketing and brand development.  Yes, marketing and brand development. Namely, understanding a brand and the means by which we get people to interact with it in a holistic sense.  Companies are prone to develop operations, mobile strategies, retail signage, etc. as if they are independent elements that do not transmit information (used here in the broadest sense of the word).  We define, categorize and measure individual elements and then stitch them together in an attempt to understand what is working and what is not. The frequent result is that we inevitably run into metrics that “don’t make sense.”  Returning to the music analogy, we rarely listen to the composition, rather we listen to precise sounds without considering context or the complex interactions that result in a whole we can interpret on a range of psychological and emotional levels.

Is shopping a quantum experience? Probably not.  But we can learn a thing or two from examining other modes of thinking than those taught in business school.

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