Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Each day this week I will discuss the evidence for our interconnection in the world. Our feelings of separateness can lead us to feelings of dissatisfaction because we have lost our connection to the universe, to who we really are.

Monday – Origins - A Moment in Singularity (a.k.a. The Big Bang)
Today - Holarchy
Wednesday - Chaos and the Hidden Order of Life
Thursday - Synchrony
Friday - Time and Place

A few years ago, I became intrigued by the concept of the Holon in Ken Wilber’s book “A Brief History of Everything” and then my subsequent reading of Arthur Koestler’s book “The Ghost in the Machine”. The Holon frequently refers to philosophical hierarchies, but has relevance on a broader basis. It suggests that everything coexists as both a whole and a part of a greater whole at the same time. This is such a simple concept, it is pure genius. Our ability to understand this concept informs our view of the interrelatedness of the world.

A hierarchical example of Holons goes something like this: an atom is made up of smaller particles, and is part of a molecule which is part of a cell which is part of an organ which is part of a living organism. The hierarchy continues on in both directions. A Holonic hierarchy is known as a Holarchy.

The concept of the Holon is important for every decision that we make, exposing a greater responsibility past the part to the whole. If we take the Holon to its natural conclusion, we may find the roots of kharma. If everything is both part and whole, every act affects everything else, as everything is part of everything.

The Holarchies in Wilber’s work suggest that we are connected to a greater, shared, universal consciousness. Some of us may feel we are islands unto ourselves, alone. The concept of Holon suggests otherwise.

Most would agree that if we once had easy access to this shared consciousness, we have lost it. Maybe we still tap into it when we solve problems during sleep, day dreaming or meditation. It is said that Einstein came up with many of his theorems while “day dreaming”, not proving them until years later. I wonder if we lost access because of the insanity of our egoic mind, or, perhaps we have just forgotten how. Is finding our true nature the key to let us back inside?


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  2. The almost complete Holon system is already made in Japan during the Edo period.