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Emergence is the main element of the structure of reality that I trumpet on this site.

But one essential aspect of emergence is another core concept called Holons. Emergence is a big, fat general principle and holons are distinct, measurable parts of it. This gem of a concept was created by the wonderful free-range philosopher Arthur Koestler, a very under-appreciated thinker of the 20th century. Once you have this lens in place, many things snap into delightful clarity. I’ve written about Holons before, but not for a while so here’s a refresher.

It begins with this; all existence is a two-way street. Everything is simultaneously a part and a whole. Thus “Holon”.

Every level of reality/physical existence is self-contained and self-absorbed. For example, the atomic level, the cellular level, and the level of animal species. Each one is an emergent property of the/a previous level. Each one a surprise bouquet from the magician’s sleeve. The lower level is the part, the upper level is the whole. Each is both part and whole, depending on which way you are moving and looking. Generally, these levels are like parallel lines apparently never meeting yet wholly dependent on each other. There is no handshake and nod from the next level down. They don’t know that we are up here and except for humanity, we (animal species) don’t know they are down there. This sounds a bit like the description of dimensions in the multiverse theory, these dimensions are happening in the same place and the same time but unaware of each other, separated by a veil of sorts.
There appears to be a universal rule though, that each layer acts for the good of the layer above. Every layer of constituent parts shows a real dedication to their work and the greater good of something they are utterly blind to. They are blind to it, but something mysterious and quite other may not be, or else why this consistent rule? Why the consistent effort to obey it?

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I went to the city and all I got you was this lousy pencil.

“I have come from the city. I bring you a welcome gift with a sharp point that you may remember me. I ask, if fortune allowed, that I might be able [to give] as generously as the way is long [and] as my purse is empty.”

 

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