Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

Rising Market Concentration and Declining Business Investments in the USA – Update June 2018

 

Since my last posts in August/September 2017 on the subject of

  • Market Concentration
  • Inequality
  • Market Power
  • Reduced Competition
  • Reduced Dynamism
  • Rising Profits
  • Declining Business Investments

several new studies have been published.  In addition, several important hearings and conferences have been organized by OECD, Brookings Institution, Boston University School of Law. Please see my list of references for details of each one of them.

This topic now is getting good attention in media also.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) held a major research conference on the “Policy Implications of Sustained Low Productivity Growth” on November 9, 2017. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, PIIE, moderates panel 4, “Wages and Inequality.” Presenters include Jason Furman, Harvard University and PIIE, and Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University.  I have given the link to Video of the session 4 in the references.

OECD on June 7-8, 2018 held hearings on Market Concentration at Paris, France.  Several presentations were given by experts in the field.  I have given link to the conference webpage in the references.

The Hamilton Project/Brookings Institution had a Conference on June 13, 2018 in Washington DC on the subject of Market Concentration.  Please see the link to the conference video and papers in the references below.

 

 

From The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

concentration

From The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

 

concentration2concentration3concentration4concentration5

Please see my related posts:

Rising Profits, Rising Inequality, and Rising Industry Concentration in the USA

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, Circular and Cumulative Causation in Economics

Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in Economics

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

 

Key Sources of Research:

Building a More Dynamic and Competitive Economy

Hamilton Project

Brookings

June 13, 2018

http://www.hamiltonproject.org/events/building_a_more_dynamic_and_competitive_economy

Video of the Opening Remarks and Fireside Chat – Robert Rubin, Jason Furman, Steve Case

The State of Competition and Dynamism:
Facts about Concentration, Start-Ups, and Related Policies

 

Jay Shambaugh, Ryan Nunn, Audrey Breitwieser, and Patrick Liu

Brookings/Hamilton Project

June 2018

 

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ES_THP_20180611_CompetitionFacts_20180611.pdf

 

 

 

Market Concentration

OECD Hearing on Market Concentration

June 7-8, 2018

http://www.oecd.org/daf/competition/market-concentration.htm

 

 

 

Market Concentration Issues paper by the Secretariat

6-8 June 2018

OECD

 

http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=DAF/COMP/WD(2018)46&docLanguage=En

http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=DAF/COMP/WD(2018)67&docLanguage=En

 

 

 

Presented by the Business at OECD (BIAC) Competition Committee to the OECD Competition Committee

Market Concentration

June 7, 2018

 

http://biac.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/BIAC_CC_Market-Concentration_2018-05-22_FINAL1.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter VI

MARKET POWER AND INEQUALITY: THE REVENGE OF THE RENTIERS

Trade and Development Report 2017

UNCTAD

 

http://unctad.org/en/PublicationChapters/tdr2017ch6_en.pdf

 

 

The fall and rise of market power in Europe∗

John P. Wechea,b & Achim Wambacha

 

http://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/dp/dp18003.pdf

 

 

 

A policy at peace with itself: Antitrust remedies for our concentrated, uncompetitive economy

William A. Galston and Clara Hendrickson

2018

https://www.brookings.edu/research/a-policy-at-peace-with-itself-antitrust-remedies-for-our-concentrated-uncompetitive-economy/

 

 

 

 

The Rise of Market Power and the Macroeconomic Implications

Jan De Loecker, Jan Eeckhout

Issued in August 2017

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23687

 

 

 

 

This chart highlights the rise of corporate giants

WEF

2018

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/chart-of-the-week-the-rise-of-corporate-giants

 

 

 

Market power in the U.S. economy today

 

https://equitablegrowth.org/market-power-in-the-u-s-economy-today/

 

 

 

Is Lack of Competition Strangling the U.S. Economy?

David Wessel

https://hbr.org/2018/03/is-lack-of-competition-strangling-the-u-s-economy

 

 

 

Competition Conference 2018

What’s the Evidence for Strengthening Competition Policy?

Boston University

July 2018

http://sites.bu.edu/tpri/news-and-events/competition-conference-2018/

 

 

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

Germán Gutiérrez† and Thomas Philippon‡

November 2017

https://www.aeaweb.org/conference/2018/preliminary/paper/iDeysKkh

 

 

Should We Really Care About Inequality?

https://www.project-syndicate.org/videos/should-we-really-care-about-inequality

 

 

 

 

Beyond Antitrust: The Role of Competition Policy in Promoting Inclusive Growth

Jason Furman

Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers

Searle Center Conference on Antitrust Economics and Competition Policy Chicago, IL

September 16, 2016

 

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160916_searle_conference_competition_furman_cea.pdf

 

 

POWERLESS: How Lax Antitrust and Concentrated Market Power
Rig the Economy Against American Workers, Consumers, and Communities

Roosvelt Institute

http://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Powerless.pdf

 

 

 

Is Government the Problem or the Solution to U.S. Labor Market Challenges?

Jason Furman

2018

 

https://minneapolisfed.org/~/media/files/institute/conferences/2018-05/furman-slides.pdf?la=en

 

 

 

With Competition in Tatters, the Rip of Inequality widens

 

 

 

THE 2018 JOINT ECONOMIC REPORT

REPORT OF THE JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

ON THE 2018 ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT

 

https://www.congress.gov/115/crpt/hrpt596/CRPT-115hrpt596.pdf

 

 

 

 

Concentration not competition: the state of UK consumer markets

2017

 

http://www.smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Concentration-not-competition.pdf

 

 

 

CORPORATE RENT-SEEKING, MARKET POWER AND INEQUALITY:
TIME FOR A MULTILATERAL TRUST BUSTER?

UNCTAD

May 2018

 

http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/presspb2018d3_en.pdf

 

 

 

America’s Superstar Companies Are a Drag on Growth

Lack of competition lets them gouge consumers, underpay workers and invest too little.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-01/america-s-superstar-companies-are-a-drag-on-growth

 

 

 

Big Companies Are Getting a Chokehold on the Economy

Even Goldman Sachs is worried that they’re stifling competition, holding down wages and weighing on growth.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-22/big-companies-gaining-monopoly-power-pose-risk-to-u-s-economy

 

 

 

Monopolies May Be Worse for Workers Than for Consumers

There isn’t much evidence that they raise prices, but they do seem to hold down wages.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-12-29/monopolies-may-be-worse-for-workers-than-for-consumers

 

 

 

 

LABOR MARKET CONCENTRATION

José Azar
Ioana Marinescu Marshall I. Steinbaum

2017 December

 

http://www.nber.org/papers/w24147.pdf

 

 

 

 

More and more companies have monopoly power over workers’ wages. That’s killing the economy.

The trend can explain slow growth, “missing” workers, and stagnant salaries.

 

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/4/6/17204808/wages-employers-workers-monopsony-growth-stagnation-inequality

 

Antitrust Remedies for Labor Market Power

Suresh Naidu

Eric A. Posner

E. Glen Weyl

 

Date Written: February 23, 2018

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3129221

 

 

Policy Implications of Sustained Low Productivity Growth – Panel 4

Jason Furman / Larry Summers

Peterson Institute for International Economics

November 2017

https://piie.com/events/policy-implications-sustained-low-productivity-growth

Presentation by jason Furman

https://piie.com/system/files/documents/4-1furman20171109ppt.pdf

Paper by Jason Furman – published June 2018

https://piie.com/system/files/documents/wp18-4.pdf

Panel 4 Video:

 

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The Hidden Geometry of Trade Networks

The Hidden Geometry of Trade Networks

 

From The hidden hyperbolic geometry of international trade: World Trade Atlas 1870–2013

Tradenetwork

 

Key Terms:

  • Trade Networks
  • Complex Networks
  • Preferential Attachment
  • Positive Feedback
  • Fractals
  • Power Laws
  • Hyperbolic Geometry
  • Economic Geography
  • Regional Trading Blocks
  • Bilateral Trade
  • Multilateral Trade
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Metabolism of a City
  • Metabolism of a Nation
  • Metabolism of the World
  • Industrial Ecology
  • Social Ecology
  • Growth and Form

 

 

From The hidden hyperbolic geometry of international trade: World Trade Atlas 1870–2013

Here, we present the World Trade Atlas 1870–2013, a collection of annual world trade maps in which distance combines economic size and the different dimensions that affect international trade beyond mere geography. Trade distances, based on a gravity model predicting the existence of significant trade channels, are such that the closer countries are in trade space, the greater their chance of becoming connected. The atlas provides us with information regarding the long-term evolution of the international trade system and demonstrates that, in terms of trade, the world is not flat but hyperbolic, as a reflection of its complex architecture. The departure from flatness has been increasing since World War I, meaning that differences in trade distances are growing and trade networks are becoming more hierarchical. Smaller-scale economies are moving away from other countries except for the largest economies; meanwhile those large economies are increasing their chances of becoming connected worldwide. At the same time, Preferential Trade Agreements do not fit in perfectly with natural communities within the trade space and have not necessarily reduced internal trade barriers. We discuss an interpretation in terms of globalization, hierarchization, and localization; three simultaneous forces that shape the international trade system.

From The hidden hyperbolic geometry of international trade: World Trade Atlas 1870–2013

When it comes to international trade, the evidence suggests that we are far from a distance-free world. Distance still matters1 and in many dimensions: cultural, administrative or political, economic, and geographic. This is widely supported by empirical evidence concerning the magnitude of bilateral trade flows. The gravity model of trade2–4, in analogy to Newton’s law of gravitation, accurately predicts that the volume of trade exchanged between two countries increases with their economic sizes and decreases with their geographical separation. The precision of that model improves when it is supplemented with other factors, such as colony–colonizer relationships, a shared common language, or the effects of political borders and a common currency5–7. Despite the success of the gravity model at replicating trade volumes, it performs very poorly at predicting the existence of a trade connection between a given pair of countries8; an obvious limitation that prevents it from explaining the striking regularities observed in the complex architecture of the world trade web9–13. One of the reasons for this flaw is that the gravity model focuses on detached bilateral relationships and so overlooks multilateral trade resistance and other network effects14.

Another drawback of the classical gravity model is that geography is not the only factor that defines distance in international trade. Here, we use a systems approach based on network science methodologies15,16 to propose a gravity model for the existence of significant trade channels between pairs of countries in the world. The gravity model is based on economic sizes and on an effective distance which incorporates different dimensions that affect international trade, not only geography, implicitly encoded on the complex patterns of trade interactions. Our gravity model is based on the connectivity law proposed for complex networks with underlying metric spaces17,18 and it can be represented in a pure geometric approach using a hyperbolic space, which has been conjectured as the natural geometry underlying complex networks19–22. In the hyperbolic trade space, distance combines economic size and effective distance into a sole distance metric, such that the closer countries are in hyperbolic trade space, the greater their chance of becoming connected. We estimate this trade distance from empirical data using adapted statistical inference techniques23,24, which allow us to represent international trade through World Trade Maps (WTMs). These define a coordinate system in which countries are located in relative positions according to the aggregate trade barriers between them. The maps are annual and cover a time span of fourteen decades. The collection as a whole, referred to as the World Trade Atlas 1870–2013, is presented via spatial projections25, Table S5, and trade distance matrices, Table S6. Beyond the obvious advantages of visualization, the World Trade Atlas 1870–2013 significantly increases our understanding of the long-term evolution of the international trade system and helps us to address a number of important and challenging questions. In particular: How far, in terms of trade, have countries traveled in recent history? What role does each country play in the maps and how have those roles evolved over time? Are Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) consistent with natural communities as measured by trade distances? Has the formation of PTAs led to lesser or greater barriers to trade within blocs? Is trade distance becoming increasingly irrelevant?

The answers to these questions can be summarized by asserting that, in terms of trade, the world is not flat; it is hyperbolic. Differences in trade distances are growing and becoming more heterogeneous and hierarchical; at the same time as they define natural trade communities—not fully consistent with PTAs. Countries are becoming more interconnected and clustered into hierarchical trade blocs than ever before.

Please see my related posts:

Networks and Hierarchies

Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, Circular and Cumulative Causation in Economics

Relational Turn in Economic Geography

Boundaries and Networks

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

Regional Trading Blocs and Economic Integration

Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in Economics

Growth and Form in Nature: Power Laws and Fractals

Key Sources of Research:

 

The hidden hyperbolic geometry of international trade: World Trade Atlas 1870–2013

Guillermo García-Pérez  Marián Boguñá, Antoine Allard & M. Ángeles Serrano

2016

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep33441.pdf

 

 

Uncovering the hidden geometry behind metabolic networks

 

Molecular BioSystems · March 2012

 

http://complex.ffn.ub.es/~mbogunya/eotools_files/files/1109.1934.pdf

 

 

The hidden geometry of complex networks

M. ÁNGELES SERRANO

 

http://www.ccs2016.org/uploads/4/8/7/6/48769845/s1_to_pdf.pdf

http://www.crm.cat/en/Activities/Documents/Curs_Intro_networks.pdf

 

 

 

Deciphering the global organization of clustering in real complex networks

Pol Colomer-de-Simo ́n1, M. A ́ ngeles Serrano1, Mariano G. Beiro ́2, J. Ignacio Alvarez-Hamelin2 & Maria ́n Bogun ̃a ́1

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep02517.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden geometric correlations in real multiplex networks

 

Kaj-KoljaKleineberg,1,∗ Mari ́anBogun ̃ ́a,1 M.A ́ngelesSerrano,2,1 andFragkiskosPapadopoulos

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1601.04071.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Emergent Hyperbolic Network Geometry

Ginestra Bianconi1 & Christoph Rahmede

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep41974.pdf

 

 

 

 

The geometric nature of weights in real complex networks

 

Antoine Allard1,2, M. A ́ngeles Serrano1,2,3, Guillermo Garc ́ıa-Pe ́rez1,2 & Maria ́n Bogun ̃a ́

https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14103.pdf

 

 

 

Network Geometry and Complexity

Daan Mulder · Ginestra Bianconi

 

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1711.06290.pdf

 

 

 

Multiscale unfolding of real networks by geometric renormalization

 

Guillermo Garc ́ıa-P ́erez,1,2 Mari ́an Bogun ̃ ́a,1,2 and M. A ́ngeles Serrano

 

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1706.00394.pdf

 

 

 

Topology of the World Trade Web

Ma A ́ngeles Serrano and Mari ́an Bogun ̃a ́

 

https://arxiv.org/pdf/cond-mat/0301015.pdf

 

 

Patterns of dominant flows in the world trade web

 

M. A ́ngeles Serrano,1 Mari ́an Bogun ̃ ́a,2 and Alessandro Vespignani3,4

 

https://arxiv.org/pdf/0704.1225.pdf

 

 

 

 

Clustering and the hyperbolic geometry of complex networks

Elisabetta Candellero and Nikolaos Fountoulakis

 

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/staff/academic-research/candellero/paper8waw14.pdf

 

 

 

 

Hyperbolic Geometry of Complex Networks

 

Dmitri Krioukov, Fragkiskos Papadopoulos, Maksim Kitsak, Amin Vahdat, and Mari ́an Boguna

https://www.caida.org/publications/papers/2010/hyperbolic_geometry_complex/hyperbolic_geometry_complex.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

On Hyperbolic Geometry Structure of Complex Networks

Wenjie Fang

 

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2f68/531c6644768ad78e86843e297fed442769cb.pdf

 

Indra’s Net: On Interconnectedness

Indra’s Net: On Interconnectedness

 

 

Key Terms

  • Indra’s Net
  • Indrajal
  • Felix Klein
  • Henri Poincare
  • Hyperbolic Geometry
  • Atharva Veda
  • Avatamsaka Sutra of Hua Yen Buddhism
  • Brahmajala Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Non-Euclidian Geometry
  • Hyperbolic Manifolds
  • Group Theory
  • Fractals
  • Benoit Mandelbrot
  • Mobius Maps
  • David Mumford
  • David Wright
  • Caroline Series
  • Indrajal Comics (a Publishing house in India now defunct)
  • Nicolai Lobachevsky
  • Johann Bolyai
  • Carl F Gauss

 

From The Avatamsaka Sutra Francis H. Cook
Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra 1977

Indra’s Net

Far away in the heavenly abode of the Great God Indra, the protector and nurturer of life, there is a wonderful net which stretches out indefinitely in all directions, in accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities.

At the net’s every node, is hung a single glittering jewel and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold.

If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, which sparkle in the magnificence of its totality.

Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite. As each gem reflects every other one and everything else in the universe, so are you affected by every other system in the universe.

 

INDRA’S NET

The metaphor of Indra’s Jeweled Net is attributed to an ancient Buddhist named Tu- Shun (557-640 B.C.E.) who asks us to envision a vast net that:

  • At each juncture there lies a jewel
  • Each jewel reflects all the other jewels in this cosmic matrix
  • Every jewel represents an individual life form, atom, cell or unit of consciousness
  • Each jewel, in turn, is intrinsically and intimately connected to all the others
  • A change in one gem is reflected in all the others

The moral of Indra’s net is that the compassionate and the constructive interventions a person makes or does can produce a ripple effect of beneficial action that will reverberate throughout the universe or until it plays out.

By the same token you cannot damage one strand of the web without damaging the others or setting off a cascade effect of destruction.

 

 

From The Indra’s Net

“Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite. The Hua’yen school [of Buddhism] has been fond of this image, mentioned many times in its literature, because it symbolizes a cosmos in which there is an infinitely repeated interrelationship among all the members of the cosmos. This relationship is said to be one of simultaneous mutual identity and mututal intercausality.”

~ Francis H. Cook, Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra

There are several aspects of Indra’s Net, as described in the above quote, that signify it as a crystal clear allegory of reality:

1. The Holographic Nature of the Universe

Long before the existence of the hologram, the jeweled net is an excellent description of the special characteristic of holograms: that every point of the hologram contains information regarding all other points. This reflective nature of the jewels is an obvious reference to this.

This kind of analogy has been suggested by science as a theory for an essential characteristic of the cosmos, as well as as the functioning of the human brain, as beautifully described inThe Holograpic Universe by Michael Talbot.

2. The Interconnectedness of All Thingss

When any jewel in the net is touched, all other jewels in the node are affected. This speaks to the hidden interconnectedness and interdependency of everything and everyone in the universe, and has an indirect reference to the concept of “Dependent Origination” in Buddhism. Additionally, Indra’s Net is a definitive ancient correlate of Bell’s Theorum, or the theory of non-local causes.

3. Lack of a substantive self

Each node, representing an individual, simply reflects the qualities of all other nodes, inferring the notion of ‘not-self’ or a lack of a solid and real inherent self, as seen in the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism and Buddhism in general.

4. Non-locality

Indra’s Net shoots holes in the assumption or imputation of a solid and fixed universe ‘out there’. The capacity of one jewel to reflect the light of another jewel from the other edge of infinity is something that is difficult for the linear mind, rational mind to comprehend. The fact that all nodes are simply reflections indicates that there is no particular single source point from where it all arises.

5. Innate Wisdom

The ability to reflect the entirety of all light in the universe attests to the inherent transcendant wisdom that is at the core of all nodes, representing all sentient beings, and to the inherent Buddha Nature.

6. Illusion or Maya

The fact that all nodes are simply a reflection of all others implies the illusory nature of all appearances. Appearances are thus not reality but a reflection of reality.

7. Universal Creativity

A familiar concept in various high dharmas is one of an impersonal creative intelligence that springs forth into reality through the instruments of all living beings.

8. The Mirror-like Nature of Mind

The capacity to reflect all things attests to the mind being a mirror of reality, not its basis. This is a common thesis among various schools and religions.

This article is from: http://www.heartspace.org/

 

The Vedic metaphor of Indra’s Net

The metaphor of Indra’s net, with its poetic description of the indivisibility of the universe, captures the essence of Hinduism’s vibrant and open spirit.

The Vedic metaphor of Indra’s Net

 

Indra’s Net is a metaphor for the profound cosmology and outlook that permeates Hinduism. Indra’s Net symbolizes the universe as a web of connections and inter-dependencies among all its members, wherein every member is both a manifestation of the whole and inseparable from the whole. This concept is the foundation for Vedic cosmology and it later went on to become the central principle of Buddhism, and from there spread into mainstream Western discourse across several disciplines.

The metaphor of Indra’s Net originates from the Atharva Veda (one of the four Vedas), which likens the world to a net woven by the great deity Shakra or Indra. The net is said to be infinite, and to spread in all directions with no beginning or end. At each node of the net is a jewel, so arranged that every jewel reflects all the other jewels. No jewel exists by itself independently of the rest. Everything is related to everything else; nothing is isolated. [i]

Indeed, the fundamental idea of unity-in-diversity underpins all dharmic traditions; even though there are many perspectives from which Indra’s Net may be viewed and appreciated, it is ultimately recognized as one indivisible and infinite unity. From the Hindu viewpoint, the One that manifests as many is named Brahman; even seemingly disparate elements are in fact nothing other than reflections of Brahman, and hence of one another. This notion of an organic unity is a signature of Hinduism, and distinguishes it from all major Western religions, philosophies and cultures.

Each jewel of Indra’s Net includes the reflections of all the other jewels; the significance of this symbolism is that each entity in the universe contains within itself the entire universe. This idea, rather than positing interdependence among separately existing entities, asserts that the whole does not owe its existence to the coming together of individual parts that have independent existence. Indeed, the existence of each individual part is contingent upon, and relative to, the existence of the whole and of all the other parts. Yet, paradoxically, each individual part also ‘contains’ the whole within itself. Put simply, the whole and the parts are inseparable.

Every jewel in Indra’s Net is a microcosm of the whole net; every component is the cause of the whole and also the effect of the whole. Nothing exists outside the net. [ii] In the Hindu worldview, the only essence that ultimately exists is Brahman; Brahman is the foundation for Indra’s Net, and no jewel exists apart from Brahman.

The jewels of Indra’s Net are not meant to symbolize static substances. Each jewel is merely a reflection of other jewels, and individual jewels always remain in flux. Each jewel exists only momentarily, to be continuously replaced by its successor, in mutual causation with other jewels. Just as the interdependent cells of the human body are perpetually changing, so also everything in Indra’s Net is perpetually in flux. Reality is always in the flux of becoming. This concept is different from the notion of real, independently existing entities undergoing modification, or static entities that happen to be woven together.

Swami Vivekananda applied the great Upanishadic saying, ‘tat tvam asi’ (‘that thou art’) as the basis for Hindu ethics. He said, in essence, that we are all jewels in Indra’s Net (even though he did not use this metaphor to say it). Thus, Vivekananda defined a Hindu platform for determining ethical conduct, not only towards all humans but towards animals and all entities in general—because everyone and everything is a jewel in Indra’s Net.

The Sanskrit word bandhu is frequently used to describe the interrelationship between the jewels of Indra’s Net. ‘Bandhu’ defines a corresponding entity; for example, a relationship between x and y can be stated as ‘x is a bandhu of y’. In traditional Indian discourse, this term is often used to explain the unity between the whole and its seemingly diverse parts. For example, ancient thinkers have described specific bandhus which express the paradoxical relationship of the microcosm to the macrocosm. While the microcosm is generally perceived as a map of the macrocosm, it is also the case that both microcosm and macrocosm continuously mirror one another.

Bandhu can also refer to the connections among various facets of our overall unified reality, linking sounds, numbers, colors and ideas together. No object—whether physical, mental, emotional, or conceptual—has any existence by itself and is merely another facet of this unified whole. In addition, bandhu describes how the transcendental worlds correspond with the perceptible world, implying that whatever we perceive through our senses is but a pointer to something beyond.

Kapila Vatsyayan, a scholar of classical Indian art, has cited many examples of bandhu in the form of common metaphors. Significant symbols may be found in the Rig Veda, the Natya-shastra (a seminal text on aesthetics and performing arts) and the Tantrasamuccaya (a text on temple architecture). The seed (bija) is often used to symbolize the beginnings. The tree (vriksha) rises from the bija and represents the vertical pole uniting the realms. The nabhi (navel) or the garbha (womb) brings together the concepts of the un-manifest (avyakta) and the manifest (vyakta). The bindu (point or dot) is the reference point or metaphorical centre around which are drawn geometrical shapes, which in turn facilitate the comprehension of notions of time and space. The sunya (void) is a symbol of fullness and emptiness. From its arupa nature (formless) arises the rupa nature (form) and the parirupa (beyond form). There is equivalence in the relationship between sunya (emptiness) and purna (completeness or wholeness), the paradox being that the void has within it the whole. [iii]

In Hinduism, the concept of unity-in-diversity can also be understood as a manifestation of Brahman, an agency that penetrates, pervades and harmonizes the entire universe. Brahman enters and shapes the mould of every entity giving it form, substance and individuality. It is only human pre-conditioning that causes us to visualize the multiplicity of forms as separate entities, and hence the world appears to be full of contradictions. The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad says:

Brahman is responsible for the interconnectedness of things and has become the living and the non-living; the visible and the invisible; the creatures which are two-footed and those that are four-footed. He became the subtle body and then the gross body by means of a subtle instrument known as the subtle body. This very Being became the vital consciousness of all. This is known as the Madhu¬Vidya, the sense of the ‘honey’ of all beings, the knowledge of the inter-dependence of things and the vital connection of everything, under every condition, at every time, everywhere.  [iv]

Hinduism devotes much thought to exploring the relationships between the jewels of Indra’s Net, and how they are manifestations and reflections of each other. Hindu thought is distinct from Abrahamic religions, which are premised on the existence of one separate God, one absolute event in history, and one inviolable set of injunctions. Hindus, for better or for worse, tend to be natural de-centralists. This is why it is hard to understand Hinduism, and difficult to organize and mobilize Hindus under an overarching corporate institution. It is also why Hinduism has proved, thus far, difficult to destroy. This idea can be referred as ‘integral unity’. The integral unity of the whole manifests itself in the parts, and they, in turn, aspire to unite with the whole; this principle is reflected in every domain of dharmic knowledge, including philosophy, science, religion, ethics, spirituality, art, music, dance, education, literature, oral narratives, politics, marriage rituals, economics, and social structures. Each domain of dharmic knowledge is itself a jewel in Indra’s Net, and reflects all the others. In other words, the same underlying principles are represented in these specialties in different ways.

For example, Hindu dance is not merely an isolated form of cultural expression but a complete and rigorous discipline through which one may learn and experience philosophy. This quality of correspondences across many domains of knowledge is striking. Music and sacred dance have a formal grammar based on Hindu cosmology. The Sanskrit Natya-shastra, a seminal text on performing arts and aesthetics, treats natya as a total art form; its scope includes: representation, poetry, dance, music, make-up, indeed every aspect of life. The Natya-shastra presents an integral view encompassing the Vedic rituals, Shaivite dance and music, and the epics. The eight traditional rasas it describes (love, humour, heroism, wonder, anger, sorrow, disgust, and fear) mirror a complete experience of the real world like the jewels of Indra’s Net, and together facilitate a practitioner’s pursuit of the purusharthas(human goals).

Some other examples across various domains are as follows:

  • The Vedic ritual altar is a representation of the entire cosmos.
  • The architecture of Hindu temples is based on physical dimensions which correspond to various astronomical metrics.
  • The yantra, an important device of sacred geometry, represents the whole universe.
  • Any deity can be conceived of in multiple ways: as a personal manifestation of the divine, as a metaphor for certain cosmic qualities and powers, and as an amalgamation of qualities and energies to be invoked and established in a person through ritual, meditation and yoga. Based on individual preferences, a deity can be approached as another entity in the mode of devotion, or as an object of meditation, or as a means for self-realization within oneself.
  • In Ayurvedic diagnosis, a correspondence is posited between specific points on the tongue and all parts of the entire body; thus, an expert in this field examines the tongue as a means of analysing the patient’s overall condition. The tongue is thus a jewel in which the entire physical and psychic body is reflected. The core principle of integral unity is encoded in the symbolism of Indian art, architecture, literature, ritual, mythology, festivals, and customs, all of which are intended to facilitate access to higher knowledge that goes beyond the conventional scope of any specific domain. Integration between disciplines is built-in and no effort is needed to create unity by bringing separate parts together. Even when certain disciplines and practices were destroyed, other disciplines encoding the same principles survived and helped preserve and re-ignite the overall tradition.

Dharmic cosmology is governed by bandhu interconnections among the astronomical, terrestrial, physiological, and spiritual realms; and each of these realms is itself connected, in the broadest sense, with the arts, healing systems, and culture. As discussed previously, bandhu describes a correspondence between the whole universe and the individual consciousness, which can be explored and developed from many alternative starting points. Thus, dharmic traditions have a common current that impels the individual along a natural quest to discover the reality beneath the appearances and to appreciate relationships among seemingly unrelated phenomena.

Dharmic traditions consider the common experience of reality as merely the transient reflection of a system in flux, interconnected with other realities across the past, present and future. In this flux, which affects all phenomena, repeating patterns may appear as static and independent ‘objects’, but this perception is just an illusory artifact of the limited mind. The individual person, of course, is himself a part of this flux. With the aid of meditation, he is able to witness reality as a detached observer—to see the personal ego, and indeed all fixed objects, as mere reflections of a moment in the flux.

Indra’s Net and Buddhism

Important Buddhist texts use Indra’s Net to describe an infinite universe with no beginning or end, in which every element is mutually related to every other element. Indra’s Net is a quintessential metaphor for Buddhist philosophy, describing how everything exists only in mutual causation with everything else, and nothing can be isolated.

The Avatamsaka Sutra (which means ‘Flower Garland’) of Mahayana Buddhism uses the metaphor of Indra’s Net to explain cosmic interpenetration. This sutra explains everything as both a mirror reflecting all and an image reflected by all. Everything is simultaneously cause and effect, support and supported. This important sutra was translated from Sanskrit, and its logic further developed in China under the name of Hua-yen Buddhism.

The Hua-yen tradition was developed by a series of thinkers, most notably Fa-tsang (cE 643-712). Through him, it passed on to Korea and other East Asian countries, becoming known as ‘Kegon’ in Japan. Hua-yen is praised as the highest development of Chinese Buddhist thought. D.T. Suzuki called Hua-yen the philosophy of Zen, and Zen the meditation practice of Hua-yen. Francis Cook explains the core philosophy of Hua-yen as follows:

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net that has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each ‘eye’ of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in all dimensions, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring. [v]

Cook goes on to explain that Indra’s Net ‘symbolizes a cosmos in which there is an infinitely repeated interrelationship among all the members of the cosmos’. He adds that ‘the cosmos is, in short, a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism’. Furthermore, there is no theory of a beginning time, and such a universe has no hierarchy. ‘There is no center, or, perhaps if there is one, it is everywhere.’

Hua-yen is built on the primary concern of Indian thought which is about the nature of causation. This is evident in the Sanskrit name for Hua-yen, ‘dharmadhatu pratityasamutpada’ (the interdependent co-arising which is the universe). Key principles of Madhyamika Buddhism, regarding non-substantiality and non-origination, have exact equivalents in Hua-yen. The Avatamsaka philosophy emphasizes the illusory nature of things when they are seen separately. [vi]

David Loy, a Buddhist practitioner and scholar who has spent most of his life in Kyoto, uses the analog of lila (play) to refer to the Buddhist ideal of life. While the ordinary ego is a player struggling, out of anxiety, to ground itself in the net, the liberated player has realized that he is the net. There is no separate ‘me’ to possess anything, nor any separate thing to be possessed. He explains:

Life becomes play; … the issue is whether we suffer our games because they are the means whereby we hope to ground ourselves somewhere in Indra’s Net, or whether we dance freely within the Net because we are it. The dangers of relativism in ethics are vitiated to the extent I realize my interdependence with other beings: I shall indeed love my neighbour as myself when I experience that I am my neighbor.  [vii]

It is interesting to note that over a period of many centuries Buddhist thinkers across East Asia have meticulously preserved the Sanskrit terms originally used to define Buddhist ideas, and fully credited Indian sources. Recently, however, as Buddhist ideas have travelled to the West and spread across many disciplines, the tendency has been to disconnect Hinduism from these ideas. Thankfully, the term ‘Indra’s Net’ has been preserved, and this allows scholars like myself to retrace the Vedic origins of these widely popular ideas.

Influences on modern society

Indra’s Net has inspired thinkers and movements in the West ranging from philosophy to ecology. David Loy has described how the major milestones of Western post-modernist thought resemble the ideas inherent in Indra’s Net. He cites Sigmund Freud’s approach in psychology, Ferdinand Saussure’s work in linguistics, Roland Barthes’s ideas in literary theory, and Jacques Derrida’s approaches to deconstruction as examples of twentieth-century pioneers who have utilized the ideas of Indra’s Net (mostly without explicit acknowledgement). The result of this has been nothing short of a revolution in Western philosophy, shaking the age-old Western premise that entities have separate, absolute, independent existences. Deconstructing the self-existence of things is the very signature principle of post-modern thought, and is a subset of the philosophical ideas contained in Indra’s Net. [viii]

Gregory Fahy has examined John Dewey’s idea of local, contextual and relational metaphysics as a subset of the Hua-yen thinking of Indra’s Net. [ix] Mathematicians studying chaos theory and fractals have described the beauty of structures as ‘Indra’s net’, ‘Indra’s necklace’ and ‘Indra’s pearls’. [x] In physics, the notion of quantum entanglement is a special case of the kind of interconnectivity we are describing. It is not at all surprising that Indra’s Net has been used as a metaphor to explain holograms, wherein, by definition, each part also includes the whole within itself. Indra’s Net has also been cited as the metaphor for the internet.

In the field of environmentalism, Leslie Paul Thiele has explained that Indra’s Net represents the Sanskrit concept of prajna (the wisdom of the interdependency of things), with the key implication that causes and effects are inseparable. He mentions that the word ‘ecology’ was coined in 1873 to mean the interactive relations between plants and animals, and that its meaning has recently expanded to include all of nature’s interrelationships in a wider sense. Sustainability is inherently a matter of interdependence, so the applicability of these ideas to the modern ecology movement is obvious. [xi] Indra’s Net, of course, embodies a far wider scope than just the material aspects of nature.

The basic principle is that each individual is both the cause for the whole and is caused by the whole. Ecological interdependence implies that if any one part of a system is disturbed, the whole system is affected. In this regard, Francis Cook has described Indra’s Net as a kind of ‘cosmic ecology’. [xii] Unlike in Western (disembodied) philosophy, nature is not seen as a backdrop for human existence; rather, humans are seen as inseparable from nature. A special issue of the journal Philosophy East and West was devoted to the applications of Indra’s Net to the field of environmental ethics. [xiii]

Another example of contemporary applications is an NGO called Indra’s Net Community, a South Korean movement that addresses concerns in the daily lives of lay people. Inspired by the interdependency principle of Indra’s Net, it was started by a group of visionary monks. They established grassroots communities to promote an alternative lifestyle in response to contemporary society’s emphasis on mass consumption, commercialism, competition, and the exploitation of natural resources. [xiv]

References

[i] The mantra is: ‘brihaddhi jaalam brihatah shakrasya vaajinivatah’ (8.8.6). ‘Ayam loko jaalamaasit shakrasya mahato mahaan’ (8.8.8).

[ii] However, from the viewpoint within the provisional reality, all jewels are not the same. We must note the Buddhist (and Vedantin) notion of two truths, phenomenal and absolute. There is spiritual progress only from a phenomenal point of view.

[iii] Vatsyayan, 1997.

[iv] Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (2:5.17-18) http://www.swami-krishnananda. org/brdup/brhad_II-05.html

[v] Cook, 1977, p. 2.

[vi] In early Pali texts, there is the notion of ‘paticca samuppada’ (dependent, co-arising or interconnected origination). Nagarjuna established one of the central principles that there are no isolated entities bearing essential natures or existing as themselves. This is referred to as things being empty of their own separate distinct existence, i.e., not having any ultimate sva-bhava or self-nature. This developed into the Avatamsaka tradition’s idea of sunyata along with interdependence comprised all reality. One of the famous chapters of the Avatamsaka Sutra includes the following explanation of interpenetration: ‘All the lion’s organs, the tip of every hair, being of gold, include the whole lion. Each of them permeates the whole lion; the eyes are the ears, the ears are the nose, the nose is the tongue and the tongue is the body. They come into being freely, without difficulty, without impediment.’ Here the gold symbolizes the substance and the lion symbolizes the form.

[vii] Loy, 1993, p. 484.

[viii] Loy, 1993.

[ix] Fahy, 2012.

[x] See, for example, Mumford, 2002 and Debnath, 2006. The metaphor has also been applied to new ideas proposed in library science (Bair-Mundy, 1998).

[xi] Thiele, 2011.

[xii] Cook, 1977.

[xiii] Philosophy East and West, vol. 37, no. 2, April 1987.

[xiv] Park, 2010. Indra’s Net has also been cited by activists who argue against climate change and other environmental concerns (Tam, 2008). There are also co-dependency arguments for helping salmon survive (Allendorf, 1998).

 

 

Please see my related posts:

The Great Chain of Being

On Holons and Holarchy

Consciousness of Cosmos: A Fractal, Recursive, Holographic Universe

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

Geometry of Consciousness

Mind, Consciousness and Quantum Entanglement

Systems View of Life: A Synthesis by Fritjof Capra

Shape of the Universe

 

 

Key Sources of Research:

The Indra’s Net

https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/the-indras-net/

 

 

Indra’s Net

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra%27s_net

 

 

 

Noneuclidean Symmetry and Indra’s Pearls

Caroline Series

David Wright

 

http://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2006/bridges2006-25.pdf

 

The Vedic metaphor of Indra’s Net

http://www.pragyata.com/mag/the-vedic-metaphor-of-indras-net-234

 

 

INDRA’S PEARLS

THE VISION OF FELIX KLEIN

David Mumford, Caroline Series and David Wright

 

http://assets.cambridge.org/97805213/52536/frontmatter/9780521352536_frontmatter.pdf

 

 

Caroline Mary Series: Pearl of Hyperbolic Manifolds

 

https://homepages.warwick.ac.uk/~masbb/NUS2013.pdf

 

 

 

Benoit B. Mandelbrot

1924–2010

 

http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/mandelbrot-benoit.pdf

 

 

 

Hyperbolic Geometry & Kleinian Groups

 

http://www.math.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/32/Staff/Permanent_Academic/Dr_Jesse_Ratzkin/Student_Supervision/greg-jackson-thirdyear-project.pdf

 

 

Synchronicity
Nature and Psyche in an Interconnected Universe

Joseph Cambray

TexasA&M University Press 2009

 

https://www.uboeschenstein.ch/texte/Cambray-synchronicity-ed..pdf

 

 

 

Poincare and his disk

Etienne Ghys

 

http://perso.ens-lyon.fr/ghys/articles/Poincarediskenglish.pdf

 

 

Iteration and its Consequences
Indra’s Pearls: The Vision of Felix Klein.

By David Mumford, Caroline Series, and David Wright,

Cambridge University Press,

New York, 2002,

 

http://appliedmathematician.org/pdf/news/468.pdf

 

 

Indra’s Pearls:  Geometry and Symmetry

Caroline Series

University of Cambridge

This is the 2010 joint London Mathematical Society / Gresham College lecture.

https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/indras-pearls-geometry-and-symmetry

On Holons and Holarchy

On Holons and Holarchy

 

Key Terms

  • Holons
  • Holarchy
  • Hierarchy
  • Fractals
  • Holonomic
  • Holographic
  • Heterarchy
  • Parts and Whole
  • Networks
  • Matryoshka Dolls
  • Recursion
  • Nested Levels
  • Reflective Spheres
  • Hyper Sets
  • Boundaries

 

.

From The Holonic Revolution Holons, Holarchies and Holonic Networks. The Ghost in the Production Machine

 

A minor conceptual revolution has been under way for less than forty years now, beginning in 1967 with the publication of Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in the Machine – a phantasmagorical book in terms of the breath and variety of its content – which formally introduced the concepts of holon and holarchy (the hierarchical ordering of holons).

Koestler’s idea is clear and simple: in observing the Universe surrounding us (at the physical and biological level and in the real or formal sense) we must take into account the whole/part relationship between observed “entities”. In other words, we must not only consider atoms, molecules, cells, individuals, systems, words or concepts as autonomous and independent units, but we must always be aware that each of these units is at the same time a whole – composed of smaller parts – and part of a larger whole.

In fact, they are holons.

By systematically applying the whole/part observational relationship, or the equivalent one of containing/contained, the Universe appears to us as a hierarchy of holons: that is, as a holarchy where, at each hierarchical level, the holons undergo the effects of the structural or operational variations of the subordinate holons and in turn produce variations in the behaviour of the superordinate ones.

The entire machine of life and of the Universe itself evolves toward ever more complex states, as if a ghost were operating the machine.

The concepts of holon and holarchy have since been used, especially in recent times, by a number of writers in a variety of disciplines and contexts, and these concepts are rapidly spreading to all sectors of research. Physics (Capra 1982), engineering (Babiceanu et al. 2005; Dani et al. 2004)), robotics, biology (Shafaei – Aghaee, 2008), organizational studies, management science (Zhang et al. 2003; Ng et al. 1996), business administration and entrepreneurship (Chirn – McFarlane 2001), production and supply chain systems (McFarlane – Bussmann 2000; Akturk – Turkcan 2000; Amiri 2006). Connected to these ideas are those of holonic networks, holonic and virtual enterprises, virtual organizations, agile manufacturing networks, holonic manufacturing systems, fractal enterprise and bionic manufacturing (Chapter 5)

 

This short essay, written from an economic-business point of view, has four objectives.

The first (covering the first two chapters) provides the reader with a brief but precise theoretical framework for understanding the meaning of the new terms that increasingly come up in business literature (outside Italy as well) and which refer directly or indirectly to the ideas of holon and holarchy. Connected to these terms are those of holonic network, holonic firm and enterprise, holonic manufacturing systems, holonic production, bionic production, fractal enterprise, and virtual enterprise, to name but a few.

Since I have observed that often the term “holon” has been improperly used, without any reference to the original sources, leading to models and conclusions that are absolutely inappropriate, I feel it is useful to provide the theoretical framework within which these terms can be properly used, considering not only Koestler’s definition but also the ideas of Ken Wilber, which are based on this notion.

I also feel it is useful to examine several fundamental classes of holarchies in order to show that the idea of a hierarchical order among classes of holons can be applied to a variety of contexts. In particular I have presented Koestler’s Self-organizing Open Hierarchical Order, Wilber’s Kosmos and Shimizu’s Autonomic Cognitive Computer as applications that illustrate the concept of a holon.

The second objective (presented in Chapter 3) is to extend the notion of holon while respecting its original meaning, in order to apply it to organizations.

Starting from the definition of organizations as systems whose organs are composed of individuals or groups of individuals, I have attempted to demonstrate two interconnected aspects: on the one hand, that organizations are holons that derive from a holarchy of organs (from their functionalities), and on the other that organizations can be formed by other holon-organizations – which I have labelled orgons – that are connected in a holarchy that I have called an orgonization.

When we observe the functionality and the function of its organs we see that an organization can be thought of as a macro system whose purpose is the attainment of a macro objective. It immediately follows that it can be compared to an Holonic Manufacturing System, or to an Autonomic Cognitive Computer; that is, to a holarchy of operators at different levels – each included in the other, so as to form parts of ever smaller size – each capable of pursuing part of the macro objective.

When there is a larger objective to achieve, rather than add levels to the organization we can form an organization of organizations, that is an orgonization with unique characteristics.

The third objective is to show (Chapter 4) how holons can be connected not only in the typical hierarchical structure – the holarchy – but, by stretching somewhat the original meaning, also in a reticular structure in order to form holonic networks in which the vertical ordering (above and below) is replaced by a horizontal one (before and after).

Within the holonic networks the holons maintain their autonomy and their whole/part relationship, which together characterize holarchies. However, for this reason the dominant feature is their horizontal systemic interconnections; each holon becomes a node of input-output interconnections between holons that come before and those that come after in the structure.

I have thus discovered that even holonic networks can be made up of orgons that form orgonic networks.

Since holarchies, orgonizations, holonic networks and orgonic networks are present everywhere – in firms and between firms, as well as in the economic system of which they are a vital part – it is useful to present a general survey.

Among the many types of holonic networks, I have chosen to examine the main sources of inspiration for those production systems referred to as the Holonic Manufacturing Systems, comparing these to those defined as Bionic and Fractal Manufacturing Systems. I have also considered the numerous forms of Inter- organizational Networks as well as the Holonic and Virtual Organizations.

The fourth objective (Chapter 5) is perhaps the most ambitious one, since I have tried to extend the holonic vision to the global production-economic system, or Production Kosmos.

Globally we are witnessing the continual and accelerated economic progress of mankind. There is an increase in the quantity and quality of needs that are satisfied and those still to be satisfied, and in the aspirations achieved and yet to be achieved. The increase in productivity and quality is unstoppable, and appears to guide the other variables in the system.

It is natural to ask who activates and governs such phenomena. The answer is that they are self-generated and self-organized in the context of reticular holarchies and orgonic networks formed by production enterprises – or production organizations – that comprise the integrated process of global production.

On a continental scale, it makes sense to consider production in terms of networks of orgons in which, by choice or not, every firm that produces final consumption goods is linked at several levels to a number of other suppliers of materials, components, machines and other structural factors. We can easily observe that the large continental production networks – in North America, China, Japan, India and Europe – are not yet integrated but are becoming larger and increasingly connected, while other local networks are developing in other countries.

In order to understand how things are evolving in a context where there is a connection between firm and production organization we need a conceptual framework that does not limit our observations to the single production units, searching therein for the laws of survival, but one which, at least in principle, is able to explain how the large orgonic networks internally produce self-organization and self-development.

The theory of systems provides two particularly interesting approaches: one that considers firms as adaptive systems that operate according to local rules and that spontaneously and inevitably generate production networks understood as complex adaptive systems, and that which considers production organizations as holons that, given their arrangement in a multi-level holarchy, generate the production networks in which progress appears as the inevitable consequence of the holarchic ordering of the Economic-Production Kosmos.

This essay considers the second approach, presenting the holarchic model of the analysis of production networks. It assumes that in an economy based on knowledge, where the limits of time and space are tenuous, production must increasingly refer not to a single firm but to a system of firms (a super-organizational network) or to operational units (inter-organizational network) conceived of as an operative, information or cognitive network.

It truly appears there is a Ghost in the Machine, whose invisible hand produces growing levels of productivity and quality, increases the quality and quantity of satisfied needs and aspirations, and reduces the burden of work, thereby continually increasing the level of progress in the entire Kosmos.

It is useful to conclude with a bibliographical note.

The conceptual revolution begun in 1967 has not yet led to a relevant number of monographs. On the other hand, there is a substantial bibliography containing journal articles, papers presented at congresses, and opinions and documents from discussion forums. The Internet has been crucial for gaining access to recent material.

 

 

Note:

You may know of Russian Dolls – Nested Dolls.  They are known as Matryoshka Dolls.  I came across this russian paper investigating roots of dolls.

Eastern Roots of Russia’s most famous Toy

May I suggest that name/concept of these dolls could have originated from SAPTA MATRIKA (7 Divine Mothers) of Indian Hindu Tantra Philosophy.

 

 

A Brief History of Holons

Mark Edwards

This concept has a long and respectable ancestry. So much so that defenders of orthodoxy are inclined to dismiss it as “old hat” – and often in the same breath to deny its validity. Yet I hope to show as we go along that this old hat, handled with some affection, can produce lively rabbits.
(Arthur Koestler, 1967, p.45)

Introduction

The idea of hierarchy and of their constituent part-wholes, or holons, has, as Arthur Koestler points out in the opening quote, a long and distinguished history. There are many philosophers who have proposed abstract systems for explaining natural and social phenomena. In pre-Socratic Greece Leuciddus and Deocritus developed the abstract concept of the atom and used it to develop a philosophy that could explain all observed events. Aristotle used hierarchy as the methodology for accumulating and connecting biological knowledge. Hierachy was perhaps the dominant way of viewing the connection between the natural, the human and the supernatural orders of being through the middles ages. In the 17th century Leibnitz proposed his “monad” as an irreducible unit for explaining not only the material world but the inner world of the soul.

In the early twentieth century there was a flurry of interest in holism and hierarchy that owed its genesis to the impact of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. I think the contribution of Jan Smuts in his publication of “Evolution and Holism” in 1926 is particularly important. Smuts was a soldier, a revolutionist republican, a lawyer, the Premier of the Republic of South Africa for several years (before the instigation of political apartheid), a globalist, and one of the founders of the United nations. writers of the UN founding charter. He also was a philosopher who saw the deep connections between the natural and social worlds and his concept of holism clearly influenced Wilber’s ideas in this area. Wilber quotes Smuts at the very beginning of his first major work that fully utilised the concept of hierarchy – “The Atman Project” – “Everywhere we look in nature we see nothing but wholes” (cited in Wilber, 1980). While all these various threads of ideas included the consideration of hierarchical networks and levels and orders of development it was not until the work of writer-philosopher Arthur Koestler that a fully theory of holarchy and holons was proposed.

Arthur Koestler – The father of Holon theory

 

The Ghost in the Machine

 

Some 35 years ago, in 1967, Arthur Koestler proposed the term “holon” in his book “The Ghost in the Machine”. Arthur Koestler was born in 1905 and died in 1983. During the 1930’s and 1040’s Koestler was a journalist who covered the Spanish civil war and World War II from the perspective of the ordinary people who were swept up in the great social tumult of those times. After the war he turned to turned to writing books in both fiction and non-fiction genres. He was one of the most widely read political novelists of all time. Koestler said that he wrote his novels, “out of my quarrels with the human condition”. His other non-fiction books, including, “The Ghost in the machine” were “attempts to analyse that same condition in scientific terms”.

Like Jan Smuts, Arthur Koestler led an extremely eventful life and he participated fully in some of the most important political and social events of his times. Again, similarly with Smuts, Koestler’s engagement with the events of the day included not only social action and participatory involvement at a personal level but he also lived a life of deep connection with the world of culture and inner experience. In the following quote from his book, “The Act of Creation”, Koestler is referring to the relationship between subjective and objective knowledge quests and it shows the awareness he had of both interior and exterior aspects of life.

Einstein’s space is no closer to reality than Van Gogh’s sky. The glory of science is not in a truth more absolute than the truth of Bach or Tolstoy, but in the act of creation itself. The scientist’s discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is based on the observer’s frame of reference, which differs from period to period as a Rembrant nude differs from a nude by Manet.
Arthur Koestler, 1970, p. 253It is interesting to look at Koestler’s life in terms of Wilber’s Quadrants framework. He was a philosopher and held a rich interest in art and cultural concerns. He was active socially and for many years was involved in various social movements and was nominated for the Nobel prize for literature three times. His personal life was one of great behavioural involvement with the great dramas of revolution, war and social dislocation that characterised the early and middle twentieth century. He also explored the inner worlds of subjective experience and imagination and wrote some of the most memorable political novels of his times. Looking at his life it is clear that his great span and depth of involvements and experiences should be reflected in his philosophy and in the specific detail of the holon theory that he largely created.

Koestler’s Holon

The idea of the holon occupies a central position in Koestler’s thinking about the human condition. He developed the construct to deal with three central problems that he saw facing the social sciences of the post-war generation. First he saw the need for some model that could unite and integrate the reductionist and mechanistic worldview of the “scientific” and behavioural psychologies with the holistic and humanistic worldview of the Freudian, Rogerian and Gestalt psychologies. Second, he recognised the importance and relevance of evolutionary processes in the social sciences and wanted to provide some theoretical system that could apply evolutionary conceptualisations to both realms. Third, he wanted to develop a model of human social systems that was equally at home in analysing the micro-level of individuality and the macro-level of collectivity. He wanted to propose some basic model of explanation that was relevant across the great span of human activity and involvement.

Koestler acknowledged that his “holon” construct had, in fact, a very venerable and ancient ancestry in western philosophy. Several important philosophers including Leibniz and Hegel had drawn attention to the importance of such things as hierarchy and developmental levels. Koestler saw himself in a line of such thinkers who wanted to bring together different knowledge quests and schools of scientific endeavour instead of pursuing the ongoing specialisation in scientific knowledge that has characterised modern scientific schools. Holon theory was Koestler’s attempt at an integrative philosophy of science and he expected that the holon theory or something similar would form the basis for any truly holistic future scientific worldview. He approvingly quotes one Needham who said that, “The hierarchy of relations … will perhaps be the leading idea of the future”. So, the holon construct was no small thing for Koestler and it is clear that he regarded his holonic principles as a solid attempt at an integrative philosophy of human existence.

So what is a holon. The word is a combination of the Greek “holos” meaning whole, with the suffix “on” which, as in proton or neutron, suggests a particle or part. The holon, then, is a part-whole. It is a nodal point in a hierarchy that describes the relationship between entities that are self-complete wholes and entities that are seen to be other dependent parts. As one’s point of focus moves up, down, and/or across the nodes of a hierarchical structure so one’s perception of what is a whole and what is a part will also change.

The evolutionary holon

In introducing the idea of the holon Koestler quotes the story told to him by Herbert Simon, a Nobel prize winner, and called the ‘parable of the two watchmakers’. The parable goes like this:

There once were two watchmakers, named Bios and Mekhos, who made very fine watches. The phones in their workshops rang frequently; new customers were constantly calling them. However, Bios prospered while Mekhos became poorer and poorer. In the end, Mekhos lost his shop and worked as a mechanic for Bios. What was the reason behind this?

The watches consisted of about 1000 parts each. The watches that Mekhos made were designed such that, when he had to put down a partly assembled watch (for instance, to answer the phone), it immediately fell into pieces and had to be completely reassembled from the basic elements. On the other hand Bios designed his watches so that he could put together subassemblies of about ten components each. Ten of these subassemblies could be put together to make a larger sub-assembly. Finally, ten of the larger subassemblies constituted the whole watch. When Bios had to put his watches down to attend to some interruption they did not break up into their elemental parts but only into their sub-assemblies.

Now, the watchmakers were each disturbed at the same rate of once per hundred assembly operations. However, due to their different assembly methods, it took Mekhos four thousand times longer than Bios to complete a single watch.Koestler relates this story to show that the hierarchical organisation of systems is an inbuilt feature of life – biological life but also any complex evolving system. not only is the time needed for the development greatly shortened when hierarchical methods are used but there are also inherent benefits in terms of maintenance, regulation and restoration. Koestler sees the hierarchical ordering of life as such a fundamental aspect of development that he says (1967, p. 47),

We do not know what forms of life have evolved on other planets in the universe, but we can safely assume that wherever there is life, it must be hierarchically organised (emphasis in the original)Koestler wants to show two things with this parable. First, that complex systems will evolve from simple systems much more rapidly if there are stable intermediate forms than if there are not, i.e. if they are hierarchically organised. Second, and more importantly, he wants to show that the resulting complex systems will always be hierarchic and that hierarchy is the natural and ubiquitous outcome of the development of structural form. After establishing the universal importance of hierarchy to the development of complex systems Koestler went on to propose that these hierarchies could be analysed in terms of the stable intermediate nodes or forms through which their structure is defined. It was to these intermediate forms that Koestler conferred the new label of “holon”.

Koester was a keen student of psychology and was well aware of the problems besetting the reductionist behavioural approaches to psychological theory. He was also conversant with the European schools such as the more holistic Gestalt psychology and he saw his holon theory as a way to move beyond the inadequacies of these contending models. He saw the great dehumanising effect of atomistic psychologies but also recognised the limitations of the holistic schools. As he puts it (1967, p.49)

in spite of its lasting merits, ‘holism’ as a general attitude to psychology turned out to be as one-sided as atomism was, because both treated ‘whole’ and part’ as absolutes, both failed to take into account the hierarchic scaffolding of intermediate structures of sub-wholes … the Behaviourist never gets higher that the bottom layer of stones, and the holist never gets down from the apex.Koester saw holon theory as a broad philosophy of science that showed a way out of the interminable and centuries-long debate over the relative merits of reductionism and holism.

Holons and holarchies

Koestler noted that in every order of existence, from physical to chemical to biological and social systems, entirely self supporting, non-interacting entities did not exist. And more importantly, that entities can be seen to lie in holarchical relationship with each other. He called systems of such entities Open Hierarchical Systems (OHS) and these have subsequently been called holarchies. Every identifiable unit of organization, such as a single cell in an animal or a family unit in a society, comprises more basic units (mitochondria and nucleus, parents and siblings) while at the same time forming a part of a larger unit of organization (a muscle tissue and organ, community and society). A holon, as Koestler devised the term, is an identifiable part of a system that has a unique identity, yet is made up of sub-ordinate parts and in turn is part of a larger whole.

Koestler’s holons were not thought of as entities or objects but as systematic ways of relating theoretical structures. In other words, holons were arbitrary points of reference for interpreting reality. To quote Koestler (1967, pg. 55), “Whatever the nature of a hierarchic organisation, its constituent holons are defined by fixed rules and flexible strategies” (emphasis in the original). So Koestler’s holons are posited and “fixed” only out of the relational rules and strategies that help us make sense of reality.

Because holons are defined by the structure of a hierarchy each identified holon can itself be regarded as a series of nested sub-hierarchies in the same way that a set of Russian dolls is an inclusive series of dolls contained within each other. Holons are, then, both parts and wholes because they are always parts of larger hierarchies and they always contain sub-hierarchies. Holons simultaneously are self-contained wholes to their subordinated parts, and dependent parts when seen from the inverse direction. Hence, holons can be seen as reference points in hierarchical series or holarchies.

Russian dolls

Koestler also recognised that holons are the representative stages or nodal structures that define the developmental hierarchies. As he says (1967, p. 61),

the different levels represent different stages of development, and the holons … reflect intermediary structures at these stages.It is this crucial stage-like characteristic of holons that Wilber takes up, expands and utilises in his spectrum model of human growth and later in his quadrants framework for describing Kosmic development. It is interesting to note that Koestler also recognised that the stage-like nature of hierarchies that existed in the inorganic world and in “the interplay of cohesive and separative forces in stable inorganic systems, from atoms to galaxies”.

So, we see that Koestler not only introduced the nomenclature of holons but he also described their place in developmental theory and saw how they could be used to overcome many of the philosophical problems that were plagued the social and psychological sciences of the early twentieth century. Even more than this, Koestler developed a very detailed set of holonic principles that actually defined a new theory of social development and general evolutionary theory. These principles are outlined in an appendix to “The Ghost in the Machine” and are titled “General Properties Of Open Hierarchical Systems (O.H.S.)”. Many of these principles have been taken up and expanded on by Ken Wilber in his holonic tenets but there are many that have not. Before comparing Koestler’s OHS properties with the twenty tenets of Wilber I will give a brief overview of how Wilber has adopted the holon and how it fills a central role in his most recent writings on Integral theory.

Ken Wilber’s Holonic Tenets

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality

 

Wilber adopted Koestler’s holon construct during, what Wilber has called, the phase-2 period in the development of his philosophy. This phase, which occurred around the late seventies and early eighties, is characterised by a focus on the spectral transcend-and–include nature of all developmental structures. It is no surprise that Wilber would be drawn to the holon as a construct given his developmental interests and particularly his revolutionary pre/trans theorem which is so useful to unravelling the boundary stages of growth. So, it was quite early on that the holon construct was incorporated into the basic theoretical scheme Wilber’s writings as a way of emphasising the hierarchical/holarchical nature of reality. To my knowledge, the first reference that Wilber makes to the holon construct is in his 1983 book, “Eye to Eye” but he may well have been aware of the term for some time. This was at least 15 years prior to the great expansion of his ideas that culminated in 1995 in the publication of “Sex, Ecology, Spirituality” (SES) which introduced the Four Quadrants of Kosmic evolution (Wilber’s Phase-4). From 1995 the holon and its various defining qualities have held an increasingly important position in Wilber’s writings.

Wilber holonic theory or as he refers to it “the twenty tenets” were first laid out in the opening chapters to SES. They provide the foundation for his mapping out of the All Quadrants, All Levels framework (AQAL). It is clear from the very beginning of SES that Wilber now regards the idea of the holon as the primary explanatory unit in his AQAL framework. This is conveyed in his famous statement that,

“Reality as a whole is not composed of things or processes, but of holons”.

This groundbreaking statement sets the holon construct at the very heart of Wilber’s whole explanatory endeavour. And, I believe, that this marks a major turning point in the history of Western philosophy of science and in our more general attempt to develop scientific explanations of social phenomena. The reason for this is because in clearly identifying the holon as the central unit of explanation Wilber provides a basis for connecting all fields of scientific and cultural knowledge.

Wilber’s AQAL framework and the Holon

As with Koestler, Wilber uses the holon theory to, “undercut the traditional argument between atomism .. and wholism”. For Wilber to incorporate holonic theory into the theoretical structure of the AQAL framework was easy at one level because both theories were founded on the idea of hierarchical inclusion. The difference between them was that Wilber’s AQAL framework was a way of seeing the whole developmental and evolutionary nature of all relative knowledge, experience and activity. Wilber took Koestler’s holon to its logical end and, placing within the AQAL framework, saw the holon as a way of analysing all aspects and domains of reality. The subtitle of SES is “The Spirit of Evolution” and to my mind the book is an attempt to bring evolutionary theory out of its traditional biological home and to apply to all levels of existence – from matter to spirit. Wilber does this through the identification of the holon as his core explanatory device. This is the absolutely crucial part that holons play in his model.

In taking up Koestler’s wonderful theory of holons, Wilber too has stressed the sliding and contextual, yet hierarchical, nature of holons. Wilber has creatively used the holon construct to highlight the holarchical nature of his AQAL framework. The framework is derived from an immense amount of scientific, cultural and experiential knowledge. In adopting the holon construct the AQAL model becomes more than just a new way of connecting existing fields of knowledge in a developmental overview. It is also a new way of looking at the referential “units” of that knowledge – holons. Built into the heart of the model is the concept that all developmental phenomena can be viewed as aspects of dynamic, holonic events that are nested within a holarchy of evolving/involving structural patterns.

The holons construct is so critically important to the utility of the Integral model because it enables the AQAL framework to be focused on any point in the holarchy or, to put it another way, it enables any developmental event to be analysed in terms of an Integral methodology. As such, the concept of the “holon” does away with the endless quest of trying to find the fundamental parts or wholes that constitute reality and it releases us from the basis mythologies inherent in materialistic, mentalistic, animistic, relativistic, or idealistic conceptions of reality. Quantum physics, that most advanced of all natural sciences, now overtly recognises the completely mythological nature of “matter” (Davies & Gribble, 1992), and of ideas that regard reality as simply permutations of solid substance, empty space, and linear time. The AQAL model, when it is used as an interpretive schema, extends this demythologising awareness across all explanatory systems (including itself) and brings to the fore the holarchic and developmental nature of reality. With the idea of a nested holarchy of holons, Wilber has opened a vision of reality that does not fall into the errors associated with various forms of reductionism, elevationism or relativisim. In bringing Koesler’s holon concept into his model, Wilber has not only opened up the possibility of a truly open-ended Theory of Everything but also a systematic theoretical approach towards any thing/process/event.

The holon – Integral theory’s unit of analysis

The development of the human, in both its personal and social forms, is the most complex phenomena that we yet know about in the Kosmos. To understand this process in any sort of detailed and valid fashion is, to put it mildly, a big task. It is my opinion that Ken Wilber’s Integral theory is the only philosophical/epistemological/theoretical framework that attempts to present a comprehensive understanding of the complex and multi-layered reality that we see about us. One of the most attractive central features of Integral theory is that it does not rely on ontological reductionism to simplify that complexity, as do many other branches of science. The neurologist and the medical specialist reduce the human to the biochemical with their unit of study being the chemical compound. The behaviourist reduces the human to physical action with their unit of study being the behavioural stimulus-response cycle. The cognitivist reduces the human to the world of behaviour and thought with their basic unit of explanation being the pattern of thought, belief or feeling. The evolutionist reduces it to reproductive advantage with the locus of explanation being the adaptive interaction between environment and phenotype. The sociologist reduces the human to the world of interpersonal relations and group dynamics with their focus of explanation being the social event. The humanist reduces the human to the world of being and identity with authenticity in word and deed being their centre of interest. The transpersonalist reduces, or more correctly elevates, the human to the world of spirit and finds explanation in the analysis of the mystical event.

All these disciplines simplify human complexity to find something of certainty, something that is true, something that will have lasting validity. And, in their own way, each of the main perspectives on human reality does contribute unique knowledge to the quest for understanding that so occupies us. As Wilber has often pointed out, all these contributions are partially correct. The human can be understood and explained through the study of the physical, the chemical, the animal, the social, the political, the cognitive, the existential, the spiritual, and the historical. Once this partiality is recognised, we are then faced with the problem of truly integrating the valid and the true of each and bringing them into some semblance of coherency. And the very first task that is required for this integrative endeavour to be successful is to identify a unit of analysis or explanation that does not privilege any of the units of analysis or explanation associated with partial views.

In my opinion it is one of Wilber’s greatest insights that he has been able to identity an explanatory reference point that avoids the ontological pitfalls that have so plagued all previous explanatory elements. In so doing Wilber allows Integral theory to transcend (and integrate) all the reductionisms of the partial views to boldly propose that the true locus of explanation does not reside in any particular level of reality and cannot be limited to any single domain of investigation. The basic unit of analysis for Integral theory is not the atom, or the molecule, or the mathematical unit, or the interpretive perspective, or the cognitive pattern, or the historical event, or the spiritual revelation. For Integral theory the unit of analysis, it’s basic point of explanation, analysis, reference and “measurement” is the holon. This is why students of Wilber work, if they are to understand what Integral theory/philosophy, the AQAL framework and IMP’s are truly about, will have to have a good grounding in holon theory.

The reductive research paradigm has been immensely successful for investigating physical and chemical phenomena. More recently holistic approaches like the various systems theories, humanistic disciplines, and developmental theories have been successfully applied to social phenomena. The holon, the “part-whole”, has a built in non-reductive perspective that allows for the simultaneous recognition that anything can be studied holistically and anything can be analysed reductively at the same time. This combination of holistic and reductive methodologies also introduces a new element and immensely important capacity for explanatory methodologies that utilise this part-whole focus of explanation. It now means that the various types of reductive science can now be carried out in relational context. The disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, the humanities, sociology, theology, and cultural studies can now be pursued within a cross-disciplinary framework that connects and situates their disparate findings and truths instead of juxtaposing them. By allowing for both holistic and reductive methodologies, the holon framework introduces an integrative dimension of implementing those approaches that no other approach can claim. This new capacity lies at the heart of Wilber’s (2002) recent call for a revolutionary Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP) – “a project of synthesis”.

Holism, reductionism and pluralism

The holon is the holarchic (i.e. hierarchic plus heterarchic) reference point through which the various principles of the AQAL model can be applied. This is the real point behind Wilber’s first tenet of holons, “Reality as a whole is not composed of things, or processes, but of holons”. He is really pointing out here that holons permit an analytical holism that can evade the reductive errors that result from explanations that rely on some fundamental thing or process. Unfortunately the wording of this tenet suggests that holons themselves are building block composites that in some way fit together to make up Kosmic reality. But this is not at all Wilber’s intended reading for this tenet. The holon construct allows Integral theory and it’s AQAL methodology to step away from and the methodological battles engaged in by other disciplines and to avoid the reductive pitfalls that abound wherever science seeks to understand complex phenomena. The use of the holon as the means for applying Integral theory also allows the many other truths that have been uncovered by human knowledge quests to be honoured and rightfully situated within a non-reductive context. It is not just that the holon in conjunction with the AQAL principles can investigate systemic and elemental aspect of reality but that it can also, as Wilber says, “acknowledge, honor, and include all authentic modes of human inquiry ” (and their valid findings). In short, the full integration of the holon and the AQAL model enables Integral theory to overcome the traditional reductionist propensity to privilege very biased methodologies for gathering observations and experiences and very narrow modes of explanation for understanding them. As Wilber (2002) has recently said:

AQAL, then, is a metatheory that attempts to integrate the most amount of material from an integral methodological pluralism, thus honoring the primary injunction of an integral embrace: Everybody is right.

Everybody, i.e. all major theorists, philosophies and stores of cultural knowledge, are right (within context) and it is the holon construct that allows Integral theory to move without prejudice around these vast domains of human knowledge and pursue its agenda of holistic exploration and analysis. This process of acknowledging the validity and value of established personal and cultural knowledge quests can be viewed from a broader perspective than simply that of Wilber’s integral theory. Wilber has recently termed any such endeavour as Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). Integral theory is an example of such an approach to the investigation of events, experiences, and knowledge. But I believe that any such method will need to be based on the holon construct in some form because it is the only explanatory concept that can accommodate the three definitive criteria for an IMP.

Similarities and Differences

I have pointed out that Koestler has proposed a quite detailed set of holonic principles and shown that the holon construct has a very wide application. Wilber, in turn, has placed the holon construct firmly at the centre of his comprehensive integrative framework for connecting knowledge. Wilber has expanded holon theory into a new approach to understanding the relationship of many different knowledge domains. It should, however, be noted that Koestler provided Wilber with much more than just a new term to label the “building blocks” of his Integral theory/AQAL framework. Koestler’s principles of Open Hierarchical Systems (OHS) and Wilber’s twenty tenets are clearly very related and the following table shows the correspondences between the two types of holon theory.

Table 1: Correspondences between Koestler’s OHS principles
and Wilber’s twenty Holonic Tenets
Wilber’s Twenty tenets Koestler’s OHS principles*
1: Reality can be seen in terms of an endless series of holonic relations 1.3 Parts and wholes in an absolute sense do not exist in the domain of life. The concept of the holon is intended to reconcile the atomistic and holistic approaches. “The [holarchy] is open-ended in the downward, as it is in the upward direction”
2a: Holons have agency, individuality, deep autonomy. 4.1 Every holon has the … tendency to preserve and assert its individuality as a quasi-autonomous whole; 9.2 the holon’s agency is that which controls the part from the next higher level.
2b: Holons have communality, mutuality, and collective relationships 4.8 The canon of a social holon represents not only constraints imposed on its actions, but also embodies maxims of conduct, moral imperatives and systems of value.
2c: Holons have a capacity for self-transcendence, and active transformation into greater wholes 5.6 A holon on the n level of an output-hierarchy is represented on the (n+ I) level as a unit, and triggered into action as a unit. A holon, in other words, is a system of relata. which is represented on the next higher level as a relatum.
2d: Holons have a capacity for self-immanence, and the active integration of its parts 4.1 Every holon has the tendency to function as an integrated part of an (existing or evolving) larger whole.
4.1 a holon’s Integrative (INT) tendencies are inherent in the concept of hierarchic order and a universal characteristic of life. The INT tendencies are the dynamic expression of the holon’s partness.
3: Holons emerge creatively and indeterminately 8. Holons on successively higher levels of the hierarchy show increasingly complex, more flexible and less predictable patterns of activity. while on successive lower levels we find increasingly mechanised stereotyped and predictable patterns.
4: Holons emerge holarchically, i.e. through dynamics between hierarchy and heterarchy 6.1 Hierarchies can be regarded as ‘vertically’ arborising structures whose branches interlock with those of other hierarchies at a multiplicity of levels and form ‘horizontal’ networks
5: Each emergent holon transcends but includes its predecessors “A hierarchy of holons should rightly be called a holarchy”
8: Each successive holon level within a holarchy produces greater depth and less span 2.2 The number of levels in a hierarchy is a measure of its “‘depth”, and the number of holons on any given level is called its “span”.
12a: Evolution displays increasing complexity 8.4 Each upward shift is reflected by a more vivid and precise consciousness of the ongoing activity; and, since the variety of alternative choices increases with the increasing complexity on higher levels, each upward shift is accompanied by the subjective experience of freedom of decision. (“We find [holons] in an ascending order of complexity” )
Holarchies possess interiority and consciousness 8.6 Consciousness appears as an emergent quality in phylogeny and ontogeny, which, from primitive beginnings, evolves towards more complex and precise states.

* All direct quotes from “The Ghost in the Machine”

Table 1 shows the clear concordances between Koestler’s OHS principles and Wilber’s twenty tenets. I have pointed out these overlaps to show that Wilber’s extended use of the holon construct clearly builds on Koestler’s quite extensive and detailed explications of holon theory and that therefore the two models should be seen as a single continuum of development in the theory. Wilber has taken the foundational theorems laid down by Koestler and greatly extended their theoretical and practical application. As a whole holon theory needs to be seen as a new and very promising philosophy of knowledge that may well open up an entirely new and genuinely integrative understanding of the natural and social worlds and how they relate to each other.

There are several aspects of Koestler’s theory that have, as yet, not been explored by Wilber or any other Integral theory writers. These include the concept of holonic exchange/input-output systems which looks at the way holonic outputs are triggered and how holons scanners and filter inputs. Koestler’s concepts of “arborisation”, “reticulation” and “regulation channels” also show promise as ways of seeing how holons can relate to each other. There is also the issue of holonic health and how holons change and Koestler’s principles on holonic equilibrium, disorder and regeneration offer fertile ground for further study.

Holons and the Future

I noted earlier that Ken Wilber (2002b) has recently suggested some principles that define, what he calls, an Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). This idea refers to the broad characteristics of a discipline that can be considered to be an integral approach to a topic. Wilber maintains that any future over-arching model of knowledge will have posses the main principles that define an IMP. These principles are non-exclusion, enfoldment/unfoldment, and enactment. Wilber defines non-exclusion as follows:

Nonexclusion means that we can accept the valid truth claims (i.e. the truth claims that pass validity tests for their own paradigms in their own fields, whether in hermeneutics, spirituality, science, etc.) insofar as they make statements about the existence of their own enacted and disclosed phenomena, but not when they make statements about the existence of phenomena enacted by other paradigms. (2002b, ¶52)

This principle refers to the acceptance of partial but valid knowledge that has been gleaned by disciplines focusing on particular aspects of holons. Much of this knowledge has been the result of reductionist paradigms (disciplinary matrices/methodologies). The second principle, enfoldment/ unfoldment is defined as:

nonexclusion often discloses an unfoldment that is enfoldment: in any particular developmental stream, successive waves transcend and include their predecessors, and thus each wave is adequate, each succeeding wave is more adequate. (2002b, ¶73)

In short, in healthy unfolding, each wave is holistic, each succeeding wave is more holistic. (2002b, ¶81)

The unfoldment/enfoldment principle refers to the acceptance of the holistic and developmental nature of knowledge and methods. This principle relates to the idea that all knowledge bases and methods are connected and can illuminate each other. Wilber’s third principle, the Enactment principle is explained as follows:

Putting all of these modes of inquiry together, as an enactment and disclosure of turquoise cognition, results in what we are calling integral methodological pluralism, which embodies the more practical side of an Integral Post-Metaphysics (Wilber 2002a, ¶64)

phenomena are enacted, brought forth, and disclosed by practices, then we realize that what appeared to be “conflicting phenomena” or experiences are simply different (and fully compatible) experiences brought forth by different practices. (2002b, ¶89)

So enactment refers to the novel capacity of an IMP to situate and provide a new integrative context for all other partial approaches be they reductionist or holistic. It is precisely these three IMP capacities that are made available when the holon is seen as the unit of analysis for Integral theory. This leads to what Wilber calls Integral indexing or conferencing.

“AQAL indexing” (“integral indexing” or “holonic conferencing” [see below]) allows individual paradigms to be seated next to each other at the integrative table, in such as a way that each individual paradigm is honored and acknowledged. (2002b, ¶75)

Richard Slaughter, in an essay on the possibilities of an Integral Futures discipline, has pointed out that any futures studies practitionsers will not only need to understand the potentials and limitations of their own worldviews but will also need to be “proficient in exploring other perspectives” and the relationships that come out of the meeting of different perspectives. There seems to be an imperative here for scholars who deal with Big Pictures to take on the IMP framework. As part of this move, I would further add that the holon construct and holon theory may well be an essential aspect of any IMP. I say this simply because the holon framework presents a methodological basis for the IMP principles. The holon construct allows for the discriminative analysis of phenomena through non-exclusion, it allows for the inclusion of holistic and developmental through unfoldment/unfoldment, and it allows for the active discovery of insight and connective knowledge through its capacity to generate the enactment of integrative practices. The holon is the core unitary construct that will define any IMP approach to investigating, experiencing and analysing the human encounter with our world.

Conclusions

The holon construct and it associated theory has the potential to play a crucial role in the movement to combine and synthesise scientific and cultural knowledge about psychological and social realities. While there is a long tradition of attempts to derive a comprehensive philosophy for understanding human realities it is only with the 19th and 20th centuries contributions of evolutionary theory and developmental models of human growth that this synthesising project has really come of age. In many ways holon theory is the culmination of this integrative movement and its development comes at a time when such connective knowledge and holistic approaches are most needed. The global systems that threaten the development of healthy and sustainable social development require systemic and integrative modes of imagination and action. Holon theory as an example of an IMP provides the scope and insight that global crises demand.

It is not by accident, I believe, that the two founders of holon theory have both come from outside of academia. One from the world of journalism and real politic and the other from the world of contemporary spirituality and the human potential movement. Out of their visionary thinking these two writers/philosophers have forged a new approach to seeing the breadth and depth of reality and the challenges that are inherent in it. Koestler and Wilber’s lives and writings are very different but also in a deep way very complementary. One comes from the experience of war and revolution in continental Europe while the other comes from a secluded life of inner journeys. One writes fiction as a way of wrestling with the world of human suffering the other writes non-fiction as a way of mapping out the potential for life. One is immerses himself in the psychologies and philosophies of the western tradition and the other follows contemplative paths of Eastern spirituality. Together they bring a new vision to how we and our realities are connected to each other. In the chapter which introduces the neologism “holon” for the first time, Koestler quotes the writer L.L. Whyte who said that, “fertile vistas may open out when commonplace facts are examined from a fresh point of view.” In my view the holon, and its associated theoretical principles, will open up the richest and most crucial fields of scientific and cultural endeavour in the 21st century.

References

Koestler, A. (1967) The ghost in the machine. London: Arkana

Wilber, K. (1995) Sex, ecology and spirituality: The evolution of spirit. New York: Shambhala.

Wilber, K. (2002) Excerpt B: The Many Ways We Touch -Three Principles Helpful for Any Integrative Approach

Please see my related posts:

 

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

The Great Chain of Being

Boundaries and Networks

Hierarchy Theory in Biology, Ecology and Evolution

Networks and Hierarchies

Consciousness of Cosmos: A Fractal, Recursive, Holographic Universe

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

 

Key Sources of Researches:

 

 

 

Holon (philosophy)

WIKIPEDIA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holon_(philosophy)

 

 

 

Holons and Holarchy of Arthur Koestler

 

Arthur Koestler

 

http://www.markfoster.net/struc/holarchy-holons-koestler.pdf

 

 

 

 

The Holonic Revolution Holons, Holarchies and Holonic Networks. The Ghost in the Production Machine

Piero Mella

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270338868_The_Holonic_Revolution_Holons_Holarchies_and_Holonic_Networks_The_Ghost_in_the_Production_Machine

 

 

 

Holons and agents

A. Giret

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226808580_Holons_and_agents

 

 

 

 

A Brief History of Holons

Mark Edwards

http://spiraldynamicsintegral.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Edwards-Mark-A-Brief-History-of-Holons.pdf

http://www.integralworld.net/edwards13.html

 

 

 

 

 

The Holonic View of Organizations and Firms

 

Rolf Sattler

 

Eastern Roots of Russia’s most famous Toy

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

 

From Consciousness models in action: comparisons

 

Many models of Human Development

  • Graves’s Spiral Dynamics (SD) model
  • May’s model of development of consciousness
  • Gebser’s Structures of human consciousness
  • Piaget’s model of cognitive development
  • Myss’s model of spiritual development
  • Kohlberg’s model of moral development
  • Perry’s model of intellectual and ethical development
  • Loevinger’s model of ego-state development
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Kegan’s model of psychological development
  • Wilber’s AQAL model
  • Tolle’s model of spiritual development
  • Atmananda’s model of spiritual development
  • Hurtak’s model of spiritual development
  • McTaggart’s scientific model
  • Pribam’s scientific model
  • Hawkins’s scientific model

From Consciousness models in action: comparisons

In this paper, the construct of ”levels of consciousness”as used in psychology and consciousness theory, is closely linked to those of worldviews, perceptual frameworks, organising systems, value orientations, “intelligences” or “memes”, in terms of which people understand and respond to their worlds. It reflects levels of awareness, or the inclusiveness,extensiveness, the depth and breadth by which incoming information is interpreted. These levels of consciousness largely determine intellectual, emotional and behavioural aspects of human functioning.

The various theoretical models on the evolution of consciousness reflect common themes, principles and structures. These models have emerged from different study fields including philosophy, physics, sociology, psychology, economics and theology, and address consciousness, cognitive, moral, educational, physiological and spiritual development.

All the models that are mentioned in this paper are not discussed in detail, and the focus is primarily on the contributions of Graves, Wilber, May and Myss. Gebser’s and Piaget’s work is merely addressed in support of Wilber’s AQAL model. The views of educationalists Perry and Kohlberg are briefly discussed under the heading of intellectual, moral and ethical development (section 2.4). Psychological perspectives such as Loevinger’s model of ego-states; Maslow’s need hierarchy; and Kegan’s equilibrium stages are mentioned but not discussed in any detail. These models are, however, included in the final integrated framework as proposed in this paper (section 3). Additional views from the spiritual and physical domains are referred to in support of the general themes that characterise speculations on consciousness. The role of consciousness theory in complementing current leadership models and practices is explored in terms of an integral perspective of leadership.

From Consciousness models in action: comparisons

Graves’s Spiral Dynamics (SD) Model

The Spiral Dynamics model of Graves, also referred to as the Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory (ECLET),provides a profound and elegant system in terms of which human development can be understood (Wilber, 2001). Wilber also points out that subsequent research has validated and refined the ECLET or SD model.

According to Graves,humans respond to life conditions by developing certain adaptive views and capacities which he refers to as “levels of human existence”. These adaptive responses can be grouped into value systems which permeate the culture of groups, organisations and individuals. Each stage allows for the possible further development of “higher” stages or levels. The levels are not to be seen as fixed, but represent flowing waves, continuously overlapping with, and interweaving, each other.

A detailed explanation of the SD model can be found in Beck and Cowan’s “Spiral Dynamics Theory” (1996) and Cowan &Todorovic’s (2008) work.

The SD model, as adopted and applied by other authors, has undergone a number of conceptual changes. Beck and Cowan (1996), for example, extended the “value systems” language of Graves with the notion of “value memes”. The term meme was originally introduced by Dawkins to refer to a unit of cultural information. According to Wilber (2001), a “meme” can be seen as a stage of development that is expressed in behaviour. For purposes of clarity,Wilber recommended the use of the word “value system” as proposed by Graves.

The level of consciousness associated with each of these value systems, provides a perceptual framework, type of “intelligence” and worldview by which experiences are interpreted and responded to. A sense of flow results from the match between the person’s orientation and the contextual requirements.

The SD model is hierarchically organised and consecutive levels both incorporate and transcend preceding orientations. It is a soft hierarchy and growth may involve a person or group temporarily moving down on the hierarchy in response to a particular trauma or challenge, before transcending previously inadequate worldviews. Upward movement only takes place according to the hierarchical structure of the spiral and levels are therefore not skipped. This view on growth ties in with Wilber’s idea of “holons”. Holons depict the manner in which systems are organised and where evolution involves the emergence of more complex systems, each of which includes and transcends previous levels.

The initially proposed and rather cumbersome labelling technique of the Spiral Dynamics model, postulated the organisation of a double spiral in terms (a) the problem of existence: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and (b) coping mechanisms: N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U to provide an: AN, BO, CP, DQ, ER, FS, GT, HU categorisation. It has since been replaced by using simple colour codes. Eight such colours are currently identified (with possible additions in future): Beige, Purple, Red, Blue, Orange, Green, Yellow and Turquoise. These colours represent ways of thinking that have far-reaching effects on an individual’s life and group adaptation.

The various value orientations, as represented by different colours, each has a particular credo referring to either an expressive, internally controlled “I” (the “warm” colours), or a self-sacrificing, externally anchored “we” side (the “cooler” colours). The eight “holons” as specified by the SD model represent a spiral structure.

The eight valuing systems can be divided into first and second tier consciousness. The first tier consciousness encompasses the first six colours (Beige, Purple, Red, Blue, Orange and Green). The first tier valuing systemstend to be emotionally driven. Perspectives based on the lower level value systems in this first tier also do not necessarily accommodate for the existence of other valuing systems – although Green less so that the colours preceding it.

Second tier consciousness is reflected by the Yellow and Turquoise valuing systems and encompasses the first tier. Unlike first tier thinking, second tier awareness appreciates the necessity of the various other valuing systems. As Gardner (Wilber, 2001) observed, the whole course of human development can be viewed as a continuing decline in egocentrism.

The various value orientations of the SD model can briefly be described, as follows:

Beige
– The theme is that of “survival”
– The focus is on basic-instinctive reactions;subsistence needs; physical survival; physiological needs; capitalisation on instincts and habits
– It involves a reactive response to the environment
– There is little self-awareness
– Responses tend to be impulsive
– It is survivalist
– This value system can be found amongst the very young and old; as well as amongst ill, starving or traumatised people

Purple
– The theme here is “safety”
– This value system is associated withgroup dependence; tradition; an avoidance of change; an “us-and-them” orientation; a tendency to maintain family / in-group bonds; at times dogmatic beliefs / ideologies; the need for safety and protection; and a general fearfulness
– This orientation values group belonging and group boundaries; authority; respect; protection; obedience; familiarity, certainty and routine; what is sacred as well as observes rituals and customs
– Those who embrace a purple orientation often are ethnocentric, traditionalist and their relationships are largely role-based
– This worldview is associated with an external locus of control
– Learning is largely passive and there is a tendency to seeks guidance
– People espousing this value system tend to be self-sacrificial toward their in-group and antagonistic toward out-groups
– This value system can be found amongst paternalistic culture; where elders are valued; the superstitious; those who are highly patriotic; within dogmatic religions; in enmeshed families; where there is a belief in luck, blood oaths, ancient grudges, trance dancing, family rituals, gangs, corporate “tribes”; and it is inherent to old “school ties”, soapies and fanatical sports team support cultures.

Red
– The theme here is “power”
– This orientation can be described as: highly energetic, impulsive, dominant, active, achievement driven; critical; demanding; competitive; egocentric; defensive; dominant and power driven
– There are tendencies to be expressive; not to be inhibited by guilt; to strive for respect and recognition; to seek excitement and sensual pleasure; and to fear shame; loss of face; and loss of autonomy
– Those who have adopted this orientation may come across as proud, assertive, energetic and/or imaginative
– There may be a tendencies to blame and take revenge; there is a scarcity mentality and expectation of threat
– The value system is associated with an emphasis on performance and results; a tough image and a “carrot-and-stick” leadership approach
– Those espousing this value orientation are results focused, energetic and normally obtain their goals
– Emotionally, it is associated with seeking impulse gratification; fear of failure; and avoidance of insult and pain
– Inherent to this worldview are beliefs such as “survival of the fittest”; “others are not to be trusted”; and “results can be achieved through hard work”
– It is important to impress, influence and conquer others, even though the means may be somewhat aggressive, exhausting, fanatical, exploitative or dogmatic
– Learning primarily takes place via reinforcement and conditioning
– It can be found in bravado; rebellious youths; frontier mentalities; fanatical groups; macho cultures; entrepreneurs and activities which require effort and control

Blue
– The theme here is “truth”
– It can be described in terms of: purposefulness; structure; seeking the truth; showing depth; reliability; being pedantic; a loyalist orientation; the tendency to conform and to avoid change; appreciation of quality and a sound work ethic
– Those adhering to this value system believe in order and are obedient to authority; they practice self-discipline and tend to differentiate between what they regard as right and wrong
– They seek security and are cautious
– They value integrity and ethical behaviour; observe laws and regulations and believe that hardship and self-discipline build character and moral fibre
– In addition there is a focus on controlling impulsivity; seeking stability and adhering to a code of conduct; being honourable; and being punctual and reliable
– It may also find expression in bureaucratic or hierarchical structures; totalitarian or dogmatic organisations; inflexible ideologies; and moralistic inclinations
– It involves learning from authority and decisions are based on ethics, facts and authority opinions
– It also follows tradition, convention and policy; values certainty, structure and order; is motivated by duty; is loyal; is responsible; is careful; and promotes fairness and traditions
– According to this value system, sacrifices need to be made for the greater good of all
– Stress is caused by ambiguity and uncertainty; chaos is feared; and change is avoided
– This value orientation finds expression via patriotism; codes of chivalry and honour; boy andgirl scouts; traditional schools, certain family practices and churches

Orange
– The theme here is “value creation”
– This orientation can be described as strategic; somewhat materialistic; opportunistic; individualistic; achievement oriented; flexible; resilient and politically astute
– It is associated with an abundance mindset; the exercise of freedom of choice; and self-interest
– Individuals who have adopted this value system enjoy playing the game; having autonomy; manipulating outcomes; are optimistic, practical, take risks andare self-reliant and resilient
– They tend to look for opportunity;strategise; take initiative; are competitive; are normally interested in technology; and feel deserving of success, prosperity and abundance
– It supports entrepreneurial activities; goal setting and achievement; tough negotiations; and business strategy formulation
– At times it may deteriorate into narcissistic, inconsiderate and materialistic tendencies and become exploitative and short sighted
– Learning takes place via experimentation, mentors, guides or experts
– Motivation is rooted in the achievement of material rewards and the possibility of opportunity
– It values competition, ambition, affluence, image and continuous improvement
– Stress is caused by setbacks; goals not being realised; and obstacles
– This orientation provides the flexibility and skill to reframe setbacks, though
– It encompasses a logical, efficient, flexible and competitive style
– This orientation finds expression in colonialism; the fashion industry; prosperity ministries; the emerging middle classes; the advertising industry; mining cartels; go-getter cultures; venture capitalists activities; a large proportion of generation Y and the corporate culture in general

Green
– The theme here is “communitarian” and “relating”
– It can be described as sensitive; humanistic; theoretical; emotional; compassionate; relativistic; and is often characterised by inner peace whilst exploring the caring dimensions of community
– There is a strong interest in other points of view / theories
– This value system promotes equal opportunities to all; kind interpersonal relations; and a charitable orientation towards the oppressed
– Decision-making takes place via reconciliation and consensus
– There is a genuine concern for others and personal goals involve spiritual awareness; interpersonal harmony and human development
– Learning is based on exploring feelings; sharing experiences and ideas; as well as interaction with others
– Decisions are based on being just and reasonable toward everyone involved, but decision making is complicated by many conflicting considerations which may require compromise and collaboration
– Stress is created by rage, discord, extinctions, contamination, group separation and lack of consideration
– The associated leadership style involves a democratic approach; it is consultative
– Management strategies include being humanistic; demonstrating emotions; care for the group; an emphasis on consensus and a listening orientation
– This value system finds expression in “Doctors without Borders”; sensitivity training; animal rights groups; Rogerian counselling; philanthropic and humanistic intentions; and theoretical and academic endeavours

Yellow
– The theme here is “systemic”
– It can be described as an integrative approach; seeking of learning experiences; living responsibly, and the emphasis is on flexibility, functionality, simplicity and spontaneity
– Here knowledge, understanding, competence and intuition supersedes rank, position status symbols and power
– There is an appreciation of dynamic factors and natural flows; variety; context; holistic perspectives; and the value of simplicity and functionality
– The associated psychological disposition is that of individualistic; independent-mindedness; self-actualisation; and freedom of choice
– Learning is sought in varied experience, observation, knowledge, and involves an intuitive process
– Factors such as structure and order are to some extent irrelevant
– Stress is caused by stagnant, rigid, dull, rule-based contexts that are not stimulating or challenging
– Emotionally this orientation is associated with a significant degree of integration which may at times be interpreted as distanciation
– This value system finds expression in principles of systems thinking; learning organisations; chaos theory; and eco-industrial parks

Turquoise
– The themes here are “holistic” and “transcendent”
– This orientation can be described as existential-philosophical; living in the “now”; depth of awareness; a spiritually inclination; and it is focused on the meaningfulness of human endeavours
– It is associated with a concern about the proliferation of life; experiencing the wholeness of existence through mind and spirit; accessing the collective mindset; connection and transcendence
– The world is regarded as a single, dynamic organism with its own collective mindwhere everything is connected
– There is an emphasis on holistic, intuitive thinking and cooperative actions
– It finds expression in ideas such as Gandhi’s pluralistic harmony, Tolle’s work on consciousness; and the theories of David Bohm

The hierarchical ordering of the various value systems is “soft”, or dynamic, and should not be interpreted strictly in terms as “higher is better”. The suitability and desirability of each of the value systems depend on contextual factors. The ranking and ordering of these value systems should therefore not be taken too literally or seen as a fixed, linear, step-by-step progressions. This is emphasised by Wilber (2001) who indicated that development is not a linear ladder but a fluid and flowing affair, with spirals, swirls, streams, and waves – and what appears to be an almost infinite number of modalities.

Particular value systems or worldviews, representing levels of consciousness, are generally associated with the manifestations of certain clusters of cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural tendencies (referred to by Wilber as “lines” of development). The expanded awareness of each consecutive level of consciousness, allows for greater connection to self, others and the world. Progressively inclusive worldviews accommodate increasingly complex cognitive processing, for example.

spiraldyn2spiraldyn1

Please see my related posts:

The Great Chain of Being

Meta Integral Theories: Integral Theory, Critical Realism, and Complex Thought

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

 

Key Sources of Research:

Never Ending Upward Quest:  An Interview with Don Beck on Spiral Dynamics

WIE 2002

http://www.mcs-international.org/downloads/046_spiraldynamics_wie.pdf

 

Summary of the Spiral Dynamics Model by Ken Wilber

 

http://www.cccr-cob.org/uploads/1/1/8/5/118562646/summaryofthespiraldynamicsmodelbykenwilber.pdf

 

 

 

Sidebar C: Orange and Green: Levels or Cousins?

 

http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/C-jenny-don.pdf

 

 

 

Consciousness models in action: comparisons

(As published in the Integral Leadership Review (ILR) June 2012)

 

https://www.cognadev.com/publications/Consciousness%20models%20in%20action%20-%20comparisons%20-%20ILR.pdf

 

 

Spiral Dynamics Integral and the Theory of Living Human Systems: Part 1

– Michael Robbins

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268053319_Spiral_Dynamics_Integral_and_the_Theory_of_Living_Human_Systems_Part_1

 

 

SPIRAL DYNAMICS INTEGRAL AND THE THEORY OF LIVING HUMAN SYSTEMS, PART 2

– Michael Robbins

http://michaelrobbinstherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/MichaelRobbins_SpiralDynamicsIntegral2.pdf

 

 

 

 

Models, Metrics, and Measurement in Developmental Psychology

Zachary Stein and Katie Heikkinen

https://dts.lectica.org/PDF/Stein%26Heikkinen_IR_2009.pdf

 

 

 

 

A General Introduction to Integral Theory and Comprehensive Mapmaking

 

By Sean M. Saiter

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.210.2686&rep=rep1&type=pdf

 

 

Clare W. Graves and the Turn of Our Times

Nicholas Reitter

 

http://cejournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Reitter.pdf

 

 

 

Spiral Dynamics Integral

Christopher Cooke and Ben Levi

 

http://www.dialogue.org/Documents/SD_Integral.pdf

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Spiral Dynamics

 

Ian McDonald

 

http://spiraldynamicsintegral.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/McDonald-Ian-Introduction-to-Spiral-Dynamics-1007.pdf

A Brief History of Spiral Dynamics

 

albion m. butters

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312033145_A_Brief_History_of_Spiral_Dynamics

 

 

 

What Is Spiral Dynamics Integral?

By Don Beck

http://www.sonic.net/ericskag/sris/IN-SDi%20Intro.pdf

 

 

 

 

Integral Dynamics, A new integration of Wilber’s Integral Theory and Spiral Dynamics

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

 

  • Micro approach
  • Macro approach
  • Micro-macro approach
  • Hierarchy
  • Multi Scale
  • Multi Level
  • Heterarchy
  • Holarchy
  • Holonomic
  • Holons
  • Networks
  • Agents
  • Interaction
  • Aggregation
  • Disaggregation
  • Emergence
  • Complexity
  • The Fractal Company (Book)
  • The Fractal Organization (Book)
  • Viable Systems Model (Stafford Beer)
  • Self Similarity
  • Power Laws

 

 

From Multilevel Theory, Research, and Methods in Organizations

Foundations for Multilevel Theory in Organizations

Conceptual Underpinnings: General Systems Theory

General systems theory (GST) has been among the more dominant intellectual perspectives of the twentieth century and has been shaped by many contributors (e.g., Ashby, 1952; Boulding, 1956; Miller, 1978; von Bertalanffy, 1972). Systems concepts originate in the “holistic” Aristotelian worldview that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, in contrast with “normal” science, which tends to be insular and reductionistic. The central goal of GST is to establish principles that generalize across phenomena and disciplines-an ambitious effort that is aimed at nothing less than promoting the unity of science.

Systems principles are manifest as analogies or logical homologies. Logical homologies represent identical concepts (that is, isomorphism), and parallel processes linking different concepts (that is, homology), that generalize to very different systems phenomena (von Bertalanffy, 1972). For example, it is noted that open systems counteract the second law of thermodynamics-entropy-by importing energy and information from the external environment, and transforming it, to maintain homeostasis.

Feedback and servo- mechanisms are the basis for the purposive responses of cybernetic systems. Organizational systems are proposed to have analogous structures and processes (e.g., Katz & Kahn, 1966; Miller, 1978).

Whether one takes a more macro (Parsons, 1956, 1960) or micro (Allport, 1954) perspective, the influence of GST on organizational science has been pervasive. Unfortunately, however, that influence has been primarily metaphorical. The bureaucratic-closed systems-machine metaphor is contrasted with a contingent-open systems-living organism metaphor. Although metaphor has important value-virtually all formal theory is rooted in underlying metaphor (Morgan, 1983)-lack of specificity, formal identity, and precise definition can yield truisms that mislead and fail the test of science (Pinder & Bourgeois, 1982; Bourgeois & Pinder, 1983). GST has exhibited heuristic value but has contributed relatively little to the development of testable principles in the organizational sciences (Roberts et al., 1978). It is to this latter concern that the multilevel perspective is directed.

As social systems, organizations are qualitatively distinct from living cells and other concrete physical systems. The goal of the multilevel perspective is not to identify principles that generalize to other types of systems. Although laudable, such an effort must often of necessity gloss over differences between qualitatively different systems in order to maintain homology across systems (compare Miller, 1978). The primary goal of the multilevel perspective in organizational science is to identify principles that enable a more integrated understanding of phenomena that unfold across levels in organizations.

Macro and Micro Perspectives

Fundamental to the levels perspective is the recognition that micro phenomena are embedded in macro contexts and that macro phenomena often emerge through the interaction and dynamics of lower-level elements. Organizational scholars, however, have tended to emphasize either a micro or a macro perspective. The macro perspective is rooted in its sociological origins. It assumes that there are substantial regularities in social behavior that transcend the apparent differences among social actors. Given a particular set of situational constraints and demographics, people will behave similarly. Therefore, it is possible to focus on aggregate or collective responses and to ignore individual variation. In contrast, the micro perspective is rooted in psychological origins.  It assumes that there are variations in individual behavior, and that a focus on aggregates will mask important individual differences that are meaningful in their own right. Its focus is on variations among individual characteristics that affect individual reactions.

Neither single-level perspective can adequately account for organizational behavior. The macro perspective neglects the means by which individual behavior, perceptions, affect, and interactions give rise to higher-level phenomena. There is a danger of superficiality and triviality inherent in anthropomorphization. Organizations do not behave; people do.  In contrast, the micro perspective has been guilty of neglecting contextual factors that can significantly constrain the effects of individual differences that lead to collective responses, which ultimately constitute macro phenomena (House et al., 1995; Klein et al., 1994; Roberts et al., 1978; Rousseau, 1985).

Macro researchers tend to deal with global measures or data aggregates that are actual or theoretical representations of lower-level phenomena, but they cannot generalize to those lower levels without committing errors of misspecification. This renders problematic the drawing of meaningful policy or application implications from the findings.  For example, assume that we can demonstrate a significant relationship between organizational investments in training and organizational performance. The intuitive generalization-that one could use the magnitude of the aggregate relationship to predict how individual performance would increase as a function of increased organizational investments in training-is not supportable, because of the well-known problem of ecological inference. Relationships among aggregate data tend to be higher than corresponding relationships among individual data elements (Robinson, 1950; Thorndike, 1939). This fact continues to be a significant difficulty for macro-oriented policy disciplines-sociology, political science, economics, education policy, epidemiology-that attempt to draw individual-level inferences from aggregate data.

Micro researchers suffer from an obverse problem, which also makes the desire to influence human resource management policy difficult. We may, for example, be able to show that individual cognitive ability increases individual performance. However, we cannot then assert that selection systems that produce higher aggregate cognitive ability will necessarily yield improved organizational performance. Perhaps they will, but that inference is not directly supported by individual-level analyses. Misspecifications of this sort, however, are not unusual (Schmidt, Hunter, McKenzie, & Muldrow, 1979). Such “atomistic fallacies,” in which organizational psychologists suggest team- or organization-level interventions based on individual-level data, are common in our literature.

A levels approach, combining micro and macro perspectives, engenders a more integrated science of organizations. House and colleagues (1995) suggest the term meso because it captures this sense that organizational science is both macro and micro. Whatever it is called, we need a more integrated approach. The limitations that the organizational disciplines suffer with respect to influencing policy and applications can be resolved through the development of more complete models of organizational phenomena-models that are system-oriented but do not try to capture the complexity of the entire system. Instead, by focusing on significant and salient phenomena, conceptualizing and assessing at multiple levels, and exhibiting concern about both top down and bottom-up processes, it is possible to build a science of organizations that is theoretically rich and application-relevant.

https://goal-lab.psych.umn.edu/orgpsych/readings/2.%20Multilevel%20and%20Methods/Kozlowski%20&%20Klein.pdf

 

A multilevel approach to theory and research in organizations: Contextual, temporal, and emergent processes

Steve W, J. Kozlowski

Katherine J. Klein

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232580888_A_multilevel_approach_to_theory_and_research_in_organizations_Contextual_temporal_and_emergent_processes

 

 

Multilevel Theory and Research

 

Stan Gully

https://smlr.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Syllabi_PhD/StanGully_%20Spring2013_%20MultilevelSyllabus.pdf

 

 

THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF MULTILEVEL RESEARCH

Gilad Chen

 

https://en-recanati.m.tau.ac.il/sites/nihul_en.tau.ac.il/files/media_server/Recanati/swarm/SWARM-Syllabus-2017.pdf

 

 

 

Multilevel Issues in Supply Chain Management

 

Marian Oosterhuis, Eric Molleman, Taco van der Vaart

http://www.pm.lth.se/fileadmin/_migrated/content_uploads/ch_3.4_01.pdf

 

 

 

 

Modeling consensus emergence in groups using longitudinal multilevel methods

 

Jonas W. B. Lang

 

Paul D. Bliese

Alex de Voogt

 

https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/8562632/file/8562633.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

BUILDING THEORETICAL AND EMPIRICAL BRIDGES ACROSS LEVELS: MULTILEVEL RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENT

 

MICHAEL A. HITT

PAUL W. BEAMISH

SUSAN E. JACKSON

JOHN E. MATHIEU

http://www.rcmewhu.com/upload/file/20150528/20150528101003_4659.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Micro/Meso/Macro Levels of Analysis

Joshua B. Barbour

 

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/52eaf9e9e4b099d8ae59351f/t/56fd70ad60b5e9742ccc123e/1459450030474/2017_levels.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

‘Multi-level research into the social: An old wine in an old forgotten bottle?’

Harwood, S

2016

https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/files/24676734/16_01.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Multilevel Theory, Research, and Methods in Organizations: Foundations, Extensions, and New Directions

Katherine J. Klein (Editor),

Steve W. J. Kozlowski (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-787-95228-0Aug 2013, Pfeiffer

https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Multilevel+Theory%2C+Research%2C+and+Methods+in+Organizations%3A+Foundations%2C+Extensions%2C+and+New+Directions-p-9780787952280

 

 

 

 

 

Complexity Theory and Organization Science 

 Philip Anderson

Source: Organization Science, Vol. 10, No. 3, Special Issue: Application of Complexity Theory to Organization Science, (May – Jun., 1999), pp. 216-232 

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/fb23/409e0ed1257af816c96cb5b555838287a50a.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

PARADIGM SHIFT IN THE CORPORATION: THE FRACTAL COMPANY

  Dr.-Ing. Wilfried Sihn

 

https://ac.els-cdn.com/S1474667017422889/1-s2.0-S1474667017422889-main.pdf?_tid=a61a6be3-a25d-41ee-a602-e38da9115fd0&acdnat=1528492319_cae660ddbcbdbe1961f63d4469a43489

 

 

 

 

 

Analysing Enterprise Models from a Fractal Organisation Perspective – Potentials and Limitations

Kurt Sandkuhl and Marite Kirikova

 

https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01572393/document

 

 

 

 

 

 The Theory of the Organization and the New Paradigms

Aquiles Limone, Milan Marinovic

 

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1018.6354&rep=rep1&type=pdf

 

 

 

 

 

The Fractal Company: A Revolution In Corporate Culture

by H.J. Warnecke

Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1993, 228 pp.,

 

 

 

 

The Fractal Organization: Creating sustainable organizations with the Viable System Model

2009

by Patrick Hoverstadt

 

 

 

 

 

Multi Level Analysis

Joop J Hox

Theoretical approaches to managing complexity in organizations: A comparative analysis

Luz E. Bohórquez Arévaloa,∗, Angela Espinosa

THE HOLONIC PERSPECTIVE IN ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT

 

 

 

 

 

From Micro to Meso: Critical Steps in Conceptualizing and Conducting Multilevel Research

KATHERINE J. KLEIN

STEVE W. J. KOZLOWSKI