I have studied complex systems science from following teachers:
Yaneer Bar Yam of NECSI: Physical, Biological, and Social Systems
Scott Page of University of Michigan: Model Thinking: Complex Systems in Economics and Social/Political Sciences.
Melanie Mitchell of Santa Fe Institute: Introduction to Complex Systems
Michael Kearns of University of Pennsylvania: Networked Life: Science of Networks
Ravi Iyenger of Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine: Introduction to Systems Biology
Perry Mehrling of Columbia University/INET: Economics of Money and Banking
Bottom Up Modeling
Agent Based Modeling
Santa Fe Institute
Yaneer Bar Yam
Artifical Life (A-Life)
Albert Laszlo Barabasi
Small World Networks
Scale Free Networks
J Doyne Farmer
W. Brian Arthur
Six Degrees of Separation
Non Linear Dynamics
Competition and Cooperation
What are Complex Systems?
Source: A Brief History of Systems Science, Chaos and Complexity
Key Topics in Complex Systems
Sources: Complex Systems: A Survey
Lattices and Networks
Discrete Systems and Cellular Automata
Scaling and Criticality
Adaptation and Game Theory
Agent based Modeling
Chaos and Fractals
Spontaneous Order and Synchronization
The original journal devoted to the science, mathematics and engineering of systems with simple components but complex overall behavior; publishes high-quality articles that focus on, but are not limited to, the following areas:
Dynamic, topological and algebraic aspects of cellular automata and discrete dynamical systems
Complex systems and complexity theory
Algorithmic complexity and information theory
Emergent properties of dynamical systems
Formal languages, grammars and automata
Algorithmic information dynamics
Symbolic dynamics and connections to continuous systems
Tilings, rewriting and substitution systems
Synchronous versus asynchronous models
Applications of automata to areas such as machine and deep learning, physics, biology, social sciences and others
Source: A Brief History of Systems Science, Chaos and Complexity
History of Systems and Complex Systems
Source: A Brief History of Systems Science, Chaos and Complexity
Yang-YuLiu1,2 andAlbert-L ́aszl ́oBarab ́asi3,2,4,5 1Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School,
Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA 2Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115,
USA 3Center for Complex Network Research and Departments of Physics, Computer Science and Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA 4Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA 5Center for Network Science, Central European University, Budapest 1052, Hungary
(Dated: March 15, 2016)
Physical approach to complex systems
Jarosław Kwapień a,∗, Stanisław Drożdż a,b
a Complex Systems Theory Department, Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, PL–31-342 Kraków, Poland b Institute of Computer Science, Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Cracow University of Technology, PL–31-155 Kraków, Poland
Physics Reports 2011
Dynamics of Complex Systems (Studies in Nonlinearity)
Addison-Wesley, New York, 1997; ISBN 0-201-55748-7; 800 pp.,
A complex systems approach to constructing better models for managing financial markets and the economy
J. Doyne Farmer1, M. Gallegati2, C. Hommes3, A. Kirman4, P. Ormerod5, S. Cincotti6, A. Sanchez7, and D. Helbing8
1 Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
2 DiSES, Universit Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
3 CeNDEF, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 GREQAM, Aix Marseille Universit ́e, EHESS, France
5 Volterra Partners, London and University of Durham, UK
6 DIME-DOGE.I, University of Genoa, Italy
7 GISC, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
8 ETH, Zu ̈rich
Received 1 August 2012 / Received in final form 9 October 2012 Published online 5 December 2012
Eur. Phys. J. Special Topics 214, 295–324 (2012)
THE ONTOLOGY OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS: Levels of Organization, Perspectives, and Causal Thickets*
(Canadian Journal of Philosophy, supp. vol #20, 1994, ed. Mohan Matthen and Robert Ware, University of Calgary Press, 207-274). by William C. Wimsatt Department of Philosophy University of Chicago January 4, 1994 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Universal Key to the Stability of Networks and Complex Systems
P ́eter Csermely
February 25, 2009
Weak Links: Stabilizers of Complex Systems from Proteins to Social Networks,
by Peter Csermely.
2006 XX, 408 p. 37 illus. 3-540-31151-3. Berlin: Springer, 2006.
An Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling: Modeling Natural, Social, and Engineered Complex Systems with NETLogo
Wilensky, Uri and Rand, William MIT Press: London, 2015 ISBN 978-0262731898 (pb)
Dynamics of Complex Systems: Scaling Laws for the Period of Boolean Networks
Réka Albert and Albert-László Barabási*
Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
(Received 28 April 1999)
PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS
VOLUME 84, NUMBER 24
12 JUNE 2000
Cities as Complex Systems: Scaling, Interactions, Networks, Dynamics and Urban Morphologies
Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK Email: email@example.com, Web: www.casa.ucl.ac.uk
The Encyclopedia of Complexity & System Science, Springer, Berlin, DE, forthcoming 2008. Date of this paper: February 25, 2008.
Scale invariance and universality: organizing principles in complex systems
H.E. Stanleya;∗, L.A.N. Amarala , P. Gopikrishnana , P.Ch. Ivanova , T.H. Keittb , V. Pleroua
aCenter for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA bNational Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
Physica A 281 (2000) 60–68
A pragmatist approach to transdisciplinarity in sustainability research: From complex systems theory to reflexive science
Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, U.K.
Department of Mathematics and Centre for Complexity Sciences, University of Bristol, U.K.
(Dated: March 8, 2012)
Modelling and prediction in a complex world
Michael Battya, Paul M. Torrensb,*
aCentre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, 1 to 19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK bDepartment of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm. 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9155, USA
Available online 19 March 2005
Complex networks Augmenting the framework for the study of complex systems
THE EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL B
L.A.N. Amarala and J.M. Ottino Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
Received 12 November 2003 Published online 14 May 2004
Eur. Phys. J. B 38, 147–162 (2004) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2004-00110-5
Learning from Evidence in a Complex World
John D. Sterman Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management and Professor of Engineering Systems Sloan School of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology 30 Wadsworth Street, E53-351 Cambridge MA 02142 617.253.1951 firstname.lastname@example.org web.mit.edu/jsterman/www
Revision of May 2005
Forthcoming, American Journal of Public Health
INTERDISCIPLINARYDESCRIPTION OFCOMPLEX SYSTEMS
7(2), pp. 22-116, 2009 ISSN 1334-4684
Error and attack tolerance of complex networks
R ́eka Albert, Hawoong Jeong, Albert-L ́aszl ́o Barab ́asi
Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556
The Kuramoto model in complex networks
Francisco A. Rodriguesa, Thomas K. DM. Peronb,c,∗, Peng Jic,d,∗, Jürgen Kurthsc,d,e,f
aDepartamento de Matemática Aplicada e Estatística, Instituto de Ciências Matemáticas e de Computação, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 668, 13560-970 São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil bInstituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 369, 13560-970, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil cPotsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 14473 Potsdam, Germany dDepartment of Physics, Humboldt University, 12489 Berlin, Germany eInstitute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, United Kingdom fDepartment of Control Theory, Nizhny Novgorod State University, Gagarin Avenue 23, Nizhny Novgorod 606950, Russia
Uncovering the overlapping community structure of complex networks in nature and society
Gergely Palla†‡, Imre Dere ́nyi‡, Ille ́s Farkas†, and Tama ́s Vicsek†‡ †Biological Physics Research Group of HAS, Pa ́zma ́ny P. stny. 1A, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary,
‡Dept. of Biological Physics, Eo ̈tvo ̈s University, Pa ́zma ́ny P. stny. 1A, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary.
System Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World
John D. Sterman MIT Sloan School of Management Cambridge MA 02421
Scenarios: Frames of Possibilities and Plausibilities
Intuitive Logics method
Oxford Scenarios Program
SRI International (Stanford Research Institute)
DNI US MoD
Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA)
Source: UNDP FORESIGHT: THE MANUAL Page 11
Rare and discontinuous events that are unprecedented, unexpected and have major effects. They are often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight, but this tendency to see coherence can obscure future threats.
A pattern of deviation in judgment that influences the way information is received, processed, retained or called. Cognitive biases influence how inferences, judgements and predictions are drawn.
The mental stress or discomfort one experiences when confronted with new information or views that contradicts existing values or beliefs. Because humans strive for internal consistency, individuals tend to reduce cognitive dissonance by denying or devaluing new information and views, or rationalising their own values and beliefs.
Complex systems are non-linear and diverse networks made up of multiple interconnected elements. Cause and effect relationships within the system are not easily discernable or predictable. Historical extrapolation is futile for predicting emergence (new patterns and behaviours) in complex systems.
Issues or challenges that affect more than a single interest area, institution or stakeholder, and that need to be addressed from all points of view. A Whole-of-Government or Networked approach is useful for addressing cross-cutting issues.
An end-user centred approach to problem-solving that places the final experience at the heart of developing solutions. Following an iterative approach, the rapid prototyping component of design thinking allows for quick adaptation in uncertain environments and continual improvement.
Experimentation and prototyping
Experimentation is a process that seeks to test and validate competing hypotheses. Prototyping refers to creating models or sketches to test ideas and spot problems. Experimentation and prototyping are effective ways to navigate and test hypotheses and ideas in complex or rapidly changing environments.
A relationship of mutual reliance between two or more factors within a system such that changes in one area affect the other(s).
Describes the inclination to stick to past practice despite the availability of newer, more efficient practices as a result of cognitive biases such as risk aversion, or concerns over sunk costs. Designing contingency plans with ample space for flexibility can reduce the constraints of path dependency.
A system’s ability to cope with and recover from shocks or disruptions, either by returning to the status quo or by transforming itself to adapt to the new reality. Resilient systems view change as inevitable and failure as opportunities to learn from. Social cohesion, trust in government and national pride can be indicators of resilience.
The act of assigning coherence in hindsight in order to make sense of what is happening. Practicing retrospective coherence presents the danger of making decisions for the future based on the lessons of history that may not apply in similar situations.
Milestone markers between a given future and the present day that aid visualisation by breaking up the path to the future into manageable blocks of time. They can help to gauge the extent to which a particular scenario has materialised, and can be events, thresholds or trends and patterns.
An analytical problem solving approach that looks at a system as a whole rather than in isolation, and that considers the interactions between various elements. The big-picture overview helps decision makers see linkages across different sections within the system and can foster collaboration and shared understanding within an organisation. Systems thinking also helps policymakers identify cause-effect relationships and how they might manifest in the larger system.
Issues and situations in organisations that have yet to surface and which are blind spots for planners who are unaware that they do not know about them.
A ‘joined-up’ or networked approach to governance that represents a shift from vertical to horizontal decision-making, and which is built on inter-agency collaboration and collective problem-solving. Whole-of-government involves a process of identifying, analysing and managing wide-ranging and cross-cutting issues.
Large and intractable issues and challenges that have no immediate or obvious solutions and whose causes and influencing factors are not easily determined. Wicked problems are characterised by many agents interacting with each other in often mystifying ways, and involve multiple stakeholders operating with different perspectives and goals.
Purpose of Scenarios
Source: Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios?
Van der Heijden  argues that there is a confusing assortment of reasons as to why one should engage in scenarios. He advocates the importance of clearly identifying the purpose of undertaking scenario work — in order to make the appropriate selection of scenario methodology. Van der Heijden argues that “purpose” can be divided along two dimensions; the first dimension is to establish the extent of the scenario work i.e. whether the scenario work is to be a one-off project, or part of on an on-going scenario-based planning process. The second dimension is that of the primary aim of the scenario work, this being either to raise questions, or to answer them — and thus aid decision making.
The combination of these two dimensions results in four purposes of scenario work, namely:
• Sense-making: a one-off ‘exploratory question-raising scenario project’; • Developing strategy: a one-off ‘decision-making scenario project’; • Anticipation: an ‘on-going exploratory scenario activity’; and • Action-based organizational learning: an ‘on-going decision-making activity’.
Van der Heijden continues by suggesting that these four purposes represent a hierarchy of interconnected aims serving the ultimate goal of “strategic success” in which organizational learning is the “overarching broad organisational skill” achieved when the scenario work is an on-going decision-making activity [15, page 162].
Benefits of Scenarios
Source: Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios?
The (mainly practitioner-based) literature contains many testimonials as to the use and organizational benefits of scenarios, which we group under the following headings:
3.1. Enhanced perception
Scenario techniques reportedly enhance corporate and individual perception as they provide a framework for managers to understand and evaluate trends and events as they happen , and managers involved in scenario exercises supposedly become better observers of the business environment, more attuned to discerning changes . Porter  suggests that scenarios help managers to make explicit their implicit assumptions about the future, and to think beyond the confines of conventional wisdom. This, combined with the fact that scenarios often challenge conventional wisdom and complacency by shifting the “perceptual anchors” from which people view the future, reduces the likelihood of managers and organizations making big mistakes in the future and/or of being caught unaware [19,20].
3.2. A structure for dealing with uncertainty
Scenarios provide a structure for thinking aimed at attacking complexity by allowing managers to deal more openly and explicitly with acknowledged uncertainty [21,16], to arrive at a deeper understanding of what is significant, and to identify what needs to be dealt with – and what is transient and can be ignored [11,22]. Bunn and Salo  suggest that, by emphasizing that there are a range of possible futures rather than a single-point future, scenarios reduce the bias for underestimating uncertainties. This is echoed by Docherty and McKiernan  who state that “the greatest contribution of scenario planning lies in its active engagement of actors in its process and its power to enable them to think about complexity and uncertainty in external contexts, and then how they might shape the external environment to their own strategic ends” (p. 10).
3.3. Integration of corporate planning functions
Scenario techniques provide a good middle ground between relying on informal and intuitive techniques, and being bound by the methodological constraints of more formal, quantitative techniques. As a result, a greater variety of information and wider company participation can be incorporated into the forecasting and planning process when scenario planning is used . Other authors [25,26] add that scenarios are also able to combine topical intelligence and structure seemingly disparate environmental factors into a useful framework for decision making in a way that no other planning models can.
3.4. A communications tool
According to Allen , the communications qualities of scenarios are overwhelming as they provide a rational and non-threatening framework for discussion, even with those outside of the organization . Durance and Godet  state that scenarios are also an effective means of rallying employees and communicating strategy across the organization. Bezhold  suggests that the scenarios can be used as a marketing and educational campaign throughout the organization. Ringland  adds that, by sharing its scenarios with the outside world, an organization can provide the context for dialog with its stakeholders — enabling it to influence its external environment. An added benefit  is that the collegiality which usually emerges in a scenario planning exercise does not evaporate once the scenario exercise is complete. Van der Heijden [15,31] reports that Royal Dutch Shell’s scenarios emerged as a powerful management tool by which senior management was able to influence decision-making at all levels throughout the organization, without becoming directly involved in the process or minutiae of the subsequent, scenario-based, evaluation of decisions. This was achieved by making the scenarios the context for key strategic decisions — thus uniting the geographically dispersed, disparate, and decentralized business units in developing a common strategy .
3.5. Organizational learning
Although scenario planning was initially understood as a tool for “thinking the unthinkable” , a body of literature has subsequently developed around the value of scenarios in terms of individual and organizational learning . This is because scenario exercises ostensibly provide a politically-safe team learning environment and a rich learning process that stimulates creativity [11,15,33–37]. As models of future business environments, scenarios provide a vehicle for pseudo-experimentation in terms of formulating strategic options and then examining the consequences of these options in a range of future environments [15,30,31,38]. By having to articulate their assumptions in a scenario exercise, managers can identify inconsistencies in their own thinking and that of their colleagues in a non-threatening environment [25,37]. At the same time, the necessity in scenario work to undertake detailed analysis of environmental driving forces and their causal relationships, forces individuals to examine their perceptions, stretch their mental models and to develop a shared view of uncertainty [15,31]. All of the foregoing leads to an increased confidence in decision-making  and moves the organization towards becoming, what has been termed, a “learning organization” .
Based upon our consideration of the above purposes and benefits of the use of scenario methods, we distil from the literature three main objectives of the application of scenario approaches, as follows:
1) Enhancing understanding: of the causal processes, connections and logical sequences underlying events — thus uncovering how a future state of the world may unfold;
2) Challenging conventional thinking: to reframe perceptions and change the mindsets of those within organizations; and
3) Improving decision making: to inform strategy development.
Support for this conclusion also comes from the work of Varum and Melo who, after undertaking a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of the literature on scenario planning, argued that there is a consensus in the literature on three benefits of using scenarios, namely an “improvement of the learning process, improvement of the decision-making process, and identification of new issues and problems” [2, page.362].
Our three objectives are interlinked in that: firstly, understanding the connections, causal processes and logical sequences which determine how events may unfold to create different futures, will challenge conventional thinking and will also prove of benefit in improving organizational decision making and strategy; secondly, challenging conventional thinking, reframing perceptions and changing mind-sets should result in collective organizational learning; and, thirdly, collective organization learning should enhance organizational decision making and strategy — which in turn should enhance collective organizational learning.
Types of Scenarios
Source: An uncertain future, deep uncertainty, scenarios, robustness and adaptation: How do they fit together?
Types of Uncertainty
Source: Nine lives of uncertainty in decision-making: strategies for dealing with uncertainty in environmental governance
Source: A Scenario-based Approach to Strategic Planning – Integrating Planning and Process Perspective of Strategy
Multiple Frames of Changes in Contextual Environment on the Transcational Environment
Source: Using Scenario Planning to Reshape Strategy
Source: Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation
Source: Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation
Source: Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation
Institutions and Methods of Scenario Planning
Shell/GBN Intuitive Logics Method
Oxford Scenario Planning Approach
La Prospective / M Godet
GBN/Monitor/Deloitte/Center for Long View/Market Sensing and Scenario Planning
Source: Plausibility and probability in scenario planning
Source: The current state of scenario development: an overview of techniques
Research Journals and Authors on Scenario Planning
Source: SCENARIOS IN BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT: THE CURRENT STOCK AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Source: SCENARIOS IN BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT: THE CURRENT STOCK AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Source: SCENARIOS IN BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT: THE CURRENT STOCK AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Source: SCENARIOS IN BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT: THE CURRENT STOCK AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
Integrated management of natural resources: dealing with ambiguous issues, multiple actors and diverging frames
A. Dewulf*, M. Craps*, R. Bouwen*, T. Taillieu* and C. Pahl-Wostl**
*Center for Organizational and Personnel Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium (E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) **Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabru ̈ck, Albrechtstrasse 28, Osnabru ̈ck, Germany (E-mail: email@example.com)
More is not always better: Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management
M. Brugnach a, b, *, A. Dewulf c, H.J. Henriksen d, P. van der Keur d
a Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands b Institute for Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Germany c Public Administration and Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands d Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark
Journal of Environmental Management xxx (2010) 1e7
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE AND MANAGERIAL SENSEMAKING: WORKING THROUGH PARADOX
LOTTE S. LU ̈ SCHER Clavis Consultancy
MARIANNE W. LEWIS University of Cincinnati
Academy of Management Journal 2008, Vol. 51, No. 2, 221–240.
Sustainable Development: Mapping Different Approaches
Bill Hopwood, Mary Mellor, Geoff O’Brien Sustainable Cities Research Institute 6 North Street East, University of Northumbria,
The Environmental Goffman: Toward an Environmental Sociology of Everyday Life
BRADLEY H. BREWSTER
Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
MICHAEL MAYERFELD BELL
Department of Community & Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Society and Natural Resources, 23:45–57 Copyright # 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 0894-1920 print=1521-0723 online DOI: 10.1080/08941920802653505
An uncertain future, deep uncertainty, scenarios, robustness and adaptation: How do they fit together?
H.R. Maier a, *, J.H.A. Guillaume b, H. van Delden a, c, G.A. Riddell a, M. Haasnoot d, e, J.H. Kwakkel e
a School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia b Water & Development Research Group (WDRG), Aalto University, Tietotie 1E, Espoo 02150, Finland c Research Institute for Knowledge Systems, Hertogsingel 11B, 6211 NC Maastricht, The Netherlands d Deltares, Fresh Water Department, Delft, The Netherlands
e Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Technology Policy and Management, Delft, The Netherlands
The current state of scenario development: an overview of techniques
Peter Bishop, Andy Hines and Terry Collins
foresight, Vol. 9 Iss: 1 pp. 5 – 25 2007
Identification and classification of uncertainties in the application of environmental models
J.J. Warmink a, *, J.A.E.B. Janssen a, b, M.J. Booij a, M.S. Krol a
a Department of Water Engineering and Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands b Waterboard Rijn and IJssel, P.O. Box 148, 7000 AC Doetinchem, the Netherlands
Rather than trying to predict the future, organizations need to strengthen their abilities to cope with uncertainty. A new approach to scenario planning can help companies reframe their long-term strategies by developing several plausible scenarios.
Chapter 10 The Learning Dimension of Adaptive Capacity: Untangling the Multi-level Connections
Adaptive Capacity and Environmental Governance
Derek Armitage l Ryan Plummer Editors
Using Trends and Scenarios as Tools for Strategy Development
Shaping the Future of Your Enterprise
by Ulf Pillkahn
Risk frames and multiple ways of knowing: Coping with ambiguity in oil spill risk governance in the Norwegian Barents Sea
Tuuli Parviainena,⁎, Annukka Lehikoinenb, Sakari Kuikkaa, P.ivi Haapasaaria
a University of Helsinki, Finland, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, P.O Box 65, Viikinkaari 1, FI-00014 Helsinki Finland
b University of Helsinki, Finland, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Kotka Maritime Research Center, Keskuskatu 10, FI-48100 Kotka, Finland
Environmental Science and Policy 98 (2019) 95–111
How Issues Get Framed and Reframed When Different Communities Meet: A Multi-level Analysis of a Collaborative Soil Conservation Initiative in the Ecuadorian Andes
ART DEWULF1*, MARC CRAPS1 and GERD DERCON2
1Centre for Organizational and Personnel Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium
2International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibidan, Nigeria
Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
J. Community Appl. Soc. Psychol., 14: 177–192 (2004)
A Conceptual Basis for Uncertainty Management in Model-Based Decision Support
W.E. WALKER1, P. HARREMO€EES2, J. ROTMANS3, J.P. VAN DER SLUIJS5, M.B.A. VAN ASSELT4, P. JANSSEN6 AND M.P. KRAYER VON KRAUSS2
1Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands,
2Environment & Resources DTU, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark,
3International Centre for Integrative Studies (ICIS), Maastricht University, The Netherlands,
4Faculty of Arts and Culture, Maastricht University, The Netherlands,
5Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovations, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and
6Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands
2003, Vol. 00, No. 0, pp. 000–000
A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions
Reducing errors in judgment requires a disciplined process.
1Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, Massachusetts, 2Harvard Forest, Harvard University and Science Policy Exchange, Petersham, Massachusetts, 3Michigan State University, Department of Forestry, East Lansing, Michigan, 4Climate and Global Warming Solutions, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Boston, Massachusetts, 5Consensus Building Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The origins of the worship of the Shiva-Linga are unknown. Shiva-Linga has one complete purana which is dedicated to its form and origin. It may be a symbolic representation of self (Atma Linga) or of everything. Some associate it with the physical form of Pranava (Om). Oval form represents even the shape of the Universe including the existing space. The beginning of the oval form is A in OM and prolonged part is U in OM and M is the ending part of the linga. It is single shape of Trimurti. Praying Shiva Linga is considered as praying the Thrimurti in absolute form. Linga represents absolute and Single power of this universe. Some associate them with the famous hymn in the Atharva-Veda Samhitâ sung in praise of the Yupa-Stambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn a description is found of the beginningless and endless Stambha or Skambha and it is shown that the said Skambha is put in place of the eternal Brahman. As afterwards the Yajna (sacrificial) fire, its smoke, ashes and flames, the Soma plant and the ox that used to carry on its back the wood for the Vedic sacrifice gave place to the conceptions of the brightness of Shiva’s body, his tawny matted-hair, his blue throat and the riding on the bull of the Shiva. The Yupa-Skambha gave place in time to the Shiva-Linga. In the Linga Purâna the same hymn is expanded in the shape of stories, meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and the superiority of Mahâdeva.
In the context of Hindu mythology, stambha, also spelt as Skambha, is believed to a cosmic column. It is believed that the stambha functions as a bond, which joins the heaven (Svarga) and the earth (prithvi). A number of Hindu scriptures, including the Atharva Veda, have references to stambha. In the Atharva Veda, a celestial stambha has been mentioned, and that has been described as a scaffold, which supports the cosmos and material creation
1)Which of his members is the seat of Fervour: Which is the base of Ceremonial Order? Where in him standeth Faith? Where Holy Duty? Where, in what part of him is truth implanted?
2)Out of which member glows the light of Agni? Form which proceeds the breath of Mātarisvan? From which doth Chandra measure out his journey, travelling over Skambha’s mighty body?
3)Which of his members is the earth’s upholder? Which gives the middle air a base to rest on? Where, in which member is the sky established? Where hath the space above the sky its dwelling?
4)Whitherward yearning blazeth Agni upward? Whitherward yearning bloweth Mātarisvan? Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom with longing go the turning pathways?
5)Whitheward go the half-months, and, accordant with the full year, the months in their procession? Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom go seasons and the groups of seasons?
6)Whitherward yearning speed the two young Damsels, accordant, Day and Night, of different colour? Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom the Waters take their way with longing?
7)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha, On whom Prajāpati set up and firmly stablished all the worlds?
8)That universe which Prajāpati created, wearing all forms,, the highest, midmost, lowest, How far did Skambha penetrate within it? What portion did he leave unpenetrated?
9)How far within the past hath Skambha entered? How much of him hath reached into the future? That one part which he set in thousand places,—how far did Skambha penetrate within it?
10)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha in whom men recognize the Waters, Brahma, In whom they know the worlds and their enclosures, in whom are non-existence and existence?
11)Declare that. Skambha, who is he of many, In whom, exerting every power, Fervour maintains her loftiest vow; In whom are comprehended Law, Waters, Devotion and Belief
12)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha On whom as their foundation earth and firmament and sky are set; In whom as their appointed place rest Fire and Moon and Sun and Wind?
13)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha He in whose body are contained all three-and-thirty Deities?
14)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha. In whom the Sages earliest born, the Richas, Sāman, Yajus, Earth, and the one highest Sage abide?
15)Who out of many, tell me, is the Skambha. Who comprehendeth, for mankind, both immortality and death, He who containeth for mankind the gathered waters as his veins?
16)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha, He whose chief arteries stand there, the sky’s four regions, he irk whom Sacrifice putteth forth its might?
17)They who in Purusha understand Brahma know Him who is. Supreme. He who knows Him who is Supreme, and he who knows the Lord of Life, These know the loftiest Power Divine, and thence know Skam- bha thoroughly.
18)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha Of whom Vaisvānara became the head, the Angirases his eye, and Yātus his corporeal parts?
19)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha Whose mouth they say is Holy Lore, his tongue the Honey- sweetened Whip, his udder is Virāj, they say?
20)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha From whom they hewed the lichas off, from whom they chipped the Yajus, he Whose hairs are Sāma-verses and his mouth the Atharvāngi- rases?
21)Men count as ’twere a thing supreme nonentity’s conspicuous branch; And lower man who serve thy branch regard it as an entity.
22)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha In whom Ādityas dwell, in whom Rudras and Vasus are contained, In whom the future and the past and all the worlds are firmly set;
23)Whose secret treasure evermore the three-and thirty Gods protect? Who knoweth now the treasure which, O Deities ye watch and guard?
24)Where the Gods, versed in Sacred Lore, worship the loftiest Power Divine The priest who knows them face to face may be a sage who knows the truth.
25)Great, verily, are those Gods who sprang from non-existence into life. Further, men say that that one part of Skambha is nonentity.
26)Where Skambha generating gave the Ancient World its shape and form, They recognized that single part of Skambha as the Ancient World,
27)The three-and-thirty Gods within his body were disposed as limbs: Some, deeply versed in Holy Lore, some know those three-and- thirty Gods.
28)Men know Hiranyagarbha as supreme and inexpressible: In the beginning, in the midst of the world, Skambha poured that gold.
29)On Skambha Fervour rests, the worlds and Holy Law repose on him. Skambha, I clearly know that all of thee on Indra is imposed.
30)On Indra Fervour rests, on him the worlds and Holy Law recline. Indra, I clearly know that all of thee on Skambha findeth rest.
31)Ere sun and dawn man calls and calls one Deity by the other’s name. When the Unborn first sprang into existence he reached that independent sovran lordship; than which aught higher never hath arisen.
32)Be reverence paid to him, that highest Brahma, whose base is Earth, his belly Air, who made the sky to be his head.
33)Homage to highest Brahma, him whose eye is Sūrya and the Moon who groweth young and new again, him who made Agni for his mouth.
34)Homage to highest Brahma, him whose two life-breathings were the Wind, The Angirases his sight: who made the regions be his means of sense.
35)Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha maintained the ample air between them. Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole world Skambha entered and pervaded.
36)Homage to highest Brahma, him who, sprung from Fervour and from toil, Filled all the worlds completely, who made Soma for himself alone.
37)Why doth the Wind move ceaselessly? Why doth the spirit take no rest? Why do the Waters, seeking truth, never at any time repose?
38)Absorbed in Fervour, is the mighty Being, in the world’s centre, on the waters’ surface. To him the Deities, one and all betake them. So stand the tree- trunk with the branches round it.
39)Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha. To whom the Deities with hands, with feet, and voice, and ear, and eye. Present unmeasured tribute in the measured hall of sacrifice?
40)Darkness is chased away from him: he is exempt from all dist- ress. In him are all the lights, the three abiding in Prajāpati.
41)He verily who knows the Reed of Gold that stands amid the flood, is the mysterious Lord of Life.
42)Singly the two young Maids of different colours approach the six-pegged warp in turns and weave it. The one draws out the threads, the other lays them: they break them not, they reach no end of labour.
43)Of these two, dancing round as ’twere, I cannot distinguish whether ranks before the other. A Male in weaves this web, a Male divides it: a Male hath stretched it to the cope of heaven
44)These pegs have buttressed up the sky. The Sāmans have turned them into shuttles for the weaving.
yó bhūtáṃ ca bhávyaṃ ca sárvaṃ yáś cādhitíṣṭhati
sv àryásya ca kévalaṃ tásmai jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇe námaḥ 1
Worship to loftiest Brahma, Lord of what hath been and what shall be, To him who rules the universe, and heavenly light is all his own!
skambhénemé víṣṭabhite dyáuś ca bhū́miś ca tiṣṭhataḥ
skambhá idáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇán nimiṣác ca yát 2
Upheld by Skambha’s power these two, the heaven and the earth,stand fast. Skambha is all this world of life, whatever breathes or shuts eye.
tisró ha prajā́ atyāyám āyan ny ànyā́ arkám abhíto ‘viśanta
br̥hán ha tasthau rájaso vimā́no hárito háriṇīr ā́ viveśa 3
Three generations have gone by and vanished and others near have entered into sunlight. There stood on high he who metes out the region into green, plants hath passed the Golden-coloured
dvā́daśa pradháyaś cakrám ékaṃ trī́ṇi nábhyāni ká u tác ciketa tátrā́hatās trī́ṇi śatā́ni śaṅkávaḥ ṣaṣṭíś ca khī́lā ávicācalā yé 4
One is the wheel, the tires are twelve in number, the naves are three What man hath understood it?Three hundred spokes have thereupon been hammered, and sixty pins set firmly in their places.
Up, eastward downward in the west, ‘it rolleth, with countless elements, one-wheeled, single-fellied.With half it hath begotten all creation. Where hath the other half become unnoticed?
pañcavāhī́ vahatyágram eṣāṃ práṣṭayo yuktā́ anusáṃvahanti
áyātam asya dadr̥śé ná yātáṃ páraṃ nédīyó ‘varaṃ dávīyaḥ 8
In front of these the five-horsed car moves onward: side-horses, harnessed with the others draw it. No one hath seen its hither course untravelled; the height sees it more near, the depth more distant.
That which hath power of motion, that which flies, or stands,which breathes or breathes not, which, existing, shuts the eyeWearing all forms that entity upholds the earth, and in its closeconsistence still is only one.
anantáṃ vítataṃ purutrā́nantám ántavac cā sámante
té nākapāláś carati vicinván vidvā́n bhūtám utá bhávyam asya 12
The infinite to every side extended, the finite and the infinite around us,These twain Heaven’s Lord divides as he advances, knowing the past hereof and all the future
Joanna Macy, in World As Lover, World As Self, made this concept clear to me. It’s not a common idea in Western religious talk, because it makes a divine Authority unnecessary for a moral imperative. She comes to it from systems theory, where it does have a Western parallel.
From page 54, here’s a taste:
According to Western religious thought, ethical values derive from divine commandment. A supernatural source is necessary to provide moral sanction. Without the ontological security of belief in an absolute, everything seems awash, with no clear guidelines, and it’s every man for himself. This assumption is so pervasive in the West that many noted scholars judged Buddhism’s moral teachings to be weak, since they do not issue from belief in any God. It is true that the Way the Buddha taught is freed from the necessity to believe in any supernatural authority. Indeed when he was asked by what authority he spoke, he cited again and again the law of dependent co-arising; not any entity ruling our world, but the dynamics at work within our world. He cited the interdependence of all phenomena. What did he mean by that? How can radical relativity serve as a moral grounding?
Her answer to that question, a description of the vigil under the Bodhi tree, takes too much space to quote at length here, but it begins (p. 540) with…
With fascination I studied the early Buddhist texts. I read how the perception of paticca samuppada dawned on the Buddha the night of his enlightenment, and featured in his discourses. I saw how it underlay everything he taught about self, suffering, and liberation from suffering. I noted how it knocked down the dichotomies bred by hierarchical thinking, the old polarities between mind and matter, self and world, that had exasperated me as a spiritual seeker and activist, and as a woman.
…and includes, on p. 56...
Tracing thus the sources of suffering, he did not find a first cause or prime mover, but beheld instead patterns or circuits of contingency. The factors were sustained by their own interdependence.
…and on p. 58…
According to this apparently simple set of assertions, things do not produce each other or make each other happen, as in linear causality; they help each other happen by providing occasion or locus or context, and in so doing, they in turn are affected. There is a mutuality here, a reciprocal dynamic.
I left out the narrative parts and the quotations from original sources. The argument hangs together better with them, and is more interesting. When I read it I felt I’d been given a great gift: how to understand morality as implicit in the basic nature of the universe, without pinning it on divinity. Instead of being subject to a top-down authority structure, we participate in an interdependent web of being Ñ which enfolds us, dancing with the endless exchange of energy which is our dependent co-arising, our giving and receiving of the life force, of compassion and service, of the dharma.
25 November 1998
When the Buddha taught, he was said to turn the Wheel of the Dharma. Indeed, his central doctrine is like a wheel, for through it he taught the dependent co-arising of all things, how they continually change and condition each other in interconnections as real as the spokes in a wheel.
I have been deeply inspired by the Buddha’s teaching of dependent co-arising. It fills me with a sense of connection and mutual responsibility with all beings. Helping me understand the non- hierarchical and self-organizing nature of life, it is the philosophic grounding of all my work.
The recognition of our essential nonseparateness from the world, beyond the shaky walls erected of our fear and greed, is a Dharma gift occurring in every generation, in countless individual lives. Yet there are historical moments when this perspective arises in a more collective fashion and when, within Buddhism as a whole (if we can even talk of “Buddhism as a whole”!), there is a fresh reappropriation of the Buddha’s central teaching. This seems to be occurring today. Along with the destructive, even suicidal nature of many of our public policies, social and intellectual developments are converging now to bring into bold relief the Buddha’s teaching of dependent co-arising–and the wheel of the Dharma turns again.
This is happening in many ways. I see it in the return to the social teachings of the Buddha, in the revitalization of the bodhisattva ideal, in the rapid spread of “engaged Buddhism,” be it among Sarvodayans in Sri Lanka, Ambedkarite Buddhists in India, or Dharma activists in Tibet, Thailand, or Southeast Asia. Western Buddhists, too, are taking Dharma practice out into the world, developing skillful means for embodying compassion as they take action to serve the homeless, restore creekbeds, or block weapons shipments. The vitality of Buddhism today is most clearly reflected in the way it is being brought to bear on social, economic, political, and environmental issues, leading people to become effective agents of change. The gate of the Dharma does not close behind us to secure us in a cloistered existence aloof from the turbulence and suffering of samsara, so much as it leads us out into a life of risk for the sake of all beings. As many Dharma brothers and sisters discover today, the world is our cloister.
Here new hands and minds, aware of the suffering caused by outmoded ways of thinking and dysfunctional power structures, help turn the wheel. Strong convergences are at play here, as Buddhist thought and practice interact with the organizing values of the Green movement, with Gandhian nonviolence, and humanistic psychology, with ecofeminism, and sustainable economics, with systems theory, deep ecology, and new paradigm science.
In his teaching of Interbeing, Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh captures the flavor of this turning. Not only does he model the many bodhisattva roles one life can play–scholar, activist, teacher, poet, meditator, and mediator; he opens as well through the concept and practice of Interbeing a wide gate into the Buddha’s doctrine of dependent co-arising.
Now we see that everything we do impinges on all beings. The way you are with your child is a political act, and the products you buy and your efforts to recycle are part of it too. So is meditation–just trying to stay aware is a task of tremendous importance. We are trying to be present to ourselves and each other) in a way that can save our planet. Saving life on this planet includes developing a strong, caring connection with future generations; for, in the Dharma of co-arising, we are here to sustain one another over great distances of space and time.
The Dharma wheel, as it turns now, also tells us this: that we don’t have to invent or construct our connections. They already exist. We already and indissolubly belong to each other, for this is the nature of life. So, even in our haste and hurry and occasional discouragement, we belong to each other. We can rest in that knowing, and stop and breathe, and let that breath connect us with the still center of the turning wheel.
Wikipedia on Pratitya Samutpada
Hua Yen school
The Huayan school taught the doctrine of the mutual containment and interpenetration of all phenomena, as expressed in Indra’s net. One thing contains all other existing things, and all existing things contain that one thing. This philosophy is based in the tradition of the great Madhyamaka scholar Nagarjuna and, more specifically, on the Avatamsaka Sutra. Regarded by D.T. Suzuki as the crowning achievement of Buddhist philosophy, the Avatamsaka Sutra elaborates in great detail on the principal of dependent origination. This sutra describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing one another.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh states, “Pratitya samutpada is sometimes called the teaching of cause and effect, but that can be misleading, because we usually think of cause and effect as separate entities, with cause always preceding effect, and one cause leading to one effect. According to the teaching of Interdependent Co-Arising, cause and effect co-arise (samutpada) and everything is a result of multiple causes and conditions… In the sutras, this image is given: “Three cut reeds can stand only by leaning on one another. If you take one away, the other two will fall.” In Buddhist texts, one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else. This is the basis, states Hanh, for the idea that there is no first and only cause, something that does not itself need a cause.
Sogyal Rinpoche states all things, when seen and understood in their true relation, are not independent but interdependent with all other things. A tree, for example, cannot be isolated from anything else. It has no independent existence, states Rinpoche.
Macy graduated from Wellesley College in 1950 and received her Ph.D in Religious Studies in 1978 from Syracuse University, Syracuse. She studied there with Huston Smith, the influential author of The World’s Religions(previously entitled The Religions of Man). She is an international spokesperson for anti-nuclear causes, peace, justice, and environmentalism,most renowned for her book Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World and the Great Turning initiative, which deals with the transformation from, as she terms it, an industrial growth society to what she considers to be a more sustainable civilization. She has created a theoretical framework for personal and social change, and a workshop methodology for its application. Her work addresses psychological and spiritual issues, Buddhist thought, and contemporary science. She was married to the late Francis Underhill Macy, the activist and Russian scholar who founded the Center for Safe Energy.
Key formative influences to her teaching in the field of the connection to living systems theory have been Ervin Laszlo who introduced her to systems theory through his writings (especially Introduction to Systems Philosophy and Systems, Structure and Experience), and who worked with her as advisor on her doctoral dissertation (later adapted as Mutual Causality) and on a project for the Club of Rome. Gregory Bateson, through his Steps to an Ecology of Mindand in a summer seminar, also shaped her thought, as did the writings of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Arthur Koestler, and Hazel Henderson. She was influenced in the studies of biological systems by Tyrone Cashman, and economic systems by Kenneth Boulding. Donella Meadows provided insights on the planetary consequences of runaway systems, and Elisabet Sahtourisprovided further information about self-organizing systems in evolutionary perspective.
A Wild Love for the World, an interview with Joanna Macy, by Krista Tippet on the American Radio Show “On Being.” This page provides links to the original program that first aired in 2010, along with the unedited version of the program. Macy also recites many Rilke poems during the show, but some of these poems are edited out so you can listen to them recited individually.
Aristotle’s Cardinal Virtues: Their Application to Assessment of Psychopathology and Psychotherapy
The roots of virtue theory lie in pre-Socratic times but commenced in earnest with Socrates’ infuriating questioning of the values and beliefs of his fellow Athenians. The theory was significantly advanced by Plato and was definitively elaborated by Aristotle himself in his two ethical treatises, the Nicomachean Ethics and the Eudemian Ethics. Aristotelian thought was preserved by Arab scholars during the so-called Dark Ages and rediscovered by Christian thinkers during the high Middle Ages. Aristotelian moral philosophy was then incorporated into Christian moral theology/philosophy, particularly by Thomas Aquinas.
Of course, the elaboration of virtue ethics did not cease with Aristotle but continued as a major philosophical theme of the Stoics, Cynics, Epicureans, and other ancient philosophical schools. As one author put it, ‚virtue ethics persisted as the dominant approach in Western moral philosophy until at least the Enlightenment‛ (Hursthouse, 2007, p.1), and it survives today, alongside its rivals, deontology and consequentialism. However, the present essay is based solely on Aristotle’s views.
How are virtues assigned?
By profession – Class System
By family ? – Caste System
Virtues and Classes in Greece
Temperance was common to all classes, but primarily associated with the producing classes, the farmers and craftsmen, and with the animal appetites, to whom no special virtue was assigned; fortitude was assigned to the warrior class and to the spirited element in man; prudence to the rulers and to reason. Justice stands outside the class system and divisions of man, and rules the proper relationship among the three of them.
And what about development? Can virtues be acquired?
Through life practice
Aristotle, being the grounded empiricist he was, noted a number of variables that either enhance or hinder a person’s development of virtues; and he stated that, in order to develop higher levels of virtues, a person must have the ‘good fortune’ to be in circumstances that favour the enhancement variables. Perhaps the most crucial of these variables is the family. Aristotle clearly recognized that virtues spring from appropriate socialization within the family and, thus, have a strong developmental underpinning. Children learn virtuous character traits by specific training in those dispositions, ideally accomplished in a strong, two parent family unit. He clearly believed that one of the impediments to acquiring virtue was the lack of a family structure capable of such training. In fact, contrary to Plato, he argued in favour of the value of the family and condemned adultery as always wrong because it undermines family structure—specifically, the relation- ship between husband and wife.
Aristotle believed that childhood training was a sine qua non for the full flowering of virtue but never sufficient in and of itself. Mature virtue is gained in adulthood when cognitive processes are developed enough to reflect on goals in life. Kraut (2007, p.6) summarizes this developmental process as follows:
We approach ethical theory with a disorganized bundle of likes and dislikes based on habit and experience; such disorder is an inevitable feature of childhood. But what is not inevitable is that our early experience will be rich enough to provide an adequate basis for worthwhile ethical reflection; That is why we need to be brought up well. Yet such an upbringing can take us only so far <we must systematize our goals so that as adults we have a coherent plan of life. We need to engage in ethical theory, and to reason well in this field if we are to move beyond the low-grade form of virtue we acquired as children.
Other variables Aristotle recognized as influencing our ability to develop virtues include the culture in general, sufficient income, enough power to resist being overwhelmed by the less virtuous, a positive body image, parents who live long enough to raise you, and peer support. Had Aristotle lived in the 20th/21st centuries, he might have added a number of variables to the list: sufficient cognitive ability to learn, an intact central nervous system free of genetic elements generating psychopathology and/or learning disabilities, birth into one of the developed countries with access to education, and many others. Clinicians everyday see how these and related deficits interfere with the proper socialization of children.
And, use of virtues in Psychotherapy and Psychopathology
In addition, Aristotle recognized certain ‘internal disorders’ that appear to have some similarity to various psychopathologies in today’s understanding and can lead to virtue deficiency. These virtue deficits occur when emotions, such as an appetite for pleasure, anger, fear, depression and such, exert pressure on the rational expression of virtue. The first—the ‘incontinent’—are less able than the truly virtuous to resist the counter pressures of emotion and conflict as they threaten breakthrough. A variety of mental disorders, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (2000) might well fall under this category, and the persons affected would present with a plethora of combinations of psychological and neuro- psychological negatives and histories of family dysfunction. The second—the ‘evil’ (kakos in Greek)—refuse to behave according to virtuous standards. Aristotle seemed to believe they have decided virtues have no value; and, therefore, they seek domination of others and sensual pleasures. In modern psychopathology these individuals might fall under the antisocial personality disorder category, and they would not be seen as making studied rational choices about whether or not to practice virtue.
Of course, the parallels between Aristotle’s recognition of these disorders and modern understandings are far from precise; yet, Aristotle showed great depth of understanding in recognizing that disorders of emotion can disrupt virtue formation.
Prudence (φρόνησις, phronēsis; Latin: prudentia; also Wisdom, Sophia, sapientia), the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time.
Courage (ἀνδρεία, andreia; Latin: fortitudo): also termed fortitude, forbearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation
Temperance (σωφροσύνη, sōphrosynē; Latin: temperantia): also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, discretion, and moderation tempering the appetition. Sōphrosynē can also be translated as sound-mindedness.
Justice (δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosynē; Latin: iustitia): also considered as fairness, the most extensive and most important virtue; the Greek word also having the meaning righteousness
The term cardinal comes from the Latin cardo (hinge); virtues are so called because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. They also relate to the Quadrivium.
In classical antiquity
The four cardinal virtues appear as a group (sometimes included in larger lists) long before they are later given this title.
Plato identified the four cardinal virtues with the classes of the city described in The Republic, and with the faculties of man. Plato narrates a discussion of the character of a good city where the following is agreed upon. “Clearly, then, it will be wise, brave, temperate [literally: healthy-minded], and just.” (427e; see also 435b) Temperance was common to all classes, but primarily associated with the producing classes, the farmers and craftsmen, and with the animal appetites, to whom no special virtue was assigned; fortitude was assigned to the warrior class and to the spirited element in man; prudence to the rulers and to reason. Justice stands outside the class system and divisions of man, and rules the proper relationship among the three of them.
Plato sometimes (e.g., Protagoras 349b; cf. 324e, 329c, 330b, 331a-c) lists holiness (hosiotes, eusebeia, aidos) amongst the cardinal virtues. He especially associates holiness with justice, but leaves their precise relationship unexplained.
In Aristotle’s Rhetoric we read: “The forms of Virtue are justice, courage, temperance, magnificence, magnanimity, liberality, gentleness, prudence, wisdom.” (Rhetoric 1366b1)
The Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero (106–43 BC), like Plato, limits the list to four virtues:
“Virtue may be defined as a habit of mind (animi) in harmony with reason and the order of nature. It has four parts: wisdom (prudentiam), justice, courage, temperance.” (De Inventione, II, LIII) 
Cicero discusses these further in De Officiis (I, V and following).
The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius discusses these in Book V:12 of Meditations and views them as the “goods” that a person should identify in one’s own mind, as opposed to “wealth or things which conduce to luxury or prestige.”
The cardinal virtues are listed in the Bible. The deuterocanonical book Wisdom of Solomon 8:7 reads, “She [Wisdom] teaches temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life.”
They are also found in the Biblical apocrypha. 4 Maccabees 1:18–19 relates: “Now the kinds of wisdom are right judgment, justice, courage, and self-control. Right judgment is supreme over all of these since by means of it reason rules over the emotions.”
The Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, regarded temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage as the four most desirable character traits. The Book of Wisdom is one of the seven Sapiential Books included in the Septuagint. Wisdom 8:7 states that the fruits of Wisdom “… are virtues; For she teaches moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude, and nothing in life is more useful for men than these.”
The moral virtues are attitudes,and good habits that govern one’s actions, passions, and conduct according to reason; and are acquired by human effort.Immanuel Kant said, “Virtue is the moral strength of the will in obeying the dictates of duty”. The cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
Prudence from prudentia (meaning “seeing ahead, sagacity”) is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is called the Auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues) as it guides the other virtues.
Justice is the virtue which regulates man in his dealings with others. Connected to justice are the virtues of religion, piety, and gratitude.
Fortitude which Thomas Aquinas ranks third after prudence and justice and equates with brave endurance. Patience and perseverance are virtues related to fortitude.
Temperance is the virtue which moderates in accordance with reason the desires and pleasures of the sensuous appetite. Related to temperance are the virtues of continence, humility, and meekness.
Philosophers recognized the interrelatedness of the virtues such that courage without prudence risks becoming mere foolhardiness. Aquinas found an interconnection of practical wisdom (prudentia) and moral virtue. This is frequently termed “the Unity of the Virtues.” Aquinas also argued that it not only matters what a person does but how the person does it. The person must aim at a good end and also make a right choice about the means to that end. The moral virtues direct the person to aim at a good end, but to ensure that the person make the right choices about the means to a good end, one needs practical wisdom.
These seven virtues do not correspond to the seven heavenly virtues arrived at by combining the cardinal and theological virtues. Furthermore, efforts in the Middle Ages to set the seven heavenly virtues in direct opposition to the seven capital sins are both uncommon and beset with difficulties. “[T]reatises exclusively concentrating on both septenaries are actually quite rare.” and “examples of late medieval catalogues of virtues and vices which extend or upset the double heptad can be easily multiplied.” And there are problems with this parallelism.
The opposition between the virtues and the vices to which these works allude despite the frequent inclusion of other schemes may seem unproblematic at first sight. The virtues and the vices seem to mirror each other as positive and negative moral attitudes, so that medieval authors, with their keen predilection for parallels and oppositions, could conveniently set them against each other … Yet artistic representations such as Conrad’s trees are misleading in that they establish oppositions between the principal virtues and the capital vices which are based on mere juxtaposition. As to content, the two schemes do not match each other. The capital vices of lust and avarice, for instance, contrast with the remedial virtues of chastity and generosity, respectively, rather than with any theological or cardinal virtue; conversely, the virtues of hope and prudence are opposed to despair and foolishness rather than to any deadly sin. Medieval moral authors were well aware of the fact. Actually, the capital vices are more often contrasted with the remedial or contrary virtues in medieval moral literature than with the principal virtues, while the principal virtues are frequently accompanied by a set of mirroring vices rather than by the seven deadly sins.
From The hidden hyperbolic geometry of international trade: World Trade Atlas 1870–2013
Regional Trading Blocks
Free Trade Agreements
Metabolism of a City
Metabolism of a Nation
Metabolism of the World
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.
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.
You may know of Russian Dolls – Nested Dolls. They are known as Matryoshka Dolls. I came across this russian paper investigating roots of dolls.
Possible origins of Matryoshka 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
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
– 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
– 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.
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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.
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.