Holism in Broad Sense. About the Conventional Holism Failure

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Evidently holism does not constitute a “syncategory” being a vulgar approximation of genuine living wholes.  Even though explicitly aims to synthesis (a limited synthesis, undermined by ample analytical aspects ) and has great merit in recognizing and promoting of emergence and emergent properties ( specific, integrative, new features which did not exist at the part stage ), the traditional holism remains within the real world, belonging to explicate / unfolded order of the world in Bohmian terms. Indeed any holistic approach fails the “syn” moment of authentic genesis due to assumed acceptance of Cartesian modal decoupling ( either real or possible ), this is why the holism does not appear from possible but rather from stable parts, whose interaction is leading to an abstract entity; by comparison authentic totalities = syntegrations, deriving from synthesis, are not constituted from parts but rather subsystems, subtotalities….these being unable to exist by themselves, in other words they do not precede the whole. By contrast with holistic entity (which can be divided / dismembered )  the living wholes (syntegrations) are principially   indivisible ( however they can be dismembered but then they completely and irreversibly lose their “ live ” defining features ).  It is interesting to follow how the analytical connotation of the holism have been perceived – more or less accurately – by different thinkers:

Emil Cioran: “ the whole thing should be seen not named ” ( to see in a hermeneutical meaning ).

Martin Heidegger: “ If we try to scrutinize the rock by breaking it up, then it will never show the opening of its intrinsic content. ”

David Bohm: “ The classical idea of world’s separability in distinct but interacting parts is no longer valid. Divisibility in elements ( particles and fields ) is just a vulgar approximation.  We have arrived to a new order, radically different from the order of Galilei and Newton: the order of indivisible totality.”

I have been asked here in America ( where separability is deeply rooted ): how can we reflect a genuine living totality without altering it? Simply: we are not going to reflect it !  Since reflecting constitutes an extrinsic sequential procedure ( implying separation = death of the whole )   the alive totality should be seen in hermeneutical meaning ( through word and non-word ), we can simulate it on computers ( the infographists being our contemporary pre-socratics having a real respect for individual existence ), we can love it ( love in broad sense = coherence ). Two decades ago I have corresponded with David Bohm ( at Birkbeck College – London ) praising his non-classic concepts ( implicate order, holomovement,  wholeness ) which he appreciated; as soon as I criticized his rheomode project ( kinetization   through verbs of discursive noun centered language ), as being disproportionately insignificant by comparison with holomovement  he chose to be silent.  My conviction was and still is that at the generalized level (holomovement, wholeness) we need a new non-Cartesian form of communication or a language in broad sense such as the general non-linear theory of oscillations – synchronization, coherence and resonance being applicable to existence in broad sense, or equally to the Bohmian holomovement.

The rheomode  project as well as traditional holism belongs to the same modern methodological Cartesian arsenal, slightly improved.

Whilst the time of all holistic entities is exhausted by duration, the syntegrative time extends much beyond duration, including the potential time which precedes and succeeds duration itself.  Just now, in the new  ( syntegrative ) context  the real / possible connection gains historical and ontological relevance: not just the houses are build from bricks, but equally the bricks ( as project, idea ) are made from houses. In his works ( 1980 and after ) dedicated to indivisible universe and holomovement Bohm ceased to start from parts – component of the whole ( according to the traditional holism ) – but from the whole to the parts – in other words: in Syntegration the synthesis precedes and controls analysis, considering parts as some abstractions of continuous flux ( holomovement, implicate order ), this flux being governed by the holonomy = the whole’s law, or in Bohmian terms: “ Everything is to be explained in terms of forms derived from this holomovement.”

A syntegration of great mathematical and physical relevance is the category of “ the set of all sets ” – a sui-generis set, in broad sense, essentially different from its holistic analog (a set of sets) through unicity, indivisibility, nonlocality. The set of all sets constitutes a sine qua non piece of the new non-Cartesian conceptual frame: aiming to wholeness, it is highly compatible with the essential requirement  of holographic universe – each particle to be constituted from ALL.

Fig. 1 Genesis in broad sense of every real: from pre-history (a) to quantum inseparability / entanglement (d )

R ( E ) = real, explicate horizon; P ( I ) = possible implicate horizon


The distinction between holism and syntegration is a fundamental one, involving some profound re-conceptualization and correlatively the opening toward new comprehensive and organizational horizons:

  • For instance the syntegrative time ( time in broad sense ) is no longer reduced to duration but it comprehends:

1.  real pre-history = unfolding or decoherence ( Fig. 1 a, b );
2.  conventional duration = the history itself of the real;
3.  the real post-history = potentialization or re-coherence.

Quantum inseparability ( Fig. 1 c, d ) involves a new type of connection ( synconnection ) between potential states of the two subsystems; to note that after the interaction is disrupted, these two do not become parts even in case of their biggest separation into Euclidian space. Moreover the real systems are not completely isolated, not even in total lacking of any local ergonic interactions: their weak non-ergonic integration is irreducible ( dotted line , Fig. 1 b down ) representing  a residual original coherence, most likely a  syntegrative relic of the early universe; in the case of local interaction this residual coherence amplifies, taking the form of a synconnection, leading to entanglement / nonlocality.

  • Genesis in broad sense and Syntegration, implying synconnection of any real with potential – possible justifies the non-traditional methodological view in which something exists before it is given: lasting reality around us, is not a random one but rather a tuned reality ( according to M. Heidegger ) any emergence representing a progressive fulfillment of a potential project / design or as per Roger Penrose: “ something that already exists ”. In the new context, which could be seen by some  as pseudo-scientific, everything becomes a matter of grad ( Bart KOSKO ) in the sense that life, consciousness, finality, individuality, etc are gradually realized under the control of Whole.  More details in section “Alive in Broad Sense. Physis Situation”.

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