last updated 6 May 2012
If reality is a seamless whole, then all disciplines investigating that reality are intimately connected. No one branch of knowledge can develop separately from all others and do full justice to itself.
The study/research/discussion events centering on these subjects are intended to promote efforts to train the mind to see fields of knowledge as integral parts of one interrelated whole.
Forums to develop the synthesis of: Economics Faiths Education Politics Psychology Arts Esoterics Symbiosophy Biosophy Philosophy Science Health
Experts are welcomed but everyone is encouraged to develop and hold informed and considered views on others' expertise.
The idea behind these forums is to evolve a new kind of learning institution in the form of future-evolution-oriented places of learning with faculties sharing a 'Round Table'.
The notion of a round table is meant to convey a collaborative and friendly approach to learning for the love of a subject, not necessarily for academic benefit or career gains.
Goto TOP. Return to Manifesto.
Forums to develop holistic understanding are expected to appear depending on demand. Lot of this work could be done now in virtual places like meetups the Paragonian University or Zaadzland, for example, but meetings in real space will still be essential.
According to a holistic view of knowledge any subject is a composite of all other subjects.
Currently the holistic approach is attempted within individual disciplines or field of research like holistic medicine or holistic education. Holistics in our sense means that all disciplines are taken to be parts of one integrated knowledge base.
This view is important if we are to unify our fragmented knowledge of the world and of reality.
A theorem of holistic knowledge:
Any subject is a composite of all other subjects.
The symbol or representation above tries to suggest this as a circle with twelve lines radiating from the centre (but without joining) and extending beyond the circle creating twelve equal sectors...
Every division indicates a major discipline of study. They extend into infinity both outwards and inwards; but the circle and the lines show that the mind must have boundaries when it is dealing with subjects; but the centre is empty because the subjects converge and fuse into the holistic object of all knowledge.
Applying holistic thought
Philosophers and scientists have recognised the need for this approach. The study of whole systems has been developing during the second half of the 20th century under such headings as general systems theory and systems sciences. Interdisciplinary research, cybernetics, operations research, systems analysis, are all disciplines engaged in understanding problems in a holistic way.
Not an easy task: "...everything in the universe is connected to everything else... and if each relation helps to determine the nature of the thing that is related, then everything is what it is because everything else is what it is. This is perhaps rather confusing, and sounds metaphysical. But the resulting thought is important: the totality of what exists is an integrated system, and anything split off from the totality and considered separately is incomplete. In practice, we have to split things off and consider them separately, but we shall have to be extremely careful how we do it.
"We cannot bring everything into consideration and somehow must determine the boundaries of the problem in hand. Again, in practice, the scientist needs to enlarge the scope of her study in every dimension until the factors she is bringing in seem to make no tangible difference to the answers she is getting. At the very least, this process is going to take her outside the apparent problem area by one step in every direction." (Stafford Beer, Decision and Control, 1996) Goto TOP
Dealing with wholes requires specific methodologies. The kinds of methods required emerge from the qualities natural to whole systems. General Systems Theory and the Systems Sciences mark humans' developing ability to study phenomena in a holistic way.
The internet, with its ability to interconnect individual thinkers and form a world-wide problem-solving community, is a powerful tool and promises a quantum step towards co-evolving an integrated view of knowledge -- a view corresponding more closely to the holistic nature of reality. With the press of a button we can visit, join, or participate in the endeavours of knowledge-communities anywhere in the world. Examples are Principia Cybernetica, Union of International Associations, Rainbow Tribes, True Democracy--at last!, Global Justice Movement,
One of the components within the holistic theory of knowledge is the holistic knowledge base. Its representation is the mandala described earlier.
A better model can be a regular solid with twelve 'corners' and 20 triangular sides -- an icosahedron. The thirty 'edges' then naturally integrate the subjects into a holistic object.
The subjects are not separate disciplines but are composed of the other disciplines, being facets or sub categories of the one chosen to be the dominant focus of attention at any one time. The twelve-ness, though arbitrary, proposes a useful convention:
Twelve subject facets give an enumeration where the classes are not meaninglessly general, yet, are not too numerous to clutter the representation with too much detail. Resolution of finer details can be easily achieved by subdividing the facets and/or combining separate facets or their sub-divisions.
The mandala can also represents 'faculties' of a new type of learning circle. The vision is to attract for every facet a group of enthusiast-specialists--ideally twelve for each facet--in love with chosen fields of study and life application.
The animated models below are offered as a "fun way" of suggesting to the mind that, as it investigates reality in a piecemail fashion, there is a limit to its ability to comprehend reality as is.
With the interior animation of an icosahedron representing all knowledge we can imagine seeing individual areas as facets only of one thing. We can, for example, start learning to look for the connections between three individual disciplines then between them and two or more others.
Some connections are more obvious than others. For example, politics, economics and science can easily be seen as related (although economists may try to deny the relevance of such relationships), while the significance of education and health issues being contributory facets to economics may not be so easy to appreciate at first. But this is the essence of new thinking about knowledge. We could call this new view vertical or in-depth thinking as an advancement on the dominant mode that call be called "flat" thinking which can only see the obvious surface layer of complex phenomena.
Interior VR animation
(use your mouse and or arrow, +, -, keys to navigate)
Exterior Flash animation
300 KB download 1.2 MB download
If you're unable to view this Flash animation, you may need to install the Flash plugin. Click the logo at right and download the plugin relevant to your computers operating system:
Avatar of Synthesis
According to Alice A Bailey (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy), one of the Beings associated with human development in the near future is the Avatar of Synthesis so named because of the quality and objective of the force It wields. As the Being Itself does not take physical form, a lesser Avatar who can descend into the physical plane is waiting a call from humanity and thus transmit the stimulus and quality of the force of the greater Avatar.Return
Knowledge without action is sterile; action without knowledge is blind.
Knowledge of spiritual matters is also sterile unless it is expressed through action in the world. Love is not enough. It is love in action that has the power to transform the world. As a saving force, spirituality is to be practiced through physical world reality not in parallel with it.
The challenge to people of goodwill is to perceive the opportunities in the crisis facing humankind. A prerequisite for meeting this challenge is the transforming, consciously, of goodwill into will-to-good. The world does face a megacrisis of resource shortage, overpopulation, pollution, alienation and crime, confusion, fear of the future, disconnection with the past. All these problems may herald a catastrophe or, through the effort needed to eliminate them, can lead to a glorious new future.
Human evolution is the unfoldment of spirituality through the plane of manifestation. This unfoldment is at a cross-roads as evolution itself had often been at cross-roads in the past; and we are responsible for the outcome through conscious evolution. It is true that we have not done very well so far; but we can do a lot better as implied by our capacity to learn from mistakes, if we choose, and by the obvious power to change our environment for better or worse.
As appropriate ways of knowing are essential to guide appropriate action, it is proposed to somehow develop an Institute of Holistic Knowledge or Institute of Holistics. Some basic ideas towards this [*]
If interested, please help us to refine and develop them. The weekly forums are intended to be part of this effort and the subjects are treated as interdependent aspects of the whole which is "more than the sum of the parts". Goto TOP
Holism as a philosophy is expounded fully in a remarkable book, Holism and Evolution by General Jan C Smuts written in 1926.
A recent book The Fifth Discipline- Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M Senge on systems thinking in a managerial context, is a good source of ideas about knowledge and practice as a holistic enterprise.
Holism suffers the disregard of the academic world. The term is impishly mis-pronounced as 'woolism'. The real problem is that while the methodology is sound, it is more difficult to make it rigorous to meet the standards which analytic and compartmentalized thought can achieve. (See the attempt by Stafford Beer quoted earlier.) >
* Social Change Forums: Think-tanks, Study/Dialogue Events, Neighbourhood or Roundtable Forums could be started by two or more people. The number of participants would be less important than the quality of their vision, thought and commitment.
With Humankind a species has appeared in evolution which can influence its own future. This is conscious evolution.
Man is in the making; but henceforth he must make himself. To that point Nature has led him, out of the primeval slime... Let him look no more to her for aid; for it is her will to create one who has the power to create himself. If he fails, she fails; back goes the metal to the pot; and the great process begins anew. If he succeeds, he succeeds alone. His fate is in his own hands.
G. Lowes Dickinson, quoted by Kenneth Walker in Life's Long Journey
The biggest danger to a civilization is the corruption of its philosophy and the devaluation of the role of ideas in the public mind.
Culture, civilisation, the quality of private and social life, the values we embrace; all this is expressed in practical ways through the institutions we build in society. And the human aspirations that give purpose to these institutions are, in the final analysis, the result of the dominant philosophy in society.