Category Archives: Holism

Ancestors and siblings of process thought

While I’m scanning passages from C. Robert Mesle’s Process-Relational Philosophy, here are two more that inspired me. The first passage appeals to my designer consciousness: Descartes was wrong in his basic dualism. The world is not composed of substances or of … Continue reading

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Hermeneutical/rhetorical bow

This is a redrawing of a diagram I played with in 2009. It is meant to show the relationship of making and understanding and how it weaves between thinking top-down in wholes, and then bottom-up in terms of parts. It … Continue reading

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Ricoeur

I am beginning to really like Ricoeur: Let us look once more at the functioning of ordered polysemy, which we considered earlier with field theory at the level of language. Then it was a question of limited polysemy; ordered polysemy … Continue reading

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Vision management

To be assigned responsibility for something is almost synonymous with taking care of all the details of some work activity or work product. But rarely is anyone assigned responsibility for maintaining the vision of the whole in the execution of … Continue reading

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Blind to darkness

A question can be seen as a kind of intellectual darkness waiting to be illuminated by an answer. Philosophy is not about illuminating darkness. It is about turning one’s head and making visible new regions where darkness and light can … Continue reading

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Hegel on practical transcendence

Hegel’s introduction to Phenomenology of Mind contains a description of what I have been calling practical transcendence: This dialectic process which consciousness executes on itself — on its knowledge as well as on its object — in the sense that … Continue reading

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Notes on emic versus etic

In “‘From the Native’s Point of View’: On the Nature of Anthropological Understanding” Clifford Geertz outlines a fundamental concept of anthropology: The formulations have been various: “inside” versus “outside,” or “first person” versus “third person” descriptions; “phenomenological” versus “objectivist,” or … Continue reading

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Techne, phronesis, design and innovation

A passage from Richard J. Bernstein’s Beyond Objectivism and Relativism, illuminates a problem I have encountered innumerable times working as a user experience consultant: the need for predictability in innately unpredictable situations. Before I quote the passage, I should provide … Continue reading

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The I, the We, the Other, and transcendence

I picked through several books today without getting traction in any one of them. I started with Richard J. Bernstein’s The New Constellation: Ethical-Political Horizons of Modernity/Postmodernity looking for references to Martin Buber and Emanuel Levinas (who is generally considered … Continue reading

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Pragmatist inkling?

I’m beginning to suspect praxis is knowledge viewed from the inside… the essential counterpart to what is apparent when knowledge self-reflects or presents itself as knowledge. Consider this possible developmental process: 1) knowledge begins as an instinctive response to a … Continue reading

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Marys and Marthas

As far as I can tell the only time people finally let down their guard and brave the visceral anxiety of genuine intersubjectivity is when they’re thrown into the pressure of collaborative project work. It is a peculiarly intimate situation, … Continue reading

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Trees

When we walk on the forest floor, the part of the tree we are given at eye-level is the narrowest point, the trunk, slightly above the tree’s midpoint. To see how the trunk spreads itself upward into the open light, … Continue reading

Posted in Fables, myths & parables, Holism | 1 Comment

Innately good

I was raised with the idea that people are “innately good”. Good? Meaning that we are innately incapable of cruelty? That we are innately not in need of development of goodness? Or that we are born good but learn evil … Continue reading

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Holism and systems theory

As far as I can tell, the only way to bridge my own intuitive holistic sensibilities and the infinitely-fragmented-and-quantified reductionist world of business is systems theory. Learning a new language is always tedious – and frankly I’m a little annoyed … Continue reading

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Joints

Truth does not accrete in a vacuum of ignorance; truth articulates from pre-existent, pre-articulate wholes. Truth does not extend outwardly; it intends inwardly. Truth resolves; truth cannot be constructed. Truth is not a machine or a story or a system. … Continue reading

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A vision

Having vision is a matter of seeing from a distinctive point of view. What is seen from that perspective is not itself the vision but the result of the vision. Objectivist thinking misses what is essential to vision and leaps … Continue reading

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Two kinds of wholes

1) The indivisible objects — indivisible, not because they cannot be divided into parts, but because they cannot be divided into parts and remain what they are. 2) The indivisible environments, to which we belong and from which we cannot … Continue reading

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