In my previous posting I identified, within the general field of my psyche, two groupings, each with three elements within my experience; identified them by simply witnessing them and recognizing distinctions. The first grouping is composed of the three worlds I inhabit - the common, mundane world; the world of Alchemical Creativity; the world of Mysterious Rapture. I've discussed each of these as well as I can within my limited abilities, and in fact it's by going through the process of clarifying them in this blog that the distinctions of each have been made clearer to me, as I hope they have for the reader. I've also described the three aspects of my psyche (as well as I am able) that inhabit each world, that speak its language - little jeffy; Big Jeff; and what I labeled in the previous posting as The Unnamed. Since that last posting I've come up with a tentative, perhaps temporary new name for this third inhabitant of the world of Mysterious Rapture - The Unborn. The Unborn has been conceived, is an embryo in utero kicking its feet so to speak, therefore can be identified even if still in a quasi-formless state.
Reflecting upon the experience of these three separate aspects of myself inhabiting three separate worlds, it occurred to me a potential problem arises. Is my psyche fracturing, splitting off into three aspects that can never merge, as in parallel lines? Three worlds in three separate locations, three separate dimensions? That is certainly how it feels at times, especially when there is a language barrier involved, which might suggest the potential for a disassociating, for a pathological splitting off of the personality into independent entities. Yet I don't feel fractured; on the contrary, I feel more whole than I ever have. Let's look at this a little more closely.
These aspects of my personality have a common characteristic in that each world/inhabitant is a whole that stands alone in some sense - little jeffy has his world of work and play, joys and anxieties, problems and problem solving, which to him is complete, is a whole. Big Jeff has his own whole world of intuition, of a kind of magical alchemy, which little jeffy can't penetrate - he doesn't speak the language. Yet Big Jeff can include little jeffy's world in his awareness; in fact he uses little jeffy's reasoning powers and physical skills to work the Creative Alchemical world in ways impossible for the little guy to manage on his own. He not only includes little jeffy, he transcends him.
You might recognize that concept, transcend and include. One whole (little jeffy and his mundane world) is transcended by a higher whole (Big Jeff and his Alchemical Creative world) while still being included within the higher whole. It happens in nature all the time, in fact can be seen from one perspective as the very structure of nature. A simple example can be seen in some of the basic elements within nature. Sub-atomic particles like electrons and protons are in some sense wholes that can and do exist independently of each other. If you fuse one electron to one proton a new whole emerges - an atom, hydrogen, which is now a more complex entity, a whole that transcends the independent particles but includes them in its wholeness, in fact could not exist without them. Take another step, say fuse a two hydrogen atoms to an oxygen atom. Voila, you now have a molecule, water, that is more complex than each of the atoms, transcends the atoms yet includes them in its own wholeness - and of course could not exist without them.
This type of hierarchical structure was identified in the 20th Century by a fellow named Arthur Koestler. He labeled each of the wholes at any level as holons, and the hierarchical structural relationship between them as a holarchy - wholes within higher holes within still higher wholes, something like nested Russian dolls. This relationship between individual holons, this structure we can now label a holarchy, is the binding force that holds them together, that prevents fracturing. In my case the three worlds/inhabitants of my psyche are members of the holarchy that is the entirety of my Individual Self (with a very big S!). Big Jeff is a higher holon than little jeffy, but could not exist without him (who would pay the rent?). The Unborn is an even higher holon - Big Jeff does not yet speak the language of its world, can't penetrate that world. However, it's my sense that, at least in my case, The Unborn would never have been conceived without Big Jeff's explorations of the deeper intuitions in the Alchemical Creative world. And certainly The Unborn cannot come to birth (if it ever will) without little jeffy's frantic efforts to keep everyone's shit together in the common, mundane world.
To take it even further, this Individual Self holarchy is itself a holon! And that holon, that Individual Self, is within another holarchy, maybe even a few. Let's explore one. The Individual Self holon can exist within a group of friends who meet together for deep conversation, say a book club or a philosophical discussion group. In the course of the conversation some ideas appear that none of the individual holons attending had come up with on their own, ideas that are more complex, that transcend the ideas each of the individuals might have generated on their own. These new ideas live within a new holon - call it a We holon. There you have it, a holarchy! The We holon transcends and includes the various Individual Self holons. And of course that We holon is transcended and included by a still higher holon - say, the holon peopled by all the book clubs in the world reading that same particular book, each contributing through some kind of telepathic communication or morphic resonance to a still higher understanding.
There's a story perhaps founded in a time and a place far away, say pre-literate China. In this story, an ancient king calls on his wisest sage to answer a question that has been vexing him. The king asks his sage "Wise sage, what is holding the earth up in the sky?" The sage answers "Dear king, the earth is resting on the back of a great lion." The king, perplexed, then asks 'Oh wise sage, what is the lion standing on?" The sage ponders for a moment, then answers "The lion is standing on the back of an elephant." Still perplexed, the king asks "OK wise sage, then what is the elephant standing on?", to which the sage responds, "On the back of an enormous tortoise." Now the king is getting frustrated, and furrowing his brow, he questions the wise sage one more time "Well then, what is the tortoise standing on?", and the sage, contemplating deeply, replies "Your majesty, it's tortoises all the way down!"
And so it is, holons all the way down...and BTW, all the way up as well.
To be continued...