On Mechanism, Holism and (an) Organisational Logic of Life

On mechanism and holism: we often enough mistake the discrete, bounded artefacts with which we are presented as being the reality and substance of this world when it is the immaterial abstractions and a matrix of interdependence and representational cross-reference between them which is the true reality. This is where a “logic of life” manifests and it is the locus for autonomously-optimal information and energy-processing patterns, encoding and sustainable systemic continuity through recursive self-replication.

Finding the organisational sweet spot in this context is a subtle matter and is unlikely to consist of a unique model or universally-applicable narrative or framework. In fact, the absence of universals is a powerful indicator of precisely the kinds of indefinitely-extensible logical principles that we should be cultivating here.

Such a logic is not, and should never be, exclusive – it would have to be complementary and synthetic or inclusive. Mechanistic, linear and hierarchical logic or organisation pattern is not entirely antithetic to holism, it can be incorporated into and integrated with it. The last thing any of us needs is more false dichotomies.

To clarify earlier points: “immateriality” and “abstraction” are really just references, mnemonics. The uncertainty or ambiguity generated by taxonomies, technologies in this context is a measure of the mischievously slippery epistemological essence of binding, holistic principles. It’s all a bit Lao Tzu, really – where that which is constitutively NOT present in any one instance, node or entity – an absence or logical negation – is distributed and present across the entire system.

To pre-empt any misunderstanding: “Negation” in regards to logic is also, fundamentally, not qualitative or “bad” any more than logical proof by contradiction is. Logical negation is the sense in which the extensibility of systems, concepts, frameworks or models (for e.g.) is always representative of information entropy, of an ontological “absence” in regards to the “presence” of prior systems, beliefs, paradigms, constraints.

Seeking unity and useful holism is not about what exists, it is about what most usefully does not – the indefinitely extensible properties of systems, structures, organisations (and organisational, psychological selves) requires a subtle shift in perception.

Postscript: I am recycling my own narratives. This is all any of us really ever do and by refining, recombining and reweaving our pasts we make all our presents real. Repetition with variation.

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