Note 13 - Holism and Partism

When the horizontal polarities are first differentiated in bi-directional manner - as to a prelude to their mature integration - states and structures are not yet properly distinguished. Thus typically at H1 (the subtle realm) when such development unfolds, an over-identification with the emerging spiritual state is equally associated with over-identification with certain archetypal structures through which the state is mediated.

The task therefore in terms of bi-directional differentiation of vertical polarities - as a prelude to their mature integration - is to properly distinguish (without reductionism) wholes and parts (states and structures).

This in turn leads to the unfolding of "imaginary" consciousness where understanding pertaining to the spiritual unconscious is indirectly expressed through phenomenal symbols.

So we now have "real" consciousness, where symbols express a directly conscious unambiguous identity and "imaginary" consciousness, where they equally express an indirectly conscious paradoxical archetypal identity (which ultimately is of unconscious origin).

Now in the dynamics of experience both meanings always interact. So in the truest sense, phenomena are always "complex" in holistic mathematical terms (with both "real" and "imaginary" aspects).

However the dynamics through which the horizontal ("real") and vertical ("imaginary") aspects interact are quite intricate.

So we start with the "real" recognition i.e. where structure and states - which in dynamic terms interact - are reduced in terms of each other. Indeed this is the very definition of a holon which is - in reduced terms - a whole/part (or alternatively a part/whole).

Now in the recognition of a holon either the whole or the part aspect will dominate (depending on context). So for example with a scientific concept such as the "electron", the whole will dominate. With a particular perception e.g. a specific electron the part aspect will dominate.

The important dynamic manner by which the whole and part (and part and whole) aspects interchange in experience is of vital significance as it relates to the fundamental interaction relating to all concepts and perceptions (and perceptions and concepts).

So let us illustrate with reference to "a house" starting with its phenomenal perception i.e. as a particular house which takes place in "real" terms. Now to successfully switch to the recognition of the collective whole recognition of "house" i.e. in the formation of the general concept of a house, "imaginary" consciousness is required.
In other words the spiritual insight which enables this switch from part to whole relates to an unconscious recognition whereby the house is momentarily seen to possess an archetypal general quality of "houseness" (which potentially relates to all individual houses).

Strictly speaking in this decisive moment of spiritual recognition, the individual house is transcended in a general collective notion of "houseness" which becomes indirectly embodied in the phenomenal perception as "imaginary". However in conventional experience this "imaginary" recognition is immediately reduced in "real" conscious terms.

So for example in scientific understanding, though spiritual insight (of unconscious origin) is vitally necessary to make linkages between perceptions and concepts (facts and theories), in formal terms science is presented in merely "real" conscious terms as a strictly rational body of truth.

Now clearly when the "imaginary" aspect of understanding is not explicitly recognised, understanding becomes considerably reduced with a great diminution in the capacity for creative understanding.

Thus once again when we start with "real" understanding of a particular phenomenon, the intervention of "imaginary" understanding is necessary to make the essential switch to recognition of its universal class concept i.e. to literally "see" this connection. In this "seeing" the object phenomenon now becomes "imaginary" as an archetypal expression of its universal quality.

However in conventional understanding the spiritual aspect is weakly developed and remains merely implicit, so that understanding is quickly reduced in "real" conscious terms as a concept.
Strictly speaking perceptions and concepts are quantitative and qualitative with respect to each other. However this distinction is lost in terms of "real" understanding.

So in science perceptions (facts) are assumed to directly correspond with associated concepts (theories). However strictly speaking no such correspondence exists.

Correctly speaking a concept potentially corresponds to individual (actual) perceptions within its class. This switch from actual to potential requires the intervention of "imaginary" understanding.
However in conventional understanding reductionism takes place so that concepts are assumed to actually correspond to (actual) perceptions. Thus the interpretation takes place - misleadingly - in solely "real" (conscious) terms.

Putting this another way, in conventional scientific terms both perceptions (facts) and concepts (theories) are dealt with as structures (which are assumed neutral with respect to corresponding states).

However in dynamic terms the interaction of states with structures is necessary to enable the switch from part to whole recognition to take place.

Now in reverse fashion we have the same dynamics.

Thus to enable the switch from the conceptual recognition of "houseness" to the actual recognition of an individual house (as perception), once again "imaginary" understanding is necessary. Here the spiritual insight of unconscious origin, which enables the connection between what is universal (whole) and individual (part), acts in a - relatively - immanent fashion so that one can again "see" the potential whole embodied in the individual object. However the perception will typically be quickly reduced acquiring an unambiguous solely "real" identity.

Thus in the actual dynamics of experience, in the transition from part to whole (and whole to part), both horizontal ("real") and vertical ("imaginary") understanding are required though in reduced conventional terms the "imaginary" is ignored.

Now we can interpret the vertical polarities either in terms of (unreduced) states or (unreduced) structures.

Thus if the spiritual transcendent insight (which enables the switch from part to whole recognition) is represented as the positive "imaginary" pole (as a state) then the corresponding immanent insight (enabling the switch from whole to part) is represented by the negative pole.

Likewise the corresponding archetypal interpretation of the house as included in the whole represents the positive "imaginary" pole (as structure).
The reverse archetypal interpretation of the universal whole becoming immanent in the individual recognition of the perception represents the negative "imaginary" pole (as structure).

Now when we attempt to look at development in a linear (asymmetrical) fashion, two opposite interpretations as regards the relationship of whole and part (and part and whole) are possible.

If the emphasis is on the transcendent direction, holism will result with the progression in development to more universal (collective) whole recognition.

If the emphasis is - relatively - on the corresponding immanent direction, partism will result with the progression in development to more unique (individual) part recognition.

A proper dynamic bi-directional approach is necessary to consistently integrate both aspects.

(Again in terms of "real" recognition states and structures are always reduced in terms of each other).