Holons, integration&diff, and gift circles

A holon is a system that is simultaneously a whole and a part (of a larger system).

Ken Wilber has put forth 20 tenets of how holons evolve.

One of them is that at each stage of development, there is greater differentiation and greater integration.

If you have a group of people they move to another stage of evolution when they differentiate more and integrate more. A gift circle can help that a group make that transition. By expressing individual needs people are differentiating. By gifting each other with services they are integrating the whole.

I had previously written that open collaboration increases autonomy and synergy. One can see there is a correlation between autonomy and differentiation, and also a correlation between synergy and integration.

Ken Wilber also uses the terminology agency and communion. So at each stage of evolution a holon increases its agency (autonomy), and communion.

There may be ways to take the gift circle to the next level after that. This would involve further differentiation and integration. Part of what we did three weeks ago was to have a non-profit gift circle where different groups came and shared from their groups. This kind of process shows that there can be groups within a gift circle too that work on more specific projects. So we could have people forming groups at a gift circle, which is differentiating. At the same time we then need to integrate all the groups too. There can be ways they dialog with each other to coordinate what they are doing in the gift circle.

Part of what we did in last weeks gift circle “Wash a dish, make a wish” is to have people say their needs and then go into the backroom to wash their dishes. While they are washing the rest of us conspire to make their needs met. When they come back we have a plan to help them. This created a really high vibe at our event. And I think this is because it allowed the group to really come together to collaborate on meeting each need. Before it was more individuals that helped each other. Now we are forming more teams. So this takes the integration, communion part of the circle to the next level.


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