Blind to Wholeness LO29585

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 11/26/02

Replying to LO29555 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <> writes:

>Nothing of the kind. We can experience wholeness, at least
>i can and so i assume others can too, but not with our usual
>sense organs. We have no eyes for wholeness, no ears, no
>nose and - important - no tongue, no language. The word
>wholeness is a poor sign for the richness of the phenomena.
>I assume that we - as a species- have no eyes for wholeness,
>because it served no immediate purpose. Like we have still
>a very poorly developed sense for art and artistic expression.

Greetings dear Jan,

Thank you for keeping up the dialogue on this topic.

I think we have to distinguish between three concepts: whole, wholeness
and holism="increasing wholeness".

As for "whole", i can experience it with at least one of my sense organs.
For example, i can look at an apple, i can close my eyes and feel it, i
can smell it with my nose and i can taste it be eating it. I cannot hear
the apple.

But what is "wholeness"? When i take an apple and cut it with a knife in
two halves, it is not a whole anymore. When i press the two halves
together so that they fit exactly, i again have the "whole". But the apple
lost its "wholeness" since when i stop pressing the two halves together,
they will fall away from each other. I can still see and feel two separate
halves as well as pressing them together as a "whole" but cannot smell,
taste or hear them apart or together. However, to see and feel the
"wholeness", i have to compare them with a "whole" apple still having
"wholeness". So i myself do have "eyes for wholeness", to use your

What is "increasing wholeness"? For me it is like an apple blossom getting
polinated by a bee; the petals wilting, drying and falling off; the tiny
fruit growing to maturity; when not harvested, the apple falling on the
ground, rotting, setting its seeds free; later one seed germinating,
perhaps developing in a seedling and eventually a muture tree setting
apples once again.

Again i can experience "increasing wholeness"=holism with at least one of
my sense organs. But in this case it is at certain intervals. I cannot
experience "increasing wholeness" continuously because i also have other
things in life to do. For example, i have collected seeds of succulent
plants, sown them, cultivated them to maturity, raised seed from them and
began cultivating a second generation. The oldest plant which i still have
is now 26 years old.

But i have to admit that it takes more than my sense organs to experience
the "whole", "wholeness" and "increasing wholeness". I also have to think
about them in terms of these experiences. Furthermore, this thinking
involves intuition, intention, perception, motivation, affection,
dedication and a lot of similar "xxx-tions". Psychologists distinguish
them from the cognitive domain as the affective domain. That 26 year old
plant would not have been in my posession today were it not also for this
affective domain.

Is people "blind to wholeness" because their affective domain does not
work in unison with their cognitive domain? I wonder.

>And here is another thought that crosses my mind: the
>feeling of wholeness also might imply a terrific responsibility.
>When one experiences wholeness, one also feels inadequate,
>sad, perhaps even "bad'". This is - in my experience - no
>problem. We are small, limited, inadequate. But somehow
>we've been infected by a viral thought: you should not feel
>wholeness in a world that so obviously lacks a sense of

Thank you for sharing this important thought. The political opponents of
Jan Smuts (father of holism, 1925) used every trick in their mean book to
make voters favour anti-wholeness=apartheid so that they could win the
election in 1948 from him. They even went so far as to claim that holism
is an athiest, if not an outright, antichristian philosophy. That election
teaches a clear lesson -- it is possible to make on purpose the majority
of people blind to wholeness.

>Furthermore, there seems to exist a notion, a feeling, that
>you shouldn't feel wholeness, because that would imply
>that there is noting left to strive for. The basic message of
>the story of Genesis might be: do not even try to think godlike.
>Wholly inadequate. There is no necessity to strive for
>wholeness for all before experiencing it for yourself. It will
>come to others or not, that is not our business. Survival,
>somebody once said to me, is not imperative.

This is where holism="increasing wholeness" comes into the picture. In his
book "Holism and Evolution" (1926) Smuts explained how closely holism and
evolution are related. The one without the other is not possible.

>Ear less, nose less, tongue less. What about fearless? Isn't
>fear, angst, anxiety the very reason we do not admit this
>feeling of wholeness? It might seem a complicated story:
>we're telling or have been told stories to believe that we can
>not, should not become whole in this world. I can think of
>several reason why this would seem "logical", "smart",
>"rational". But it only results in feeling inadequate, unhappy,
>dissatisfied. And because we feel inadequate, we act, we
>organize, we hunt. So the story reconfirms itself.

The above makes me think.

Since the 1948 election, the drums of fear had been rolled like thunder to
keep white people supporting the ideology and policy of apartheid. Black
people think that all white people have benefitted by apartheid. They did
not since their standard of living stayed much the same. Those who did
benefit were the politicians who increased their salaries to "market
related values" as well as the rich financiers of our economy.

>But it is not the truth. It is not real. We are whole, we've
>always been whole, everything has always been whole but
>in order to perceive wholeness we have to split. The issue
>is how to treat the negation and experience how life and
>death are two distinct and separate parts of the same
>phenomena: wholeness.

Thank you for this thought. I think i have captured it with my example of
the apples, one of them cut into halves.

But i am still far from satisfied that i understand this "blind to
wholeness" sufficiently. What makes people "blind to wholeness". You have
mentioned fear and the elections in our country since 1948 up to the late
eighties serve as examples. I have mentioned a severing of the cognitive
and affective domains of the psyche. I can think of dozens of persons here
on campus who are blind to wholeness and whose affective domain is
inoperative -- the information junkies. I have several other hunches, but
they have to remain until later.

>'xcuse me, but the tree of life is the core of evolution theory.
>And only because producing entropy is faster in ordered
>systems, but entropy itself doesn't know before hand - or
>works randomly - how to create order the first time right,
>it looks to me as if it has no purpose. In retrospect one
>might suspect that it looks as if there was purpose. So be it.

Jan Smuts might have said that "increasing wholeness" lets the universe
"know" how to create more order. He emphatically said that it is the
driving force of evolution. This "driving" has become dubious to me. It
can be like the driver or the engine of a car. I see "increasing
wholeness" as part of the driver while "entropy production" is rather the
engine. All the 7Es together act as the driver, steering evolution.

>All major religions - this is perhaps to big a statement,
>perhaps except budhism - are based on the notion that
>wholeness can not be reached in this life and only through
>pain. Even if this life is all i have! Even if this means that
>i'll have a painful life. Make me a martyr and i'll be whole
>again! It makes me laugh and weep.

I wonder whether it is the religions themselves or their expounded dogmas
which followers have to conform to. Someone "blind to wholeness" can set
up monstrous dogma on wholeness. It happened here in South Africa when
apartheid=anti-wholeness was vindicated as biblically true by the church
of which i am a member. Today we know that Bible has a different message
on "whole", "wholeness" and "increasing wholeness", if only we would
search for it self. We did not and rather let the dogmatists lead us by
the nose.

>>It has been very hot the past few days here in Pretoria.
>>We need rain because life is beginning to suffer. (I
>>myself feel dead tired and as if i >cannot think clearly
>>-- so forgive me.) Our rain comes a long way from the
>>hot Indian ocean in the east, traveling ...

>Hope it will rain soon, mossoon soon. And if not, it is not
>your business, it is not my business, it's Gods business.

It has still not rained. The position for many farmers are becoming
desperate. With that very unusual cloud burst in early spring i should
have suspected that our climate is "deurmekaar" (confused) this season.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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