03 Sep 2022 11:38 - 17 Nov 2022 10:21
Open in Logseq
    • I admit to a strong ambivalence on this term, and the various cultural formations around it. My MIT nerd tendency is to sneer (see Marvin Minsky/on holism) but I've also always had a kind of tropism towards the California systems-thinking school, where holism and systems are supposed to be objects of study in their own right.
    • It boils down to this: mechanists will tell you how something works, holists by their nature don't want to know, they are focused on the beauty of the mystery.
    • There is something frankly religious about holism and it is in tension with science, at least the MIT-engineering-flavored science I was trained in. I think at some naive level I want to deny or resolve this tension, because I find myself attracted to both poles. And I don't see any absolute reason why you can't appreciate a system or whole for what it is, and at the same time understand how it works, how it is composed and structured out of parts.
    • Ah OK this is an exact parallel to Buber's I and Thou. Holism is an I/Thou stance, and it implies a coherence and soul to the self and its Thou that just precludes the kind of mechanical analysis Minsky wants to do. An entirely different world, and the I is not the same I as found in the I/It world.
    • A more interesting mapping perhaps: if all the world's a stage and we are all players, then holism and I/Thou is how the audience and the players understand themselves, while the I/It nerds run the lights and build the sets and ensure that the mechanisms of illusion are all in working order.