The pivotal question of this re-search: What does it mean to be fully Human? brought me intuitively to a deep dive on wholeness and aliveness, in order to grasp the insertion of the word “fully” into the otherwise millennial question. Wholeness and aliveness, in turn, led me to recognize the necessity to bring dimensionality to how we understand complex phenomena. In holding space for these two terms, a third term, centeredness, emerge as central for locating and anchoring the first two terms. It is the constellation of these concepts in the relation centeredness-wholeness-aliveness that we will now explore more profoundly.
We begin with the notion that centeredness-wholeness-aliveness are three essential organizing aspects of complex organization; each distinct, yet inseparable.
Centeredness, according to Christopher Alexander, can emerge from any point in the universe, claiming a for itself a singular place. The center is a starting point for development wholeness and aliveness. This emergent whole, Morin would add, is occupied by one, and only one, unique subject, an entity which becomes the center of its Universe-of-complexity.
Wholeness is a quality that organizes from “outside, in” – towards a center. Its organizing principle is stratification (fractal nestedness). Wholeness
imparts intensification of identity for constituent sub-wholes, imparting to them a sense of belonging, sharing with them a sense of purpose.
Aliveness organizes from “inside, out” – from a center.
It’s organizing principle is patterning, an intensification of web-like relations amongst differentiating sub-wholes wholes, generating living structure, and imparting meaning.
These three terms are inter-retro-acting. Centeredness remains flat, shapeless, formless without wholeness-aliveness. Wholeness is empty, collapses without Aliveness. Aliveness is lost, disperses without wholeness.
It is Christopher Alexander’s work on a Theory of Centers of unfolding of order within the Universe, and specifically, the 15 Properties of Wholeness that he articulated, together with David Bohm’s notion of Implicate Order, which has led to me to give shape to a theoretical framing large enough to hold the relation centeredness-wholeness-aliveness together.
Centeredness, wholeness, aliveness are human concepts that enable our minds to produce order, so that we may navigate reality—the structure and texture of existence, of our existence—within a Universe-of-complexity that is in permanent reorganization.
This relation is what emerged as I struggled to intuit what Bohm’s Implicate Order—the unseen that lies behind or beneath the visible, explicate order—looks like.
This relation is definitely neither the explicate order of classical science, reduces downward, explaining the whole via its parts—treated as isolated fragments, random, chaotic; nor, the explicate order of many spiritual movements, an upward reduction into totality—flat, dimensionless, amorphous—devoid of parts. Neither generate meaning or reveal purpose.
This dimensionalized approach for explaining reality via fully Human inquiry. After all, the search for meaning and purpose are at the heart of what it means to be Human.
Once again, we are assigning wholeness with the role of providing identity, revealing and imparting purpose. Likewise, we are assigning aliveness with the role of generating interrelation, imparting meaning.
As we begin to develop theoretical framing that required a capacity for dimensionality and coherence, we needed to start the largest geometry possible, a circumscribed sphere or circumsphere.
This shape provides the basic structure—an outer membrane that circumscribes the totality and an infrastructure interrelated sub-wholes that inscribes it—for our attempt to “model” centeredness-wholeness-aliveness.