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Ib Ravn

Holonomy: an ethic of wholeness

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This article attempts to clarify the meaning of "good" by linking it to a concept of wholeness derived from the process philosophy of David Bohm (1980a). Bohm draws a distinction between implicate order, which is a domain of reality characterized by flux and potentiality, and explicate order, which is the Newtonian-Cartesian order of stable phenomena and actuality. This article proposes a model of human development whereby the emergence of explicate phenomena from the implicate order may proceed in two general directions: toward fragmentary order or toward holonomic order, whether in the individual or in the world. Fragmentary order compartmentalizes and oppresses human activity; holonomic order liberates and empowers people. Borrowing from the analogy of the hologram, this article suggests that holonomic order further enables people to see or experience a larger meaning or wholeness in each of the parts or segments of their lives; fragmentary order implies disconnectedness and conflict within and among people. In a fragmentary order, the categories of good and bad are dichotomized, and bad is suppressed. In a holonomic order, good and bad are seen as equally necessary, and pain, the experience of bad, is recognized as a symptom of an underlying malady, inviting us to learn and develop.
TidsskriftJournal of Humanistic Psychology
Sider (fra-til)98-118
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 1988


  • Ethics, David Bohm, Implicate order, Development

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