What Are Holons?
This post is about holons as they are described in the novel Freedom (™) by Daniel Suarez.
Holons are the geographic structure of the darknet. Any darknet community lies at the center of an economic radius of one hundred miles for its key inputs and outputs — food, energy, health care, and building materials. Balancing inputs and outputs within that circle is the goal. A local economy that’s as self-sufficient as possible while still being part of a cultural whole — a holon — thus creating a resilient civilization that has no central points of failure. And which through its very structure promotes democracy…”
The holon concept used by Daniel Suarez is an application of the philosophical definition of the word. According to Wikipedia, a holon is:
“…something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was coined by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine…Koestler proposed the word holon to describe the hybrid nature of sub-wholes and parts within in vivo systems. From this perspective, holons exist simultaneously as self-contained wholes in relation to their sub-ordinate parts, and dependent parts when considered from the inverse direction. Koestler also says holons are autonomous, self-reliant units that possess a degree of independence and handle contingencies without asking higher authorities for instructions…”
What Do Events Have To Do With Holons?
Events and events wranglers can help create holons, and they can help make them stronger.
The reason I’m writing about holons is because I decided today to start working on building a holon. Even before I read Freedom (™) I liked the concept of self-sufficiency and a strong, resilient regional economy. The holon concept is idealistic, and the real-world implementation of it will fall short of what Daniel Suarez was able to create in his book. But it is my firm belief that parts of the holon concept can be built, can be successful, and can be resilient.
As I mentioned in my previous two blog posts on Events Wrangling, events can help build a new culture in a region. To establish and strengthen the holon will require a receptive regional culture. After a foundation is established on which to build the holon, we’ll need to have events which help people understand what a holon is and what the benefits are for them. Other events will help make the culture of the holon’s region more receptive to and supportive of a holon.
There are many individuals who wish they lived in holon-like situation, but most of them aren’t actively working to make that happen. Part of the reason for that is because the real world presents many challenges to successful holons. However, the lack of anyone intentionally connecting those people with each other and actively putting together events focused on holon formation and growth is a significant factor in you not hearing more about holons and resilient regions. This is where relationship builders, events wranglers and community advocates can make a big difference…
The Viewpoint Of A Holon Resident
A farmer in Freedom (™) who lives in the Greeley holon describes the holon approach to farming like this:
“…We’re raising the animals on grass—not corn. We put in a good blend of natural prairie grasses. Big bluestem, foxtail, needlegrass, switchgrass. It grows naturally here on the prairie, so it’s turning solar power into beef—no fossil fuels necessary. And we rotate animals through the fields. Chickens follow the cows out to pasture, picking the bug larvae out of the manure and eating bugs and worms from the broken turf left behind by the cattle. The chicken dung, in turn, makes the field fertile for crops. It’s all an integrated, sustainable system….
Got two ten-kilowatt wind turbines and some flywheel batteries to store the power. Every other darknet farm in this holon is working for the same thing. Regional energy and food independence. We rely on Greeley for our critical manufactured goods—printed electronics, micromanufactured precision equipment, tools, software. They, in turn, rely on us, along with other farms, to provide their food and raw materials…”
Here’s what Greeley, the town at the center of this holon in Freedom (™), looks like to people visiting the town:
“…Unlike many Midwestern towns, Greeley appeared to be undergoing a renaissance. Main Street was lined with recently renovated brick storefronts and micro-manufacturing shops with their roll-top doors opened to reveal machinists and customers poking at D-Space objects, negotiating and ordering 3-D plans off the darknet. CNC milling machines hummed in the workshops beyond…”
So what holons mean to me are a blend of ideas and practices that I fully endorse –local food, strong regional personal networks, digital nomads, regional advanced manufacturing, resilient communities, self-sufficiency, and more! 🙂
If you haven’t read the Suarez books, Daemon and Freedom (™), and you like what you read in today’s post, consider purchasing them (at your local bookstore…) or checking them out at your local library.
When I organize or participate in significant events related to the holon, such as an unconference or “town hall” meetings in various locations throughout the holon, I’ll cover them in this blog. But I’ll be writing lots more about holons in a new blog about the Soldiers Grove Holon. After I start publishing that blog, I’ll link it from this post and from a short post on Events Wrangling on the day that the holon blog launches.
If you’re interested in holons, contact me at bwaldron (att) gmail [dot] com. Hope to hear from you soon!