Third Force and Holons

G.I. Gurdjieff and the value of Third Force

"The presence of a third force is necessary, for it is only with the help of a third force that the first two can produce what may be called a phenomenon, no matter in what sphere”    PD. Ouspensky

One of the most  insights from the original Gurdjieff teachings of the Enneagram, is the Law of Three. (see origins of the symbol)

Points 3, 6 & 9 derive from this law, which underlines the law of creation. This a creation that states that a beginning starts from a single source that has then to divide. The triad symbol retains the original plus the two creations. Thus this metaphysical approach has balance, as a balancing of three forces.

Mr Gurdjieff referred to these three forces as affirming, denying and reconciling. We also can see this "third force" as the "transcending principle", where we may find ourselves experiencing dissonance and conflict from being presented with two opposing points-of-view, or two supposedly irreconcilable choices. The transcending principle would be something that "Transcends and Embraces" both positions.



Holons - Arthur Koestler

A Holon is a term coined by Arthur Koestler. In Integral Theory, a holon refers to a whole that is simultaneously part of another whole, or “whole/part.” Whole atoms are parts of whole molecules, which themselves are parts of whole cells, and so on. There are individual holons and social holons. The main difference between the two is that individual holons have a subjective awareness or dominant monad (an “I”), while social holons have an intersubjective awareness, dominant mode of discourse, or predominant mode of resonance (a “We”/“Its”): social holons emerge when individual holons commune. Individual and social holons follow the twenty tenets. Lastly, “holon,” in the broadest sense, simply means “any whole that is a part of another whole,” and thus artifacts and heaps can loosely be considered “holons.”

Ken Wilber comments that the test of holon hierarchy (holarchy) is that if all instances of a given type of holon cease to exist, then all the holons they were part of must cease to exist too.

The idea of the "holon" was introduced by Arthur Koestler in The Ghost in the Machine (1967) and was presented again at the Alpbach Symposium (1968) in a paper titled: Beyond Atomism and Holism - the concept of the holon.
The "holon" represents a very interesting way to overcome the dichotomy between parts and wholes and to account for both the self-assertive and the integrative tendencies of an organism.

(read full paper Some general properties of self-regulating open hierarchic order (SOHO) (1969) )


Enneagram is a Holon

The three Laws that form the whole symbol is a holon, as it is constructed from three symbols that exist seperatley from the whole nine point symbol. Furthermore, we may also consider each of the Triadic Groups as "Holons", as they form a different 'wholes' from a cluster of three points (personality styles or types)