Chapter 2 Sweet spots and blind spots

DOI: 10.4324/9781003377221-3

Parts and wholes, parts in wholes

Key to the success of the kind of transformation projects described in Chapter 1 is the significance for leaders of the concept of holons and holarchies. “To understand the whole, it is necessary to understand the parts. To understand the parts, it is necessary to understand the whole. Such is the circle of understanding,” says Wilber (2001b: 1). In 1926, Jan Smuts gave us the truism that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts” (Smuts, 2013). Arthur Koestler expanded on this observation in his quest to understand the interaction between parts and wholes. He coined the term holon to describe a whole which is simultaneously a part and ...

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