“The days of compartmentalisation are passing. We are at the dawn of a new age where we must look for unity in diversity, the big picture in small parts, macrocosm in microcosm, large vision in little details and holonomics in economics.”
In our book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter, Maria and I ask the reader to undertake a restructuring of their consciousness in order for them to be able to see a complex system whole. Our aim is to help the reader to be able to see both the intrinsic as well as extrinsic dimensions of complex systems, a new understanding of systems which they can then put into practice in their workplaces.
Once a person is able to see authentic wholes and the processes, dynamics and meaning of living systems, they reach a deeper understanding of the world, one in which economics is no longer seen as separate from ecology. It is a new world of holonomics – business where people and planet matter.
The foreword, which you can read below, was written by Satish Kumar, a global peace activist, author, educator and the originator and co-founder of Schumacher College. I thought you may like to see this short video which we recorded about Holonomics, in which we discuss our aims and motivations for writing it, and Satish’s reaction and thoughts after having read it.
A Declaration of Wholeness
This book is a declaration of wholeness. Holonomics represents a complete system of living, working and interacting.
In the modern world we are used to thinking in compartments and divisions. Our universities all over the world are notoriously organised into departments. The faculty of sciences does not connect with the faculty of the arts. The department of theology has nothing to do with the School of Business. The study of literature or poetry is far from the study of politics. And the classes in economics are held in total disregard for ecology. As a result, society suffers from this complete disconnection and disorientation.
In Holonomics Simon and Maria Robinson have made a great contribution in healing this disease of division and separation. The authors show that every discipline is connected to every other discipline.
Simon and Maria were students at Schumacher College. I am happy to say that the college benefitted as much from their profound search for holistic knowledge and their experience of the business world as they benefitted from the radical approach to learning at the college.
We believe that not only are economy and ecology two sides of the same coin and sciences are perfectly in harmony with the arts, ethics and business, but learning and living are also not to be divided; theory and practice should be a continuum. Our body itself is a perfect example of this wholeness. We have all the faculties of a university in our one body. With my brain I think, analyse and evaluate, with my heart I feel, intuit and appreciate, with my hands I make, create and produce. With my senses I learn to see, speak, listen, taste and touch. Intellect, intuition and action are intrinsic to my existence. If that is me – my whole self and my whole being – then why should I be compartmentalised during the course of study?
This is why at Schumacher College students participate in gardening, cooking, meditation, arts and crafts while they pursue their studies for a degree in outdoor classrooms as well as indoor classrooms.
This holistic approach to learning and living is as old as the hills and as fresh as the morning dew. We learn from the wisdom of old masters like Spinoza and Goethe as well as new masters like Lovelock, Prigogine and Bortoft. Simon and Maria bring all these approaches together and show how thoughts and theories of complexity, chaos and emergence are fundamentally relevant to the economy, to business and to life.
The days of compartmentalisation are passing. We are at the dawn of a new age where we must look for unity in diversity, the big picture in small parts, macrocosm in microcosm, large vision in little details and holonomics in economics.
We can enter this new age of wholeness by the act of deep seeing, by expanding our consciousness, and by transforming our perceptions. This book is a handy tool to accomplish such metamorphosis, a manual to move from a linear model to a cyclical system of business.
I am delighted that two students of Schumacher College have come up with such a comprehensive understanding and explanation of a new world view, or a new paradigm which is urgently needed in our time. When the world is faced with dilemmas and dichotomies, we need Holonomics so that we can avoid disorder and build a sustainable and fulfilling future which is full of creative possibilities.
This book contains many examples, case studies and practical applications of projects which show that collaboration can override competition, happiness can be derived without endless pursuit of material accumulation, and the Buddhist wisdom is as relevant to our time as it was two and a half thousand years ago.
This book is a manifesto for mindful living. It will help the reader to make a shift from a static state to a dynamic state of business.