Paradigm Explorer Reviews Holonomics

Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter by Simon Robinson and Maria Moraes Robinson. Floris Books 2014, 255 pp., £16.99, p/b

The authors of this ground breaking book dedicate it to Henri Bortoft, who was teaching at Schumacher College during the MSc in holistic science pioneered by Brian Goodwin and Stephan Harding. It has a foreword by Satish Kumar, who calls it a manifesto for mindful living. The word holonomics was first coined in 1894, and it surely now coming of age. The authors emphasise the importance of the wholeness of nature, the complementarity of analysis and intuition, and the need to restructure consciousness.

Their section on holonomic thinking is particularly helpful with diagram
showing how it is related to mechanistic thinking in terms of quantity and objects, systems thinking in terms of quality and relationships and holonomic thinking focusing on meaning and coming into being. This leads on to chapters on knowing and seeing and introduction to Goethe’s science, both in terms of his theory of colours and the metamorphosis of plants. The second part presents the dynamics of nature, with good explanations of various aspects of living systems and the principles of life.

This leads on to the third part about the dynamics of business, with illustrations from a number of forward-looking companies including Puma working out the ecosystem services incorporated in manufacture of their products, chaordic organisation in Visa and systems management at Toyota. There is a useful diagram contrasting mechanistic with holonomic business thinking, and a good chapter on mindfulness and consciousness in business, showing how ego-system awareness can shut off eco-system awareness.

Forward-looking business leaders as well as holistic thinkers will gain enormously from the insights in this highly informative book.

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This review first appeared in the summer 2014 edition of Network Review, the previous name of Paradigm Explorer, published by the Scientific and Medical Network which brings together scientists, doctors, psychologists, engineers, philosophers, complementary practitioners and other professionals, and has members in more than thirty countries.

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