The Holon: Promoting a Democratized Social Activism

Table of Contents


The concept of the holon was dusted off and brought back to relevance by Hungarian-British writer Arthur Koestler in his 1967 work The Ghost in the Machine. He wrote: “This concept has a long and respectable ancestry. So much so that defenders of orthodoxy are inclined to dismiss it as “old hat” – and often in the same breath to deny its validity. Yet I hope to show as we go along that this old hat, handled with some affection, can produce lively rabbits.”

In short, the holon calls back to the times of ancient Greek philosophy—Leocitus, Democritus, and Aristotle, in particular. Leocitus and Democritus proposed the atom, an indivisible and essential material (i.e. ‘monad’) that was the source of all events. Aristotle argued for the application of hierarchies to classify and understand the biological world. Koestler’s use of the holon carries this deep history, tweaks it somewhat, and applies the revamped form to everything—physical, abstract, and otherwise.  

The Zero Theft Movement is rallying the public to find out which areas of the U.S. economy if any have been rigged against us. In order to create a democratic and egalitarian platform for all, we have structured our platform based on the holon. In this article, learn about what holons are and why we have made them an essential part of our platform.

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Holon definition

Holon comes from the Greek word holos (“whole”) and refers to something that is a simultaneous whole and a part.  

In the physical world, think of an atom. It commonly has three composite parts: electrons, protons, and neutrons. These components make up a whole, a complete atom. But atoms also bond to form molecules, serving as parts of a larger structure as well.  

In the non-physical world, consider language. Words are themselves a whole, having their own definitions and constructed out of smaller parts (letters). We also use words as parts to construct sentences, the larger structures. 

Koestler wrote:

“We do not know what forms of life have evolved on other planets in the universe, but we can safely assume that wherever there is life, it must be hierarchically organized (emphasis in the original).

For the venerable writer, everything you can think of is organized into hierarchies. Or more accurately, holarchies (more on this later). This stratification extends beyond physical or living systems to the abstract, to ideas, as evidenced with language.  

Fundamental vs. Significant

Philosopher Ken Wilber has posited that the test of a holarchy is that if all instances of a certain holon cease to exist, then all the holons they were a part of must simultaneously end as well. For example, if the subatomic particles cease to exist, then your atoms, your molecules, your cells, your tissues, your organs, and your body cannot possibly exist either.

Therefore, the subatomic particle (the ‘lowest holon’ in the holarchy) actually does not need the other holons to exist. It is, according to Wilber, fundamental, while the organism is the more significant holon.

Holarchy vs. Hierarchy

The smaller holons and larger holons inform each other in meaning, function, and/or form. The different ‘tiers’ of holons interacting create a ‘holarchy.’

Holarchy vs. Hierarchy

A simple holarchy of an organism, down to the molecular level.

‘-archy,’ as seen in the word ‘hierarchy,’ means government or rule. What distinguishes a holarchy from a hierarchy is that the latter, by definition, has absolute top and bottom tiers. For example, entry-level employees do not come together to form a larger managerial entity. The manager and the employers are distinct, although they are potentially parts and wholes involved in the business.

Hierarchies, therefore, are pyramidal structures, where authority increases but numbers decrease as you reach the tip. Holarchies grow bigger and bigger as you reach each holon tier because they are made up of the sub-structures.

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Their differences, simply put 

Here are key differences between hierarchies and holons. Some may not apply depending on what kind of holons you’re referring to. Power relationships, for example, are a pertinent consideration in human societies, but not so much in the holarchy of the human body presented in the diagram above.

Control from the top down
Those at the top of the pyramid oversee/command/control those underneath them.
Bidirectional interaction
Lower and higher holons influence each other.
Linear chain of command
Hierarchies usually involve the executives passing orders and duties down to the lowest level employees.
Holons, regardless of size, create complex relationships between each other. Smaller networks can be holarchically combined into larger networks.
Fixed roles
Each employee serves particular functions for the organization.
Varied states
Holons change roles depending on the network in question. In one holarchy, it will serve a certain function; in another, it might perform a different function.
Power rankings
Power increases and the number of individuals decreases as you go up the pyramid.
Distributed power or egalitarian
Individual holons are equal or nearly equal in their status, functions, and properties. No one subset has a significant sway or influence over the whole.

Holons in the Zero Theft Movement 

We at the Zero Theft Movement knew that the only way we could end the rigged economy was to rely on you, the American public. Crony capitalists and corrupt officials might have great wealth and great power, but we have the power in numbers. Together, we can end 50 years of wage suppression and rigged prices. 

DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization)

In order to eliminate transparency issues and power imbalances, the Zero Theft Movement operates as a DAO for information, not currency or investment. In simpler terms, our platform will not have centralized governance and will be open source. No one—including the founders of the Zero Theft Movement—has the power to manipulate or erase proposals or votes on our platform, ensuring our valuable information remains secure even from insiders.

Equality among Holons

We specifically use the term ‘holon’ to refer to ‘interpretive groups/communities.’ 

They represent lenses through which one can interpret cases of rigged economy theft. We always encourage everyone to check out other holons to see different perspectives on instances of rigged economy theft. 

Following the structure of a DAO, no one holon has more power than any other. Each has the same opportunities to author and vote on proposals. No more, no less. 

Community-led protection

Holons also operate as a security system of sorts, protecting the movement from those who want to sabotage our effort from the inside. If anyone in a holon has valid reasons to believe a member is casting false votes, for example, the group can block these attempts to distort the truth. All decisions, including ones made by individuals and holons, are completely transparent and subject to review by everyone else.  

Explore our holons now!

Or Launch your own

Eradicate the Rigged Layer with the Zero Theft Movement 

The  U.S. corporatocracy works against you, the American public. The rigged layer is an unethical part of our otherwise healthy financial system that enables crony capitalists, enabled by corrupt officials, to unethically profit off of us. 

View how much is being stolen, per your fellow citizens

Investigate your areas of interest

All areas of our economy could be experiencing rigging by crony capitalists and corrupt officials. We need to systematically each instance in order to create an ethical economy. 

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Alternatively, find an area that interests you most.

Serve your fellow citizens as a citizen investigator

The success of our movement rests in your hands, the leaders willing to dedicate time to conduct investigations into potentially rigged areas of the economy. With your valuable work, the movement has no solid ground to stand on, no foundations, no proof, to actually hold those corrupting our system accountable for their actions.

Heroism made easy

All it takes is twenty minutes every day for you to help eradicate the rigged layer of the economy. Just review a proposal and vote! Our reports will only gain legitimacy and power with your contributions.

Commitment to nonpartisanship

The rigged layer causes all of us to suffer, regardless of our political allegiances. If we are to eliminate rigged economy theft, we have to set aside our differences and band together against crony capitalists and corrupt officials. 

Free Educational Content

An educated public is an empowered public. 

We regularly publish informational articles on that teach you all about the rigged layer of the economy in short, digestible pieces. You can better protect yourself and others from the schemes of crony capitalists by reading our articles.

Standard Disclaimer

The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.   

Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.