I offer here a framework for understanding what I might call “big” wholeness – a sensibility I have about wholeness that I can never articulate but which continually demands that I try. This framework attempts to embrace the manifestations of that inarticulable “wholeness” that I find myself sensing into and out of as my work emerges or as I evaluate each new idea, initiative, possibility, etc., that comes to my attention as I do my work.
In this model I am calling the overall categories of such manifestations “faces of wholeness”, as that is the way they present themselves – in the same sense that many mystical traditions see every person, thing, or phenomenon as “a face of God”. Beneath each overall category, I list “facets” or ways that wholeness manifests itself as parts or aspects of that larger face of wholeness.
Many faces and facets overlap, contextualize, include, and can even colonize some or all of the others. When I say “colonize”, I mean that certain holistic advocates may assert that a favorite face or facet is what wholeness is all about and that the other faces and facets are at best subsidiary phenomena. This is why I call wholeness that manifests through ALL the faces and facets “big wholeness”.
One of the future tasks in making this framework useful is to identify important applications of each face and facet. I sense that most if not all of people’s efforts to make the world better – from art to politics, from education to medicine, from religion to science – are (or at least originally were) grounded in one or another aspect of wholeness. My co-intelligence work is definitely driven by a sense of wholeness and its potent, even sacred value.
So I offer this framework in my belief that the more we can understand about the nature of wholeness, the more able we will be in our work for the world. I especially hope it will help us co-create a world that works, as William McDonough says, for the children of all species for all time.
Of course, this framework is, itself, an example of the kind of wholeness it talks about. That is, it is only one tentative effort to weave diverse phenomena into a coherent whole which is inherently limited and will undoubtedly evolve. So feel free to do with it what you will.
Now here are the faces that I see so far: