• What are ‘holophores’?
Holophore is a term I coined to refer to a peculiar root linguistic element that exists as a prerequisite for there to be other elements, symmetries, etc. These are the ‘stem cells’ which will differentiate into the various species of cognitive tokens (words/ideas) we employ. However, the progeny of holophores include a ring of progenitors, rather than individual parents in most cases. In different species, such root cognitive elements may take different forms, however we may speculate that we might locate corollaries that cross the species barrier.
A metaphor is a potential (or incomplete) map of the identity aspect(s) of a subject. We use the ‘is’ of possessive identity to associate qualia with a subject, i.e. ‘this snow is soft’. I refer to the process of assembling cognitive identity as metaphication. However, behind all of these relatively sophisticated matters lies something primeval, and deeply related to our cognitive evolution both as a species and as individuals. Holophores. These form a ring of ‘root concepts’ which secretly transmit the identity and character they acquire in our infancy throughout all other tokens, concepts, methods of assembly, and methods of evaluation. The limitations in our understandings of holophores, for example ‘what is an animal?’, generate cognitive and relational crises throughout our lives, in every possible avenue of evaluation, planning, problem-solving, and understanding.
There are functional holophores, the effect of which is relatively mechanical in appearance, and relational holophores, whose basis lies in unique features of our environment or relational experience. Both dramatically affect our entire experience of identity in a variety of profound and unexpected ways. Many holophores have a bipolar appearance. For example, the holophore Light has Darkness as its complement. Some effort should be expended in the development of a third position which evinces the unification of such seeming opposites.
Let us first examine a functional holophore. Perhaps the most primordial concepts we are exposed to are Unity and Separation. Without the two sides of this coin, we would not be able to assemble any rational sort of experience or understanding of identity at all. If the meaning we ascribe to the term ‘separate’ were to disappear from our lexical access, our entire lexicon would disappear with it. It is the ‘holy grail’ of lexicals in this way — any word or concept proceeds from this holophore directly. You cannot remove it and still have language, math, science, ideas, music, etc.
This is a peculiar quality all holophores share, however not all of them express this feature in such a primordial way. Removal of a holophore from a lexicon either causes its collapse, or radically alters the identity, function and relation of any remaining figures. This matter is easy to see in the case of the separation/unity holophore — without separation, we could not perceive unities. Without the perception of unities, we could make neither meaning nor use of sensory and/or cognitive experience. There would be no skeleton to hang identity upon. All of this may appear relatively commonplace, however, there are implications which comprise a rather shocking revelation. It is possible to change the meanings and functions associated with holophores in such a way as to experience something akin to a ‘quantum leap’ in accessible intelligence potentials.
The mechanics of this process are simple. Errors in our conceptual and real understanding of the beings, circumstances and events to which holophores refer are magnified in their children throughout our collections of terms, equivalencies, comparators, etc. Holophores are founding principles which invisibly sustain complex webs of inheritance amongst vast arrays of children. In general, the inheritance is from the holophore to the child, however changes in the children can in some ways influence our experience of a holophore. What this means in simple language is that our understanding of what separation means and doesn’t mean informs every other mode and instance of identity we will otherwise assemble. What we call ‘qualities’ are actually new dimensions of separation, or distinction. With this in mind we can see that even a slight correction to a holophore (a correction is defined as re-definition in such a way as to bear a greater likeness to the receding target of ‘the truth’) must necessarily result in a radical or explosive correction in the entire cogniscium of the individual (or group) undergoing this. This will be expressed as overt experiences of functional and emotional prodigy — abilities that we might otherwise consider either impossible or miraculous.
Einstein was working with a holophoric principle (separation/unity) when he demanded the unification of previously ‘separate’ dimensions: time and space. In effect, he was applying a correction to the intellectual, theoretical, and physical relationship between two previously distinct holophores: Time and Space. This seemingly minute correction was (and continues to be) utterly revolutionary, and comprises something we hail amongst the greatest achievements of our species. Yet Einstein’s relatively primitive discovery sets the stage for a whole new dimension of prodigy which is relational rather than scientific. Meaning that, we, in ourselves, must actively re-examine the nature and realities of apparent ‘separation’, and be schooled by nature and experience in the art of applying similar ‘small corrections’ in a dimension which is fundamentally one of thought, evaluation, reaction, comparison, and identity: the dimension of our mind.
Having examined a functional holophore, separation, we will now examine a relational holophore. Light. What is it? Our every idea of ourselves and the universes in and around us contains this. Like fish taking water for granted, we have really completely failed to explore the identity and meaning of Light. Yet everything we do and think expresses the basic characters of light. The ‘letters’ you are reading now were recorded in light, and are transmitted to your eyes by light. Even if one is blind, their whole biology and cognitive nature, whatever that may be, is and has been profoundly influenced by Light. The things we are generally taught about light treat it as a mechanical property, however it is extremely likely that that is the least interesting or important aspect of this ‘stuff’ which really isn’t stuff at all. And similarly, the Sun — source not only of light — but, around here, of sources themselves. ‘It’s a big explosion in space’. Well, if that’s our perspective, our ability to understand what’s going on in and around us is catastrophically crippled. Whatever the Sun is or may be, it has about as much to do with that idea as my body has to do with a cartoon of a faceless man. Elementally, our relational holophores are vastly misfounded. But each of them is necessarily if secretly included in all of the other reflections, namings, and evaluations we make as the common processes of our waking consciousness proceed. To some degree, it is vastly to our credit that we can solve problems of any kind given the grossly misfounded roots of our representational systems.
Part of the goal of Cognitive Activism is to explore the theory of holophores, and perhaps particularly to examine models of their order of arisal both in human cognitive history and in our personal development. My hope is that these explorations will lead to discoveries far beyond anything we might reasonably imagine given our current models and understandings. And these discoveries will be about ourselves, and our potentials, and our place with each other and all beings in the universe.
A simple list of holophores: Light, Food, Star, World, Being, Thing, Separation, Unity, Planet, Person, Animal, Tree, Time, Identity, Relation, Holophore
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