The Holon as an Active Interface:
Koestler’s presentation is impressive and has a lot of merit. And much of MacLean’s valuable work on the Limbic
System has made its way into standard text books. There is more in the works however as we shall see. Most
fundamental to this is the active interface that is the primary element in delineating the structural dynamics of
how the cosmic order works (17). When Koestler speaks of the Janus-faced holon as a basic node of reality he
is also speaking of the cosmic order. It applies anywhere in the universe as he points out. Koestler also says:
‘The hierarchy is open-ended in the downward as it is in the upward direction. (p 62) This leads to infinite
regress as he points out later but it also allows us to speak of holons in any given context. The question arises
that because the holon suggests itself as a viable fundamental structural entity can there in reality be infinite
regress in both directions? There is more to this than meets the eye because holons derive from active interface
The top end of the cosmic hierarchy is the most fundamental end since holons are conceived to represent all
phenomena. Holons concern boundary conditions between inside and outside. However Koestler’s discussion of
holons is generally confined to things and events in space and time even though he firmly denies that all
behaviour is physically caused or conditioned either in rats, human beings or in our natural environment. The
concept itself however transcends space and time. It implicitly relates to a timeless or eternal aspect of the
cosmic order. This deserves close examination.
It is a fact so obvious that it goes unrecognized that we can never know the inside of something to the exclusion
of the outside, or vice versa. All we can EVER know is active interface processes between a common inside and
a common outside. We normally see active interface processes as closed surfaces consisting of organized
collections of atoms and molecules. However there are also open active interfaces that are intimately related to
closed active interfaces. They have universal characteristics according to context. We do not see the universal
characteristics directly because, like holons, they do not exist as physical things in space and time. They make
all primary atoms of hydrogen universally the same even though each atom is separate and distinct. They make
each human being structurally the same even though each person is separate and behaviourally distinct. A
species, whether it is a species of atom, plant, animal or the human species is a universal active interface in the
context in which it specifies the structural characteristics of all of its diverse members, regardless of their
The Two Faces of Our Three Brains
|The Two Faces of Our Three Brains
|The Unsolicited Gift:
In Arthur Koestler’s landmark book The Ghost in the Machine (1) he tells an interesting parable which he calls
the paradox of the unsolicited gift: (Since the book is out of print I will quote at some length from it.)
“There was once an illiterate shopkeeper in an Arab bazaar, called Ali, who, not being very good at doing Koestler goes on to say:
sums, was always cheated by his customers; instead of cheating them, as it should be. So he prayed
every night to Allah for the present of an abacus; that venerable contraption for adding and subtracting by
pushing beads along wires. But some malicious djin forwarded his prayers to the wrong branch of the
heavenly Mail Order Department, and so one morning, arriving at the bazaar, Ali found his stall
transformed into a multi-storey, steel framed building, housing the latest IBM computer with instrument
panels covering all the walls, with thousands of fluorescent oscillators, dials, magic eyes, etc., and an
instruction book of several hundred pages; which, being illiterate, he could not read. However after days
of useless fiddling with this or that dial, he flew into a rage and started kicking a shiny, delicate panel. The
shocks disturbed one of the machine’s millions of electronic circuits, and after a while Ali discovered to his
delight that if he kicked that panel, say, three times and afterwards five times, one of the dials showed the
figure eight! He thanked Allah for having sent him such a pretty abacus, and continued to use the
machine to add up two and three happily unaware that it was capable of deriving Einstein’s equations in a
jiffy, or predicting the orbits of planets and stars thousands of years ahead. Ali’s children, then his
grandchildren, inherited the machine and the secret of kicking that same panel; but it took hundreds of
generations until they learned to use it even for the purpose of simple multiplication. We ourselves are Ali’
s descendants, and though we have discovered many other ways of putting the machine to work, we have
still only learned to utilize a very small fraction of the potential of its estimated hundred thousand million
circuits. For the unsolicited gift is of course the human brain. As for the instruction booklet, it is lost, if it
ever existed. Plato maintains that it did once, but that is hearsay.”
“It is entirely unprecedented that evolution should provide a species with an organ which it does not know
how to use; a luxury organ, like Ali’s computer, far exceeding its owner’s immediate, primitive needs; an
organ which will take the species millennia to learn to put to proper use, if it ever does.”
The Poverty of Psychology and the Need for a New Paradigm:
Our tragic human history attests to the fact that despite all of our scientific efforts, no one knows how the human
nervous system works in terms that can allow us to master the operation of our most important instrument in
constructively balanced ways. As proprietors of our unsolicited gift we are left groping in the dark. There are
various systems with certain vague verbal guidelines, which have a degree of validity in limited circumstances,
but invariably these have serious shortcomings. This includes the whole range of psychological and
philosophical systems of understanding as well as our physical and biological sciences. All of these may catch
some particular glimpse of truth from a certain angle but all are deficient to varying degrees. Language is not up
to the task.
Koestler takes particular aim at Behavioural Psychology founded before the outbreak of the First World War by
Professor John Broadus Watson(2). He published a book Behaviourism (3) in which he proclaimed:
“The time has come when psychology must discard all reference to consciousness... Its sole task is the The absurdities of behavioural psychology were further advanced notably by Professor B.F. Skinner (4) at
prediction and control of behaviour; and introspection can form no part of its method.” (1913 pp 158-67)
... The Behaviourist…must exclude from his scientific vocabulary all subjective terms such as sensation,
perception, image, desire, purpose, and even thinking and emotion as they were subjectively defined.”
(1928. p 6)
Harvard into the 1980s. His many colleagues still exert their influence today including on other disciplines such
as psychiatry, physics, evolution theory, biology and social sciences. Experiments on rats and pigeons have
been extrapolated to human behaviour. The mechanical linkage of Cause and Effect has been translated into
Stimulus and Response as in the Pavlovian conditioning of dogs. Koestler points out that Pavlov went so far as
to count the drops of dog salivation to quantify the degree of conditioning. We generally acknowledge that a
degree of social conditioning is essential to the development of a child but to reduce us all to mindless totally
conditioned robots no better than rats is ludicrous. As Koestler puts it:
“It is impossible to arrive at a diagnosis of man’s predicament – and by implication a therapy – by starting It may be argued that behaviourism is dead but the corpse still stalks the corridors of the psychologist’s mind.
from a psychology that denies the existence of mind…”
There has been a resurgence in recent years and the general populace is on the band wagon analysing who
out there caused their every psychological hiccup. There is such a thing as taking personal responsibility for one’
“…affluent society makes everybody happy, conditioning him in a strictly scientific manner, by the mass
media into the perfect consumer. Hypothetical mechanisms, intervening variables, auxiliary hypotheses
have been introduced – without changing the basic concepts or general outlook. But what we need are
not some hypothetical mechanisms better to explain some aberrations of the behaviour of the laboratory
rat; What we need is a new conception of man.”( v. Bertalanffy 1967) Nothing has changed since 1967.
|by Robert Campbell
The Papez-MacLean Theory of Emotions is reviewed from the perspective of Arthur Koestler’s holon, a Janus–
faced characteristic of hierarchical levels that pervade the natural order. MacLean researched the
schizophysiology of the split between the ancient emotional limbic brain and the new brain or neocortex to account
for humanity’s tragic history. The self transcending face of the holon identifies with an integrating ideal entertained
by the conscious intellect that is easily subverted to the emotional desires of the crocodile and the horse wired into
our limbic brain. This allows our self-assertive face to act without human conscience thus accounting for the tragic
mess we have made of our history. The “flatland” vision of cause and effect has ruled the development of the
psychological, social, physical and biological sciences while ignoring hierarchies implicit in the cosmic order that
pervade all phenomena. The holon is shown to derive from Universal and Particular active interfaces that are
requirements of universal wholeness implicit in the cosmic order. It is called System 2.
The hierarchically nested Systems 3 and 4 require that there are three mutually closed active interfaces essential
to physical reality, and to the mental integration of phenomenal experience, respectively. Sperry’s work on split-
brain patients confirms that the right and left hemispheres function independently, the holistic right brain acting as
a self-transcending face with respect to the self assertive left brain. Together they can be conscripted into the
service of our primitive limbic brain. Polar relationships between the sensory and motor topologies of the neocortex
explored by Penfield and Woolsey act as two of the three polarities essential to the integration of human
experience, the third being the ancient limbic system that reflects autonomic emotional experience in conscious
awareness. The mind is shown to transcend and subsume the physical brain by regulating archetypal patterns
behind the scenes that direct brain chemistry.
Key words: Koestler, Papez, MacLean, Sperry, Penfield, Woolsey, limbic system. split brains, universal
wholeness, universal and particular, holon, cosmic order, brain and mind, three brains, hierarchies, active
interfaces, triune brain, schizophysiology, causality
The Subjective Orientation of System 2:
The subjective (self-transcending) orientation is illustrated in Figure 2. In the subjective orientation the Universal
Center 1 and Particular Center 2 face one another and are coalesced together as ONE to preserve Universal
Wholeness. This can only occur independently with One of Many Particular interfaces. It cannot be a
spontaneous collective realization of Many at a time and still be One, although Many may independently identify
with a unifying common cause. The subjective orientation transcends space and time. It is a timeless realization.
Three Active Interfaces in System 3 define Physical Form:
There are only four possible ways that three active interfaces can mutually interact with respect to a universal
inside and a universal outside common to each interface. Because there are three active interfaces it is called
System 3 (19). Each way defines what is called a Term such that there are two Universal Terms that are
alternate modes of a Unique Set of three centers and two Particular Terms that represent any number of
Particular Sets. System 3 is transcended and submed by System 2 and elaborates on it.
For example the Particular Sets can represent all the primary hydrogen atoms in the universe because they
share a common relationship to the Unique Universal Set. Consistent with an elaboration of System 2 above they
interact in alternating modes with the Universal and Particular terms coalesced together in each mode. Words can
be assigned to describe the three hierarchically ordered active interfaces in the open Universal Set: Idea(1) →
Figure 3 is a subjective orientation (below) alternating with an objective orientation (above). (see reference 16)
The three Particular Centers are mutually closed Active Interfaces with spherical surfaces as represented by the
large blue ellipses in the subjective orientation below. In primary hydrogen atoms Centers 1, 2 & 3 represent the
closed photon energy shell, the electron particle, and the proton particle respectively. The Idea(1) of the whole
atom is implicit in the closed Photon energy shell. The Routine(2) is implicit in the orbiting electron. The center of
physical Form(3) is implicit in the proton where the mass is concentrated. The Unique Open Universal Set is
confined within them like quarks and tunnels through them to intimately link them together in pairs. It does this
synchronously for every primary hydrogen atom in the universe at once, making them all the same. It can do this
because it does not exist in space and time and it is not constrained by the limitations of space and time. Atomic
structure, space and time, have been explored by the author in other website articles (20). Space and time derive
from the primary projection of atoms.
In the objective mode above, the Particular Closed Interfaces invert and become Open Interfaces within the One
Open Universal Set. The open Electron and Proton interfaces coalesce as one, as indicated by the “Z” shaped
arrow. This reconciles inside and outside as one with the Photon Interface. They become mutually balanced and
spatially indeterminate quantum Photon energy equivalents of each physical atom. Collectively all such open
Photon energy equivalents constitute the Unique Universal Photon Interface (center 1) in the One Universal Set.
This is called the boundless and timeless Void. It is a boundless Unity without specific forms of any kind, thus
preserving Universal Wholeness via the creative process. This is the objective of creation.
The Void is orthogonal to the integrated fabric of space and time. It is associated with mind and the recall process
on a hierarchy of levels. It is a master sensorium or memory bank. A new Quantum Relativity emerges naturally
from this structural approach (21). The quantum equivalent of atomic particles is the Conjugate Energy
Equivalent of the wave function which is why the wave function must be squared to get a result in particle
accelerator experiments. Energy is equal to the relativistic mass times the square of the speed of light.
Triadic relationships between three active interfaces are always closed in the subjective mode and open in the
objective mode. For example the Cells and Organs of each Host human being are in a mutually closed intimate
subjective relationship. The existence of each has a specific closed surface that is clothed with molecules that we
can see and identify with respect to the universal human species. The same is true of any multi-cellular plant or
animal. This has been explored in other articles by the author (22). Closed triadic relationships come into play in
many ways and each has an open quantum equivalent that is a timeless and formless element of memory in the
orthogonal Void. Collectively these open elements constitute the archetype of any species from atom to human.
In the human brain the triad is clearly distinguished between the intuitive right hemisphere, the language
dominated left hemisphere, and the emotional limbic brain. The right brain that integrates Idea(1) as a whole is
fueled via the emotive Routines(2) of the limbic brain for expression in explicit Forms(3) of thought and behavior
in response to sensory input. This is elaborated on by System 4.
Note that the left side of each diagram is the passive representation. It may help to visualize the active
representation that links the active interfaces with patterned energy flows and arrows in all possible ways. There
is meaning implicit in each linkage relationship, designated as R1, R2, R3, etc.
Step 2 of each 4 Step Cycle:
In Step 2 of each Cycle, Term 9 does not transform as shown in Figure 5a. It advances from the Idea(1) active
interface to the Knowledge(2) active interface. This concerns the Knowledge implicit in the interdependent Host,
Organ, Cell organization common to the human species. There is intimate Knowledge implicit in the triadic
relationship that works in concert.
The Transference of Idea into Form, Term 3, transforms into the Corporeal Body, Term 6, in Step 2 as illustrated
in Figure 5b. In Term 6 we see that the closed intimate triadic relationship between Host(1), Organs(2), and
Cells(3) of each Human Being is realized in physical Form(4), since the archetypal pattern of the triad Projects
via P1, P2, and P3 through the open interface of molecular Form(4) shared with the biosphere and beyond. In
other words the intimately linked triad is independent from the molecular Form of the body yet its archetypal
energy patterns orchestrate the chemistry of Cells and Organs that make up the physical human Host.
The intimately linked triad is independent from the molecular Form(4) of the body yet its archetypal energy
patterns orchestrate the chemistry of Cells and Organs that make up the physical Host person.
In Step 2 many parallel Particular Sets acting through parallel neural and muscular pathways enact a coherently
integrated Particular Term 5 action sequence planned in the previous Cycle. The Particular action sequence
was coherently planned by the Universal Sets as we shall see in Step 4 for the next action sequence in the next
Cycle. The corporeal body in Term 6 thus responds as an integrated whole in each Particular action sequence.
The action sequences are learned from jerky actions in the crib to smooth performances as we mature.
Step 3 of each System 4 Cycle:
In Step 3 of each Cycle the Primary Universal Set transforms from Term 9 to a Regenerative mode of Term 8R
illustrated in Figure 6a. The secondary Term 6 does not transform as illustrated in Figure 6b.
Note in Term 6, Figure 6b, that the Host(1) individual, their Organs(2) and Cells(3) are in a mutually closed
intimate triad that is self-similar with the subjective mode of System 3. The triad however is operative within the
open active interface of Chemical Form(4) that is common to the biosphere of the planet. System 4 is nested
within System 3 that prescribes atomic matter. In other words the triad represents the archetypal energy pattern
of the human individual that orchestrates its own chemical clothing within the ecosystem of the planet, as
indicated by the Projections P1, P2 and P3. It is this triadic energy pattern operating behind or within the physical
environment that has evolved up through the hierarchical levels, anchored to the quadruped limb structure of the
reptiles, lower mammals, to higher mammals to humankind. Chemistry cannot mindlessly orchestrate this magic
Note in Term 8R, Figure 6a, that the countercurrent Relations R1 and R2 relate chemical Forms(4) to Organs(2)
across the open active interface of Cells(3), all within the open active interface of the Host(1). This budgets the
resources of chemical Form(4) within Cells(3) to the distributed needs of Organs(2). A balance is attained
between the resources of chemical energy Forms in Cells with the needs of Organs within the context of the
overall needs of the Host.
The balance is represented by the Projections P1 and P2. Together this P1 and P2 balance each of the
Projections P1, P2 and P3 in Term 6. All the active interfaces are open in Term 8R so that all Cells(3) subjectively
manufacture their chemical Forms(4) in an objective relationship with the Organs(2) to which they belong
according to demands of the Host(1). Together these archetypal energy patterns subjectively constitute the open
Host(1) species, whether it is the human species, or a horse species, or whatever. The species dictates the
The countercurrent relations R1 and R2 in Term 8R balance universally open Centers that do not exist as
physical things. Since they are not constrained by the limitations of space and time R1 and R2 tunnel through
and intimately link in pairs the closed interfaces of the triad in Term 6, in a self-similar way that the Universal Set
does in the subjective mode of System 3 in Figure 3. This aligns the Primary Universal open Idea(1) of the
species in Term 8R with the open chemical Form(4) of each member of the species in Term 6. All humans thus
have a self-similar molecular structure, as do all members of any species. We identify each creature as a living
Idea(1) defined by its species.
Step 4 of each System 4 Cycle:
In Step 4 the Primary Universal Set in Term 8R does not transform. The Secondary Universal Set in Term 6
transforms to invert its triadic relationship with respect to the Open Interface of chemical Form(4). Chemical
Form(4) is now within or subjective to the closed Cells(3) in their intimate relationship with the individual Host(1)
and their complement of Organs(2). This means that the chemical resources of all Cells(3) in a specific human
being are equitably distributed as they relate to the needs of each Host(1) human being with respect to their
complement of Organs(2) involved in a specific action sequence. The action sequence will be enacted by
Particular Terms 5 two transform Steps later.
R1 and R2 of the Primary T8R Term tunnel through and intimately link the closed active interfaces of the triad as
in Step 3. In this case however, the triad represents a specific integrated action pattern of a specific person
aligned with the Primary Universal Archetype of the Host(1) species. The planned action sequence is the R1 Idea
in the Secondary Universal Term 2E (Figure 7b)., It will be physically enacted in Step 2 of the next Cycle by
synchronous Particular behavior Terms 5 in many parallel Particular Sets in a specific human individual. The
patterned funding and distribution of the energies needed is dictated by the mutually coherent archetypal
patterns of the two Universal Sets in Step 4 of each Cycle.
From Penfield W, Roberts L. Speech and Brain Mechanisms, Atheneum edition, 1976
The Polar Relations of the Six Particular Terms:
As mentioned the three Particular Sets transform through a sequence of six Particular Terms. The three Sets
transform from Term to Term one Step apart in a repeating sequence. Term 7 is the memory Term. It is
tensionally coupled to sensory input in Term 4 so that recall is always relevant. The sequence of Term
transformations recalled is the inverse of the number 7, which is 1,4,2,8,5,7 repeating. This means the
synchronous Terms 8, 7, 4 alternate with Terms 1, 2, 5. The structural relationships between the active interfaces
within each Term implicitly defines the basis of meaning which has a dynamic relationship to the meaning defined
in each of the other Terms. Each Term transformation conforms precisely to a synapse in the integration of the
whole nervous system. The human nervous system has evolved to work in precisely this way. The six Terms
dynamically integrate meaning that is contextually understood in three polar pairs that relate to our three brains.
The numbers in the following text refer to Figure 8.
One polar pair provides insight into the Potential Dimension of experience via the right hemisphere. For example
the potential of a specific creative idea(Term 1) has a polar relationship to the person’s resource capacity(Term
7) to realize it. They may have an idea to sprint for a mile but they intuitively know they do not have the resource
capacity to do it. They may have an idea to buy or build a yacht or an airplane but they intuitively know whether or
not they may have the resources to make the potential idea a physical reality. A person may also identify with the
Idea of a social movement that depends upon popular support of a portion of the population.
The second polar pair provides insight into the Commitment Dimension via the left hemisphere. A person’s
commitment to a specific behavior(Term 5) can only be assessed in a polar relationship to social organization
(Term 4) in the social context. A person may have a commitment to feed their family but they know it is not legal
to rob a convenience store to do it. They make their commitment to a job and earn the means to feed their family
by making a contribution to our collective social organization. If they commit to building a small airplane as a
hobby they will need suppliers of plans and materials in the social marketplace. One can also identify with an
exclusive social movement that can be anti-social in the larger context of humanity. Terrorist actions are
The third polar pair provides insight into the Performance Dimension via the limbic system. The limbic system
fuels the energy Resources(Term 1) to develop a potential idea and make a commitment to act on it, but it also
assesses the whole performance by emotional feedback(Term 8). A person can be emotionally satisfied or
dissatisfied with the result. A man may have an emotional desire or felt need to build a small airplane that
becomes his guiding vision(1) that leads him to check out sources(4) and decide on a specific plan(2) that he is
satisfied with(8) and commits to(5). He learns from his creative efforts and it is committed to memory(7). When his
project is finally finished he will emotionally assess(Term 8) his degree of success with respect to the emotional
germ that was his guiding vision(Term 1). We seek emotional balance whether our commitments are socially
acceptable or not. A thief may be happy to get away with a robbery. The policeman may be content to catch him.
Figure 11 (37)
The Mind-Brain Relationship:
Having operated on many hundreds of patients who consciously participated in their own brain surgery Penfield is
uniquely qualified to express his thoughts about the relationship between mind and brain. In the preface to his
book on the mind (38) he writes:
“Philosophers of a certain school would, no doubt, silence me before I began to discuss the mind and the In the second chapter of his book The Mystery of the Mind Penfield expresses great respect for Hippocrates, that
brain, if they could. They declare that since the mind cannot, by its very nature, have a position in space,
there is only one phenomenon to be considered, namely, the brain. Such a declaration, which is contrary to
the thinking of most men today, as it was in ages past, is an unproven hypothesis. Like all hypothesis one
should undertake to prove, or to disprove it, without initial prejudice.”
Father of Scientific Medicine in the fifth century BC, who “recognized the moral and the spiritual as well as the
material and the physical.” On the final two pages of his book he writes:
“In the end I conclude that there is no good evidence … that the brain alone can carry out the work that
the mind does. … But I believe that one should not pretend to draw a final scientific conclusion, in man’s
study of man, until the nature of the energy responsible for mind-action is discovered as, in my own opinion,
it will be. … In ordinary conversation, the “mind” and “the spirit of man” are taken to be the same. I was
brought up in a Christian family and I have always believed, since I first considered the matter, that there
was work for me to do in the world, and that there was a grand design in which all conscious individuals
play a role. Whether there is such a thing as communication between man and God and whether energy
can come to the mind of man from an outside source after his death is for each individual to decide for
himself. Science has no such answers.”
We find that both Universal and Particular Term transformation sequences indicate there is a split between right
and left brain function. This brings us to the experimental work done on split brain patients. Our self-assertive face
is our left brain commitment to behavior. Our self-transcending face is the right brain potential or integrating ideal
The Right-Left Split in the Human Brain:
While Koestler was publishing his book Roger Sperry (30) was doing experiments on epileptic patients who had
undergone surgery that severed the corpus callosum, the huge nerve bundle that joins the right and left
hemispheres of the new brain – the neocortex. This drastic surgery helped to relieve severe seizures while the
normal behavior of these patients was not noticeably affected. Sensory input projects to both hemispheres which
have motor outputs that project mainly to the opposite side of the body. Since both hemispheres are dragged
along to the same places and focus on the same things they can thus function synchronously in parallel. It was
known that there were some functional differences between the two hemispheres in humans, and Sperry sought to
Sperry took advantage of the fact that half of each eye projects to the opposite hemisphere of the neocortex,
together with the fact that the response time for eye movement is about one tenth of a second. He accordingly set
up a split screen so that pictures could be flashed from behind it onto either side of the screen quickly enough to
beat the reaction time of eye movement. So long as the patient focused on the centerline of the split screen the
left hemisphere could not see what was flashed on the left side of the screen and vice versa. A variety of tests
were possible especially on vision, touch, hearing and speech. The experimental setup is illustrated in Figure 9
“… these patients behave in many ways as if they have two independent streams of conscious awareness,
one in each hemisphere, each of which is cut off from and out of contact with the mental experiences of the
other. In other words, each hemisphere seems to have its own separate and private sensations, its own
perceptions, its own concepts and its own impulses to act, with related volitional, cognitive and learning
experiences. Following the surgery each hemisphere also has thereafter its own separate chain of memories
that are rendered inaccessible to the recall processes of the other.”
Figure 12 (40)
“This separate existence of two visual inner worlds is further illustrated in reference to speech and writing,
the cortical mechanisms for which are centered in the dominant hemisphere. Visual material projected to
the right half of the field – left hemisphere system of the typical right-handed patient – can be described in
speech and writing in an essentially normal manner. However, when the same visual material is projected
into the left half of the field, and hence to the right hemisphere, the subject consistently insists that he did
not see anything or that there was only a flash of light on the left side. The subject acts as if he were blind
or agnostic for the left half of the visual field. If, however, instead of asking the subject to tell you what he
saw, you instruct him to use his left hand to point to a matching picture or object presented among a
collection of other pictures or objects, the subject has no trouble as a rule in pointing out consistently the
very item that he has just insisted he did not see…. That is, they cannot recognize with one hand
something identified only moments before with the other hand. Again, the second hemisphere does not
know what the first hemisphere has been doing…. When the subjects are first asked to use the left hand
for these stereognostic tests they commonly complain that they cannot ‘work with that hand’, that the hand
‘is numb’, that they ‘just can’t feel anything or can’t do anything with it’,…
“These patients also demonstrate comprehension of language in the minor hemisphere by being able to
find by blind touch with the left hand an object that has been named aloud by the examiner. ….. we find
that the minor hemisphere seems able to understand … In some tests the minor hemisphere is found to be
superior to the major, (my emphasis), for example, in tasks that involve deriving spatial relationships and
performing block design tests.”
The mute hemisphere excels at spatial and temporal organization and integration. It has holistic intuitive
characteristics that are distinct from the linear logic of the language hemisphere.
“The minor hemisphere is also observed to demonstrate appropriate emotional reactions as, for example,
when a pin-up shot of a nude is interjected by surprise among a series …When the surprise nude appears
on the left side the subject characteristically says that he or she saw nothing or just a flash of light.
However, the appearance of a sneaky grin and perhaps blushing and giggling on the next couple of trials
or so belies the verbal contention of the speaking hemisphere. If asked what all the grinning is about, the
subjects’ replies indicate that the conversant hemisphere has no idea at this stage what it was that had
turned him on. Apparently, only the emotional effect gets across, as if the cognitive component of the
process cannot be articulated through the brainstem ….… The minor hemisphere also commonly triggers
emotional reactions of displeasure in the course of ordinary testing. This is evidenced in the frowning,
wincing, and negative head shaking in test situations where the minor hemisphere, knowing the correct
answer but unable to speak, hears the major hemisphere making obvious verbal mistakes. ”
System 4 Archetypes as the Energy Patterns behind the Mind-Brain Relationship:
There have been great advances in molecular biology that were undreamed of when Penfield wrote the above
words. Together with insights provided by System 4 they confirm his conclusions about both a clear distinction
between brain and mind as well as an intimate relationship between them. The ambiguity between the self
transcending and self assertive faces of the holon is ever apparent. If we examine the biological evidence closely
with respect to System 4 several key points are evident.
System 4 universally applies:
System 4 encompasses all possible varieties of phenomenal experience. Since the Primary Universal Set
represents the archetypal energy pattern of the human Species as it coherently relates to the Secondary
Universal Set, the latter clearly defines the intimate triadic relationship that represents the archetypal energy
pattern of an Individual human being. It is called the corporeal body for that reason.
Archetypal patterns of three brains:
System 4 is fully consistent with the archetypal triad characteristics of mind that clothes itself in molecular form as
three independent yet intimately related brains within a physical brain.
Mind is anchored to brain:
Although the triad of mind is operative behind the open interface of molecular Forms(4) shared with the biosphere
and beyond, it is also anchored to the chemistry of the whole biosphere as illustrated by the Projections P1, P2,
P3 in Term 6 of Figures 5b and 6b.
The Host, Organs, Cells Triad as Archetypal:
A human Host is obviously a whole but a person can hardly exist as a monolithic lump, nor can their Organs, nor
can their Cells. These are each archetypal energy patterns in their own right but the existence of each depends
on its intimate relationship with its two partners. It is only the archetypal energy patterns of Cells that synthesize
molecular Form and this is specific to each kind of Cell that intimately relates to the integrating archetypal
patterns of each Organ, and in turn the human Host as a whole. This triad also subsumes in a self-similar way a
triad within each Host Cell which intimately relates to its Organelles (Nucleus, Ribosomes, etc.) and Enzyme
Routines that synthesize Chemical Forms.
Koestler Draws on the Work of Dr. Paul MacLean:
Professor MacLean was a leading researcher on the relationship of our primitive reptilian and lower mammalian
brains with respect to our neocortex or new brain that expanded over them when the higher mammals evolved.
The cortex is the outer rind of grey matter, about a tenth of an inch thick. It contains many billions of neurons over
an area of about three square feet crammed into the convolutions of the brain. Inside it white matter nerve fibres
interconnect areas of the cortex in a complex maze of patterns. In humans the expansion of the neocortex has
been so great as to fold the two primitive brains that occupy the limb or edge of the cerebral cortex inward around
the top of the brain stem. The structure (6) and function of the Limbic brain is very similar throughout the
mammalian lineage from mouse to man. Its human structure is simply illustrated in the website article Inside our
Three Brains (7). It is also shown in Figure 14 below. Later we will come to Arthur Koestler's concept of the
“holon” which draws heavily on MacLean's work during the 1950s and 1960s.
Building on the work of Papez (1937)(8), MacLean's pioneering work (9), covering the last half of the 20th
century (10) established that the two primitive limbic brains in conjunction with related brain stem structures form
a functionally integrated apparatus called the Limbic System. It is intimately associated with our emotional
apparatus - the autonomic nervous system. The latter is an emotional vehicle rather than a cause. In 1929 Walter
Canon (11) showed that emotions persist even after autonomic connections of the visceral organs with the brain
are severed, indicating the emotional limbic brain can function independently on emotional patterns established
prior. “Visceral response is important for the establishment, but not for the maintenance, of emotional behavior.”
The Limbic Brain is fundamental to the recall process and memory. It can learn in itself and is also employed in
the learning of the new brain. We know that memories are emotionally coloured. We have a conscious capacity to
observe them. They arise according to circumstance. We can tailor them to behavioural responses as we deem
appropriate in any given situation. Nevertheless this primitive brain has a capacity to think independently of the
neocortex albeit in crude and often confused emotionally coloured patterns. Its cortex is relatively coarse, like the
brains of our reptilian and lower mammalian ancestors, while the new brain is finer in texture and more highly
organized. The Limbic brain has no capacity to express its impressions in language. Rather it associates them
with situations symbolically. The colour red may be associated with blood, or fighting, or flowers, or fire, for
MacLean points out that Limbic epilepsy, electrically induced in animal studies, is confined to the Limbic System,
quote: “Seldom do the discharges, analogous to a stampeding bull, burst out of this coral and jump the fence into
the neo-mammalian brain.”(MacLean 1964 pp10-11) There is thus a clear dichotomy of function between the old
and new brains that he calls schizophysiology. This built-in condition accounts for a fundamental human dilemma
associated with Koestler's parable of the unsolicited gift. MacLean describes it as follows:
“Man finds himself in the predicament that Nature has endowed him essentially with three brains which,
despite great differences in structure, must function together and communicate with one another. The
oldest of these brains is basically reptilian. The second has been inherited from lower mammals, and the
third is a late mammalian development, which in its culmination in primates, has made man peculiarly man.
“Speaking allegorically of these three brains within a brain, we might imagine that when the psychiatrist bids
the patient to lie on the couch, he is asking him to stretch out alongside a horse and a crocodile. The
crocodile may be willing and ready to shed a tear and the horse to neigh and whinny, but when they are
encouraged to express their troubles in words, it soon becomes evident that their inability is beyond the
help of language training. Little wonder that the patient who has personal responsibility for these animals
and who must serve as their mouthpieces is sometimes accused of being full of resistances and reluctant
to talk. The reptilian brain is filled with ancestral lore and ancestral memories and is faithful in doing what
its ancestors say, but it is not a very good brain for facing up to new situations. It is as though it were
neurosis-bound to an ancestral superego.
“In evolution one sees the beginning of emancipation from the ancestral superego, with the appearance of
the lower mammalian brain, which Nature builds on top of the reptilian brain... Investigations have shown
that the lower mammalian brain plays a fundamental role in emotional behavior... It has a greater capacity
than the reptilian brain for learning new approaches...on the basis of immediate experience. But like the
reptilian brain ...it does not have the ability to put its feelings into words.” MacLean 1964 p 2; Koestler p 277.
Note: Page references to Koestler’s book The Ghost in the Machine refer to the Picador edition 1975.
A Drama Spanning Our Evolutionary History:
“…the cortex of the Limbic system to a primitive TV screen which combines and often confuses projections
from the internal visceral environment with the external environment. Such a cortex must have offered
some of the confusion of a twice exposed film. In any event it could not have been altogether satisfactory,
because when Nature decided to develop the neo-mammalian brain, she constructed progressively a
bigger and finer type of screen, which gave predominantly a picture of the outside world made up of
impressions from the eye, the ear, and the surface of the body... But Nature in her frugality did not discard
the old screen. Since it seemed adequate for smelling, tasting and feeling what is going on inside the body
she kept the filaments in the (TV) tube of the old screen glowing night and day.” (MacLean 1958)
In summary MacLean's three brains resolve into two brains because the reptilian and lower mammalian brains
together constitute the Limbic Brain, which is distinct from the new brain or neocortical brain of the higher
mammals such as dogs, chimpanzees and humans. Although the growth of the new brain continued with the early
hominid species an unprecedented explosive growth is especially evident in the enlarged cranial capacity of
humans over the past half million years. (p. 272). Koestler suggests that this tumultuous overgrowth was
unprecedented in evolutionary history and was an evolutionary mistake.
There has been little change in the last 35,000 years or so as modern humans consolidated. This dichotomous
schism between the old and new brains accounts for the schizophrenic-paranoid streak so deeply evident in
human history from our bipedal origins to the present. MacLean elaborates on this built-in schizo-physiology in
many of his articles on the subject. Our new brain easily gets conscripted into the service of our old brain often
with exaggerated negative results.
In short: “We have the intellectual capacity to build atomic bombs and send rockets to the moon, harnessed to the
emotional capacity of a crocodile and a horse.”
The Schizophysiology of Horse and Rider:
Koestler sums up. (p 332)
“The neuro-physiological evidence indicates, as we have seen, a dissonance between the reactions of the
neocortex and the limbic system. Instead of functioning as integral parts in a hierarchical order, they lead
a kind of agonized coexistence. To revert to an earlier metaphor: the rider has never gained complete
control of the horse, and the horse asserts its whims in the most objectionable ways. We have also seen
that the horse - the limbic system - has direct access to the emotion-generating, viscerally orientated
centers in the hypothalamus; but the rider has no direct access to them. Moreover the stirrups and reins
by which the rider is meant to control the horse are inadequate.
To quote MacLean once more: 'On the basis of neuronographic studies there appear to be no
“associational” connections between the limbic and the neocortex.' There is no anatomical evidence for
the intricate loops within loops of feedbacks, of the delicate interplay of excitation and inhibition, which
characterize the nervous system in general. 'Both horse and man are very much alive to one another and
to their environment, yet communication between them is limited. Both derive information and act on it in
different ways.'(MacLean 1961 pp 1738-39) Here, then, is the anatomical substratum of 'the divided
house of faith and reason' whose tenants are condemned to live in a state of controlled schizophrenia....
To go on preaching sweet reason to an inherently unreasonable species is, as history shows, a fairly
hopeless enterprise. Biological evolution has let us down ….” (p 332) “...God seems to have left the
receiver off the hook and time is running out....”
Rather apologetically Koestler goes on to suggest that a psycho-pharmacological solution may be possible to
restore a natural balance between horse and rider and transform homo maniacus into homo sapiens.
But let us go back now to the earlier part of his book where he develops the concept of the “holon”. Then later
we shall see that there is an ingenious method anticipating a far flung future vision implicit in Nature's bold and
risky plan. It may be hanging by a thread but it is surely there.
Janus and the Holon:
Koestler emphasizes that hierarchic order is a characteristic of all forms of social organization from “insect state
to Pentagon.” It is “true of the process of becoming – phylogeny, ontogeny, the acquisition of knowledge.” In
more recent years it has been found to be true within the cell. There are homeobox genes that coherently control
batteries of subordinate genes that are hierarchically regulated by complex transcription factors. And single Cells
have an obvious hierarchical relationship to a complement of tissues in Organs which in turn are hierarchically
related to the whole Host creature. And the host creature is part of a whole species and species part of a genus
which is subordinate part of a whole family, then kingdom and then part of the whole living biosphere which is
somehow regulated by the ontological essence of all being. Hierarchies are all pervasive.
Koestler says: “The first universal characteristic of hierarchies is the relativity, and indeed ambiguity of the
terms ‘part’ and ‘whole’ when applied to any of the sub assemblies. ,,, But ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’ in this
absolute sense just do not exist anywhere, either in the domain of living organisms, or of social
organizations.” (p 48)
In other words ‘wholes’ and ‘parts’ are not isolated ‘things’ sufficient unto themselves. They are mutually defined
by their mutual relationship. There is no such thing as a species consisting of one isolated member and no such
thing as a species with no members. This ancient philosophical theme has been expressed and debated as the
Universal and Particular, or the One and the Many. It was implicitly recognized in the ancient Vedas, in ancient
Egypt, and in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy culminating in Plato’s Theory of Forms (14) which Aristotle firmly
objected to (15). He replaced it with his categories and four causes. As the saying goes the whole of subsequent
western philosophy is a footnote to Plato and Aristotle. Somehow the debate has avoided examining the
characteristics of hierarchies, especially in modern science and its philosophical underpinnings. The existence of
universals is generally rejected in favour of a bottom up atomistic approach consistent with Aristotle’s runaway
horse across “flatland”.
Koestler makes a crucial observation that allows a much more intelligible discussion.
“The members of a hierarchy, like the Roman God Janus, all have two faces looking in opposite directions; In his discussion of social holons Koestler points out:
the face turned toward the subordinate levels is the of a self contained whole; the face turned upward
toward the apex, that of a dependent part. One is the face of the master the other the face of the servant.
This ‘Janus effect’ is a fundamental characteristic of sub-wholes in all types of hierarchies.
“But there is no satisfactory word in our vocabulary to refer to these Janus-faced entities… It seems
preferable to coin a new term to designate these nodes of the hierarchic tree which behave partly as
wholes and wholly as parts, depending on how you look at them. The term I would propose is ‘holon’ from
the Greek ‘holos’=whole, with the suffix ‘on’ which, as in proton or neutron, suggests a particle or part.”(p 48)
“The Gestalt school (16) has considerably enriched our knowledge of visual perception, and succeeded
in softening up the rigid attitude of its opponents to some extent. But in spite of its lasting merits, ‘holism’ as
a general attitude to psychology turned out to be as one sided as atomism was, because both treated
‘whole‘ and ‘part’ as absolutes, both failed to take account of intermediate strictures of sub-wholes….”(p 49)
“We can dissect a complex whole into its composite ‘holons’ of the second and third order, and so on, but
we cannot ‘reduce’ it to a sum of its parts, nor predict its properties from those of its parts. The hierarchy
concept of ‘levels of organization’ in itself implies a rejection of the reductionist view that all phenomena of
life (consciousness included) can be reduced to and explained by physical-chemical laws. … Whatever the
nature of a hierarchic organization, its constituent holons are defined by fixed rules and flexible strategies.”
Active interface processes are universal on a cosmic scale. We can conceive of nothing apart from them. Light
emanates from atomic processes in suns. Closed surfaces on Earth such as trees and rocks reflect the light to
betray themselves as physical things to retinal cells in our eyes. They in turn transmit through active interfaces
at synapses in our nervous system that in turn reconstructs in our subjective minds the physical shape and
appearance of the contextual things out there that we see objectively around us. The things we see do not
physically exist in our minds. Our mind is our reality and it is not a physical thing. The content of our mind, the
reality that we see, has transient moment to moment characteristics that we timelessly integrate as a whole to
lend the transience integrated meaning. We perceive meaningful continuity through the perpetual change of
The whole nested hierarchy that we actively perceive is integrated through the subsuming characteristics of a
unique open active interface common to the cosmos as a whole. In other words one unique active interface
generates the whole of creation by subsuming and transcending self-similar open ended hierarchies nested
within it. Although it is not a physical thing it constitutes the nature of reality.
There must be a single open active interface between a universal inside and a universal outside that both
transcends and is implicit within the whole of creation. This is an implicit requirement for us to subjectively
integrate the diversity of our objective experience into a meaningful whole. There are simply no alternative
structural possibilities unless we deny our own mind and choose to believe the universe came galloping out of
absolutely nothing on Aristotle’s runaway horse.
Call the primacy of a universal active interface what you will. Language cannot define its character because the
cosmic order that derives from it defines the roots of meaning implicit in all language according to context. This
universal active interface must admit of both Unity and Diversity, both One and Many, both Universal and
Particular. These related characteristics hierarchically pervade the universe. Koestler has named this Janus-
faced characteristic the holon, but there is more to the story.
The Rift in Universal Wholeness:
We have seen that Universal Wholeness requires that the only boundary condition possible is a universal
active interface between a universal inside and a universal outside, neither of which can ever be known to the
exclusion of the other. We see events with characteristics of space and time that derive from creation, not vice
versa. We cannot assign boundary conditions in the universe to either space or time without begging the
questions “What is beyond that?” or “What was before that?”
Space and time can have no independent existence as things in themselves. They derive from measurements
taken from our physical surroundings. So all we can know is active processes occurring across a boundary or
interface between a common inside and outside. This fact of creation is universal.
There is a catch however because the primacy of a Unique Universal Active Interface does not allow of “other
than Self.” If there can be no Being apart from Universal Being there can be no phenomena in experience. We
know from our own experience that this is not so. This requires that the One Universal Active Interface must
allow of a Particular Active Interface that represents Many. This Rift in Universal Wholeness that results must
In order for Universal Wholeness to maintain its holistic integrity the Universal Interface must transcend and
subsume the Particular Interface. This means that there is a common Universal interface within all Particular
interfaces, just as each species is universally evident within all of its members. The age old discussion of
Universal and Particular revolves around this structural reality that is implicit in all phenomena.
There are two orientations between the Universal (interface 1) and Particular (interfaces 2) possible, ONLY
two. They are called System 2. One orientation is Objective and one is Subjective They neatly correspond to
the Janus faced holon.
Because active interfaces share common active centers they are called Centers to make talking about them
The Objective Orientation of System 2:
The objective (self assertive) orientation is illustrated in Figure 1. Center 2 looks out to others of its kind that
share a common Center 1 within. We objectively see other human beings around us but we know that we
subjectively share a common humanity. We also intuitively sense that there is a common integrating reality
underlying all phenomena. We intuitively know there must be such a thing as universal truth although we may not
be able to formulate it in language. Even if we deny there is such a thing we can not claim the denial to be
universally true. We all need a subjectively entertained framework of understanding to meaningfully integrate our
experience in order to function objectively.
Consistent with Koestler’s holon each person can become independently captivated by a self transcending
universal ideal, religious dogma, nationalistic cause, or whatever. This verbalized intellectual identification of
oneself with an emotional cause rooted in the limbic system allows the individual to act without conscience
toward others in order to realize the cause. The cause is invariably of a social nature.
The screams of Hitler galvanized the mainstream population of One particular nation (center 2) that identified
with him (center 1). As the universal father and absolute leader of the Nazi self transcending ideal (center 1) in
Figure 2 he was behind the self-assertive face in Figure 1 invading other particular nations (centers 2). The
transcendent relationship of individual people to the human species was subverted to the Nazi ideals of the
nation. For many people under difficult conditions at the time this satisfied a quest for Unity that is so important
to everyone everywhere. The communist manifesto was no less brutal in its willingness to inflict human suffering
to realize a unifying ideal. It is a common pattern throughout human history. It was evident in the brutality of the
slave trade and in genocidal practices against the Native Americans. It goes on today.
Objective Orientation above
Subjective Orientation below
Four Active Interfaces in System 4 elaborate on Biological Processes:
There are only nine possible ways that four active interfaces can mutually interact with respect to a common
inside and outside. They define a matrix of nine interacting Terms that are generated from five Sets of four
active interfaces or Centers. There is a Primary Universal Set and a Secondary Universal Set, each with its
own repeating Term transform sequence. The Universal Terms cohere together to regulate three Particular
Sets that transform through a repeating six Term sequence, one transform Step apart. Since Particular Terms
have Regenerative modes as well as Expressive modes there are twelve transform Steps in each Particular
transform sequence. How this structural dynamism works has been outlined in various articles (23, 24). It was
first introduced in the author’s book Fisherman’s Guide in 1985 (25).
The coherently integrated transform sequence of the two Universal Sets repeats every four Particular
transform Steps, so that it takes three such four-Step Cycles to complete the twelve Step Particular transform
sequence. Names can be assigned to each of the four active interfaces that define the Primary Universal
Hierarchy of System 4. As an elaboration of System 3 a Knowledge active interface is distinguished such that
Idea(1) → Knowledge(2) → Routine(3) → Form(4). (Specific active interfaces are represented by numbers.)
We know that there is always an integrating Idea(1) that directs Knowledge(2) that directs Routines(3) that
result in a mental or physical behavioral Form(4). An Idea to build a house directs Knowledge on how to do it
that directs the Routines of behavior that results in the physical Form. The creative process works this way.
Always. The four words must be interpreted in context however. They are not absolutes unto themselves. In a
human being the Idea of the Host individual directs the Knowledge implicit in interdependent Organ systems
that direct the Routines of Cells that give each person physical and behavioral Chemical Form.
The Primary Universal Set relates to the human species. The Secondary Universal Set relates to a specific
Host human being, that is to one person. They cohere together to constitute the archetypal pattern of each
person in such a way that the Particular Sets transform from Term to Term, synapse by synapse, through the
nervous system to animate each of us according to circumstantial context. The human nervous system has
structurally evolved to work in just this way. The archetypal pattern is prescribed by the Primary Universal
Archetype of the species as it relates to the archetypal pattern of the individual prescribed by the Secondary
Universal Set. This has been demonstrated in two advanced articles on the human nervous system, one on
Spinal Integration (26) and one on the Cerebellum (27).
It will be sufficient for purposes here to illustrate the Primary and Secondary Universal Terms in the four
repeating Steps of each Cycle. The complete Universal Integration of Human Experience is illustrated in other
website articles (28, 29).
Step 1 of each System 4 Cycle:
The Primary Universal Set is the universal hierarchy Term 9 that prescribes the 4 Step sequence of each
Cycle. In Step 1 it assimilates the integrating Archetypal Idea (interface 1) of each Host human being. The
Secondary Universal Set in Term 3 is the Transference of Idea into Form. It relates the Idea(1) of specific
human Hosts to molecular Form(4) through the coalescence of Knowledge(2) implicit in Organs with the
Archetypal Routines(3) of Cells that constitute the complement of Host Organs. The coalescence is
represented by the white arrow. Because Term 3 coalesces Idea inside with Form outside it has timeless
characteristics that can access appropriate quantum energies from the Void. Note in Figures 4a and 4b that
all centers are open so that any specific Term 3 human Host is synchronously assimilated with the species
prescribed by the Primary Universal Set in Term 9.
Figure 7b is a closed subjective orientation of a specific person integrating a specific creative or behavioral Idea
represented by R1 superimposed on the triad. We are free to create ideas as we subjectively desire, according
to how we individually chose to integrate our experience consistent with our resource capacity to do so. This
Figure 7b closed idea R1 is subjectively entertained. It can be a self-transcending Ideal that regulates the activity
Body (Term 6 in Figure 5b) that follows two Steps later in Step 2 of the next Cycle.
In Step 2 of the next Cycle a Particular Expressive action sequence occurs via the neural musculature. The
Corporeal Body Term 6 relates objectively outward through its physical Form(4) as the self-assertive face in
concert with the Primary Universal Term 9. The structural substrate of Arthur Koestler’s Janus-faced holon is
implicit in these two orientations, one self-transcending and one self-assertive of the Secondary Universal Set.
If the individual chooses to override the Primary Host(1) of the species in Term 8R by personally identifying, not
with our common humanity, but with an extreme political, religious, ethnic or other ideal or transcending ‘cause,’
then the patterned energies funded by projections P1 and P2 of Term 8R will reflect the person’s emotional
commitment to the extreme ideal. Their natural human conscience will be subverted to the service of a runaway
horse. (The four Steps of each Cycle keep repeating).
Koestler, however, related the two faces of the holon to the split between the primitive emotional limbic system
and the intellect of the new brain or neocortex, empowered with language. The triad indicates there is more to
the way emotion and intellect interact. There are three independent yet mutually related closed boundaries
involved. This requires that there must be another split in brain function that accounts for aberrations of behavior
that are peculiar to humanity. The evolution of language has polarized the function of the neocortex into two
distinct yet mutually related minds, as we shall see. But first a brief look at how the Particular Terms relate will be
Although Sperry’s philosophical views are rather elusive they are not inconsistent with those of Koestler. Erika
Erdman, a student of Sperry’s work, wrote about it with co-author David Stover (32). They quote him as follows:
“‘The special vital forces that distinguish living things from non-living things are emergent, holistic
properties, not properties of the physical-chemical components. Nor can they be fully explained in
mechanistic terms. This doesn’t mean that they are in any way supernatural or mystical. …’ ” The authors
explain further, “… Each part is at the same time a whole with respect to its parts at the next lower
(hierarchical) level – and these again are wholes for parts at a level still lower, and so on. Such an image of
reality does not cease at the level of individual consciousness. Each individual is part of humankind, which
in turn is part of our ecosystem. This is where (Sperry’s) theory of emergent causation connects to ethics.
This amounts to a description of Koestler’s holon. Sperry’s theory of emergent causation is consistent with the self
transcending side of the holon that directs the self asserting side of the holon in the neurological processes of the
brain. This implies that Plato’s holistic “top-down” approach of archetypal forms interacts with Aristotle’s
mechanistic “bottom up” approach (33). The former is self-transcending. The latter is self-assertive.
Sperry’s colleague Joseph Bogen pays tribute to his late friend in an article (34):
“Roger was an epistemologic dualist but not an ontologic dualist. He considered himself a monist because,
‘Monism . . . says ‘no’ to an independent existence of conscious mind apart from a functioning brain’
(Neuroscience, 1980). … Many psychologists find useful the concept of ‘mental states.’ Those who use
such terms (including Sperry) generally intend that ‘mind’ is a four-letter word synonymous with ‘mentation,’
which is itself a shorthand way of referring to a collection of processes rather than being the name of a
thing. … He urged what he called a Mentalist position which meant that, ‘overall pattern effects in brain
dynamics’ direct and govern neuronal traffic. He suggested that his Mentalist position illuminated the
problem of free will by embedding self-determination firmly in the flow of physical forces. … Specifically, he
continued to dispute ‘the idea that the objective physical brain process is causally complete in itself without
reference to conscious or mental forces’ (in Neuroscience, 1980). … One way to express this view is to
claim that nothing mental could have been otherwise without something physical having been otherwise.
This is physicalism; it asserts nothing about the absence or possibility of non-material influences on brain
(and subsequently on mind). By contrast, materialism is not only physicalistic but goes on to explicitly deny
any non-material influences….” This indicates that Sperry was talking about integrating archetypes of mind.
Sperry was a thorough experimentalist who wrote many articles on interpretation of the evidence. He received
many awards, including a Nobel Prize. For our purposes here we will simply observe that the experimental
evidence clearly indicates that in normal right handed people, apart from a few rare relatively minor anomalies,
that the left hemisphere is language dominated. It deals in linear logic and verbally reasoned techniques of
behavior in response to transient circumstances. The independent yet related right hemisphere is mute. It excels
at intuitively integrating phenomenal experience as a whole. It deals in abstract integrating ideas with timeless
characteristics. Both sides are linked to the independent limbic system which fuels emotional energy to emote
thought and behavior. In a normal person with the corpus callosum intact these three brains seek a mutually
sustainable ongoing balance.
The Three Brains Need Sensory-Motor Polar Pairs:
We thus find that three mutually independent but intimately related brains in the human head brain correspond to
the triad of the Secondary Universal Set of System 4, which is a subsumed elaboration of System 3. The Brain
Triad is nested within the overall intimate triad of Host, Organs and Cells for the whole human being in a
self-similar way to how biological evolution is nested within the physical creation.
With respect to the brain the closed integrating Idea(1) interface is associated with the mute, intuitive right
hemisphere in right handed people. We all have an integrating world view or intuitive vision related to our
character that integrates meaning over time, however fractured or flawed it may be. It guides the course of
lifetimes but can also evolve with new insights perceived and entertained. We can learn.
The behavioral Knowledge (2) of formulating specific techniques of behavior that animate the body consistent with
the timeless guiding ideas of the right brain are associated with the left language hemisphere which has a polar
relationship to the organization of our social context.
The emotive Routine(3) interface that fuels the energy patterns for thought and behavior is associated with the
limbic system that projects patterned emotional feelings of autonomic origin into conscious awareness.
All this happens of course within the open active interface of the molecular Form(4) of the universe as a whole,
which is specified by System 3. Biological evolution is nested within the physical creation. System 4 elaborates in
structural accord with System 3.
As pointed out these three closed bio-social brain processes function via the archetypal Host(1), Organs(2) and
Cells(3) of the whole person. The Universal Sets subsume and integrate the Particular Sets that likewise function
in three polar pairs as shown in Figure 8 consistent with our three brains. The three polar pairs require a specific
neurological topography in the sensory and motor organization of the new brain.
With respect to the secondary sensory area Penfield has this to say:
“… stimulation of the second somatic area causes the patient to feel sensations usually, though not always,
similar to those produced in the post central (primary sensory) gyrus. Thus he feels a tingling, numbness,
sense of movement, desire to move. But whereas application of the electrode to the post central gyrus in
arm or leg areas produces contra-lateral sensation only, application to the second sensory area within the
fissure of Silvius occasionally produces ipsilateral (same side) and bilateral sensation. Removal of the
second sensory areas of cortex produces no obvious sensory or motor defect.”
The corpus callosum in Penfield’s patients was intact so the hemispheres could communicate. His comments on
the secondary motor and sensory areas nevertheless indicate a capacity for each hemisphere to function
independently of the other as Sperry demonstrated on test patients who had their corpus callosum surgically
It is thus apparent that the secondary sensory and motor areas allow each hemisphere to function independently
of the other because a secondary Potential Dimension can complement the primary Commitment Dimension within
each hemisphere independently of the other hemisphere. (See the polarities represented in Figure 8.) This is why
there is no obvious behavioral defect in Sperry’s test subjects as a result of severing some 200 million nerve fibers
in the corpus callosum joining the two hemispheres. The capacity of these patients to create and execute
genuinely creative new ideas using the resources of both hemispheres will nevertheless be affected.
The development of creative Ideas (as distinct from conditioned behavior) subsumes the bilateral integration of
body movement in both hemispheres. There is a polar relationship between the Primary Sensory cortex as it
relates to the Primary Motor cortex in the right hemisphere that develops a new Potential Idea that holistically
integrates meaning intuitively as it may or may not relate directly to Behavior. (A person may have an idea and not
necessarily act on it overtly, as in a private belief in a religion.) This is the self-transcending face of Koestler’s
holon. In right handed people the right hemisphere cannot act on it directly in any case because the Commitment
to develop a new Behavioral strategy depends on the polar relationship between the Primary Sensory cortex as it
relates to the Primary Motor cortex in the left hemisphere of right handed people. This is the self assertive face of
Note that in the Sensory Sequence illustrated in Figure 10, that there is feedback to the deep brain stem
structures that project to the Primary Sensory Cortex. The feedback will follow sensory projection in a later
sequence. Sensory feedback is essential for the assessment implicit in the emotional Performance Dimension.
Feedback may come from various sensory sources in addition to emotional feeling, including vision, hearing, taste,
smell, touch, balance, and proprioception of the body’s position in space.
We know from the split brain studies of Roger Sperry that both hemispheres can function independently to
assimilate ideas and act on them, even though the left hemisphere does this differently than the right hemisphere.
This is the function of a second polar relationship subsumed in each hemisphere as Penfield suggested in his
comments. In this case each hemisphere will have independent self assertive and self transcending faces of the
holon but the two faces of the holon as it relates to the whole brain will be disrupted. This is consistent with how
System 4 elaborates within itself.
Open Active Interfaces are Archetypes:
Archetypes are open active energy patterns operating within all members of each species, like quarks confined
within atoms. As open active interfaces, archetypes are not constrained by limitations in space and time. We
directly recognize that all rats are both the same and different at the same time regardless of their separation in
space and time. It is the same with horses, chimpanzees and people. We intuitively know this, regardless of the
process by which species may have differentiated in an evolutionary tree. We can identify a particular rat only in
relation to the universal archetypal pattern that is directly evident in all rats, regardless of however different rats
may be as individuals. That is what we mean when we shout “There is a rat!”
We can thus say that open active interfaces are universal archetypes with respect to each particular species. We
can also say it will be the same on any planet in any solar system where biological life has evolved. We can only
identify a particular individual of anything in relation to its archetypal kind. Archetypes determine the physical
characteristics of each species with respect to its members according to Fixed Rules and Flexible Strategies, as
Koestler put it. We recognize an automobile as a Model ‘T’ Ford because there is an archetypal plan common to
all Model ‘T’ Fords. The body plan is real and universal with respect to its members. It is an archetypal idea that
may be inscribed on a blueprint but the idea itself is not a physical thing. The body plan is firmly fixed but
individual cars may come with certain extras or in different colours that were introduced as flexible strategies of
the archetypal idea that evolved over time.
The contextual hierarchies are open ended in one direction only because they elaborate in discrete levels within
themselves. For example a human being is a member of a self-transcending archetypal species as well as a
member of a self-transcending culture, nation and civilization. But each person also has archetypal
characteristics in their own right (18). We can entertain archetypal feelings and ideas that subsume hierarchical
levels going back through our evolutionary history to unknown origins of biological life early in the formation and
consolidation of the planet. There is a nested hierarchical interaction and interdependence involved in the living
operating field of the biosphere as a whole. The planet was somehow seeded and pregnant soon after it cooled
to the point where it could support life. Like living systems, solar systems also display evidence of cyclic birth,
death and rebirth. There is a self-similar structural pattern that pervades the universe.
Active interface processes are universal on a cosmic scale. We can conceive of nothing apart from them. Light
emanates from atomic processes in suns. Closed surfaces on Earth such as trees and rocks reflect the light to
betray themselves as physical things to retinal cells in our eyes. They in turn transmit through active interfaces at
synapses in our nervous system that in turn reconstructs in our subjective minds the physical shape and
appearance of the contextual things out there that we see objectively around us. The things we see do not
physically exist in our minds. Our mind is our reality and it is not a physical thing. The content of our mind, the
reality that we see, has transient moment to moment characteristics that we timelessly integrate as a whole to
lend the transience integrated meaning. We perceive meaningful continuity through the perpetual change of
Social Holons as Self-Transcending:
It we turn from individuals to social holons – professional classes, ethnic groups, etc. – we again find that, so long
as all is well, they live in a kind of dynamic equilibrium with their natural and social environment. In social
hierarchies, the physiological controls which operate inside of organisms are of course replaced by institutional
controls which restrain the self-assertive tendencies of these groups on all levels. Without a moderate amount of
self-assertiveness of its parts, the body social would lose its individuality and articulation. However under
conditions of stress, when tensions exceed a critical limit, some social holons – the army, the farmers or the trade
unions – may get over-excited and assert itself to the detriment of the whole. Alternatively, the decline of the
integrative powers of the whole may lead to similar results, as the collapse of empires indicates on a grandiose
As far as we can look back on history, human societies have always been fairly successful in enforcing the
sublimation of the self-assertive impulses of the individual – until the howling little savage in its cot became
transformed into a more or less law abiding and civilized member of society. But human societies have also failed
to induce a similar sublimation of the self-transcending impulses. Accordingly, the longing to belong, left without
appropriately mature outlets, acts mostly in primitive or perverted forms. On the historic scale, the ravages
caused by the excesses of individual self-assertion are relatively small compared to those which result from the
self-transcending side through misplaced devotion. Self transcending tendencies of the individual are
incomparably more dangerous than the self-assertive tendencies. The crimes of violence committed for selfish,
personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a
flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to
die for good, bad or completely futile causes. What can be more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending
urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?
The need for self-transcendence through some form of ‘peak experience’ (religious, political, ethnic or aesthetic)
is inherent in the human condition. Also the self-assertive behaviour of the group is based on the self-
transcending behaviour of its members. The reason why idealistic movements – whether religious or secular –
show the inevitable tendency to degenerate into their own caricatures can be derived from the peculiarities of the
group mind: its tendency towards intellectual over-simplification combined with emotional arousal and its quasi-
hypnotic suggestibility by leader figures or belief systems. There is thus a mentality split between faith and
reason, between emotion and intellect, in other words schizo-physiology. A hierarchic awareness of one’s position
as an independent holon is lost. One’s personal responsibility for their actions is transcended through total
identification with the collective belief system. One can act without conscience.
The paranoid streak is as much in evidence in contemporary history as it was in the distant past but more
devastating in its consequences. As the record shows it is not accidental, but endemic – inherent in humanity’s
condition. Nothing crystallizes the differences between groups more than language. The group-estranging forces
of language are active on every level: nations, political parties, ideological movements, tribes, regional dialects,
the exclusive vocabularies and interpretations of the Bible, the Torah and the Koran.
Holons as both Self-Assertive and Self-Transcending:
Koestler elaborates at length on the properties of holons in physical, biological and social systems. It will be
sufficient here to paraphrase his treatment of holons as they relate to our social situation. The individual person
constitutes a nicely integrated hierarchy of molecules, cells, organs, and organ systems. Looking inward into the
space enclosed by the boundaries of our skin, we can rightly assert that we are something complete and unique,
a whole. But facing outwards, we are constantly reminded that we are a part, an elementary unit in one or
several social hierarchies.
No man is an island – he is a holon. His self-assertive tendency expresses his unique wholeness, his autonomy
and independence as a holon. His equally universal other face on which he depends relates to the larger whole
that transcends him and to which he belongs: his partness. The self-assertive face is self-gratifying, feeding the
horse, being competitive or being a rugged individual. The self-transcending face of the holon relates to the
social group or to an ideal. We may speak of “clannishness”, “class-consciousness”, “esprit de corps”, “local
patriotism”, “nationalism”, etc. There can also be related integrating tendencies such as “cooperativeness”,
“disciplined behaviour”, “loyalty”, “self-effacement”, “devotion to duty”, “internationalism”, and so on.
Note that most of the terms referring to higher levels of the hierarchy are ambiguous. The loyalty of individuals
towards their clan reflects their integrating tendencies; but it enables the clan as a whole to behalf in an
aggressive, self-assertive way. The obedience and devotion to duty of the Nazi SS Guard kept the gas chambers
going. “Patriotism” is the virtue of subordinating private interests to the higher interests of the nation but
“Nationalism” is a synonym for the militant expression of those higher interests. The infernal dialectic of this
process is reflected throughout human history. It is a manifestation of the delusional streak in the human psyche
as evidenced by the tragic mess we have made of our history.
The single individual, considered as a whole, represents the apex of their organic hierarchy. Considered as a
part, the individual is the lowest unit of the social hierarchy. On this interface between physiological and social
organization, the opposing faces of the holon manifest themselves in the form of emotive behaviour. So long as
all goes well, the self-assertive and self transcending tendencies of the individual are more or less balanced in
their emotional life. People generally live in a kind of dynamic equilibrium with family, society and beliefs which
constitute their mental environment. It is under conditions of stress that this balance is likely to become
disrupted. In pain, the injured part tends to monopolize a person’s attention. Under emotional stresses the
digestive juices may attack the stomach walls. In rage and panic, the sympathetic - adrenalin apparatus takes
over from higher centres which normally coordinate behaviour. When sex is aroused, the gonads seem to take
over from the brain.
Aberrations of the human mind are to a large extent due to the obsessional pursuit of some part-truth, treated as
if it were a whole truth to assert its absolute validity in the teeth of evidence to the contrary. The orthodox
Freudian school in its early stages approximated a closed system: if you argued that for such and such reasons
you doubted the existence of the so-called castration complex, the Freudian’s prompt answer was that your
argument betrayed an unconscious resistance indicating that you yourself have a castration complex; you were
caught in a vicious circle.
Aristotle’s Horse and Hierarchies:
It is incredible that mainstream science in its questionable wisdom has chosen to ignore hierarchical order that is
so all pervasive in the universe, in the biosphere around us, in our evolutionary history, in our biological
structure, in our language, and in our social organizations (12). Peering through the murky gloom, modern
Science and its philosophical partners remain drawn to the flickering candle of Aristotle’s ancient Efficient Cause
attired in various clothing. Ghostly apparitions are conjured in the forbidden darkness beyond, about what
hierarchic order might imply. So it is that our elite intelligentsia clutches to the mane of Aristotle’s runaway horse,
having released the reins he intended with his other three causes. But even if they had a firm grip on those
reins, they would still be galloping through the darkness blind. The riders that we depend upon to safely guide
our civilization are hostages to the aberrant whims of the horse.
On the first page of his book written nearly five decades ago Koestler summarizes some of the directions that
Aristotle’s horse has carried us in.
“The citadel of orthodoxy which the sciences of life have built … rests on a number of impressive pillars,
some of which are beginning to show cracks and to reveal themselves as monumental superstitions. The
four principal ones, summarized in a simplified form, are the doctrines
- That biological evolution is the result of random mutations preserved by natural selection;
- That mental evolution is the result of random tries preserved by ‘reinforcements’ (rewards);
- That all organisms, including man, are essentially passive automata controlled by the environment,
whose sole purpose in life is the reduction of tensions by adaptive responses;
- That the only scientific method worth the name is quantitative measurement; and, consequently, that
complex phenomena must be reduced to simple elements accessible to such treatment, without
undue worry whether the specific characteristics of a complex phenomenon, for instance man, may
be lost in the process.”
Cracks or not these four pillars are still very much in evidence today. Recent developments in molecular biology,
especially the epigenetic revolution (13), are casting the pallor of death over the strict Darwinian paradigm.
Although this may eventually pry some of the cracks into complete fractures, even this will face the creative
imagination of mainstream science in the service of the horse with a remarkable capacity to manipulate words to
justify any position.
Koestler goes to considerable lengths to examine characteristics of Hierarchies of various kinds. They are
clearly distinct from the “flatland” of random order.
“The concept of hierarchic order occupies a central place in this book, and lest the reader should think
that I am riding a private hobby horse let me reassure him that 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.”(p 45)
In a footnote he quotes Joseph Needham:
“Whatever the nature of organizing relations may be, they form the central problem of biology, and
biology will be fruitful in the future only if this is recognized. The hierarchy of relations, from the molecular
structure of carbon compounds to the equilibrium of species and ecological wholes, will perhaps be the
leading idea of the future.” (Needham J. 1932) More than thirty years later Koestler adds: “Yet the word
‘hierarchy’ does not even appear in the index of most modern textbooks of psychology or biology.” Now,
nearly fifty years after Koestler wrote, the word hierarchy is still absent from the index of recent biology
textbooks on my shelf.
Koestler reviews some historical evidence:
Koestler cites evidence of how our ancestry evolved:
…“The philosophy of nature evolved by occasional leaps and bounds alternating with delusional pursuits,
regressions, periods of blindness and amnesia... The mad clockwork of Ptolemy's epicycles was kept
going for two thousand years; and Europe knew less geometry in the fifteenth century than in Archimedes'
time.” (p 300)
“Aristotle's categories became the grammar of existence, his animal spirits ruled the world of physics,
everything worth knowing was already known, and everything inventable already invented. The Heroic Age
was guided by the example of Prometheus stealing the fire of the Gods; the philosophers of the Hellenistic
period dwelt in Plato's cave, drawing epicycles on the wall, their backs turned to the daylight of reality. …
During that time the march of science was not only halted but its direction reversed... In the fifth century
BC the educated classes knew that the Earth was a spherical body floating in space and spinning round
its axis; a thousand years later they thought it was a flat disc.” (p 301)
“Reason's task was to act as the handmaid of faith - whether it was the faith of medicine-men, theologians,
scholastics, dialectical materialists, devotees of President Mao or King Mbo-Mba. The fault dear Brutus is
not in our stars: it is in the crocodile and the horse that we carry in our skulls. Of all the uniqueness of man
this seems to be the foremost.”(p 302)
Koestler discusses the curse of language at some length. He observes that while language facilitates
communication within the group, it also crystallizes cultural differences. He quotes Margaret Mead who talks
about the 750 tribal languages among the two million aborigines of New Guinea that were perpetually at war
maintaining their mutual tribal separation.
... “The main danger of language however lies not in its separative, but in its magic, hypnotic, emotion-
arousing powers. Words can serve to crystallize thought, to give articulateness and precision to vague
images and hazy intuitions. They can also serve to rationalize irrational fears and desires, to give the
semblance of logic to the wildest superstitions, to lend the vocabulary of the new brain to the
phantasmagorias and delusions of the old. Lastly, words can be used as explosive charges to set off the
chain reactions of group psychology. Ali's computer is just as capable of producing Kant's Critique of Pure
Reason as the screams of Hitler. Without language to formulate religious and ideological doctrines, closed
belief systems, slogans and manifestos, we should be as unable to fight intra-specific wars as the poor
baboon. Thus the various blessings which make for the uniqueness of man form at the same time a tragic
mesh with one common pattern underlying all - schizophysiology.” (p 310)
“...within a single century are the inventions of steam-ship, railway, motor car, air ship, aeroplane, rocket,
space-ship; of telegraph, telephone, gramophone, radio, radar; of photography, cinematography,
television, telstar... Before the communication explosion travel was slow, but there existed no Iron Curtain,
no Berlin Wall, no mine-fields in no-mans lands... One could almost say that progress in cooperation
varied in inverse ratio to progress in communications. The conquest of the air transformed limited into total
warfare; the mass media became the demagogues’ instruments of fomenting hatred...”(pp 320, 321)
Koestler's comments on nuclear weapons five decades ago still hang over our collective heads like the Sword of
Damocles with more and more countries intent on acquiring them.
“... before the thermonuclear bomb, man had to live with the idea of death as an individual; from now
onward mankind has to live with the idea of death as a species. ...Every age has had its Cassandras and
Get-Ready Men, and mankind has managed to survive regardless of their sinister prophesies. But this
comforting argument is no longer valid, as no past age, however convulsed by war and pestilence, had
possessed our newly acquired power over life on the planet as a whole. .... If we discard the comforts of
wishful thinking we must expect that the motives and loci of potential conflict will continue to drift across the
globe like high pressure areas over a meteorological chart. And our only precarious safeguard against the
ballooning of local into total conflict, mutual deterrence, will always remain dependent on psychological
factors - the restraint or recklessness of fallible key individuals. Russian roulette is a game which cannot
be played for long.”(pp 322-326)
The Paradigm must be Universal:
To be valid any attempt to understand how the human nervous system works must be universal. It must embrace
all possible varieties of human behaviour. This requirement implicitly rules out studies in behavioural psychology
that are invariably dependent upon the accepted use of language restricted to Aristotle's Efficient Cause. That
renders it useless at bridging deep rooted cultural differences in the global social meltdown that is currently
taking place. To bridge our cultural differences implicitly requires a capacity for direct intuitive insight into the
workings of the cosmic order by which we have all evolved. By its nature the cosmic order must be universal. It
must encompass all creation, all manner of phenomenal behaviour both in the private and public realms. Nothing
short of this can hope to mend the sadly tattered fabric of human civilization.
This is a tall order but a start has been made that is not itself dependent on language. The System of delineating
the cosmic order facilitates intuitive insight into the roots of meaning implicit in all languages (5). The cosmic
order cannot be reinvented in language. It can not be contrived intellectually. It can only reveal itself in response
to a persistent intuitive quest into the hierarchical structure of how phenomena are presented to us. We need to
understand how we meaningfully integrate sensory input and organize it into appropriate responses according to
This means that the System of delineating the cosmic order introduced on this website is structural in nature as
distinct from behavioural. All thought, feeling, and behaviour derive from how it works, not vice versa. We are
cosmic beings that have taken a couple billion years to evolve to the point where we can realize this. Our
unsolicited gift has become a very sophisticated instrument over the last million years or so, especially since the
development of structured languages. Later we shall see that this has polarized the functions of Ali’s abacus.
Motor–Sensory Topology Identified by Wilder Penfield:
The famous neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield (35, 36) pioneered the mapping of the sensory and motor topology of
the human brain to avoid serious neurological damage while operating on conscious patients for epilepsy and other
brain disorders. His overall maps of the primary cortex are represented by the illustrations in Figures 10 and 11.
Penfield points out that both Motor and Sensory areas independently receive inputs from deep centers in the brain
stem as illustrated in Figure 10:
“Each functional subdivision of the cerebral cortex of man may be looked upon as an outgrowth or projection
outward of some area of gray matter in the older brain stem. … Thus, the projected area in the newly formed
cortex presumably serves to amplify and enlarge a function already being served in some sort of rudimentary
manner by the old brain of more elementary animals. For example, the anterior frontal cortex may be thought
of as an elaboration from the dorso-medial nucleus of the thalamus, and much of the temporal cortex as an
outward projection of the pulvinar and posterior part of the lateral nucleus of the thalamus.”
Thus the primitive brain stem has direct access to the primary motor cortex of the new brain that projects directly to
voluntary muscles, although the primary sensory cortex does feedback to the deep centers that project to it as
illustrated in Figure 10. These neural anatomy observations are related to MacLean’s split between emotion and
intellect. Penfield noted:“There is no doubt close interrelationship between sensory and motor activity of the units
shown (illustrating the motor and sensory sequences) … across the central fissure.”
Penfield makes reference to the role of the secondary motor area:
“The motor area of the cortex is therefore an arrival platform and a departure platform. Its function is to
transmit, and possibly to transmute with the aid of the secondary motor area, the patterned stream of
impulses which arises in the centrencepahalic system and passes out to the target in voluntary muscles.”
Archetypes as Recursive Energy Patterns that Regulate Cell Chemistry:
There is clear irrefutable evidence that protein enzymes are essential to facilitate virtually every chemical process
in a living cell, yet they do not participate chemically in the chemical reactions between the reactants that they
bring together. The chemical reactants are attracted by various non-covalent electronic forces to specific “active
sites” in intricately folded protein enzymes that precisely fit the shapes of the reactants, thus bringing them
together in just the right orientation to chemically combine them in the proper way specific to each reaction in an
interlocking maze of reactions. In this manner enzymes speed up chemical reactions a million times or more. A
cell cannot function without thousands of them. Furthermore the enzymes catalyze their own chemical synthesis
so the whole process of catalysis is a closed recursive loop of highly patterned energy transformations that
functions as a whole interdependent unit behind the actual chemistry of the Cell.
Cell Archetypes intimately relate to Organs and Host:
The immensely complex energy pattern of each Cell species is archetypal. A number of different Cell species act
coherently together to interdependently constitute each Organ archetype and in turn each archetypal human
Host. This intimate triad of archetypal energy patterns implicit in each human being has taken a couple billion
years to evolve up through the hierarchies of protists, plants and animals into the human species. Aristotle’s
runaway horse of cause and effect across flatland can offer no credible explanation as to how the process got
started or how it evolved because the whole process is recursively closed and hierarchical in nature. Its immense
complexity precludes any possibility of random causes by fortuitous chemical accidents on a level playing field.
The two faces of the holon are everywhere in evidence throughout the levels of the hierarchy.
The Subsumed Triads of Mind and Brain:
The physical brain, the cerebrum, is an Organ that acts via Cells to integrate the perceptions, thoughts, feelings
and actions of the Host. The archetypal Host is guided by one or several intuitively entertained integrating world
views that may vary according to circumstance, but that nevertheless have timeless holistic characteristics. This
integrating Idea(s) that determines the general character of the person is exercised and focused through the
mute holistic right hemisphere in left-handed people. This guides the left hemisphere of the neocortex to employ
explicit empirical Knowledge to develop explicit behavioral patterns that are enacted by learned Routines to alter
the Form of the physical body. The patterned Routines are emotionally fueled by the limbic brain. The archetypal
patterns of our three intimately related brains are peculiar to each human individual within biological constraints
imposed by our cultural and biological evolution.
The Archetypal Triad of Mind has Two Faces:
The non-physical archetypal triad of mind functions through the physical right-left-limbic brain triad. We are free
to independently evolve our particular talents, insights and capabilities according to how we entertain a guiding
holistic right brain vision fueled by limbic emotional energy patterns that can be tailored by our left brain
commitments. The right brain unifying vision is the self-transcending face and the left brain commitment is our self
assertive face. We humans are holons.
The Primary Spiritual Importance of the Archetype of the Species:
Because the Primary Universal Set is associated with the Species while the Secondary Universal Set is associated
with the Individual we can each work toward harmony with humanity as a whole. We can also intuitively identify
with divisive Ideals that in extreme cases essentially exclude us from the archetype of humanity from which we
derive our patterned energy as archetypal individuals. This second alternative does not bode well for our
personal spiritual destiny beyond the grave. There is good reason to think that the intimate triad of mind that is
anchored to the chemical Form of the brain can survive independently as an archetypal pattern after it loses this
anchor. The degree to which this may or may not be possible depends upon the degree to which we identify
exclusively with material goals. We have practical material goals essential to life of course, but they ought not
assume supreme importance to the exclusion of our humanity.
The Two Faces of the Human Archetype:
The self assertive face of the Human Species relates to each human being while its self-transcending face relates
to the Universal Active Interface subsuming all creation. Because of the way System 2 works, each Particular
individual can relate face to face in the subjective mode to the Human Archetype of the whole human species.
Most of us intuitively feel our common humanity. We sense an aspect of self in others. We can share the joy and
pain of others. We have human conscience. If we hurt another we feel it ourselves.
The Flaws in our Quest for Unity:
Because of the bi-lateral polarization of our new brain associated with language we are also afforded an avenue
of intuitive insight into the whole cosmic order. We can relate directly to the Unique Universal Active Interface that
transcends and subsumes the whole of creation. The compelling intuitive impulse to seek the experience of unity
is the motivation behind humanity’s age old spiritual quests. It is also the motivation behind the scientific quest for
grand unified theories. Unfortunately the social manifestations of both endeavors have exclusive characteristics
with divisive and often tragic results from Hiroshima and nuclear stockpiles to the hotbed of strife in the Middle
East and elsewhere.
The Universal Active Interface subsumes the whole Cosmic Order:
Nevertheless each individual human being is vested with an inherent freedom of choice on how to use our three
brains according to the integrating right brain vision that we intuitively entertain. If we can manage to do this in
accord with the transcending Universal Active Interface that subsumes the cosmic order by which we have
organically evolved, then our triad of mind that animates our bodies can achieve a degree of independence from
our molecular Form that is regulated by the Human Archetype of the species. According to how we live our lives
we can each relate as a Particular Active Interface to the Universal Active Interface. The latter is the Universal
Source of Being that subsumes all creation. It can be known as the living manifestation of Universal Values. This
is a timeless realization that transcends physical events in space and time via the subjective orientation of System
2. (See the author's note below,)
Active Interface Processes Determine Reality:
Unlike Aristotle’s runaway horse that was born in an explosion from absolutely nothing and has been galloping
across flatland ever since, the active interfaces that define the cosmic order are not metaphysical concepts
intellectually extrapolated from limited random events such as colliding billiard balls causing a chain of events.
Active interface processes are realities that can be identified in phenomenal experience. Even a collision between
billiard balls depends on an active interface between them but this takes place on the flatland of the pool table.
This does not justify the belief that the whole cosmos is a flatland.
Meaning and Values Derive from the Universal Active Interface:
In the nested hierarchical order of nature the System delineates how the cosmic order works. The hierarchies
proliferate in an open ended progression of discrete higher Systems that elaborate on the lower Systems that
transcend and subsume them. The higher Systems soon become beyond the grasp of human intelligence but just
the first four Systems can advance our understanding of Ali’s computer and the natural world around us in far
more significant ways than Aristotle’s runaway horse. The System has great integrative power that can intuitively
guide our physical, biological and social sciences in meaningful ways never before contemplated as a universal
methodology. It can breathe life into science. Since it can only be understood as a quest into the nature of
meaning it cannot be a belief system. It requires direct confirmation in phenomenal experience.
One thing is clear. There are no chosen people and no one true religion. There is an essential core of truth in all
spiritual traditions, despite a lunatic fringe sadly evident in their social expression. Spiritual pursuits are essentially
a private quest. Some of us pursue a sense of unity in meditation, others in prayer, others like Koestler through
investigating the scientific evidence with an open mind.
More on the Sensory Motor Polarities by CN Woolsey:
Before proceeding further it is worth emphasizing how the cosmic order proliferates in a Janus-faced nested
manner within itself. Clinton N. Woolsey was another early pioneer in mapping the neocortex using evoked
potential and electrical stimulation studies and some of his comments are relevant in this regard, even though
they were made in 1964.
Woolsey reports (39):
“….. Stimulation of the skin at a specific spot will evoke responses in a much larger portion of the whole
somatosensory cortex than the fraction of skin stimulated would lead one to expect on any simple point-to-
point relationship hypothesis. Although maximal potential changes are detectable in a fairly sharply
localized focus, there is a much greater area of lesser responses surrounding this focus. Only if we
consider the focus alone and ignore the surround, can we think of the relationship as point-to-point. A
more appropriate description would be point-to-area. The same kind of overlapping relationship
characterizes the efferent pathways leaving the cortex.
“While point to point projections, in textbook manner of thinking, cannot be said to exist, it is also becoming
abundantly clear that sensory and motor mechanisms of the cortex are not segregated in separate cortical
fields. This is not a new concept but the tendency of teachers and textbook writers to emphasize separate
sensory and motor centres in the cortex has been so dominant that this view has had to be re-established
by more modern experimental evidence based upon detailed studies of the patterns of organization in
sensory and motor systems.
“Furthermore, the newer findings also establish the existence of multiple sensory-motor areas in the The secondary homunculi are in the same relative locations in the neocortex of the human brain so that
cerebral cortex. Figure 27 (left side of Figure 12) summarizes the present status of the problem of somatic
sensory and motor representation in the rolandic region of the monkey. Similar relations have been
defined for other animals and the results apparently also apply to man. The evidence upon which Figure
27 is based indicates that the central region of the hemisphere contains four areas, each of which appears
to be concerned with both sensory and motor functions. In keeping with the evidence, the following
terminology has been proposed for these four areas: Somatic sensory-motor area I (Sm I) for the post-
central gyrus and its homologue in non-primate forms; somatic sensory-motor area II (Sm II) for the
“second” sensory area, on the superior bank of the sylvian fissure in primates; somatic motor-sensory area
I (Ms I) for the pre-central motor area; and somatic motor-sensory area II (Ms II) for the supplementary
hemisphere. The abbreviations in parenthesis indicate, by capitals and lower case letters and by order,
the relative dominance of sensory and motor features of each area as these have been revealed under
conditions of barbiturate anaesthesia.”
secondary polarities are nested within each hemisphere. A further indication of how the cosmic order elaborates
within itself is that each sensory point in the Sensory topology areas has a motor surround and likewise each
Motor point in the motor topology areas has a sensory surround. This is clear evidence that sensory integration
has a polar relationship to motor function, and conversely that motor integration has a polar relationship to
sensory function. It further indicates how the cosmic order proliferates in nested levels within itself and that each
level exhibits two faces of the holon.
The right hand diagram of Figure 12 is looking down on the top of the brain with the sulcus
cinguli splayed open to show the secondary motor areas. Note that the neocortex is divided into four quadrants.
The rear half has to do with sensory integration and the front half with motor integration. The right half in right
handed people is concerned self-transcending mute intuitive integration of holistic meaning. The left half is the
self-assertive face of explicit thought and behavior.
The Autonomic Nervous System:
The relative functions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system may
be generalized as working in mutual polar restraint. In general the sympathetic division increases muscle
contraction and gland secretion while the parasympathetic division decreases muscle contraction and gland
secretion. The sympathetic division fuels the energy for immediate ongoing behavior while the parasympathetic
division is more concerned with integrating the long term interests of the organism and the species. In the latter
respect it is responsible for erection so that one may be aroused without due regard for social consequences
while the more socially oriented sympathetic division is responsible for ejaculation.
In general the sympathetic division may be regarded as self-assertive, since it fuels patterned energy for
immediate behavior in accord with the left hemisphere. The parasympathetic division employs patterned energy
archetypes to integrate the organism as a whole as it relates to the human species. It can be regarded as
self-transcending since it acts in accord with holistic right-brain ideals. Our left brain behavioral responses to
ongoing circumstance are generally guided by a long term intuitive right brain vision or worldview that we entertain.
Both autonomic divisions employ archetypal patterns that are subject to a degree of conscious tailoring by right
brain integrating archetypes and left brain behavioral archetypes according to circumstances. Both divisions come
under the control of the limbic system. There is also a very ancient enteric system that functions in the lining of the
gut from the esophagus to the anus. It receives input from both autonomic divisions although it capable of
functioning independently, similar to an independent brain.
The limbic system transmits to both divisions of the autonomic nervous system via the hypothalamus and
descending pathways. Both divisions transmit to target organs by a two synapse pathway. The sympathetic
nerves go from the spinal cord to the sympathetic chain ganglia that parallel the spinal cord on each side. Here
they can run up or down the chain and synapse, or they can synapse at the level of entry. They can also pass
through the chain and synapse elsewhere. A preganglionic fiber may synapse with up to 15-20 postganglionic
fibers that in turn synapse at the target organs. This allows for a diverse pattern of energy supply to muscles and
organs according to immediate self assertive needs.
The parasympathetic system is responsible for stimulation of "rest-and-digest" or "feed and breed" activities as
some biologists put it. The archetypal patterns entertained generally reflect long term self-transcending integration
of the individual. Preganglionic fibers arise from the cranial nerves apart from the uro-genital functions which leave
at the pelvic region of the spinal cord. The second synapse is generally at ganglia near the target organ.
The two divisions of the autonomic nervous system thus reflect self assertive and self transcending faces of the
holon in the left and right hemispheres of the brain respectively. The sympathetic division works in general accord
with the left hemisphere. The parasympathetic division works in general accord with the right hemisphere. This
very brief overview is sufficient for our purposes here and will be illustrated later in Figure 15.
The Limbic System Anatomy:
Figure 14 is a diagram of the right hemisphere illustrating some of the complexity of the limbic system. It is not
completely accurate since the brain stem should be in front of the right brain side of the limbic cortex. The
hippocampal, dentate-indusium griseum and parahippocampal gyri surrounding the top of the brain stem
represent the reptilian brain in humans, while the cingulate gyrus overlaying it is the brain of the lower mammals.
The cingulum is a longitudinal nerve bundle not shown that runs in a “C” shape within the cingulate gyrus. It
facilitates communication between lower mammalian and reptilian components of the limbic system. The horse
can reflect on the drives of the crocodile allowing the limbic system a degree of independent thought. It connects
the uncus and hippocampal gyrus by traversing throughout the cingulate gyrus to the frontal lobe around the
top of the corpus callosum to the subcollosal areas in the frontal lobe. It forms the white matter core of the
The reptilian circuit that Papez, first identified with emotion, arises from the hippocampus and transmits via the
fornix to the mammillary body with interconnections to the thalamus and hypothalamus, the latter having a stalk
extending to the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is regarded as an integrating center for both divisions of the
autonomic nervous system. In humans the reptilian hippocampus is primary to the recall process. Wilder
Penfield reports that: “It can be removed on one side with impunity when the remaining hippocampus is
functioning normally. But if it is removed on both sides, the ability to reactivate the record of the stream of
consciousness, voluntarily or automatically, is lost." (43, 44)
Overall Summary of Polar Relationships:
In Figure 15 the top green triangle represents the cerebral brain in a reciprocal relationship with the bottom
autonomic triad across the limbic system. Sensory input recalls relevant emotional archetypal patterns via the
limbic system in concert with right brain recall of integrating archetypes. Although recall is keyed to the
molecular Form of the nervous system and the body, memories are stored as hierarchically organized quanta
elements of the timeless Void. They are projected into conscious awareness in the neocortex that MacLean
compared to a TV screen.
In summary it is clear that we have the intuitive capacity for direct insight into the workings of Ali’s computer
after all. Moreover this potential insight embraces all possible varieties of behavior. It can redeem the
aberrations that so often creep into our religions and sciences, while adding meaning to their essential core.
Armed with a structural outline we can develop awareness behind our mental and emotional processes that
can help to bring our three brains to a sustainable balance.
All of us need an integrating world view of some kind, regardless of how deficient it may be. For example we
may seek it in a career, or in a political, religious or other agenda of some kind. But we often discover to our
chagrin that over identification in one area can erode social relationships in another. Although there are
endless ways it can work there is a common theme of intuitive and rational identification with an emotional
desire of some kind. The new brain is short circuited to the desires of the old brain. We lose conscious
awareness behind our mental and emotional processes. Our ability to bring our three brains to a sustainable
constructive balance falters.
In a self-similar way the problem is especially common in the corporate world driven exclusively by profit
maximization without social conscience. There is no equitable distribution of benefits to the three primary
interest groups, namely the employee, the customer and the shareholder. Employee commitment is lost, the
consumer base is eroded, and ultimately the shareholder suffers, especially if the senior executives are
motivated by huge bonuses. This erodes the quality of life for us all, as the financial collapse in 2008 attests.
By recognizing structural imperatives for organizing and sustaining the balanced triad of creative activity,
corporations could become vehicles of social regeneration and enrich the creative potential of us all. This is in
the best long term interests of corporations. (45)
The right half of the Figure 15 diagram is the self transcending face of the holon in both triangles. The left half is
the self assertive face of the holon in both triangles.
There are some fortunate souls that avoid major self-inflicted trauma in their lives, but their numbers are
comparatively few. Difficult trials of some sort seem to befall most of us at some point in our lives. We seek a
feeling of unity. We want to feel whole and to resonate with our social and natural heritage. Unfortunately many of
us seem to be trapped in Plato’s cave chasing shadow phantoms on the wall with our backs turned to the light of
reality. The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars: it is in the crocodile and the horse that we carry in our skulls.
Meditation practices of various types can be used to advantage to still the left brain dialogue that tends to go on
endlessly in our minds, fueled by sympathetic energies that urge us to thought and action. By stilling the treadmill
of thought that captures the left brain we can access more holistic right brain archetypal energies that expand our
horizons in more meaningful ways. This can help us to reach a more sustainable balance consistent with the
cosmic order through which we have evolved. This can enrich not only our personal lives, but also our social,
biological and physical sciences that we depend upon to cope collectively in constructive ways. The unsolicited
gift viewed in this light is a personal evolutionary opportunity that can potentially open our minds to our global
civilization and bridge our cultural differences. Although there is no collective solution, our sciences and our
corporate organizations can become vehicles to assist to this end. This can facilitate a private quest to expand
our personal horizons, with patience, over time.
This article has been condensed from parts of an unpublished book written by the author 36 years ago. I had
already written an earlier unpublished book that delineated the System up to System 4 when I first came across
Arthur Koestler’s books. Scientific advances since then have further confirmed the structural interpretation given
in this article of how the brain works in concert with how the mind evolves. I hope to rewrite the remainder of the
book in some form as time permits. The original manuscript was sent to Arthur Koestler who returned an
encouraging reply despite the onset of Parkinson’s disease. His unusual life, his interest in science, and his work
as a journalist and author of many books and articles were widely recognized. After several rewrites the earlier
book evolved into Fisherman’s Guide (46).
It is noteworthy that he describes the first of a series of spiritual experiences that began in 1937 when he was in
solitary confinement awaiting execution in a Spanish Nationalist prison. After a few months he was fortunately
exchanged for the wife of one of Franco's ace fighter pilots held by the Loyalists. The experience came as he was
scratching mathematical formulae, from his math and science schooling, on a wall with a piece of bedspring from
his cell. Since his comments about it are consistent in a few respects with the experience of the Void, it is worth
quoting his description here. The pure experience of the Void (47), although awesome and life changing is not
characterized by organic bliss. Everything vanishes completely including one’s own body and one becomes one
with All in a dumbstruck boundless field of wonder. However the Supreme Intelligent Being, or in the language
used in the article above, the Universal Active Interface that manifests as System One, transcends and subsumes
the Void and can use it as a medium of communication to a Particular human being via System 2. So it is quite
possible that the Void was employed to extend Arthur Koestler support and peace in his hour of need. In whatever
manner this was orchestrated it certainly influenced his life. Koestler’s account may help to show that cosmic
interventions are possible that one cannot access volitionally. They come in response to an intensive quest as
acts of compassion in times of great need. They cannot be otherwise induced.
“When I say ‘the I had ceased to exist,’ I refer to a concrete experience that is verbally as incommunicable
as the feeling aroused by a piano concerto, yet just as real---only much more real. In fact, its primary mark
is the sensation that this state is more real than any other one has experienced before---that for the first
time the veil has fallen and one is in touch with ‘real reality’ the hidden order of things, the X-ray texture of
the world, normally obscured by layers of irrelevancy. What distinguishes this type of experience from the
emotional entrancements of music, landscapes or love is that the former has a definitely intellectual, or
rather noumenal, content. It is meaningful, though not in verbal terms. Verbal transcriptions that come
nearest to it are: the unity and interlocking of everything that exists, an interdependence like that of
gravitational fields or communicating vessels. The "I" ceases to exist because it has, by a kind of mental
osmosis, established communication with, and been dissolved in, the universal pool. It is the process of
dissolution and limitless expansion which is sensed as the "oceanic feeling," as the draining of all tension,
the absolute catharsis, the peace that passeth all understanding.”
The coming-back to the lower order of reality I found to be gradual, like waking up from anaesthesia. There
was the equation of the parabola scratched on the dirty wall, the iron bed and the iron table and the strip of
blue Andalusian sky. But there was no unpleasant hangover as from other modes of intoxication. On the
contrary: there remained a sustained and invigorating, serene and fear-dispelling after-effect that lasted for
hours and days. It was as if a massive dose of vitamins had been injected into the veins. Or, to change the
metaphor, I resumed my travels through my cell like an old car with its batteries freshly recharged.
Whether the experience had lasted for a few minutes or an hour, I never knew. In the beginning it occurred
two or even three times a week, then the intervals became longer. It could never be voluntarily induced.
After my liberation it recurred at even longer intervals, perhaps once or twice in a year. But by that time the
groundwork for a change of personality was completed. I shall henceforth refer to these experiences as
"the hours by the window."
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Genetics, Disease and Inheritance. London: Icon Books
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G. Jung Vol. 9 Part 1. London: Routledge, 1980.
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- See 26 above
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- The illustration is from Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Wikibooks, under the
creative commons license at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
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I feel obliged to emphasize that the System of delineating the cosmic order is not an intellectual contrivance of
mine. I do not believe that anyone could re-invent the cosmic order by dint of their own intelligence. Indeed the
entire academic community has not been successful at the endeavour. What I call the System comes from cosmic
insights following an intensive quest into organization structure when I found myself a key management figure at
the centre of a highly charged company takeover that lasted for several years. The structural dynamics of how it
works was explicitly demonstrated by the Universal Active Interface transcending the whole of creation. It could I
rationally accept and understand it. My mind was wrenched open into the workings of the cosmos in such a way
that I had to bridge the gulf between the transcendent nature of All Being and the left brain rational intellect of
normal behaviour. It has taken most of a lifetime to make rational sense of it. I was able to assimilate it into
ordinary understanding only with the explicit help of more cosmic insights along the way, for which I am personally
grateful. I do not know why this has fallen to me. It was another unsolicited gift you might say. I am simply passing
it along for whatever pragmatic value the reader may find in it without exposing them to the same trials. I was not a
believer and the subsequent journey has led to a thorough re-evaluation of the sciences and their philosophical
underpinnings. If the reader is interested the following links describe the first of the cosmic experiences:
http://www.cosmic-mindreach.com/Cosmic_Insight.html The same general description is better organized at: