Digital Fine Art by Tom Greenbaum


How do we understand the behavior of systems and ultimately gain wisdom regarding absolute reality? One over-used word that is applied to systems behavior is, synergy. The definition of synergy: "The behavior of the whole not predicated by the sum of it's parts", takes us only so far. Perhaps an understanding of synergy and systems can lead us to a realization of absolute reality.

Let us consider the holistic behavior of a system and then the parts that make up this system. First, we experience or observe some behavior. Then we create in our minds the concept of the particular system that exhibits this behavior.

The conceptualization of any given system is somewhat arbitrary. It requires the separation of the universe into 3 distinct sets; everything outside the system, everything enclosed by the system, and the parts or structure of the system itself. The basis of our conceptualization is a set of experiences which we attribute to a subset of the universe. In other words, we draw a boundary, and create a division within the universe based upon limited experience.

Therefore, synergy is the unexpected behavior of an arbitrary subset of the universe that is not predictable based upon examining the behavior of even smaller (and no less arbitrary) subsets of the system.

Synergy is the grand illusion. We intuitively feel that the Universe is incomprehensible, unbounded and unfathomable, however, if we divide the Universe into systems, categorize these system, further subdivide the systems, categorize the components, etc., etc., we postulate that eventually we can arrive at a complete understanding of the universe.

The arbitrary creation of systems and subdivisions of the universe creates complexity, confusion and is the cause of many mis-conceptions. Pragmatically, on a relativistic level of thinking, we need the concept of systems in order to survive as physical beings. However, when the goal is enlightenment we need to reverse the process of taking apart the universe and dividing it into systems.

It is a difficult task, but we need to put all the pieces back together again and consider the universe undivided and the totality of our experience. This journey is more akin to meditation than to scientific thought, however we need not abandon intellectual thought. This is what I mean by non-synergy.

Universal Sub-Divisions
Fractal Sub-Divisions

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Copyright 2012 by Tom Greenbaum. Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Albuquerque, New Mexico