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
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.