Nature's Holism (condensed - 5)
Nature's Holism (condensed - 5) <<<][Next - 6

Here I introduce briefly four historic figures that have made an important contribution to my development of holism, ecotaoism and perpetuity and compatibility. These persons are Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, General Jan Smuts and Charles Darwin.

1. Thomas Hobbes:

For Thomas Hobbes , "the lawes of nature are immutable and eternall," yet they oblige instinctively, that is to say, they bind to a desire they should take place. Due to our will power, freedom of choice and cultural influences, these instincts are not always expressed.

Elaborating on this he says, "And all men agree on this, that peace is good, and therefore also the way, or means of peace, which are justice, gratitude, modesty, equity, and the rest of the lawes of nature, are good; that is to say, morall vertues; and their contrarie vices, evill. Now the science of vertue and vice, is morall philosophie; and therefore the true doctrine of the laws of nature, is the true morall philosophie!"

Later, Hobbes says, "The right of nature, which writers commonly call Jus Naturale, is the liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himselfe, for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life." Simply each has the right to PERPETUATE his kind. We could reduce this simply to the law of perpetuity as a driving force found in all creatures. The "right of nature" is a universal "right", for the drive (or force) to perpetuate is found in all creatures. This can be related to Hobbes' principle of freedom in that freedom implies the right to perpetuate one's own kind and thus the means thereto.

Through the general rule or principle (metaphorically the roots of a tree), derived by reason, that "every man, ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has the hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of warre," Hobbes arrives at the FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF NATURE (metaphorically the trunk of a tree), which is "to seek peace, and follow it." From this he develops many branches of moral law such as the need for a mutual transfer of rights, "and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe" and so to the formation of contracts, pacts or covenants and thus the moral law that "men performe their covenants made."


J.C. Smuts was well ahead of his time in writing his book "Holism and Evolution". Its validity and significance will outlast many acclaimed novels.

"Holism is an attempt at synthesis, an attempt at bringing together many currents of thought and development such as we have seen in our day. It is not a system of philosophy" (Smuts, 1952). "This (Smuts' Holism and Evolution) is not a treatise on philosophy; not even on the philosophy of Nature; not even on the philosophy of Evolution. It is an exploration of one idea, an attempt to sketch in large and mostly vague, a tentative outline of the meaning and consequences of one particular idea" (Smuts, 1926).
Smuts' Holism presents another revolution that will dawn upon us. As the facts of the world view of Holism unfold we should see immense changes in our dealings with and understanding of nature. Holism will encompass every aspect of modern technology and require that we reform our association with nature and make our activities more benign.

Life forms are selected for, that have a common behavioural and physical characteristic; that is they conform to a COMMON PRINCIPLE defined by our material universe. This principle of compatibility, which leads one to a holistic conception, is reflected in a behavioural strategy of the animal that ensures its perpetuation (survival). Smuts describes this principle as Holism.

"Instead of the animistic, or the mechanistic, or the mathematical universe, we see the genetic, organic, holistic universe, in which the decline of the earlier physical patterns provides the opportunity for the emergence of the more advanced vital and rational patterns" (Smuts, 1952). Smuts recognised in the discoveries of the New Physics of 1926, an important HOLISTIC principle: "the structural character of matter indicates that it is also creative, not of its own stuff, but of the forms, (chemical) arrangements and patterns which constitute all its value in the physical sphere." It is the varied character of the atoms, which has allowed the great diversity of chemical forms or associations, which have enabled life as we see it today.

Smuts' conclusion is that, "To me the holistic aspect of the universe is fundamental, and appears to be the key position both for the science and the philosophy of the future."


As the originator of evolution through natural selection, we must accredit Charles Darwin's work as the major foundations of this book, for without it, holism would not be possible.
He recognised the COMPLEXITY of nature and its contrast and difference to the realm of physics. "Throw up a handful of feathers, and all must fall to the ground according to definite laws; but how simple is this problem compared to the action and reaction of innumerable plants and animals which have determined, in the course of centuries, the proportional numbers and kinds. . . ." The various interactions and processes to be found within an ecosystem were evident from his descriptions and reasoning. His term "struggle for existence" was used in a largely "metaphorical sense" (to use his own words ), "INCLUDING DEPENDENCE OF ONE BEING ON ANOTHER ( which we can equate partially with compatibility), and including not only the life of the individual, but success in leaving progeny" (which we can equate with PERPETUITY).

Kant recognises the heritable character and variation present in nature and its potential ecological consequence: "Nature organises itself, and does so in each species of its organised products - following a SINGLE PATTERN (inheritance), certainly as to general features, but nevertheless ADMITTING DEVIATIONS (genetic variation) calculated to secure self-preservation (perpetuity) under particular circumstances (ecological adaptation)."
Go to article on Immanuel Kant

Go to main GEMS articles.


Search For:
Match:  Any word  All words  Exact phrase
Sound-alike matching 
Show:  results  summaries
Sort by: 
Nature's Holism

Search the Nature's Holism site, throw in a word and see what you get!

Please support this work.

Order Nature's Holism Today!