Let’s talk about holonic relationships. A holonic relationship is the relationship between a part and the whole. It is the way that Life is organized. Organs are made up of cells. In this holonic relationship, cells are the parts and organs are the whole. The relationships are nested; organs make up creatures, creatures make up communities, communities make up the biosphere. To be in right relationship, parts contribute to the whole and the whole nurtures its parts.
For instance, I rearrange electrons inside computers. This seems to be my contribution to society. To me, standing back, it doesn’t seem like much of a contribution. The other parts of society don’t seem to benefit much; they can’t eat the electrons, or drink them; electrons do not protect them from the cold or from storms. Yet, when I wanted to make my contribution to society, the building of things, society didn’t care for me as much. If I wanted to contribute beds and tables and chairs to society, society didn’t give me much for it. Society seemed to say, “Please just rearrange electrons in computers; that is what society really needs.” And so I started rearranging electrons inside computers and society gave me a home, and food, and clothing.
But a relative of mine, he didn’t listen to society; he decided to contribute to society by maintaining windows. The windows protect people from the cold and let light into their homes and so, to me, that seems like a big contribution. But society eventually said to this relative. Your contribution hasn’t been that much; you can have a healthy wife or you can have a home but you can’t have both. He chose to have a healthy wife, which was a pretty wise choice when you think about it. But then society started hinting that it was time to give up his home. But I said that I thought he should have a home. And society said, well your contribution to society, in rearranging elections inside computers, has been so huge that if you think this person should have a home, well that changes everything and here is a new home for him to live in. I don’t get it really.
Anyway, in the first few minutes after the moment of Equinox yesterday, I came across a guy named Eddie. Society felt that Eddie’s contribution was so little that all that society felt Eddie should have was an ice-cold mud puddle to lie in and a bottle of poison to drink. I know this was the judgement of society and not just Eddie’s choice, because the footprints of many members of society gave him a wide berth and trampled around him where he lay in the freezing mud. Now I don’t know what Eddie’s contribution to society was, but I doubted it was so low as to deserve only what society was giving him. So I helped him up out of the mud. But the poison he had drunk was interfering with his muscle control and he couldn’t stand on his own. So I held him and I used my skills in rearranging electrons in a computer on a little portable computer I was carrying. It did something useful and it connected me to a woman who asked me if I wanted a Police Car, an Ambulance or a Fire Truck. I told her that I wanted an Ambulance for Eddie. She asked me about Eddie … and sent two police cars.
Two strong, young, healthy police officers got out of those cars. I asked one of them if they were going to take good care of Eddie and she said yes. And so I left Eddie in their care. And I hope they took good care of him because I have no faith that Eddie’s contribution to society was less than mine.
Now, I think back to one of my last acts of the winter of 2015, just a few hours before I met Eddie. I was negotiating the cost of creating a database for the Multifaith Housing Initiative to use to keep track of its donations and donors and fundraising and volunteers and committees and employee’s leave. I told them I would build it and transfer their data over to it from the various spreadsheets they were using. And I gave them a price that was way too low. I am glad I did, because it is really just more rearranging of electrons inside a computer. And their mission is to help people like Eddie. If they aren’t spending too much money on moving electrons around then they will have more money to protect Eddie from the cold. It is the least I can do.
One thought on “Eddie’s Holonic Contribution”
This is very confronting for me Eric. I prefer to ignore thoughts like these!