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Koestler, Arthur - Janus - Holons



Type of Spiritual Experience


Evolution and creation has in general been based on a strong model of reusability.  In effect, if something – an atom, a molecule, a cell etc – has been found to be ‘fit for purpose’, it gets reused.  And often reused prolifically.  Since everything has associated with it the processes that relate to that thing, sub-assemblies of anything will inherit all the processes of their component parts and there will be re-use of software just as there is reuse of hardware.  We share common processes with the entire world at the level of the atoms, and with many organisms and creatures at the level of cells.

A description of the experience

Arthur Koestler – Janus

Motor car manufacturers take it for granted that it would make no sense to design a new model from scratch; they make use of already existing sub-assemblies – engines, batteries, steering systems etc – each of which has been developed from long previous experience, and then proceed by small modifications of some of these.

Evolution follows a similar strategy.  Compare the front wheels of the latest model with those of an old vintage car or horse cart – they are based on the same principles.  Compare the anatomy of the fore-limbs of reptiles, birds, whales and man – they show the same structural design of bones, muscles, nerves and blood vessels and are accordingly called ‘homologous’ organs.

The functions of legs, wings, flippers and arms are so different that one would expect them to have quite different designs.  Yet they are merely modifications, strategic adaptations of an already existing structure – the forelimb of the common reptilean ancestor.

Once Nature has ‘taken out a patent’ on a virtual component or process, she sticks to it with amazing tenacity.  The organ or device has become a stable evolutionary ‘holon’.

The source of the experience

Koestler, Arthur

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Extreme emotion
Smoke inhalation


Making love