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A Holon is an abstract structure which is formed in the mind of a user when s/he recognizes a phenomenon which has a certain purpose in life.

A phenomenon is holistically described as a structure with constitutive parts (holemes). A holeme fulfils a "partial purpose", i.e. it is part of the general purpose of the Holon.


A business letter has a holistic ‘gestalt’. Before starting to write a business letter, we need to know its form, its constitutive parts (holemes), their sequence and position in the ‘whole’ which may be culture-specific.

There are two types of holemes
  • Static holemes are independent of time and may be considered the ‘ingredients’ of an object

  • Dynamic holemes are "phases", and are dynamic in the sense of depicting a sequence of events or actions in time in order to the Holon’s purpose.

Each holeme has four components:
  • a value (the non-interchangeable specific position within the Holon) expressed by a name.

  • a purpose (or function or role) of the holeme in the Holon.

  • a substance e.g. people, objects, or abstract objects.

  • a possible variation field with subfields which are "typical for" a certain aspect.

A holeme can have "subholemes" (which then have these four components as well).

A Holon can also be described as the sequence of all static and dynamic holemes plus their interrelations.
The four components of the Holon are built up along the respective four components of the holemes. The purpose of the Holon is determined by the area of life, in which it plays its role or in which it functions. It can also be described as the sequence of all static and dynamic holemes plus their interrelations with two possible applications: concretization and recognition.

Examples for holons and holemes
  • Cooking recipe: with the specific ingredients (as static holemes) and the preparation procedure (as the dynamical holemes, the phases)

  • Face recognition :
    Holon : Face.

  • Purpose : human sense in one part of the body.
    Holemes : eyes, nose, mouth, ears.

Their partial purposes : the different senses.
Take as example the holeme ‘nose':

Value : "nose".

Purpose : to smell.

Substance type : cartilage, bone, skin etc.

Variation field : The form of the nose (of the nose bridge) can vary within a certain variation field.

Typical forms : snub nose, Greek nose, hooknose (or aquiline nose), etc.

The nose has subholemes : bridge, two sides, 2 nostrils, a column, a tip.
They are interrelated in a certain way as depicted by the relators: below of, on the side of, in front of etc. -