Acupuncture Theory and Holon Theory, The West Meets the East?

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△ A Korean Monk priest Euisang (625~702) who explained basic concept of Holon theory 1,500 years earlier than Arthur Koestler. Arthur Koestler used the phrase to holon in his book ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ in 1967. imageⓒBusan Tourism

By David Park Founder, South Baylo University

I have tried to connect acupuncture theory with conventional and new science. For this month, I will explain acupuncture theory and show correlation between acupuncture theory and Holon theory.

A Holon means simultaneously a whole and a part. The term was used by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machin and the phrase to Holon is a Greek word preceding the Latin analogue universum, in the sense of totality, a whole. A fractal theory is close to the Holon as it is a part that represents a whole at the same time.

If you apply the idea of Holon to conventional science, the most complicated system could be understood by analysis of each component. In other words, the whole is sum of each component. Contrarily, new science understands things in different point of view. To understand characteristics of a part, it is required to learn dynamics of the whole. In new science explains that the sum of each part is not the whole. And even a small part represents the whole.

Holons are the individual building block of Ken Wilber’s model. Wilber borrowed the concept of holons from Arthur Koestler’s description of the great chain of being, a mediaval description of levels of being. He understood holon as every entity and concept is both an entity on its own, and a hierarchical part of a lager whole. For example, a letter is a self-existing entity and simultaneously an integral part of a word, which then is part of a sentence, which is part of a paragraph, which is part of a page, and so on. Everything from quarks to matter to energy to ideas can be looked at in the way. Holon is like Russian dolls, where a whole is a part of another whole, in turn part of another whole, etc.

Holon theory is not only applied to material word also applied to mental world too. Wilber was one who tried to apply holon to mental world.

 Interesting thing is there was a Buddhist monk, Euisang who described holon theory in 1,500 years earlier. He wrote a phrase on his book called Whaumilseungbupkyedo(화엄일승법계도), “a whole is in one and there is one in ones. Therefore, one is the whole and ones are only one.”

In acupuncture theory, human body represents whole universe and human body is considered to micro-cosmos. There is common principle for building a human body and creation of universe. And all information of universe was embedded on human body. So, all human beings tend to try to be unified to the universe by complying common principle.

An acupuncturist can diagnose which part of body is working abnormally by looking at the patient’s facial color. Also, pulse diagnosis represents the patient’s body condition. This is examples of a part, such as facial color or pulse, could shows whole body.

Philosophy for prescribing an herbal formula shares the idea of Holon. The sum of each herb in the formula never is working as intension of the formula. Herbs in the formula are chemically combined and created new chemical characteristics.

Also, as an acupuncturist treats symptoms, the acupuncturist tries to find out root cause for the symptom.

After reviewing similarities in philosophy in acupuncture and holon theory it is not hard to understand that acupuncture theory shares same idea with Holon and new science.

I founded South Baylo University and I will train as much acupuncturists as I can. I would like to see more acupuncturists who spread philosophy of acupuncture theory and healing power to more American people.

Acupuncture treatment is focused on enhancing self-healing power and immune system to fight back to pathogens. And I believe acupuncture treatment is the best way to substitute opioid medicines.