The Overview Effect itself has no essence — it’s like spirit, being, or universe. (The word “Holon” was first used by Arthur Koestler in his book, The Ghost in the Machine.) (1967, p. 48) used the Greek word Holon (Greek: ὅλον, “whole”) as something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. He concluded that, although it is easy to identify sub-wholes or parts, wholes and parts in an absolute sense do not exist anywhere. An example of a Holon in nature is ‘trees & seeds’. Do seeds contain trees or do trees contain seeds? We could say both are true. Clearly they exist in a symbiotic or interdependent relationship. Likewise In fully conscious collaborative groups there is a simultaneous interdependence between the individuals consciousness and the group’s consciousness that frees the group from the limitations of survival based and incoherent think

Consider, for a moment, that the Overview Effect is a profound abstraction, a distinction that lets us tell the difference between Wonder, Awe and the physical pragmatics of everyday relationships, work and life itself. The Overview Effect is an experience and words never fully capture experience. The Astronaut experience is an incredibly powerful reminder that this experience is possible. Poetry, and Shakespeare get close but many of us don’t often get there.

To practice the Overview Effect is to practice generating the experience of Awe, Wonder, Possibility, Acceptance and Belonging for yourself and others, at home and at work, without losing attention to the job at hand.

Collaborative Innovation calls for the sustainable experience of both intention and flow, and the practice of appreciating the Overview Effect can be a life-long reminder that leads you and others to their highest potential and innovative solutions where they are most wanted.

The trick is to realize that ultimately you personally can be a true source of both the Overview Effect and Collaborative Innovation at the same time. We’ve heard from Astronauts that some of them did not have any deep, enduring, or remarkable experience of the Overview Effect. So much in this life seems to come from our openness to an experience, or our intent to have it.

This suggests that If we really mean to bring the Overview Effect to a situation or relationship, or truly mean to have Collaborative Innovation happen, our chances of getting it go way up.

This is testable. Consider the possibility that the Overview Effect is a ‘Bridge’ between the transformative experience of ‘Awe and Wonder’ and a project to be accomplished. The critical and counterintuitive challenge for most people is that this ‘Bridge’ in service to much of what human beings really want, is not physical. It is not concrete, yet it is totally real, and it exists as a dynamic, subjective system of energy within the human being that is as impactful as a wave crashing on the seashore.


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About the Author

Richard WhitehurstRichard is Founder and Director of The Overview Institute of Australia along with its sister organization - Planetary Human: He has appeared on radio and TV, and has lectured extensively in colleges, universities, workshops and conferences in America, En author, poet, ‘possibillian’ and ‘planetary contextualist’ – Richard has been involved in facilitating shifts in consciousness and human transformation for over four decades. A former president of the Ericksonian Hypnotherapist Association of Australia, Richard is a practicing psychotherapist and hypnotherapist.

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