Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

In a true hologram, each part reflects an image of the whole.

Holographic Society is a metaphor for how a social system’s parts also reflect its whole, including its governing ideas.

The concept of Holographic Society is a moral one. That is, it relates to the lives of conscious beings, capable of being mentally and physically hurt, avoiding harm and fostering life. As such, like morality, it has two aspects: a descriptive one and prescriptive one.

The descriptive one represents things as they are. The concept of Holographic Society in this sense tells us that whatever we see in a part of society reflects the attitudes and views of the whole, and in turn, the whole determines what we see in its parts.

Animals as Persons

Since Holographic Society is a moral view, the prescriptive view of it tells us that whatever makes for a better society should flow consistently from its ‘operating system,’ or governing views, to its parts, and the same should be true in reverse.

Because each part of the social hologram reflects the whole, each part also has implications for the whole. For instance, government enforcement of, say, a policy on sports, reflects the wider view that it’s appropriate for the government to become involved in sports, and wider still, that it’s appropriate for a government to intervene in a variety of areas.

The idea of Holographic Society maintains that any moral view has an implication for other moral views, both as they relate to more general ones above them and more specific ones below them.

This concept is not new: it was formulated by Ayn Rand last century and is captured in her view of integration.

The Ominous Parallels

Constructing a multi-storey building, for example, requires that each part be sound, as well as conform to a valid master plan in order for it to stand as a reliable, safe structure. That is, the parts must integrate with the whole to make it a safe, reliable building.

The same is true for making cars, televisions, computers and mobile phones: each component has to be safe and reliable in itself in order to create a functional, sound final product.

Likewise, for society to function at its best, each part has to be sound, complement the others and conform to an overall view, or philosophy, that integrates all its parts.

The prescriptive aspect of Holographic Society tells us that in order to arrive at the best form of society, our ideas about it need to be integrated to the best of our ability. As such, it must pay attention to its parts—the individuals that make it up—and allow them to function properly.

In other words, it must be based on individuals, not on groups that erase them, marginalize them, or make them secondary.

This doesn’t mean, however, that individuals are free to do what they like.

Gravity Magenta

Just as the parts of equipment have to perform their function in order for the equipment to work properly, so humans have to perform their function in order for society to operate at its best.

That function is much broader than a belt in a machine, for instance, but it requires action within a framework based on thought rather than feelings.

The principle, though, is broadly the same: a machine functions on the basis of what will make it work. Society, likewise, should function on the basis of things that produce a peaceful, thriving society: freedom, thought and work.

This site’s philosophical framework is based largely on the work of Ayn Rand, and to a lesser extent, Som Per’s extension of her philosophy to other animals.

Atlas Shrugged Part 2