Why I am Holon Maximalist ⭕️


  • Holons are the collectivist circles we individuals live in
  • Each Holon can have a QF round
  • Maximizing the Holons that have QF is how we win.

A “holon” is Greek for “whole/parts” meaning literally the whole that is simultaneously a part, and vice versa. [1]

Holons are the circles that we live in. Each holon is whole, but also the part of other holons.

From Wikipedia:

The holon represents a way to overcome the dichotomy between parts and wholes, as well as a way to account for both the self-assertive and the integrative tendencies of organisms

According to holonic philosophy:

“We exist in fields within fields, patterns within patterns, contexts within contexts, endlessly” How many organizations are we a part of? From multiple work organizations, such as professional associations, suppliers, customers, vendors, subcontractors, Chamber of Commerce, etc. on to our volunteer relations in religious and civic organizations. Transorganization is also composed of sub-holons and emerging, deconstructing, and recomposing holons and subholons. This activity of holon decomposing and novelty creation accelerates in the postmodern world of global commerce, virtual work on the Internet, and the mobility our great grandparents did not face.

Holarchies are a connection between holons. Holons can belong to many different types of holarchies.

Here are some examples of different types of holachies

  • List the systems within systems you live and work in.
  • List the stories within stories that you live and work in.
  • List the contexts within contexts you live and work in.
  • List the texts within texts you live and work in.
  • List the communities within communities you live and work in.
  • List the networks within networks you live and work in.
  • List the identities within identities that you live and work in.

I think that the idea of a holon is quite interesting to our work at Gitcoin because our vision is to build and fund different types of digital public goods, but our primary tool (Quadratic Funding) only works well within specific holons, each of which have their own public goods.

Here is a visualization of what a recent QF round looked like. Each round is a holon. Each holon is a round.

The main round’s holon is the Ethereum ecosystem - a whole ecosystem in itself, but a part of our broader open source ecosystem.
The main round is adjacent to the cause rounds. Each cause (eg Climate) is a whole in itself, but a part of the larger donut economy.
The side rounds are also adjacent to the main round. Each side round (eg Uniswap) is a whole in itself, but part of the larger web3 ecosystem.

What I think is really cool about holons is that we are all part of numerous communities, networks, organizations, contexts, systems, and stories. What I think is cool about a holonic point of view of Gitcoin Grants is that each of the grants in Gitcoin has a lot to gain from the multiple holons (grants rounds) it is in.

For example, if a grant gets

  • $250 matching on a $1 contribution from Holon A (Grant Round A)
  • $500 matching on a $1 contribution from Holon B (Grant Round B)
  • $250 matching on a $1 contribution from Holon C (Grant Round C)
  • $200 matching on a $1 contribution from Holon D (Grant Round D)

Then in total it could get a $1200 match for a $1 contribution, just because its in multiple grants rounds (holons) at once. Once you see how QF matching stacks, you really start to see the value of starting to fill up all of the holons we live in with quadratic funding

The more I think about it, Holon Maximalism is how we win. I am a Holon Maximalist!

If we can maximize the number of holons in the world that have QF matching campaigns, that is how we get Grants 2.0 everywhere. Our goal is to create a world where QF Enhances Every Income. That is a world with Gitcoin helping every citizen. Thats a world where it’s all coordination. That is a Civilizational Scale Infrastructure for Public Goods. That is getting to the Quadratic Lands - a place where the laws of economics have been augmented to better support public goods.

Here are a few different visualizations of holons just for fun. (Obviously, QF isnt a fit for all holons. But it may be a fit for many of them that are groups of 1-to-many individuals.)