The Origin of Order


Source galaxy black and white2

‘Source’ represents the primordial pattern of organisation at the heart of all systems.

Source signifies the collective awareness of a system’s essential nature–the awareness of its fundamental ‘pattern of organisation’. More specifically it relates to the origin of identity and purpose, how this evolves over time, and how it effects a system’s self-organising capacity.All systems in nature have clear patterns that form the same atoms, molecules and cells into different self-organising entities. For instance, different trees, animals, and ecosystems all have distinct identities and roles that evolve over time to adapt to changing circumstances. How does a system’s evolution effect the parts of that system? Think about what it means when an organisation changes its core identity and purpose. How does this effect the awareness of what the organisation is, who it attracts, and their level of commitment? If it is a radical change, will members still identify strongly enough with the organisation to participate fully and effectively? If an organisation does not change at all, will it remain relevant as things change around it? Have you been part of a group response to an emergency? How strong was the collective consciousness of the identity and purpose of that group? How did it affect self-organizing capacity? How could you balance Source or integrate it more fully into a system in your life to improve how it is organised? How does Source serve to coordinate systems?



The two enclosed shapes inside the larger oval represent systems that are part of a larger scale system enveloping them, illustrating the fundamental part/whole nature of reality which is composed of systems within systems within systems, ad infinitum. The enveloping oval also signifies that systems have inner, subjective consciousness and outer, objective form. Where the two inner shapes meet in the center symbolizes the origin of the form of that type of system.


The most foundational pattern of organisation: the consciousness of the origin and evolution of identity and purpose.


The Source Pattern signifies the origin of order–a system’s conscious identity and purpose. When awareness of the pattern of any system is clear and its purpose or function is clear, the parts have clear roles within the larger pattern of that system. It is the conscious field of identity and purpose that defines a system’s type or pattern that in turn enacts the foundational self-organizing capacity of its parts.


The principle of Unity: the enduring health of any system depends on the appropriate balance and integration of changes to a system’s unifying consciousness of identity and purpose, for a given context.


The Source Pattern signifies the primordial foundation and origin of order. All other Patterns represent different aspects of Source. Click here to view Charts illustrating Pattern composition and relationships.



Organism: The first complex (eukaryotic) cells evolved as a new pattern of organisation of already existing simpler (prokaryotic) cells and bacteria. The purpose of this new symbiosis was to create a system in which each of the elements does better as part of the system than as a lone individual. Within the identity of the eukaryotic cell some of the bacteria adapted to become the power plants (mitochondria) and some adapted to become organelles that capture sunlight and convert it into chemical energy (chloroplasts).

Ecosystem: Lichen colonies are formed through a symbiotic relationship between fungi and green algae. Both a fungus and an algae have different patterns of organisation as independent organisms. When in relationship their joint form is distinct and identifiable as a lichen. Through the symbiotic organisation of the lichen form they are able to colonize harsh environments like desert where they exude compounds that stabilize the shifting sands so seeds of higher plants can germinate. If conditions are suitable the’ parts’ of the lichen system may revert to their original identities as fungi and algae respectively.


Organisation: The clear identity and purpose of an organic farming operation is to farm without harmful chemicals so that it may provide healthy food, nurture healthy soils and sustain ecosystems. Its clear identity and purpose and its suitability for repairing degraded environmental conditions has assisted organics to become one of the fastest growing industries on the planet.

Economy: A community credit union lends money to and takes deposits from local people and businesses only, clearly contrasting it with the identity and purpose of commercial banks which operate a much wider range of financial services over much larger geographical areas. The dilution of larger banking institutions’ identities and purposes as they diversified into insurance and the brokering of financial derivatives has undermined their ongoing viability.