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It derives from the holist (see holism) conviction that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and, because the energy in a whole cannot exceed the sum of the energies invested in each of its parts (see first law of thermodynamics), that there must therefore be some quantity with respect to which the whole differs from the mere aggregate (see aggregation). This quantity is called synergy. In practice, synergy is mostly a negative quantity owing to the fact that all complex organisms consume energy merely for maintaining its own structure. More loosely, synergy refers to the benefits of collaborative as opposed to individual efforts. (Krippendorff)
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