I suspect that when Alan Kay was challenging us to a "higher level of thinking" that what he was talking about is something we might call "pattern thinking".
As I was talking with David a few weeks back, I more deeply appreciated how the full potential of object oriented programming has not been fully utilized. Largely because many developers have failed to understand that you need a different kind of thinking. Many have simply used objects within their current paradigm, not grasping the paradigm shift that Kay sought when he designed Smalltalk.
Pattern Thinking is holonic in nature. That is, comprised of objects, each that are whole in and of themselves.
Those objects are connected to each other. When those patterns become whole as a complex system, there is a dynamic energetic flow between them that makes the system alive and vital.
In this way, each pattern, themselves, become Holons in increasingly complex systems. Complex resilient systems are holonic, adaptive patterns that can only be contextually perceived.