The Whole View

by Flemming Funch, 28 November 1994.

Just a few words on wholeness.

Wholeness implies that everything is taken into consideration. If something is made out of several pieces, then at least we must take all the pieces into consideration, and we must look at how they relate and interact and what they become together. The whole system is examined, not just a single part.

In the last few hundred years, particularly in the western world, it became common to look at the world in a very fragmented way. The prevailing scientific/materialistic paradigm probably had a lot to do with it. The idea that you can take one thing, separate from anything else, and examine it closely enough and establish exactly what it IS and exactly what it is about. This is what it weighs, this is its color, this is its molecular composition, etc., and nothing else would be important.

But there is a lot else going on. Looking at one thing without examining the system it is part of is incomplete. Accepting a description of a thing without examining who the observer was, is incomplete.

Also, there is a lot more going on than the material world. People have feelings, thoughts, dreams and myths. To understand any system with people in it we must look at all that people do. They feel, they day dream, they create, they react, they sleep, they have sex, etc.

A whole view would have to include the logical stuff that can be nicely ordered and explained as well as the illogical stuff that is vague and unexplainable. The physically tangible stuff as well as the etherial intangible stuff. Art as well as science. Beliefs as well as facts. Causes as well as effects. Contexts as well as contents.

A hammer is not just a hammer. It is found in some kind of context, in certain surroundings. Somebody is observing it and having personal reactions to it. It is being used for something. Certain effects have been created with it. There is a science to how it is made. There is an art to using it. There are intuitions about it. There is all the things we can describe and say about it and there is the stuff we don't know how to say. All of this and more will form a system.

- Flemming