Whole systems

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Holism suggests that systems should be viewed as wholes, not just collections of parts—but it’s not often enough we adopt holistic views. I believe that’s not always in our best interest.

For example, if we categorize people by their component parts: color, sex, smarts, demeanor, or physical attributes, we wind up never really knowing the person those parts make up.

Equally true is how we view our component systems—rarely as the whole. Even the names—components and separates—moves us further from the whole.

Yet, we don’t listen to components. We immerse ourselves in their whole.

The next time you get wigged out about a piece of your system not making you happy ask yourself about the whole. If the whole leaves you unsatisfied, that’s probably a better time to dig into the components.

If we’re going to pass judgment of people and systems we’re better off starting with the whole.