Understanding The Whole In One
You think because you understand one you must understand two because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and. Sufi saying
This is the fourth of four mind-expanding assumptions of my theory of wisdom. * I have accepted the recent revelation that everything is connected to everything else in an unbroken wholeness. However, I don’t totally comprehend it or feel capable of applying it in all my decisions. How can I see all the connections? This blog will not explain the interconnectedness of everything, but it will explain my lack of understanding it.
System science taught us that the whole is equal to more than the sum of its parts; although they never told us what the whole was equal to. Quantum physics now tells us that each part IS the whole. Each part Is the whole seems to tell me that nothing is separate or independent because everything is connected to something. The problem is that I can’t see or know all of the “somethings”.
The Sufi quote above reminds me that to understand and is to understand multiple connections. It is never just this, but always this and that. Other well-known principles from systems thinking tell me the same thing: “Everything depends on relationships.” “It all depends on the context.” “The single cause fallacy” (causal oversimplification). Because we humans have a need to know and a need to identify cause and effect, we miss the complex interconnections and hidden wholeness.
The best example (or maybe the worst) of single cause fallacy is the US government’s strategy for solving the student test scores problem. The teacher is identified as the cause. This is certainly ignoring or denying interconnectedness. I am not the only one who doesn’t understand interconnectedness. Test scores are the result of interconnected multiple causes. No child enters any classroom an empty slate. Their readiness for learning has been caused by a web of relationships, a series of varied environmental contexts, and a multitude of different background experiences, some of which are part of the hidden wholeness. One cause does not fit all.
I believe I can’t totally understand the complexity of a world where everything is connected to everything else in an unbroken wholeness because I can’t see or know the wholeness. It may be that reality is too interconnected and too complex for the human mind to understand. Or maybe that is my excuse for not understanding.
In all visual things there is a hidden wholeness (Thomas Merton).
* See BLOG: H B’s Theory of Wisdom, 5 – 28 – 14