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













This entry was posted in Wisdom. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Hi HB– Your inability to understand everything is understandable. No one understands everything. I am a member of the Association for the Advancement of Science, and I get Science magazine every week. Each issue contains a dozen articles I can’t understand, but each article must make some sense for its authors at least. The whole enterprise of Science is devoted to advancing our understanding of this magnificent universe in which we currently exist. There is no shortage of puzzling problems, and there never will be. So there is no need for you to apologize for being puzzled. That just means you are a good scientist. John

  2. Robert Leon says:

    Partner,      I want to thank you for your good wishes and your birthday present. I feel very connected to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.