If you had asked me before tonight if I was holistic in my thinking, I most likely would have scrunched my forehead in thought and said, “hmm I’m not sure.” However in thinking about this post I realized I am holistic in the nature of my thinking. Stay tuned for definition and current examples, but first a story.
When I got out of college, my first job was with a Theater company called TroupeAmerica. Generally speaking around 50% of their business is producing touring shows. At first I worked solely in the shop and helped create scenery and props. As the season progressed, the only job that would be available was a job on a tour. So I accepted. I worked as Technical Director for Babes in Toyland. It was an experience to say the least. On this tour (as with most) the TD (Technical Director) is in charge of packing the truck. When we left Minneapolis, the TD for the company helped me pack the truck for the first time. He taught me a lot. I tried to remember where everything went and why. At the time it seemed like a million things went into that truck. In hindsight, it was a pretty easy pack, (relatively speaking, it was after all only 24ft.) Later in my career with TroupeAmerica I worked on bigger show and packed 48ft semi trailers. (By this time I had experiences with many different small loads.) While the increased trailer size makes it more difficult, all the same things that help dictate the way things should be packed apply. IE. try and keep the weight distributed side to side, keep the heavy things near the front, try and mix big things and medium things to keep everything packed tight (you’d be surprised how much things will shift during 300 miles.), keep the heavy things below your head level, etc. All told I’ve probably loaded and unloaded trucks and trailers over 200 times. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I need to see everything in front of me (or have a very good knowledge of it) in order to do the best pack. As the crew is waiting for items to be packed, I would usually have them bring everything movable closer to the truck doors so it was visible (and not forgotten,) because there are no two truck packs alike and you need to constantly be thinking to evaluate the situation. Seeing the whole picture is vital for me to work on the solution.
Holism (from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, whole, entire, total) is the idea that all the properties of a given system (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave. The general principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle in the Metaphysics: “The whole is more than the sum of its parts” (1045a10). – wikipedia
Sometimes I need to remind myself that while this aspect of processing is extremely useful, it also can present a stumbling block, especially when the whole picture isn’t always completely visible (ie. wedding planning and budgeting) or when there is another person who sees the same parts combine into a different whole. However I’m positive through honest and open communication, Meg and I can use self-knowledge like this to work together and have a great “holistic” marriage.