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A case for holistic understanding

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Thinking deeper by IRWIN REGO


A

 quote that stimulated the mind to transcend the boundaries of thinking and put forward a case – food for thought in looking at the source of issues in our day-to-day life.  The quote was about designing a chair and went like this – “If we can design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan, we can understand and devise the best solution that makes the chair viable, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing to all”.

The statement is very powerful when we literally try to draw a parallel with the issues we face in the world today.

The subject in question is holistic understanding.

We have forgotten to understand the context while we preach the text. We look at conquest instead of understanding the real reason for the quest. We have really not understood the whole but we debate and fight over everything in parts. 

Our minds are polluted unfortunately by various conditioning factors where we act on impulse and follow propaganda fed to us. 

The real reason for us divided as a human race is this thinking in parts  – colour,  race, nations, gender, religions, political and economic systems. 

Now if we could forget about all that for a minute and just think we are all one race and that humans are made to love one another – a unified whole with no parts in question, the whole thinking paradigm changes – we can be a peaceful race. If only, wishful thinking, maybe!

The world is beset with problems. There are questions we all have but when looked through the holistic or collective lens, we could ourselves make our own judgement of things after putting it in context. 

Let us look at questions like: Why was Iraq invaded? Why do we have terminal illnesses? Why are there terrorists? Why is the environment not taken seriously? Why are relationships deteriorating? Why is there poverty? What is happiness? And many more!

Holistic understanding has a case here, for example, on ‘Why was Iraq invaded?’ the thinking normally would be ‘to get rid of a dictator’. 

Now let us don the hat of  collective understanding and look at why the country was invaded. It would be “If we get rid of a dictator who may or may not have amassed mass weapons, a foothold or presence is established. There is control over the region’s oil reserves and our status as a superpower  gets a boost while we gain control of oil. Our weapons get a market. Oil translates to money and power – a win-win opportunity at hand”. 

Whilst the above is just a thought for debating purposes, the context is necessary to understand. The common man looked at a dictator being taken off, while to the practitioner of the aforesaid ideology it would be ‘there is a bigger plan at work here’. 

The topic is to understand the whole rather than just the given reason.

A holistic perspective or collective reasoning is essential in anything we do. The solution to any problem lies in understanding the source or root cause of the problem and starting to resolve it from there. 

Mere jumping at conclusions with an impulsive, knee-jerk reaction or solution is not the answer. 

It is about getting under the skin. 

So next time there is an issue or a problem, take a step back and question what is the source of this problem and apply the principle of holistic understanding. 

If as a thinking race we could start from there, most of the issues between people and nations will be resolved. 

For starters, we could begin with the environment and save it for generations to come.

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