Can we ever be completely holistic? Or can we only hope to be more holistic than we were yesterday? Is that even a good idea?
It’s generally a worthy goal, striving to ensure our actions are matched to as whole and balanced a view as possible. More chance then of our actions being truly beneficial. But can we ever be complete in that respect? Even a system we recognise in large scale is part of a still bigger system—every “whole” is part of something else.
Being completely holistic seems beyond reach.
How then to choose our scope? How to choose the boundary of the system with which we engage? How to find the practical optimum between a large enough scope to qualify as “holistic” and something small and simple enough we can actually influence?
As the late Frank Farrelly said in his book “Provocative Therapy,” “When it comes time to act, you have to oversimplify.”
Or as Peter Senge, author of “The Fifth Discipline” says, “Don’t try to figure out the unfigure-outable.”
Being both holistic and practical—another “both-and” to keep in mind and in balance.