Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But it seems we humans are more interested in certain parts over others, at times at the peril of the whole. This recent economic car crash seems to have been the consequence of a financial GMO. Mathematicians engineered formulae and investment concepts that worked for awhile, under certain conditions, and for certain situations. But with a slight change in the ecology of the economy, like oil prices, everything fell apart.

We visited a farm recently where a couple is growing hundreds of species of plants, fruits and vegetables on 15 acres. Lisa asked the young woman what her favorite job was on the farm. ‘Observing’ she said. I thought, ya, I’d rather watch too than tote around heavy wheelbarrows, etc. But, she meant it. A lot of time there is spent watching, looking to see what impact things have on each other. On their farm, everything is done in consideration to its impact on something else. Where and what is planted next to each other – to fight pests, increase soil nutrients – it’s the essence of their farming.

In my life, I spend very little time observing or reflecting. I just ‘do’. My inattentiveness means I am more focused on some parts than others, at my own peril. I divide myself up – Mind, Body, Soul. I don’t think what is required here is a balance between the three. A balance to me suggests compromise, making sure none outweighs the other.

For me to live ‘wholly’ means to live with a creative tension – a consideration of how one action or one choice will affect other areas of my life. What is the real impact of drinking too much wine on a given evening? What is the real impact of helping a friend? What is the real impact reading a book?

In the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence is a fresco of the trinity by Masaccio, the Renaissance Painter. The painting is large, and stunning. The beauty of the human form was clearly important to the artist. The depiction of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was evidence of his devotion to the faith. His use of linear perspective shows a keen understanding of math and geometry. The painting’s appeal is in its attention to the whole.

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