Parts and wholes


There are alternatives to navigating around problems, issues, and ideologies. We can work with, rather than against, the processes of nature, human aspiration, and capacity. To do so, we must first look at the patterns and currents of the interconnected webs that sustain human life. The most fundamental is the world's ecosystem. Human societies and our various economic systems exist within the ecosystem.

With very few known exceptions such as Lake Vostok under the Antarctic ice, there are no solid or impassable boundaries between the different environments that make up the world's ecosystem. There are no longer any solid boundaries between the human communities within the ecosystem, or between the economic relations within those human communities.

People often respond to this by saying, we are powerless, we cannot influence these global systems. But in dividing the ecosystem into parts, we typically lose sight of the patterns of organization, which are often called wholes.

Knowing everything about the elements hydrogen and oxygen will not give us knowledge of water. Water is not the sum of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is not a mixture, hybrid, compromise, common denominator, or average of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is something different.

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