return to list of articles

On the totality of things

Everything, when it is broken down into its constitutional parts, can be seen as being mostly superfluous, possibly descriptive or explanatory, and thus a verbosity. For instance, a non-fictional book that holds one or two key ideas, in order to be understood, must first introduce the various concepts that the ideas are based on, in order to enlighten the reader so that he may better understand the ideas at hand.

Some of these concepts may already be known, some may not be accepted, and some may be so elaborately expanded such that they become a bore and are no longer substantiation but rather act as a distraction from the key ideas. This is a tactic used by writers to lengthen their work, but this is discussed elsewhere. This notion holds true not only for books,  but all phenomena. Everything is the sum of its parts, and therefore all parts - which in turn have their own parts - are subject to the judgment of the person experiencing them.

One problem is that, congruent to the theory that things are actually more than the sum of their parts - due to the augmented experience that one gets from a particular thing, they might either be blinded by the irrelevance of certain parts, or they may choose to accept them as part of the whole. This becomes especially dangerous with rhetorically-based concepts such as a defined set of communication, as the rhetorician who knows that people will accept all the parts of an idea due to their agreement with its totality, will also accept skewed ideas falling within the constructs of that gestalt.

Conversely, it could be beneficial to consume a thing as a whole rather than breaking it down into its parts. This idea is applicable to subjects such as the arts, or people. The reason for this is twofold; the breakdown of an abstract device erodes the inspirational or motivational affect that it may hold - such as a piece of music. The second, and more important reason, is that the habitual behavior of breaking everything down will lead to a poisoned disposition wherein one cannot enjoy anything because of the constant critical and evaluative mindset they'd be in - together, in all probability, with a negative or pessimistic outlook on them.

As Nietzsche said, the superfluous is the enemy of necessity. When faced with an object, one wants to accomplish a goal from it - such as learning about the object, or at least understanding it. Naturally, this process is wanting to be done in the most streamlined of manners - one wants to learn about the thing itself, and not particularity about the complementary notions surrounding it. From this tendency, the process of selective attention begins. The learner will focus on the core ideas and generally skim through explanatory or side-notes.

A problem lies herein. Since the learner is just that, he cannot possibly know which information is a necessity or prerequisite to understanding, and which is not. Therefore, such exclusive retention can lead to temporary understanding - as because everything about the thing is not known and the probability of it being forgotten is thus higher - or never attaining a full understanding at all.

As mentioned, each part has its own particular fundamental constructs. This is why qualitative subjects should not be broken down and analysed. Even if a certain part of the whole may seem unnecessary, boring, or verbose, it too exists from the ideas forming it. Many of these minuscule ideas could be surprisingly interesting or enjoyable. They may even be inspirational. Therby, not skipping through parts of a whole in order to acquire only the essential, exposes one to the possibility of a barrage of intermittent inspiration.

These episodic musing then themselves become the fundamental constituents of a newly-developed inspired mood - which is exactly the point of an artistic piece. This too, perhaps, is even the key to the sustainability of relationships between people. Almost everybody, when viewed with scrupulous eyes, is immaterial and an inevitability of dullness once their character becomes understood. However, it could be that the sporadic actions or deviance in their character can lead to a slight unpredictability and therefore illicit joy in oneself enough for them to be tolerable.


Get notified when Pawel releases new posts, guides, or projects