In each and any complex system, the whole is a lot more than the mere sum of its parts.
That this rule is true is quite obvious in human systems: families, departments, clubs, …
Nobody ever behaves the same way in two different settings or groups. So a “system” of several human beings will always be more than a mere pile of those humans – their interactions and roles play a big part in turning the system into what it is.
But the same holds true for other complex systems, too.
How the parts are assembled, and how they interact, are defining elements of any system… at least as defining as the actual parts themselves.The sum is more than the sum of its parts. How the parts are assembled, and how they interact, makes all the difference. Click To Tweet
Somebody who has a real knack for making this obvious is Swiss artist and performer Ursus Wehrli. He takes works of art and everyday objects or situations, and “tidies them up” by turning the whole back into its parts.
If you’re not quite convinced that the whole truly is more than just the sum of its parts, check out Ursus Wehrli’s work on his website, or in his TED talk where he cleaned up some well-known pieces of art.
Have fun browsing and getting ideas – and don’t forget to buy the book for your friends and family members who need another perspective on complex systems, or on tidying up… 😉
(The link goes to IndieBound, a community of independent local bookstores. I’d appreciate it if you bought the book from your local bookstore!)
Image: Alexander Andrews on Unsplash