10 August 2014, Dr Barry Thomas and “The Part and the Whole”

Dr Barry Thomas began by asking us to consider 2 different ways of looking at something: either taking a general overview (the whole), or studying only a small section in great detail (the part). In each case there is a trade off. Knowledge of the whole is limited if we concentrate on a small part; but detail is lacking if we ground ourselves in a general overview. While we know most about what is closest to us, our locale, our family, our regional issues: in short, our part of the whole, we are most often concerned with the issues facing the whole and feel frustrated when we lack the means of acting on a global scale. However, this may be an unnecessary conflict. Are we not in our locality, an integral part of the whole? All we can do is to live well in our own local context, for living well in our part, enriched by reverence to our forbears and with a responsibility to future generations, contributes to the whole. In short, “Think globally. Act locally.”

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