This is a version one of a double issue. Rob sent me two variants of a piece on holism and, given the subject, it seemed like the only option was to publish both!
Here is Version 1 (you can see Version 2 here):
I read Tim’s views on positivity. He must be a very happy chappy. And straight away I thought how different he and I may be, knowing how dark my sense of humour is – I once went to a Disney themed party dressed as the bloke that shot Bambi’s mum…. a winner with the boys, but you won’t be surprised to learn that I didn’t pull that night. But why should Tim’s being positive take effort? Why is the first thing in my brain about how we may be different? Are we biased?
I’ve just read about a case history that was independently given to a physiotherapist, and osteopath, a chiropractor, a masseur, and a personal trainer. They were all presented with the same symptoms and information, and all the diagnoses and treatments were different. What I found more interesting is when their views were presented to the group, they each piped up about how they were right and the other approaches were wrong.
Each person homed in on the differences, believing that their discipline, diagnosis and solution was best and showing where the others went wrong. But looking at the detail, there was actually quite a big area of cross over between the solutions. Yet this wasn’t discussed at all. What’s wrong, what’s less valuable, what’s so difficult about focussing on the similarities?
It can have a real effect on how we see the world. If all you see is the differences, you identify less with other people because the focus is on the gap between. It can be alienating and hold things back. This discussion certainly didn’t help the patient’s understanding of what was wrong and what to do, in fact they probably ended up learning about the limitations of each discipline.
It’s not that seeing the differences is bad. They can lead to great diversity, and they’re a great way of defining our identity. That’s where it’s important not to be biased, but be balanced. If all you ever do is see the similarities in things, you miss the differences. If all you ever do is see the differences in things, you miss the similarities. Both have their place. But do we really give the similarities a fair and equal go of things? And if you do, how is this beneficial in your life?
Some examples of seeing the similarities and not getting too hung up on the differences
- The Romans saying to the Greeks ‘your Zeus is a bit like our Jupiter’ so they didn’t need to fight about it
- Sponsorship – these guys thought my approach to nutrition was similar to theirs
- Inspiration – who are your role models? They’re your role models because there’s something about them you admire
- The men at that fancy dress party who saw the funny side
Some examples of ignoring the similarities and focussing on the differences
- Divide and conquer in colonial times exploiting weakness to gain more power
- The purges in Stalinist Russia to grip onto power and exercise control
- The BNP. Don’t feel I need to say any more about them.
The women at that fancy dress party who couldn’t see beyond the different sense of humour
What do you reckon folks – was it worth putting up both versions? Did you prefer one to the other?