Thanks to its positive connotations, “wholeness” has become a buzz word in areas of life as diverse as holistic medicine, whole-foods nutrition, and the human potential movement, which aims to create a whole person rather than a separate, fragmented one. What these various applications have in common is that wholeness is a choice—and there the problem lies.
If you are talking about whole foods versus processed foods, wholeness is certainly a choice, and the same can be said for holistic as opposed to mainstream medicine with its reliance on drugs and surgery. But speaking about a whole person is somehow different. If you consider the issue a bit deeper, becoming a whole person is involved in the most fundamental questions about what it means to be human.
The nature of human consciousness is such that we can take any viewpoint we want towards our own existence. This goes beyond being an optimist or pessimist, beyond positive thinking. Or even psychology. At the most basic level, each of us decides how to relate to reality itself. In the modern era society teaches us to relate to reality through scientific, rational, logical means. Nature, including human nature, is thus quantified, measured, mined for data, and arranged through rational explanations.
From such a perspective, the human mind must be the product of the brain, following the basic logic that brain activity can be measured and quantified. This fact seems so obvious that neuroscience claims to be the prime, perhaps the only, way to explain the mind. Yet this claim runs afoul of the entire subjective world, which obviously exists—everyone is aware of sensations, visual images, sounds, thoughts, flashes of memory, etc., which occur “in here.” This entire realm of human existence cannot be turned into data or quantified. (For some background, you might want to consult the most recent post, “Why Math Is Leading Us Deeper into Illusion.”)