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the process of focusing attention directly on the whole and its characteristics as a whole, without any recourse to consideration of its parts. (Sahal, in FUTURE DIRECTIONS, or Lendaris and Wakeland, "Structural Modeling - A Bird's Eye View")
A philosophical position claiming (a) that wholes cannot be taken apart (see analysis) and (b) that every apparent whole can be understood only in the context of the larger whole containing it. This belief is epitomized in the statement that "a whole is more than the sum of its parts" (see synergy, organization). Although the position has merits, the infinite regression implied in the two-headed claim leads the wholist to believe in a hierarchical organization of the world (see hierarchy, general systems theory). To understand anything requires him to explore larger and larger contexts, to seek refuge in increasingly universalistic kinds of understandings which renders him unable to simultaneously understand and cope with the particulars of a situation he started out with. (Krippendorff)
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