Re: Holy Holistic, Batman! (fwd)

From: JODY BUTTERFIELD <jodybs@igc.apc.org>

Re: Holism vs. Wholism

Thought I'd add some trivia to Sandy's comments. The word "holy" is also
derived from the same Greek root--"holos"--and so is "health". In old and
middle English whole was spelled hol, and then holle. The W was only added
much later, probably for no particular reason. English wouldn't be English
if it wasn't quirky.

The Oxford English Dictionary cites Smuts as the originator of the word
"holism". That often surprises people who've used the word for years and
have never heard of Smuts.


At 01:51 PM 4/14/97 -0700, Sandra Halpin wrote:
>From: Sandra Halpin <shalpin@igc.apc.org>
>Folks, this is in response to somewho who recently queried the Center about
>why we don't switch to "wholistic" vs. "holistic" in our name, etc.  Here's
>the answer I gave:
>Thank you for your comments about our new WEB site. And to answer your other
>The main reason we don't change the name to "wholistic" vs. "holistic" is
>that the word holistic comes to the English language from statesman Jan
>Smuts (South Africa early 1900s) who first officially coined the word/term
>"holism" ( and "holistic") from the Greek "holos" which means "whole"--and
>not from the word holy. 
>Most modern-day English dictionaries oversimplify their definition of
>"holistic" by defining it to mean:  "the whole is greater than the sum of
>its parts" when it truth, the original idea of "holism" was coined by Smuts
>to refer to the fact that the world (nature), in fact does NOT contain ANY
>"parts"--that it is a series of complex wholes-within-wholes. 
>Such is the problem with language development and translation, etc. (the
>"parts" concept as you know came from DeCarte with his "mechanical clock"
>analogy for the entire natural world--and which has singlehandedly probably
>done more damage to the environment than any single paradigm or metaphor!) 
>A lot of people (particularly in other countries like Australia or Canada or
>Africa) use the word "wholistic" interchangably. But Allan Savory, the
>Center's founder, who is very conscientious about "giving credit where
>credit is due" is committed to retaining the connection to Jan Smuts for the
>original "coining" of the word holism and holistic in the English language.
>It keeps us closer to the "source" so to speak.So the H is in and the W is
>Thanks you for your curiosity! Best, Sandra Halpin.
I Put this in Perma as there has been a lot of discussion about language
and how it affects how we see things and how we do things.

Holistic Resource Management, has been changed to Holistic Management
because it then related to the managment of everything not just resources.

I agree that we think about Wholeism and Holism as interchangeable. And
the more I think about it the more I beleive we are right.

I see that all the ethnic groups who haven't destroyed their enviroment
think about it as Holistic.

Vic Guest