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The Whole Community

By June 28, 2023 July 7th, 2024 No Comments

When I took a communications course at Boise State University, I was introduced to the concept from Aristotle (albeit misquoted) that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Do you agree? What is your take on the whole being greater than the sum of its parts?

Even though as a Math teacher, I knew full well that Euclid would argue that “The whole is EQUAL to the sum of its parts,” as a human being, I knew that Aristotle hit the nail on the head over 2000 years ago. I knew his statement was true from my life experience, but I had never given it much thought. Pondering this concept recently and reflecting on the strength of community and family bring this all into clarity. 

The True Community

  1. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, wrote a book called, The Different Drum, Community Making and Peace. In this book, he discusses the meaning of True Community. He also describes the community as a “group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to “rejoice together, mourn together,” and to “delight in each other, make other’s conditions our own.”

Think about the communities you belong to. Learn to recognize if they are “true communities by pondering these basic ideas and asking if those communities meet these basic criteria… 

  • Is it inclusive?
  • Is it realistic and has consensus?
  • Does it have contemplation? Self-awareness?
  • Is it a safe place?
  • Does it show vulnerability? Peacemaking?
  • Is it able to express differences gracefully?
  • Is everyone a leader?
  • Is there an atmosphere of love?

A Community is Like A Precious Gem

Peck also compares community to a precious gem. To quote him, “A group becomes a community in somewhat the same way that a stone becomes a gem – through a process of cutting and polishing. Once cut and polished, it is something beautiful. But to describe its beauty, the best we can do is to describe its facets. Community, like a gem, is multifaceted, each facet, a mere aspect of a whole that defies description.”

With this description of a community, we can clearly see how the whole of the community is greater than the sum of its parts, the individuals. It becomes a beautiful, multifaceted, dynamic entity with love, compassion, and vulnerability at its core. And as Hellen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Together, we will find that… Anything is possible with lipedema!

~ Gail Straker, BAEd
Community Manager, Director of Coaching
Lipedema Simplified

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