THE LAW OF WHOLENESS
It may seem a truism to say that the whole is made up of its parts, but all the same we often lose sight of this in our outlook on life.
The reason we do so is because we are apt to take too narrow a view of the whole; and also because we do not sufficiently consider that it is not the mere arithmetical sum of the parts that makes the whole, but also the harmonious agreement of each part with all the other parts. The extent of the whole and the harmony of the parts is what we have to look out for, and also its objective; this is a universal rule, whatever the whole in question may be.
Take, for instance, the case of the artist. He must start by having a definite objective, what in studio phrase is called a “motif”; something that has given him a certain impression which he wants to convey to others, but which cannot be stated as an isolated fact without any surroundings. Then the surroundings must be painted so as to have a natural relation to the main motif; they must lead up to it, but at the same time they must not compete with it. There must be only one definite interest in the picture, and minor details must not be allowed to interfere with it. They are there only because of the main motif, to help to express it. Yet they are not to be treated in a slovenly manner. As much as is seen of them must be drawn with an accuracy that correctly suggests their individual character; but they must not be accentuated in such a way as to emphasize details to the detriment of the breadth of the picture. This is the artistic principle of unity, and the same principle applies to everything else.
What, then, is the “Motif” of Life? Surely it must be, to express its own Livingness. Then in the True Order all modes of life and energy must converge towards this end, and it is only our short-sightedness that prevents us from seeing this,—from seeing that the greater the harmony of the whole Life, the greater will be the inflow of that Life in each of the parts that are giving it expression. This is what we want to learn with regard to ourselves, whether as individuals, classes or nations. We have seen the cosmic workings of the Law of Wholeness in the discovery of the planet Neptune. Another planet was absolutely necessary to complete the unity of our solar system, and it was found that there is such a planet, and similarly in other branches of natural science. The Law of Unity is the basic law of Life, and it is our ignorant or wilful infraction of this Law that is the root of all our troubles.
If we take this Law of Unity as the basis of our Thought we shall be surprised to find how far it will carry us. Each part is a complete whole in itself. Each inconceivably minute particle revolves round the centre of the atom in its own orbit. On its own scale it is complete in itself, and by co-operation with thousands of others forms the atom. The atom again is a complete whole, but it must combine with other atoms to form a molecule, and so on. But if the atom be imperfect as an atom, how could it combine with other atoms?