Aristotle is said to have said: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I think this is very true of the world. When I am thinking of parts coming together to make an amazing whole, I consider the result, “the gestalt” of something. I may well be mangling the true meaning of gestalt psychology and I may have misquoted Aristotle, but let us not let specific facts get in the way of “noticing”.
How often have you been someplace, doing something, and then you stop for a moment and think about how really fabulous the whole thing is? Or as I put it, how really fabulous this special “gestalt” is?
Recently I was in an art museum, totally enjoying an exhibit of Braque still lifes. And I began to think how lovely it would be to spend an afternoon sitting amongst the art, reading a great book. The gestalt of the whole thing would be tremendously pleasant.
I often think how lucky I have been to have enjoyed concerts in some of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals. I must admit that I am tone deaf and most classical music puts me right to sleep. (Yes, I am a low-life.) However, sitting in a cathedral with those majestic sounds surrounding me, produces an unforgettable gestalt.
Today I took a walk to the farmers market in a summer rain. The sound of the raindrops on my umbrella*, as I walked past glistening flower beds and exuberant trees, composed an almost perfect gestalt. And, it became even better on my walk back home when my umbrella was also shielding my bunch of multi-colored, spring-scented flowers.
I love to look up when I am walking in the city, and notice the modern architecture of a new building juxtaposed next to an historic one. I think beautifully designed buildings, both old and modern, are awe-inspiring. Recently though, a special treat awaited my gaze. The buildings were set against a bright blue sky and puffy white clouds were almost dancing on the rooftops.
So you see, paintings, great books, cathedrals, concerts, markets, summer rain, flowers, great architecture, and lush clouds are all wonderful things. But if you combine them in different permutations and combinations, the whole is even greater than the sum of the parts. It is truly amazing how many stupendous things are in the world.
May you enjoy numerous beautiful gestalts in your life.
*The umbrella is another great invention, right up there with the trashcan.
© 2013 Margery Leveen Sher
Margery Leveen Sher is an entrepreneur, writer and speaker with decades of experience as a work-life balance consultant for major corporations and government agencies. Her latest start-up is The Did Ya Notice? Project. Her motivational speaking is certain to draw many a laugh and many an aha.