Sunday, January 24, 2016

"The Fragile Species" - #2

Continuing excerpts from “The Fragile Species” by Lewis Thomas :  “Even so, aging will still be aging, and a strange process posing problems for every human being, and perhaps the approach of medical specialists should become less reductionist and more general.  They may wish to view the whole person rather than concentrating on the singularities of individual diseases. The word ‘holistic’ was invented in the 1920’s by General Jan Smuts to provide shorthand for the almost self-evident truth that any living organism, and perhaps any collection of organisms, is something more than the sum of its working parts.  I wish holism could remain a respectable term for scientific usage, but, alas, it has fallen in bad company.  Science itself is really a holistic enterprise, and no other word would serve quite as well to describe it.  Years ago, the mathematician Poincare wrote, ‘Science is built up with facts as a house is with stones, but a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.’  The word is becoming trendy, a buzzword, almost lost to science.”

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