Holistic Thinking Definition and What are its Uses?
Holistic thinking definition can be better understood when you contrast it with analytic thinking. Analytic thinking deals with the understanding of a system by taking out its parts, dissecting it, and understanding it from every component that makes the system a whole. One analyzes the functions of every part, the consequences of every component, and how they interact with one another to make a system. On the other hand, the holistic thinking definition is quite the opposite of the analytic thinking in that it does not concern itself with parts and components of a system. It takes the whole system as a whole, and maps out patterns that result from the system
Holistic Thinking Definition: The Holistic Theory
The holistic thinking definition can also be gleaned by looking at the holistic theory. This theory states that the components of any system cannot exist and cannot be understood except in their relationship with the whole. One of the best quotes about holistic thinking is summarized by Aristotle when he said; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Many students of research often use the holistic approach in gathering data and information. This is also seen in their presentations and documentation. One of the best examples of the contrasting characteristics of the holistic approach and the analytic approach is embedded in the social sciences. For the analytic thinker, he studies individuals. For the holistic thinker, he studies populations.
In this case, the students of both the analytic thinking and the holistic thinking are both right, because both approaches have different applications that suit them. The holistic approach definition is quite similar to the systems approach, while the analytic thinking is best used for individuals or components in their own capacities.
Holistic Thinking and Systems Thinking
What is the difference between the two? When you think of holistic thinking definition, you always have to anchor it with the systems thinking approach. The concept of the system is dynamic, with each of its parts functioning together as a single unit.
There are things that emerge our interaction of the components of the system that cannot be observed by the analytic approach. This is one of the tenets of the holistic thinking definition. For example, in a population of voters, one cannot predict the outcome of the elections by interviewing individual people, because individuals behave differently as a crowd, as a population. There are voters who tell one thing to a pollster, and do another when it comes to Election Day, which is why the exit polls are the most accurate predictive polls in elections when the people have already cast their votes.
This type of holistic thinking definition is widely accepted in research and natural sciences. Its application is wide and varied, and has been successful in explaining and predicting phenomena. Different patterns emerge out of different systems that cannot be observed by studying the components that make up the whole. The holistic thinking definition is the tool of the student and the teacher alike.
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