I am more than the Sum of my parts

First, Happy Square Root day! For those who don’t really focus on math so much, today as 3/3/09 is “Square Root” day because 3 is the square root of 9.  (So, 3 times 3 is 9; which is also the date!  Neat, eh?)

My mathematical brain gears have been dusting off today and got me thinking along the lines of math and numbers and sums of figures and geometry (Lords how I loved and had fun doing geometry proofs!  Ask me to prove that this angle is 90 degrees when you only know one thing about a triangle and I can do it and love it.  Once you get into Pre-Calculus is when math loses its appeal to me.  “i” equals a negative square root??  IMAGINARY numbers?  No, thank you.  I’ll take the real ones, k thks pie)

Then I found myself reflecting upon how often we as humans are expected to be no more than the sum of our individual parts. Easily studied, easily manipulated and easily explained with a few equations and numbers and “ta-dah!” this is what makes YOU you.

When really, humans are not so simple as to be boiled down to one equation adding each part for one totality.  We are not Bunsen burners that can across the entire board of human variety burn the same exact number of calories in and receive the same amount of caloric value out.  We are not straight-line equations summing our bodies, beliefs and social constructs: we are human.  As such we are always in a fluid state of change.  Try to pin down EXACTLY who you are in any exact moment and you may find the task as slippery as….something slick.  (Yeah so switching gears to that more mathematical side of my brain has obviously had an impact on my literary mind, so much so that simple yet effective analogies are escaping me!)

I am so much more than a female sex, a female gender, large breasts and rounded tummy having, bruxism-inclined but otherwise beautiful teeth possessing, belly-dancing, trumpet player with a tendency to find social equality worth fighting for.

“But April D”, you might ask, “isn’t the sum of all those things (maybe even some others) really and truly YOU?”  And perhaps you’d think so.  Because all of those qualities ARE a part of me.  But they don’t equal what I am, not the whole me.  Even if I were to list out each physical attribute, each skill, each belief or thought that I consider a part of me; it will never be enough to make up ALL of me.  Because part of each one of us is also something BEYOND our parts and even those mental pieces.  We are also a bit of what others see in us. As awful or wonderful as this can be, part of who I am is a reflection of how others see me. This is one reason that I believe judging a person’s outer shell rather than their true full self to be a silly activity.

No one is represented by one physical attribute.  I am fat. In part that defines who I am. But that is not WHAT or WHO I am.

At no one time can you add this physical attribute to this habit to this action to this thought and come out with ME. This is a reason I don’t feel science could ever really and truly “Clone” someone in their entirety.  You might be able to copy the outer appearance, maybe even the inner mental workings to some degree; but you will never be able to perfectly imitate the life and existence one person has lived by adding together parts and pieces like a jig-saw puzzle. Humans are in flux, ever changing, ever growing in spirit and body and even in that image reflected back from the rest of the world around us.

I am MORE than the sum of my parts.  I am ME.  What that means changes all the time.  Maybe not in large or even in small visible ways; but it is never the same. And that is part of the beauty of the variety of human existance!  We are all different from one individual to the next, yes.  But we are also different one individual, from one moment to the next.  And that is just one more of the amazing reasons to love the magnificent chaotic genius behind the existence of life.

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle (Rock on Aristotle!)

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4 thoughts on “I am more than the Sum of my parts

  1. I can’t tell you how wonderful you are, April. And this is amazing that I read this post today as I’m so negative about all of my parts. I literally was thinking “I’m really bummed, what can I do to cheer myself up” and I said “I’ll check out April’s blog!” A message from 4 days ago, which coincidentally is when I made the mistake that sent me into a negative spiral yesterday. Spooky. I always did hate math – square root day was bad luck.
    I just wrote a really long post about how terrifying and exhausting your premise is – that humans are always in flux – until I convinced myself that you’re right. Apparently I’m not a good debater. 🙂
    We aren’t Hivers. We have the ability to forget, to ignore, and to die. But we also have the ability to remember, to connect, and to live. We are everything that came before us and a link to everything that comes after us. But we are also all of our parts – the parts that we know and create and actualize. We are all the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves, and all the stories that other people tell about us, which is how we’ll be remembered anyway.
    There is an old story about a rabbi who kept a slip of paper in each pocket. One said “For me was the whole world created.” The other said “I am but dust and ashes.” I don’t know how that ties in but I feel that it does so I’m throwing it out there.
    Thanks for picking me up today, April. Even though you really did it 4 days ago. 🙂

  2. Irrational Thinker I’m glad to help and thanks for the kind words in return! I don’t know if the folks out there here it enough but the comments I get here are as encouraging and soothing to me as what I write seems to be for others so thanks. 🙂

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