About Health Lifehacks
This a transcript of a Q & A session between The Life Hack Guru (Lewis Harrison) and his students at a recent retreat.
A Health Lifehack is any tip, technique, strategy or method that helps to maximize your physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual potential.
STUDENT: Is there a way to lifehack all of these factors without it getting too complicated LEWIS: Yes, through a concept called holism. With holism you are emphasizing what happens when all these various factors come together and actually influence each other. Essentially you are focusing on the whole over the individual parts.
STUDENT: Can you expand upon this concept of holism as it relates to life hacking?
LEWIS: Holism is an approach to systemic thinking that states that the various elements within a system influence each other in ways that cannot be explained or determined by understanding, measuring, or defining any individual unit within that system.
STUDENT: What is the origin of the word Holism?
LEWIS: The word Holism comes from the ancient Greek word (ὅλος holos,
meaning total, all, or entire). The concept of holistic thinking has ancient roots going back to Aristotle and was greatly expanded upon by Jan Smuts and R. Buckminster Fuller Jan Smuts named the concept Holism and explained it in his 1926 book, Holism and Evolution. According to Smuts holism is “The tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution.”
Interestingly, the term Holistic did not come into common usage until the 1960’s. Since then, the words holism and holistic have become clichés of sorts for every “new age” idea to come along and this has lead to some resistance among scientists to explore scientific
interpretation of holism. However, respected visionaries like Fuller and his student Stewart Brand understood the concept and wrote extensively on it, even naming the process of the sum being greater than the parts “Synergy.” Brand, a pioneer in high tech Life Hacking assisted electrical engineer Douglas Engelbart with The Mother of All Demos, n 1968. This was a among the earliest and most famous presentations of many revolutionary computer technologies (including hypertext, email, and the mouse) to the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco.
Brand surmised that given the necessary consciousness, information, and tools, human beings could reshape the world they had made (and were making) for themselves into something environmentally and socially sustainable.
STUDENT: taking what you have said here, and what Brand predicted how can the sum be greater than the parts?
LEWIS: Read on and you will see.
STUDENT: How widespread is holistic thinking in the academic world?
LEWIS: It is commonly used in the social sciences but is still considered a radical concept
in the mainstream scientific community. Much of what is now known as “systems thinking”
can be traced to holism.
It has greater popularity in the social sciences than in the natural sciences. However, scientists are encountering problems of ever-greater complexity, that though unsolvable by the traditional approach of deducing information from the properties of the basic parts of systems alone, can in fact be explained by exploring the influence of certain units in a system upon
other units in that same system – essentially the same principles that define the most sophisticated approaches to life hacking.
STUDENT: Are their any scientific systems that accept holism as a
valid interpretation of systems?
LEWIS: Yes. Any scientist knows that even in the most logical
approach to natural systems may produce surprisingly unexpected behavior. Holism based models can address why these events occur.
STUDENT: What professions and academic specialties are most inclined
to explore holism as a valid approach to systematic thinking?
LEWIS: Holistic Theory has applications in fields as diverse as architecture, biology, economics, industrial design, linguistics, philosophy and sociology.
STUDENT: What is Holistic healing and holistic medicine?
LEWIS: There are also many physicians that apply holistic models to
health care and there are many physicists that accept the concept of
which many now call “scientific holism”. In healthcare, these approaches
have come to be known as Holistic medicine and Holistic healing.
STUDENT: Define Scientific Holism?
LEWIS: Scientific Holism holds that the behavior of a system cannot
be perfectly predicted, no matter how much data is available.
STUDENT: How does holism apply to linguistics?
LEWIS: Through a theory called “semantic holism.” This theory presents
the idea that the meaning of an individual word or sentence can only
be understood in terms of its relations to a larger body of language.
(See the Conversation: Language and the see the Conversation: Ludwig
STUDENT: As I explore your books on lifehacking I often come across two seemingly valid points that also seem to contradict each other – “Holism” and “Reductionism.” How can these contradictions exist in the same “hack”. LEWIS: Much of how I life hack is an interaction of contradictory opposites. This can be confusing for beginners. Let’s explore “Holism” and “Reductionism. Reductionism is the most popular of approach beginner lifehackers use for solving problems and understanding the world. Reductionism presents the idea that any system, no matter how complex it may be, can be understood by reducing it to its most basic units. Thus, from the reductionist perspective, the basics of chemistry can be found in physics, the basics of biology can be understood through the essential elements found through chemistry and psychology and sociology can be reduced to biology. Reductionism defines much of what has come to be known as the classical scientific perspective. Reductionism tells us that if we can understand what is basic in a system, than we can understand what is complex. Holism tells us that nothing is as it seems in a system, since that basic thing you can isolate will still be influenced by every other unit in
STUDENT: One might say that in reductionism what you see is what you get?
LEWIS: This is correct. From a holistic perspective there is much more going on between the lines. In Holism the sum may end up being greater than the parts.
STUDENT: How can the contradiction between the holistic model and the
reductionist model be reconciled? LEWIS: There is no need to create forced conciliation of these ideas. When things are linear and logical, reductionism is the way to go, however in a world where all things are not as they seem and intuition, the visionary process, and right brain/left braining thinking exists, it will be a natural process for these two ideas to integrate. For the extraordinary person Holism and Reductionism become complementary.
STUDENT: What can an extraordinary person see here than an ordinary
person will miss?
LEWIS: That Holism is really just a non-linear form of reductionism. After all, in a holistic model, you are reducing the system to its basic unit. In many cases, the most basic unit consists of more than one reality. For example In Holistic medicine a human being may seem like a single unit, but we know that in fact all humans are made up of many chemicals and can also be characterized as structural, chemical, and emotional parts. He or she may seem like “one” but is actually “many.”
STUDENT: What is the practical application of this explanation?
LEWIS: Holistic healing, Holistic medicine and the application of health and healing lifehacks –the emotional biochemical, structural and spiritual aspects of who your are must be addressed to have a successful outcome. Dealing with only mind, body, emotion or spirit to the exclusion of the others – as often happens in conventional medicine will limit the success of the hack.
STUDENT: What are the most effective health lifehacks?
LEWIS: Nutritional supplementation, herbs, aromatherapy, bodywork and massage, somatic therapy (movement re-education) Chinese medicine, mediation, stress management, emotional counseling, and life coaching are the easiest places to start.
STUDENT: Have you written any books that include health lifehacks?
LEWIS: Yes, a number of e-books and soft cover books. They are listed below…
Below are a few of The LifeHack Guru’s books. Find over 20 other books with thousands of hacks at http://www.RealUGuru.com
Lifehacks to Quit Smoking
Lifehacks to Lose 100 pounds in a Year
Get Your Thinking Clear and Focused and Your Body Relaxed Through Meditation
The 30 Day Body Purification Hack
Order any softcover book by Lewis Harrison and get a second book on the same subject by another author that we follow for free.
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