The Uplifting Power of Human Interaction
The Parts and the Whole
When one becomes conscious of connections and sees potential relationships between things, great discoveries are made. Newton made such a connection between the fall of an apple and the gravitational pull of the earth. He related a seemingly insignificant event in his personal life with a phenomenon of cosmic proportions and discovered a physical law of the universe. Until Newton, it was thought that an object at rest and an object in motion were two different phenomena. His laws of motion explained that the same principles are active in cases of both inertia and movement. When Einstein discovered the relationship between Matter and Energy, and Space and Time, when Maxwell related electricity and magnetism which were believed to be independent phenomena and reconciled them to discover electromagnetism, they were making these connections at the level of thought. Creativity is an act of becoming conscious.
Technical advancement too has historically resulted by the same method at the physical level. The ancient Scythians combined the foot soldier and the work horse to produce a mounted cavalry that enabled them to sweep over Greece and other countries that did not know the technique of horse riding. The technique of preserving food in bottles gave Napoleon’s army great mobility and a strategic advantage over opponents who were dependent on provisions supplied constantly from behind the lines. Boats and the power of steam together allowed global sea trade. The combination of the horse carriage and the motor created automobiles. When the television screen, typewriter and silicon chip were linked, it resulted in the power of the computer. When the computer was linked to the telephone, it created the internet that has the power to impact all of humanity.
In this way, two or more forces combined rightly generate a power that is far greater than the sum of their parts. When salt, glucose and water are mixed together in a certain proportion, they constitute a simple but highly effective cure for dehydration caused by diarrhoea. This oral rehydration that was the remedy for an ailment that killed some 5 to 8 million children in developing countries was hailed as potentially the most important medical advance of the 20th century. It saw mortality rate due to diarrhoea drop by 40% in India alone. Such a combination of three ordinary substances combined generates a power that none of them possesses alone. But the greatest combination of all is not the combination of ideas or objects, but of people.