The Sum of Its Parts

I saw this movie over the weekend. It was sweet, charming and entertaining and I highly recommend it. In addition to being one of the sweetest movies I've seen in a very long time, it had a couple of very positive messages in it. With regard to honesty, the boy's grandfather tells him, "A little discomfort in the beginning can save a lot of pain down the road." In speaking of people, he describes us all as being dipped in paint--some of us are dipped in flat, some in semi-gloss, some in super-gloss. But once in awhile you find someone dipped in irredescent. Those are hard to forget.

The message that seemed to be the theme of the movie, however was the old saying, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Juli describes Bryce, the boy of her dreams as having incredible eyes and an amazing smile, to which her father, a painter of landscapes, asks, but what about him? He then teaches her that a person isn't just a bunch of parts. Is he greater or less than the sum of his parts?

This causes her to step back from the beautiful eyes and dazzling smile and really examine if the whole person is greater or less than the sum of his parts.

This is a wonderful lesson for all of us. I was in a ward once with a woman who prompted sadness in me. She was so homely. Her features were so unattractive that I instantly felt sorry for her. How awful and difficult it would be to go through life looking like that? But then I had the opportunity to get to know her. She was funny, energetic, kind, and good-hearted. Before long, I hardly noticed her physical appearance. She was a beautiful person. She was definitely greater than the sum of her parts.

Conversely, I've known some really beautiful people in my life who become less attractive as time goes on. They're self-centered, vain and condescending. The more you get to know them, the less their attractive features save them. They become significantly less than the sum of their parts.

What am I? What are you? Are we more or less than the sum of our parts?


Lisa said...

more here.

Leslie said...

i really like that.

i can't even believe that this was the topic of your post today. yesterday, something brought to my mind that whole math thing about greater or less than. so that has actually been on my mind a bit...

so when i read this, it felt ironic. i want to see that movie. it looks and sounds great and now that i know it has a good message... even better.

thanks for making me think today.