In question 4 of episode 3542 of Stefan Molyneux’s podcast at free domain radio, Stefan is debating determinism, and though a typically excellent podcast, I think had problems getting through to the caller what was meant by “The whole is greater than the sum of his parts.”

OK. The caller may or may not have been teachable in the moment, but I do want to suggest another metaphor. First, let me digress to Johnny Cash – yes, it’s relevant.

Soooo… the whole is greater than the parts.

Halfway through the song, our intrepid factory worker ends up with a load of parts. Tires, motor, transmission, driveshaft, headlights, seats, etc. – they’re all in the garage.

Is it a car?

No. it’s a random assortment of parts. And unless it’s put together in a very specific manner, with parts in a specific relation to each other, it won’t move as one unit, under its own power.

A car, properly assembled, can do things that all of its component parts, in a random pile, or even improperly assembled, simply cannot.

A team, working together, can do what the same number of better players, doing their own thing, cannot.

The whole – a single entity created of multiple parts working together – is thus more than the sum of its parts.