Here’s a good statement of the perspective:
“… in studying our ecosystem and the many creatures inhabiting it we cannot meaningfully isolate anything, let alone control the variables. The earth’s atmosphere, its plant, animal, and human inhabitants, its oceans, plains, and forests, its ecological stability, and its promise for humankind can only be grasped when they are viewed in their entirety. Isolate any part, and neither what you have taken nor what you have left behind remains what it was when all was one.
“In the 1920s this new worldview was given a name, holism (from the Greek holos), and a theoretical base by the legendary South African statesman-scholar Jan Christian Smuts… ”
—Allan Savory with Jody Butterfield; Holistic Management: a new framework for decision making. Island Press 1999 (p. 18-19).