Wholeness and Holiness: The Spiritual Dimension of Eudaimonics

  • Kenneth I. PargamentEmail author
  • Serena Wong
  • Julie J. Exline
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


In this chapter, we offer an understanding of optimal functioning as wholeness in an individual’s orienting system, which is comprised of values, beliefs, practices, emotions, and relationships that offer direction and stability in the search for significance. To begin unpacking the meaning of wholeness and its relationship to eudaimonia, we focus on five sets of elements that distinguish greater wholeness from greater brokenness: (a) purposive vs. aimless; (b) broad and deep vs. narrow and shallow; (c) flexible and enduring vs. rigid and unstable; (d) balanced, cohesive, and discerning vs. imbalanced, incohesive, and non-reflective; (e) benevolent and life-affirming vs. non-benevolent and life-limiting. Because wholeness is intimately tied to holiness, our discussion of these elements highlights dynamic contributions from spirituality and religion. In addition, we examine how people may achieve greater wholeness in their lives, emphasizing the vital role of spiritual struggles in this process. Finally, points of convergence and divergence among wholeness, optimal functioning, and eudaimonia are discussed, in addition to the utility of wholeness in distinguishing eudaimonic and hedonic approaches to well-being.


Wholeness Well-being Eudaimonia Spirituality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth I. Pargament
    • 1
    Email author
  • Serena Wong
    • 1
  • Julie J. Exline
    • 2
  1. 1.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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