Any whole is the sum of its parts. But is the whole characterized by the values and behavior of its parts? Or is the whole a synergistic product of its parts, which is different and has a character of its own.
Our life is a sum of who we are, what we want to be, where we want reach, how we achieve our goals. Our life is also shaped by family and friends around us, their behavior and characters.
Are we a reaction to their being or do we assert our own individuality?