The concept of the Whole was an essential facet of Andorian culture, relating to many elements of social, spiritual and personal status. It was used to refer to one's sprituality, psychology, relationships, sexuality and many other things. The term's oldest connotations belonged to its use in the ancient mythic tales of Thirishar and Uzaveh the Infinite, when the latter deity would split him into four beings - the first member of each Andorian sex—in order for the Andorian to become "whole". From this ancient use - recorded first in the third century at the latest—the idea of "wholeness" would continue into contemporary society in the twenty-fourth century. In explaining it to a human with little exposure to Andorian culture, Thirishar ch'Thane would explain its nuances as:
- "Like many words, it has layers of meaning," Shar explained. "Using the term to refer to my people is one of them. But there are others. Telling another that they are Whole in your thoughts, for example, is an endearment of great intimacy, usually exclusive to the bond between parent and child, but sometimes to acknowledge the depth of feeling among bondmates. It can also be used to describe the sexual union of the shelthreth, in which new life is conceived."
- "And in your mythology?"
- "That's been a point of controversy among scholars, philosophers, and poets for centuries. Sometimes it seems as though there are as many interpretations of The Tale of the Breaking as there have been Andorians. The commonality among them is that we lack a crucial piece of self-knowledge that makes us unworthy of evolving beyond who and what we are … among many of us, it's a motivational lesson. Our myths have inspired inquiry and exploration of ourselves, our relationship to the universe, our very natures."
For Andorians, the idea of the Whole would be used in greeting and ontological self-definition, for example "the eternal quest to become Whole." When Andorians passed away, at their funerals and requiems, they would be bid to "return to the Whole." The Whole was thought most evident in actual life in the bond of four partnered Andorians, the bondmates. The education of young Andorians, and the chosen pre-selection of mates as most genetically suitable, involved heavy emphasis on "With the bond, we are Whole. Without the Whole, there is nothing." Wholeness could only be found with four, not with one, two or three. When an Andorian bondmate would reject his or her others, they were in effect rejecting the Whole. (DS9 - Worlds of DS9 novel: Andor: Paradigm)