Some people cannot see the wood for the trees

When we stand in the middle of a wood, we can see only the trees immediately around us, but we know that the wood is there, for if there were no trees there would be no wood. People who, metaphorically speaking, cannot see the wood for the trees are those who become so involved in detail that they cannot see matter as a whole.

‘Before we decide whether to have a public swimming pool,’ said the Chairman of the Council, ‘we must settle all the many minor questions that might arise.’

‘Why not settle the main question first?’ suggested a councilor. ‘Do we or do we not want a swimming pool? With all respect, Mr Chairman, your trouble is that you can’t see the wood for the trees. ‘