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The Oxymoron of Reductionists for Integration

Much of our medical society is reductionist. Which discrete component of a larger system can be targeted to get a desired effect. So rather than fixing diets, they target insulin production in diabetes II treatment. It's a non-systems-thinking approach to problems.

So when the psychologists study a disorder, they study the aspects of it, and target discrete components of the disorder that need to be addressed, often leaving behind the person (or plural system) as a whole. Reductionism requires the study of discrete components, the targeting of serotonin for example.

Reductionist thinking breaks down plural systems into categorizable parts. The worst is the categorization component of structural dissociation theory which makes 2 large buckets into which all alters can be dumped and is very black-and-white with no grey areas between. Either you are an ANP (apparently normal part) or an EP (emotional part) and there's no room for a fluid gradation or flow between the two very distinct, dehumanizing, limiting, and unrealistic categories.

That's the ultimate in reductionism. Either it's one thing or it's not. There's no degrees. There's no continuum or gradations.

Reductionist thinking in the 80s brought us labels for system "parts" or alters like guardian, little, host, the core, the original. There were no grey areas between like a little guardian or something completely different. Some of it makes sense in a capacity for threat response. But what of other members who don't have such roles in the system?

This type of thinking about multiple systems — especially those from traumatic backgrounds — became common as the psychology industry looked at plural systems to try to correlate between systems "markers" that could be studied and correlated. They needed distinct categories because they think in a reductionist fashion.

They found common traits across some systems and started making cubbyholes with labels to cram system members into. Cramming not at first — but eventually the labels and cubby descriptions make it into literature, and as every comic geek knows once it's on paper, it's canon. And once the theory is canon it's much harder to dissuade the so-called experts from their throne of knowledge. Even if it's just a theory based on hypothesis or anecdotal evidence. It's in the literature, therefore it must be true.

This reductionism is harmful in every area of life. Every. We are not discrete separate phenomenon that can be cut from our surroundings no more than you can study a human's physical system by cutting out and studying the digestive system out of context of the whole person.

When we speak of the whole physical human system, it is integrated. Integration in this sense is the opposite of reductionism — it is taking the whole in it's context of the whole is greater than (and completely dependent upon) the sum of its parts. What you choose to eat, when you eat it, how it's digested, where the nutrients go, how those nutrients circle back to nurture the digestive tract — you can't separate the digestive mechanisms from the environment they reside in, and the actions of one part of the body separate from the rest.

So why is it that the field separates us plurals while insisting we must not be separate? Why do they pit us against each other, fuck around with our power dynamics, isolate us from each other, minimize the importance of the whole system, and then tell us that we must conform by way of merging into one supposedly-more-whole conscious entity? We are naturally set up to do just fine with some encouragement and assistance in getting all our components to work together smoothly, thank you very much.

There's an inherent oxymoron in reductionism within a context of insisting that "integration" is the goal. Cutting us off from any milestones we have gained in the process of being on the same page and working together in the supposed pursuit of an ultimate (and impossible!) one-ness.

[to be continued…]