Schwartz and Sweezy, “Individuals as Systems” (2020)

The second chapter from the second edition of Richard Schwartz and Martha Sweezy’s Internal Family Systems textbook, which gives an overview of the fundamental principles of the IFS model.

Schwartz and Sweezy, “Individuals as Systems” (2020)
I woke Harry up by putting this book on him to take this photo. He went back to sleep immediately.

This is how the chapter begins:

Early in the 20th century a group of organismic biologists recognized that studying the chemical and physical laws of a living organism’s components was limiting their understanding of how those components coordinated to function as a whole. Their explorations gave birth to a new way of conceptualizing and studying living organisms, which came to be called “systems thinking.” Rather than analyzing an organism’s components—which is now called reductionistic, mechanistic, or atomistic thinking—systems thinking is wholistic, organismic, or ecological. Rather than asking “What is this made of?”, systems thinkers ask, “How do the components of this function as a pattern?” and “What is the larger context in which it operates, and how is it affected by that context?” Rather than studying each part individually, they map relationships among a system’s parts and with its context.

From those early explorations in biology, systems thinking produced a radically new conception of life.

Here is the rest of the chapter in PDF form, with my pencil annotations from 2021: