According to Nebrija’s own dictionary, reducir in fifteenth-century Spanish means ‘to change’, ‘to bring into obeisance’, and ‘to civilize’. In this last sense, the Jesuits later understood the Reducciones de Paraguay. In addition, reductio – throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries – means one of the seven stages by which ordinary elements of nature are transmuted into the philosopher’s stone, into the panacea that, by touch, turns everything into gold. Here, reductio designates the fourth of seven grades of sublimation. It designates the crucial test that must be passed by grey matter to be promoted from the primary to the secondary grades of enlightenment. In the first four grades, raw nature is successively liquefied, purified, and evaporated. In the fourth grade, that of reductio, it is nourished on philosopher’s milk. If it takes to this substance, which will occur only if the first three processes have completely voided its unruly and raw nature, the chrysosperm, the sperm of gold hidden in its depth, can be brought forth. This is educatio.

shadow-workch. 2

reductionism <> the state not just as a state making practice as described in e.g. seeing-like-a-state, but as ingrained in its very etymology.


redūcō (present infinitive redūcere, perfect active redūxī, supine reductum); third conjugation, irregular short imperative

  1. I lead, draw, bring or conduct back; bring or accompany home
  2. (military, of troops) I withdraw, cause to retreat, draw back, remove
  3. (figuratively) I bring back, restore, recall, revive, replace; reform
  4. (figuratively) I bring, produce or get out a quantity of
  5. (figuratively) I bring, make or reduce to a certain condition or quality
  6. (Medieval Latin) I quell, I subdue, I subjugate [10th C.]


(I subjugate): subiugō (Classical)

NB: Verb 6. & Synonyms


seeing-like-a-state Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press. ↩︎ 1

shadow-work Illich, Ivan. 2011. Shadow Work. Marion Boyars. ↩︎ 1