Integration is a kind of inductive logic, a way of thinking which is based on some assumptions:
(1) nearly every idea, every project contains some valuable elements (the essence, the "genuine kernel") The integration technique consists of two steps:
(2) generally the concrete form, the expression of an idea is too generalized, and the form of a project is too concrete. We call this kind of exaggeration an eduction.
(3) every conflict of ideas/projects is a false conflict, as it is due rarher to the eduction than to the kernel. So each conflict can be resolved.
(1) reformulating the idea/project towards its essence. We call this a retroduction. Some retroductions can be done by verbal interaction. But for many things (e.g. art, sexuality) verbal interaction isn't enough. Then experiential interaction is necessary, i.e. the persons have to experience what the other means. A (relative) check of the successfulness of an integration can be performed:
(2) the retroduced elements can be combined into something more valuable than each separate contribution. As long as the combination is not smooth, more reformulation/retroduction is necessary.
(1) every available separate idea/project is integrated. The advantages of an integration process are multiple:
(2) the separate contributions can be deduced from the integration by simplifying its context, so that some nuances can be dropped. This is a reduction.
(3) the authors of their separate contributions have the intuition that the essence of their idea is totally respected, albeit reformulated. Of course, this intuition can change over time, necessitating a new integration, starting with a more appropriate reformulation.
(1) the integrative results include the advantages of each contribution. If not, then the integration process was insufficient. Schemes
(2) no author feels frustrated (except the ones who thought to own the Ultimate Truth)
(3) an integrative theory is more plausible than the plausibility of each separate contribution. When many, even vague, contributions are integrated, preferably from different contexts of experience, the plausibility of the integrative view approaches scientific certainty. This makes from integration the scientific method of preference for fields where the exact method can't be applied by lack of measurability. Without integration, theories from non-exact scientific fields have the same plausibility as uncontrolled phantasies.
Integration of the essences
(1) The Holidays Conflict (projects/desires)
He: Honey, I'd like to spend the next holidays at the seaside (2) The School Boy diagnosis (ideas/theories)
She: Oh, Darling! I just dreamed about spending them in the mountains.
They: Here we have an unresolvable conflict, once again.
(After reading this webpage:)
He: In fact, I'd like to take holidays in a place where nature is open. I'm working all year in a closed computer office.
She: In fact, I'd like to take holidays in a place where there are not too many people. I'm working all year at a hospital reception desk.
(These essential desires are rather easy to combine:)
They: Sweety, let's spend our holidays at the countryside: open fields, few people.
Teacher1: Sam is a very lousy and unintelligent pupil. He's continuously disturbing the class. He's due to sack. (3) Newton's Law of the Addition of Speeds
Teacher2: On the contrary, Sam is a very interested pupil. He only asks intelligent questions. If someone has to pass to the next level, it's him.
(After painfully questioning each other's teaching and judging capacities, they eventually read this webpage, and reformulate:)
Teacher1: Sam seems to be uninterested in my national history course. He tries to compensate by disturbing the class.
Teacher2: Sam seems to be very intersted in my difficult mathematics course. He doesn't stop asking for more.
They: Sam is a high gifted boy, and our courses are too simple for him. Let's raise him two years, just to normalize his intellectual challenge.
Newton's common sense formula:
Einstein's intuition: Vmax = c (nothing can go faster than the speed of light).
Einstein's integrative formula:
This means that at relatively slow speeds (v << c), the denominator practically equals 1, so we find back Newton's formula (reduction). But at high speeds the denominator increases, making the total speed significantly lower than what Newton predicted, and limiting even the maximal speed at the speed of light, c. Newton's formula appears to be a reduction, a simplification of Einstein's elaborated formula, but at "normal" speeds on earth it was impossible to discover the inaccuracy of Newton's "simple" formula.
Hints for retroduction/reformulation
In this short description, we only treat verbal interaction, i.e. how to integrate things that can described with words. Experiential communication and integration will be discussed elsewhere.
Up to now no inductive logic exists. Scientific, as well as daily and artistical creativity occur at a subconscious level. We become aware of the results of this process, and we can test and verify, but generally remain unaware of the underlying process. But this doesn't mean that we are condemned to wait passively until inspiration comes. There are many factors that enhance inspiration. By using them, the probability of getting good ideas increases, and can reach high levels. Essentially, these techniques consist in providing contrasts and new associations.
1. Gather differentiated material
Gather as many variants / separate contributions as possible. Inventive people often are crosscultural, or trained in an unusual combination of disciplines.
a) from ourselves (internal inspiration)
- Start with a list of loose ideas, and then try to structure them. Structuring too early blocks fresh inspiration
- Verbalization (oral and written), answering questions from non-professionals
- Use questionnaires to inspire to different approaches
- Try to predict what will be explained by a speaker, an article, a book, before listening/reading. Of course, our ideas will be far from what will be brought (and is often frustrating), but this contrast is particularly inspiring.
b) from other people (external inspiration)
- Ask separate people, independently from each other, to make a draft, give suggestions, formulate expectations
- Going back from conclusions and generalizations to observations, feelings, examples, illustrations
- Brainstorming, congresses to gather different views.
- Several, different proposals for an integration are very inspiring
- Do not avoid challenging theories.or criticisms
- For psychological reasons people often hesitate to formulate criticisms. Try to secure them.
2. Organize the material
a) from ouselves
- If it is a written text, one starts with something, and tries to integrate the comments
- Always articulate the text with logical titles. Unstructured texts don't inspire very much.
- Trying to structure helps finding the essential elements, and often "holes" in the concept
- As the text grows, it has to be split up in several sections
b) external references
- The availabilty of a corpus of knowledge inspires. In fact, there is no integrative scinece without a corpus to refer to. Of course, this corpus will be continuously updated, but is never to be neglected. Beware of stand-alone theories, how convincing they seem
Tips while structuring:
- Never believe in equivalences, albeit our culture advocates tolerance and repect. Evaluating aspects and behaviour is not labelling or condemning people.
- Very often several "variants" are developmental stages of one central process
- Lists of four or more examples or factors usually can be grouped into sub-lists, inspiring us to see essential factors.