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The Integrative Style

Inductive Logics

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Till 24.11.02



In some other texts the process of integration is explained, as well as the integrative style in texts:

The integrative editing style
The Procedure of Conceptual Integration
In this page we'll dwell on the procedure of developing integrative websites. These insights will progress together with the experience of building some integrative sites, including a site on Integrative Psychology (in Dutch, continuing on-line a project started up in 1978 by the Academy for Integrative Psychology with a first publication in 1980), a site on the Emerging Noosphere, a book on Teilhard-Whitehead developed by two authors who even don't know each other (with comments by a list of readers), and a site on Integral Politics.

At the same time Integrative Logics will be developped, a new kind of logic different from the traditional Logic. Where the latter is deductive (from premisses to conclusions), integrative logic is inductive, because it is a tool to develop, directly and indirectly, new hypotheses. In the past each kind of induction (also in experimental, exact science) was intuitive. In fact, the only thing exact science added to human knowledge from Renaissance on, was a controlling tool: intuitive hypotheses were examined by comparing their predictions with real experiments or measurements, and hence refuted or confirmed. But there was no useful intellectual tool to develop a hypothesis: this creative process remained up to now within the domain of the subconscious, although many philosophers and scientists up to now searched during centuries for an inductive logic.

Although integration --as an intuitive methodology-- is of all times, used by scientists, artists and all kinds of creative thinkers, it was used pre-consciously but systematically by outstanding scientists and philosophers, including Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) and Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1949), Jean Gebser (1905-1973), Fritjof Capra (b. 1939) and Ken Wilber (b. 1949), and could be used in the paper and print era, the arrival of Internet definitely opened an easy and effective way to bring contrasting visions together and to integrate them. Internet is not only a communication tool, but thanks to the internet experience a new form of consciousness emerges in even more people, who realize the paramount importance of integration, and start using this attitude in their lives, not only intellectually, but progressively also in their private and professional life.

I've the feeling that we are performing something really novel, unequalled up to now in the history of human communication and the Internet --at least, I'm not aware of any other integrative projects on the Net.

The chronological site construction stages

1. The start

One starts, of course, with one webpage, which contains the first correspondence about the idea of creating an integrative website, even if some founders don't be explicitly conscious about the notion of integration, but use motivations as "the need to show people what we are doing" or "enhance the communication between us".

The integration is conducted by somebody -the integrator, integrating editor or integration "master"-, but everybody is invited to make suggestions, and if the proposed integration doesn't feel congruous wih the intuition of the suggestion maker or everyone else, new propositions for a better integration can be made. If the integrator tries to follow the "rules of good integrative practice", it is not so important who's the integrator, although experience, as everywhere, helps.  A good knowlkedge of the topic is useful, but not indispensable. It can even be misleading, if the author can't leave traditional frames of thinking.

2. Making the page text/the article more integrated

This is a cyclic process. It starts with an intuitive text, or in fact each more or less structured descriptive, theoretical text. Re-reading the text, by the author or by any possible web visitor, most probably yields new ideas for interesting data, not yet included in the text. These suggestions are fed back, and the integrator/webmaster/author ("integrauthor") tries to integrate those data into the existing text. This occurs along some rules, described below. The result is presented to the general public, and a new inspiration cycle can start.

During the process of integration, the reading and reacting public can progressively be extended:

(1) The initiator makes a project of what he feels could be the best integration
(2) A selected, more or less expert public jumps in with comments and suggestions. The initiator tries to integrate them.
(3) A larger public, or the target public is exposed to the text, and can feed back questions, comments and suggestions. The initiator tries to integrate them. This third stage in fact never ends.
This procedure is very traditional in contexts where editing and publishing texts is very expensive and demanding, and where commercial aspects are present, and therefore seems to be the most careful. Projects have to be elaborated in clear distinct preparatory steps, and only "launched" when considered "perfect" or "approved" by "authorities",

But if those material limitations aren't present (as in today's internet), this procedure is probably not the best, as even reactions from "laymen" can be very inspiring to improve the text. Integrations are progressively, *spirally*, developed, by broad interaction. The value of an authority has to be evident from the quality of his/her contributions to the project.

When we step onto a higher level of development, this doesn't mean the former level is considered as completed, but just that it is the feeling that the progress is slowing down, and may be enhanced by moving the effort purposively toward its objective.

This approach is a typicsl try-and -evaluate approach. Unlike during the parchment and the printing days it is now, thanks to computers and internet, very easy, quick and cheap to visualize what one is developing. This is also an aspect of the tertiary approach: processual, interactive. As said the ancient gnostics, genuine insight doesn't exist without (emotional) experience. Otherwise, as Freud stated, it is pure projection. Things can be changed very smoothly, nearly immediately. The fact a projected version is shown doesn't mean that it is supposed to be final, or that I will turn tired to make changes.

3. Splitting up the pages

After a while --from hours to months-- the volume of the contents of this integrative page becomes too large (somewhere around 100K), splitting up is indicated, where one tries to group the contents around some central topic. The several pages are, of course, linked to each other, by separate links (at the beginning of conclusion of the text, or in a separate column) of directly form links within the text.

Several dividing criteria can be used:
- just breaking up into first, second, etc. part.
- grouping by topics; digressions on one specific topic can be put in a linked, separate page, a kind of hypertext link.
- separating general, formal, organizational considerations from concrete, applicational questions.
- integrative logic can suggest typical splits.
- separating several levels of information, e.g. (1) the general public, (2) the professional user, (3) the researcher, although these levels are never clearly delimited.

4. Merging with other integrative sites

If the site is really integrative, one day it will merge with other one or more other sites, aiming at the same goal. Eventually, should the integrative movement prevail across the Net, one integrative network could emerge.

In a transitory stage, both sites will intensively link to each other, and even mirror some of their webpages. There is also functional integration: the different sites are not formally linked, their pages belong to independent sites, but an integrative site links them as if it were one comprehensive site. A search engine more or less acts this way, and especially the totally automatized NEWS site of Google is such a virtual "supersite". In fact, each site with links (and which site doesn't have links!) is a kind of functional supersite.

The integration of integrative sites will not be an easy process, because so many psychological factors concerning motiuvation, personal proud, aesthetic taste, and perhaps also linguistic and/or financial aspects, come into account. It is thinklable that somebody presents his site as an integration, inviting other people to contribute, but uses it as a source of inspiration for his own intellectual pursuits.

The merging phenomenon will also resolve the qualitative problem of integrative sites: if integration within a site is comntinued, theoretically each site should become giant. Of course, if progressive merging is possible, and if the logical structure of websites enables such an integration, the integrative site developing style will produce a decrease of the number of sites. The problem of internet is not that more and more sites will aim towards integration, but, inversely, that so mamny bvsites do not aim at any kind of integration. One coulkd suppose one day to charges taxes for websites which are not integrative, because it are this kind of sites that can be considered as a waste of compter space and energy, as well for the author as for the visitor.

The procedure of integration

1. Comments are treated along certain ways:

1) the comments are criticisms. Generally, they are not easily usable, but can inspire towards new ideas, by the primary author or by other readers. If the author is not able to transform them into new, usable data, the question or the criticsm can be added, and elicit sooner or later more usable ideas.

2) the comments are congruous. These can simply be added to the text at the appropriate location. They can be examples, or better descriptions, which sometimes can replace the existing text.

3) the commentsare incongruous. In this case, several adaptations can be made, including:

(1) text adaptations: either the existing text, or the suggestion, or both haev to be reformulated to enable combination.

(2) logical frame adaptations: the existing logical scheme has to be extended, reframed, etc. In fact, the suggestion of texts that are incongruous is the most fertile source for the development of new and better logical frames, for an enhanced insight in the topic.

The creation of new titles and subdivisions is most often very inspiring to formulate new ideas and comments, and in fat the driving motor for new insights.

(3) the creation of new articles/pages: the comments are clearly linked to the topic of the integrative page, but don't fit well into the existing frame, e.g. critical dioscussions about the definition, some applications, etc. In this case, new pages, with a new integration process, can be created, often at a deeper information level.

4) the comments are presented as an alternative. It is not forbidden to present a second or a third or a zillionth alternative text, but the purpose of such an alternative is to study it, and to integrate as soon as possible the good elements of it into the ongoing integrating effort.

In the presence of several alternative proposals, the one made by the greatest number of people, of trying to integrate the greatest number of alternatives, is most likely to be closer to the eventual integration. It is more idicated to integrate the the separate alternatives into this proposed integration, that working the other way (although the author of an alternative will be convinced of the superiority of his proposal).

2. Other aspects

There is no limit as to the number of comments that can be made. It is essential for a good integrative practice never to react irritably, but only positively if the stream of suggestions never seems to end. Such can be considered as a success for the integration process. If certain analogous comments are reiterated, this means that the proposed integration doesn't comply with everybody's intuition, so this intuitive incongruency is a good indicator that we have to look for a still better integration (or that things have to be better explained, so that erroneous interpretations don't no longer occur).

Looking for an integration does not always presuppose that the outcome must be one and unique project. Often things, by there complexity, material or psychological limits or still unverbalized subconscious aspects, are not yet fit for integration, and will perhaps never be (e.g. how to integrate sleep and wakefulness). So, an integration process that yields an number of separate subjects/activities/moments can be an excellent integration, because all those things together are an integration for us, conscious people: they are in fact separate elements of a higher level integration.

The most useful comments are (2) and (3): they make specific, concrete wording proposals. (1) and (4) are more difficult, because they require more creative thinking processes before integration can be attempted, and most often these thinking processes are more easier to be performed by the author of the criticism and the alternative, than be the primary author.

Tho enable an integration, a logical frame is indispensable. As integration proceeds, the logical scheme tends to become even more logical. Illogical frames can be very useful for a didactic or a journalistic purpose, because they activate attention. But they are unfit as an integrative frame, because there will nearly never ever be unanimity about the best approach, and within such a scheme it is very difficult to reach a consensus about where to place which element.

Only if the integrative attitude is not sufficiently present in one or more participators to the integrative process (if e.g. they refuse to reword their contribution, or propose an integration that excludes some of the presented data), parallel development of integrative webpages becomes justified.

Inductive / Integrative Logics: see another page

Logical frames: see another page

Some technical aspects

Up to now all this integrating labour has to be done by humans, typing on a keyboard. Of course, in the age of Internet this task is extremely simplified by smooth copying, pasting and editing facilities.

But I'm convinced that, even today, much more assisting software could be available. I call this KIS (Knowledge Integrating Software).

Wiki seemed to be such a software, but after three days of intensive contact with Wikipedia and their mailing list, full of insults, threats, and effectively deleting each others' texts, I felt very disillusioned.

This could, of course, demand some discipline from the primary authors to allow easy retrieval of bits of text, and have an idea about the content without completely understanding it by the computer. Of course, the proposed integration could be reviewed by a human before publishing it.

I also hope that, in the future, integrating software will become available. 

Some concrete ideas for such a software:

- it should be possible to indicate in an integrative site all the passages added or edited since a certain date, and for the visiting computer to remember the date of the last visit to a certain page, at least during some time (as now the visited links are remembered).

- it should be possible to point to a particular location in a certain webpage, not only to the locations (text#place) provided by the author. And to show just a part of another site, not necessarily the whole of it. Simple search routines could perform that. Why didn't Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau think about it when they invented html... :-)

- it should be possible to see the webpage at different levels, just by clicking or touching keys:e.g. an upper level, with just the titles, the abstracts, the normal text, and the text extended with the additions, examples, notes and proofs, and, why not, added comments and proposed integrations.

- Of course, some advanced ways of idea notation, including Joe Voros's notation style, should make it much more easier for KIS.

- the use of standardized titles (Introduction, Definition, Examples, etc.) and symbols e.g. 1. 2. 3. : sequential steps, 1) 2) 3) possibilities, alternatives, 1] 2] 3] aspects or constituents, -> effective result or consequence, => logical conclusion, etc., could be indicated and be a part of the author's discipline.

Some Psychological aspects

Integrating inisghts is a new way of research and communication, and its commodoties have to be clarified and discussed progressively. Thanks for all comments: they bring us steps forward.

1. The low participation problem

This problem is general in any kind of communication. It is already discussed in

One way of getting more feedback is, of course, to give feedback on the contributions of others. Or integrating their visions and quoting them. But this is not as easy as it seems at first glance.

2. The Courtesy of Consent

There is some psychological reluctance can hamper the elaboration of a new integration. As well intellectual as emotional/psychological factors explain theis resistance. If one is convinced of a particular concept, this probably means that incongruent evidence probably is absent in the experience of that person. Often, to be able to adapt one's conviction, new experience is necessary. In a discussion forum such new experience is not easily available. Furthermore, emotional and motivational aspects, from the proud by one's creativity to the phantasmatic superiority over intellectual competitors, provoke very strong resistance against replacing one's contribution with an integrative one.

A kind of psychological resistance was formulated so eloquently by one eList member:

Personally, I will want to be asked for my agreement before any list contributions or texts I have written are posted on a website. I don't want to have a somewhat sloppy list mail I wrote in response to someone else to be posted out of context in a setting that presents it as something other than it was. I guess other people might feel in a similar way, so please ask before using such texts.

Some of the things I write are not my final position and there is a serious risk of things being taken out of context. 

Of course he is right --from a secondary point of view. Everyone owns his own products, even delivered to a list. And I see --staying within the secondary sphere with rights, contracts, etc.-- only a few solutions:
- asking an agreement by the other [the solution proposed by Thomas]
- not citing the author/source --  thus, in our "integrative" pages, I mentioned sometimes the author, but sometimes not, expecting your reactions, because honestly I didn't know very well which is the best.
- reformulating someone's contribution (which occurs often)
- integrating it in one's own concepts (which is the very method by which science and culture progress since hundreds of centuries).
- prohibiting: it is also possible to include in the regulations of an eList that quotes cannot be used outside the list, and that members who don't respect this condition will be excluded form the list. But the reformulation "danger" can not be prevented, and is eventually the very purpose of the list: to inspire one's ideas by the ideas of others. The webmaster/integrator has an editorial responsibility.
Should the problem be less if the author's name is not mentioned, or if the contribution is reformulated, and perhaps already "integrated" into some other texts. In fact, a discussion list is, amongst other things, intended to give ideas to each other. How can this occur if the inspiration may not be used? Another purpose of the discussion list is the invite the readers for some comments on, most often, non-final drafts of a text. But is the author allowed to use the comment of his/her readers? It's exactly the same problem in the other sense.

It is clear that (at least as I see it now), in a tertiary context integration is impossible if contributors refuse that their contribution be quoted. They can, of course, ask that their name should not be given, of even not-contribute. But, most importantly, they always have the right to edit their quotations afterwards, not only out of respect for their "rights", but  most essentially, because the integrative, intensively interactive process will probably inspire and stimulate their thoughts towards a more elaborate formulation.

3. The copyright issue

A possible  view is that we should perhaps reintroduce some pre-renaissance attitudes. The explicit mentioning of the author's/artists's name is relatively recent in Western culture. And the difference between secondary (Blue/Orange/Green, 2B/3A/3B, neurotic: anal/phallic, external regulation, Ethos) and tertiary (Yellow/Turquoise, optimal: genital, internal regulation, Eros) may not be neglected in this discussion. In the secondary level, aggressiveness and defensiveness, including rights (and the right of the FIRST who is allowed to take the patent, and the right on respect) are essential. In a tertiary culture, it's the result which counts, and mutual consideration is a phenomenon not derived from rights and admired performances, but from inside each of us. No one will be considered as ridiculous because his contribution was not "final" and had to be edited.

Page posted 1 Oct 2002 by Kris Roose - This version 25 Nov 2002