CONSTRUCTION OF AN
In some other texts the process of integration
is explained, as well as the integrative style in texts:
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
integrative editing style
Procedure of Conceptual Integration
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
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
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 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"
(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.
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
- 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
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.
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. 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
(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
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:
Logical frames: see
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
But I'm convinced that, even today, much more
assisting software could be available. I call this KIS (Knowledge Integrating
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
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 http://noosphere.cc/synergy.html
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. 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:
Some of the things I write are not my final
position and there is a serious risk of things being taken out of context.
- 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
- 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.