CONSTRUCTION OF AN
In 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 developping
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: hypothese
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 is --as an intuitive methodology--
of all times, used by scientists, artists and all kinds of creative thinkers,
it was used pre-consciously by Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) and Alfred
North Whitehead (1861-1949), 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.
Perhaps I do exaggerate, but I've the feeling
that we are performing something really novel, unequalled up to now in
the history of humanity and the Internet --at least, I'm not aware of any
other integrative projects on the Net. It seems to be the first time up
to now, that people, not even knowing each other (apart from mails) start
thinking and acting together on a global scale.
A quick reminder of the Definition
Although this word is becoming increasingly popular
(even Ken Wilber started using it form the early 2000s on, apart from his
cherished "integral"), not everybody uses it in the same meaning. There
are, in fact, 3 levels of (conceptual) integration:
1. Just bringing several appoaches together,
to sensitize the audience for the multiple facets of a phenomenon. This
approach is synonymous with multidisciplinarity. In the same line
of thought some psychotherapists who extend their psychological work to
somatic aspects and aiming at a psychosomatic equilibrium, call themselves
taking the best of all worlds, is an analogous approach.
2. Synthesizing one "unified" theory out
of several theories. Two depths can be discerned here, although the boundary
between both is of course imprecise:
(a) Too often this second mode of integrating
remains more or less superficial, and is characterized by complex
tables where the contributions of several theories are juxtaposed, only
partially integrated, or compromises are made. It suggests that integration
is little more than giving new names to old concepts. This kind of integration
(synthesis should probably be a more appropriate name) is impressive
by an overwhelming number of quoted authors. This kind of integration is
typical for authors who hold their knowledge primarily from reading, and
don't have a practical, realistic experience within the field where they
integrate, resulting into a real danger for underestimating the imponderable
aspects of the topic.
(b) But a real, in depth integration at
this level requires the study of the underlying processes (as is suggested
by our theoretical description of the integration process). This often
results into something, often --but not always-- much simpler and more
comprehensive than the original theories.
3. Integration as a scientific tool. This
third --and the only complete-- mode of integration uses the integrative
procedure as a tool for scientific plausibility, completing and often transcending
exact scientific reliabilty which is limited to fields where exact measures
and experiments can be performed --the physical sciences. Integrative science
considers that plausibility --rather than the obsolete term truth--
increases with the number of hypotheses that are integrated into one, on
condition that an in depth integration of the underlying processes is performed.
Although one would suppose academic circles will be enthusiastic with this
new form of scientific thinking, the opposite is rather true. Not only
our academic system is built upon the principle of hyperspecialization
(knowing more and more about less and less), while a more appropriate "university"
should be fundamentally more "universal", probably favouring another kind
of intellectuals. But also scientific publications --at least in "inexact"
domains-- ought to be completely different. And presumably psychological
resistance will be important as well.
Of course, constructing an integrative site employs
this third, complete definition of integration.
There exists, as explained elsewhere, also factual integration, and if this factual integration concerns information devices
(computers, organization of the company, "integrated" circuits) it seems
to be a kind of conceptual integration. But factual integration most often
is very hierarchical: data go bottom up and instructions go top down. Conceptual
integration is, by its very essence, "peer to peer": it's a kind of cooperative
The integrative stages
These three phases are in fact the fundamental
stages of creative thinking, a processual phenomenon: C-S-R.
One starts with a simple compilation of the contributions,
ordered along their contribution date, because often (not always) the later comments
are inspired by the previous postings. Often it is useful to indent or
to colour the comments, as to show the original contributon. And comments
can elicit comments. Compilation is often hampered by poor participation
from the visitors of the site or the members of the eList. This problem is very common, as most internet surfers are more motivated to show their
own intellectual productions rather than looking for an integration by
constructive commenting others' contributions.
In a second stage texts are more and more "disentangled",
and put together by their meaning. Progressively, a logical scheme
emerges, suggested by the spontaneous contrubutions. Intuitive creativity
is active here, leading to the formulation of a logical scheme.
In a third movement, longer texts of lists of
ideas are replaced by new formulations. The original contributions
can be kept as illustrations and "proofs" of the advanced hypothesis, or
completely reformulated. This third movement is the most creative stage,
wherein underlying processes are consciously described.
Especially the S and R stages are
the two aspects of creative thinking: the intuition of a new scheme
or conceptual frame (with an underlying, implicit hypothesis) and the explication
or explicit formulation of a that hypothesis. The C stage is not
yet a creative stage in itself, but is very fertile to elicit creativity.
The site construction stages
1. The start
One starts, of course, with one webpage, which
contains the first correspondence about teh 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".
2. Splitting up the pages
After a while --from hours to months-- the volume
of the contents of this starting 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
3. 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 way of developing an integrative
Concerning the way of building up an integrative
site, what seems to be the most appropriate form is what I call the 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, in my opinion, 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.
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
Software). 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
Some concrete ideas:
- 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.