The Origins of the Integractor

We are in the spring break, so I will write about something that I wouldn’t have the time to write about during school time, as I usually do during Sunday’s posts. Today I will write about the integractor, the structure of integration that is made with Tinker Toys. How the integractor was conceived? It has a story.

For those who need an image of an integractor, here is one:

How the idea of designing and building an integractor began? In the moment that I conceived this Tinker Toy structure I was studying in two faculties: in an ecclesiastical faculty of philosophy and in a graduate faculty of philosophy. In the ecclesiastical faculty of philosophy the focus was Saint Thomas Aquinas. In the graduate faculty of philosophy the focus was Charles S. Peirce. I wanted to integrate, somehow, the thoughts of both philosophers in a single visual structure. Those who know these two philosophers know that thomist thoughts and pragmatic thoughts can’t be easily merged, besides their curious tendency of using trychotomies (as a matter of fact, many philosophers use trychotomies, Aquinas and Peirce are not the only ones).

I integrated thoughts of both philosophers by creating a Tinker Toy robot called “Charlie.” Charlie moved with a control remote, it was not a completely independent machine. He had two kinds of movements: the external movements and the internal movements. The internal movements were independent from the remote control, but the external movements depended on the remote control. That was my way of explaining the two kinds of movements of human beings: the “inside” movements and the “physical” movements. The movement I was focusing on for my graduate thesis, that was about creating a philosophy of education based on the philosophy of Peirce, was the “inside” movements. However, action by its own is worthless. It needs a three-dimensional structure to sustain it. Later on I would observe and discover that action can’t be and end by itself neither; humans do no act with the aim of solely acting, human actions, besides an integration, also have a realization and a projection.

How did Charlie united thoughts of Charles S. Peirce and Saint Thomas Aquinas? The tridimensional external structure of Charlie (the triangles) was inspired by the trascendentals of Saint Thomas Aquinas, that later evolved and become the seven properties of every being (ens, res, etc.). I later integrated to those first seven properties the seven properties of every living being, that I learned in a graduate neuroscience class where we studied a real brain. These properties did not caught my attention in the class, where I was focused on studying the human brain. It was later on that this information made “click” on me while thinking the integraction, that initially had only three processes (integration, action and realization), not four.

The thought of Charles S. Peirce was integrated in the three moving crosses inside Charlie. Peirce talks about firstness, secondness and thirdness. That’s why I built three crosses inside Charlie’s tridimensional body: one for firstness (essentially monadic), one for secondness (essentially dyadic) and one for thirdness (essentially monadic). They were not meant to be moved at the same time, that came later on, with the idea of unity and coherence.

I did not used Charlie for my graduate thesis project very long. Someone told me that students do not come to philosophy graduate school to play with toys, I got discouraged and never brought it to the graduate faculty of philosophy. Sadly, I had to destroy Charlie myself because I couldn’t move back to Puerto Rico with it, I didn’t had enough space. I trashed all those materials prior traveling so they didn’t become excess weight in my baggage.

Later, when I chose to design a personal formation model, I rebuilt again what I destroyed with new materials, but I did not rebuilt it as a robot (I did not had the materials for doing that), but simply as a Tinker Toy structure. As the time passed by, the search for meaning of the Tinker Toy’s structure became more contemplative. That means that I began to pray how to build a personal formation model inspired in the Trinity and in the commandment of Love. In other words: I used the same Tinker Toy structure that I used for building Charlie, but now for building a new personal formation model. That way the integractor was conceived: as a structure for a new personal formation model. The model came after contemplating the integractor in prayer and in ordinary life, applying both reason and faith while observing human nature to define better all the processes.

By the way, the seven principles of humanization were added to the properties of the integractor later on, in a social ethics class. That completed the three dimensions of human personal formation. These three dimensions were the first elements of integraction that were concreted.

At the beginning, I couldn’t study integraction without using the integractor. Now I can explain integraction without using the integractor, but by writing only. For explaining it orally I still need to play a little bit with the integractor in order to remember all the terms that I know (I don’t know everything by memory yet). When I brought the integractor to the schools kids loved playing with it! Of course, I didn’t explained to them what it was for me, I just let them use it as a toy. Moving the three crosses at the same time requires an excellent two-hands coordination!

How integraction was inspired by the Holy Trinity? I think I have never explained it before. I have explained how integraction is inspired in the Commandment of Love, but not how it is inspired by the Holy Trinity. It would seem like the three crosses are inspired by the Trinity, but as I explained before, that was inspired by Peirce. The Trinitarian inspiration is in the processes’ conception, not in the integractor’s conception. Integration is inspired in the Father’s role. Action is inspired in the Son’s role. Realization is inspired in the Holy Spirit’s role. Projection is inspired in the Trinity’s role, it integrates the three roles. I know that creating a personal formation model that is faith-inspired can be conflictive to some, but integraction can also be founded with theories of the three integractive faculties: the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Education. I have studied in two of those faculties academically, in Education and in Humanities, and has studied classes of the other faculty, Social Sciences, although not as many as in the other two faculties. I had thought about taking a psychological theories of personality course many times, but the fact that I am a twice-exceptional student has refrained me from doing so. Those courses tend to be evaluated mostly by memory-based assessment, and I usually have problems with passing a class whose assessment relies more than 30% on memorization. There is no reasonable accommodation that substitutes the memory-based assessment, I must adapt to whichever assessment the professors choose.

Another question. Why I built a robot for studying something like philosophy? This is also related to being a twice- exceptional student. I did it because I am a visual learner. Visualizing, somehow, the ideas of these two philosophers helped me to integrate information about their thought. “Building ideas” also helps me to keep inquiring. “Never block the way to inquiry,” Peirce says. At the very end, the integractor did retained something from Peirce: the criteria of the emissions (primacy of the good, primacy of the right and primacy of the true) is inspired in the three Peircean normatives (the good, the right and the true).

This is all I have to say about the origins of the integractor. In the next post, I will explain the parts of the integractor as the structure of integraction.

Let’s keep growing!

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