1.1. What is quadralectic thinking?

Certain readers might be unfamiliar with the term quadralectics and wonder what it is all about. They are not to blame, because its specific knowledge has not been communicated on a large scale and no publication has yet seen the light of day. Some background of this modern way of thinking might be helpful.

The neologism quadralectics finds its roots in the more acquainted term dialectics. The latter word points – in its original Greek understanding – to a form of practical logic used in a communication. Quadralectics has that same purpose and meaning, but the difference lies in the ‘primary division’ on which the value system of the communication is based. Dialectics assumed an ‘a priori’ two-division, while quadralectics chooses for a four-division. The difference (and the understanding of that difference) is very elementary indeed in any communication.

The name quadralectics might be new, but the tetradic way of thinking is not. The general four-fold way of thinking got its first philosophic expression in the formative framework of the four elements. The philosopher Empedocles, living in the fifth century BC in Greece, brought nature back to fire, air, earth and water. These elements are still with us today, but they have lost their structural guidance. Their ‘elementary’ and undividable character was challenged by science in the seventeenth century.

The difference of the ancient, tetradic way of valuation and the modern, quadralectic variety lies in its dynamic use. The tetradic-elementary model of Empedocles (and its medical derivative as developed by Philistion) was placed in a dualistic setting. Some surplus or deficiency (more or less in relation to the average) determined the qualitative outcome, expressed in oppositional terms (good or bad, healthy or ill, etc.). The quadralectic model remains compliant to its authentic mission of a four-fold interaction. The quality (visibility) is measured on a variable scale derived from two shifting four-divisions.  Some of its findings are given here in order to facilitate the understanding of certain terms.

The main clue to the quadralectic way of thinking is the a priori assumption that every communication is guided by a four-division of the conceptional world. This supposition is not particularly world shattering, but turns out of crucial importance for mutual understanding.  The act of division is the root of all communications, and the division choice determines the whole course of information exchange.

A communication set in the context of a two-division gives a complete different understanding than a communication positioned in an a priori four-division. The latter aims at a balanced outcome where the result is not the end product of the interaction, but rather a certain stage, which can be appreciated in its own right.

A quadralectic communication is characterized by four domains, which present themselves as mental territories. Each quadrant has its own type of general visibility. Any modern observer has to realize that the definition of visibility (and its subsequent interpretation) is closely related to the initial choice of division. The quadrants will briefly be introduced here to provide the base of the new nomenclature. The generalizations of the various types of visibility (in the quadrants) are given as a first indication of diversity.

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