SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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in-general to all of Man's thinking-and-doing, from his loftiest metaphysical, epistemological and mathematical efforts to the most casual, trivial and mundane performances of his everyday living.
Like a skillful diagnostician, Korzybski penetrated deeply into the etiologic and pathologic substrates of what he perceived to be the more serious deterrents to current human endeavors and there succeeded in identifying certain grave strictures imposed upon Man's creative potentials and problem-solving proclivities by one of the least suspected of all possible agencies, namely, the academically-revered and ubiquitously-exercised aristotelian formulations of logic. This diagnostic act was, of course, the analogical equivalent of finding a positive Wasserman reaction in the blood serum of some long honored and beloved patriarch. Its disclosure promised and, in point of fact, proved to be no more popular. In this sense, Korzybski's position was wholly comparable to that of Copernicus and Galileo, who had been impelled by their private inquiries during the early Renaissance to challenge the popular ptolemaic cosmology and aristotelian mechanics of their day. It required an uncommon personal integrity, an unusual brand of courage and a plenum of physical energy to spell out the overt and covert effects produced by these widely-pervading, pathologic neuro-semantic processes in the community of humans. Korzybski was, as we now know, quite up to this formidable task.
To have made the diagnosis constituted-in itself an intellectual triumph. But Korzybski did more than this. His analyses enabled him to write effective prescriptions for both the prevention and treatment of the disorders he encountered round about and within the community of humans. These disorders, including cultural and institutional as well as personal misevaluations and delusions, he regarded as essentially those of inept semantic reactions. They were for him the unmistakable marks of un-sanity, however 'normal' they might appear to be in a statistical sense.
The side-effects of Korzybski's formulations were hardly less significant than the prophylactic and therapeutic devices engendered by them. Among other things, they cast much needed light on the psychology of perception, child psychology, education, the cultural theories of modern anthropology, scientific method and operational ethics. As of the time of writing this introduction, a revolution in neurology, psychology, psychiatry and related disciplines, comparable in every way to that which broke upon the discipline of physics in the early years of the present century, appears both imminent and inevitable. The stirrings toward such appear to have been derived largely from a general semantic orientation, which lias sufficiently inlluenecd advanced investigators in