SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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xxxii             PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
were daily employed as methods of group psychotherapy and as methods of psychiatric prevention. It is obvious that the earlier the case is treated the better the prognosis, and consequently hundreds of battalion-aid surgeons were trained in principles of general semantics. These principles were applied (as individual therapies and as group therapies) at every treatment level from the forward area to the rear-most echelon, in frontline aid stations, in exhaustion centers and in general hospitals. That they were employed with success is demonstrated by the fact that psychiatric evacuations from the European Theater were held to a minimum.2
The origin of this work was a new functional definition of 'man', as formulated in 1921,3 based on an analysis of uniquely human potentialities; namely, that each generation may begin where the former left off. This characteristic I called the 'time-binding' capacity. Here the reactions of humans are not split verbally and elementalistically into separate 'body', 'mind', 'emotions', 'intellect', 'intuitions', etc., but are treated from an organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environment (external and internal) point of view. This parallels the Einstein-Minkowski space-time integration in physics, and both are necessitated by the modern evolution of sciences.
This new definition of 'man', which is neither zoological nor mythological, but functional and extensional (factual), requires a complete revision of what we know about humans. If we would judge human reactions by statistical data of psychiatric patients, or many other special groups, our understanding of 'human nature' must be completely twisted. Both the zoological and mythological assumptions must limit human society to animalistic biological, instead of time-binding psycho-biological evaluations, which involve socio-cultural responsibilities and thus may mark a new period of human development*
In Manhood of Humanity I stressed the general human unique characteristic of time-binding, which potentially applies to all humans, leaving no place for race prejudices. The structure of science is interwoven with Asiatic influences, which through Africa and Spain spread over the continent of Europe, where it was further developed. Through the discovery of factors of sanity in physico-mathematical methods, science
* Some readers do not like what I said about Spengler. It is perhaps because they did not read carefully. Spengler, the mathematician and historian, dealt with the spasms of periods of human evolution which paralleled the development of science and mathematics, and his erudition must be acknowledged. In my honest judgment, he gave 'a great description of the childhood of humanity', which he himself did not outgrow. In 1920 Sir Auckland Geddes said, 'In Europe, we know that an age is dying.' And in 1941 I wrote, 'The terrors and horrors we are witnessing in the East and the West are the deathbed agonies of that passing epoch.' With Spengler's limitations, no wonder the Nazis joined hands with him. Thej made good death-bedfellows, demonstrating empirically the 'Decline of the West',