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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION xlvii
harmful in principle, because they identified the seen facts with their judgements, creeds, dogmas, etc. Thus their reactions were entirely unjustified, as what they have seen turned out to be merely a scientific demonstration of the mechanism of identification, which identification I expected.
Such identifications are very common. The late Dr. Joshua Rosett, formerly Professor of Neurology in Columbia University, and Scientific Director, Brain Research Foundation, New York, gives an example from his own experience. 'A vivid picture on the cinema screen represented a boy and a girl pulling down hay from a stack for bedding. I sneezed - from the dust of the hay shown on the screen.'*
The problem of identification in values is neurologically strictly connected with the pathological reversal of the natural order of evaluation, which is found in different degrees in the maladjusted, neurotics, psy-chotics, and even in some 'normal' persons. Thus, the supposedly innocent 'shiver' and the sneezing in the examples above, or the attack of hay fever when paper roses are shown (see p. 128), etc., may as well in other cases end in a sudden death or in a neurosis or psychosis. The neurological mechanisms are similar, involving identifications in values of different orders of abstractions, and therefore the very common reversal of the natural order of evaluation.
In the evolution of the human race and language there was a natural order of evaluation established; namely, the life facts came first and labels (words) next in importance. Today, from childhood up, we inculcate words and language first, and the facts they represent come next in value, another pathologically reversed order, by which we are unconsciously being trained to identify words with 'facts'. Even in medicine we much too often evaluate by the definitions of 'diseases' instead of dealing with an individual sick patient, whose illness seldom fits textbook definitions.
The foregoing considerations deal directly with aristotelian orientations by intension, or verbal definitions, where verbiage comes first in importance, and facts next. By non-aristotelian methods we train in the natural order; namely, that first order empirical facts are more important than definitions or verbiage. It should be noticed that the average child is born extensional, and then his evaluations are distorted as the result of intensional training by parents, teachers, etc., who are unaware of the heavy neurological consequences.
These are key problems involved in the passing from aristotelian to non-aristotelian orientations, which affect our future personal, national
* Rosett, Joshua. The Mechanism of Thought, Imagery, and Hallucination. Columbia University Press, New York, 1939, p. 212.