INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION lxix
The problem ofdefined terms is very difficult to explain briefly. It is discussed more fully in two of my papers presented before professional societies.*
Section H. The passing of the old aristotelian epoch. 1. 'MAGINOT LINE MENTALITIES'
Present day scientific researches and historical world developments show there is no doubt that the old aristotelian epoch of human evolution is dying. The terrors and horrors we are witnessing in the East and the West are the deathbed agonies of that passing epoch, and not the beginning of a new system. The changes of historical periods in human development are often accompanied by the disorganization, and sometimes acute suffering, of mankind, and the price is bound to be paid by one or more generations.
I doubt if in the whole of human history there is a more accentuated illustration than the tragic and sudden collapse, in the summer of 1940, of the French government and army, and eventually of French culture and 'democracy'. The degree of stupidity, treachery, graft, dishonesty, ignorance, and ultimately decadence, etc., the French plutocrats and politicians, and so-called 'intelligentsia' displayed is unprecedented, particularly because of the fine historical record the French have had. We test the freshness or deterioration of fishes by smelling the head end, and as we know at the date of this writing, the head ends of the French 'democracy' have a putrid odor. This deterioration affected the French military men, who once were the finest in the world, and so the collapse was complete. I can give no better, no more pitiful, no more shocking illustration of the collapse of the old system.
The 'Maginot line mentality' will become a historical classic, and will be applied quite appropriately to other than military fields. It means a thoughtless, self-deceptive, etc., 'security' in antiquated systems as matched against modern methods of 1940. Well, the French Marianna felt secure from the front and was taken from behind by the German army men, who traditionally pay no attention to such 'details'.
* (a)defined Terms, 1939, the third of a trilogy of papers presented be-
fore annual meetings of the American Mathematical Society on General Semantics: I. EKxtensionalization in Mathematics, Mathematical Physics and General Education, 1935; II. Thalamic Symbolism and Mathematics, 1938. Institute of General Semantics, Lakeville, Connecticut.
(b) General Semantics, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Prevention, presented before the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, 1940.