SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION lxxvii
pending transition from the aristotelian system to an already formulated non-aristotelian system. This transition is much deeper than the change from merely one aristotelian 'ism' to another.
We argue so much today about 'democracy' versus 'totalitarianism'. Democracy presupposes intelligence of the masses ;* totalitarianism does not to the same degree. But a 'democracy' without intelligence of the masses under modern conditions can be a worse human mess than any dictatorship could be.** Certainly present day education, while it may cram students' heads with some data, without giving them any adequate methodological synthesis and extensional working methods, does not train in 'intelligence' and how to become adjusted to life, and so does not work toward 'democracy'. Experiments show that even a root can learn a lesson (see p. 120), and animals can learn by trial and error. But we humans after these millions of years should have learned how to utilize the 'intelligence' which we supposedly have, with some predictability, etc., and use it constructively, not destructively, as, for example, the Nazis are doing under the guidance of specialists.
In general semantics we believe that some such thing as healthy human intelligence is possible, and so somehow we believe in the eventual possibility of 'democracy'. We work, therefore, at methods which could be embodied even in elementary education to develop the coveted thala-mo-cortical integration, and so sane intelligence. Naturally in our work prevention is the main aim, and this can be accomplished only through education, and as far as the present is concerned, through re-education, and re-training of the human nervous system.
Section I. Constructive suggestions.
As far back as 1933, on page 485 ff. of the present book, I drew attention to the human dangers of the abuse of neuro-semantic and neuro-lin-guistic mechanisms, with suggestions for preventive measures. In September, 1939, I advanced further constructive suggestions to some leading governments, urging the employment of permanent boards of neuro-psychiatrists, psycho-logicians, and other specialists, to counteract similar dangers in connection with the present world crises. I received only two polite acknowledgements of my letters. But both forewarnings of 1933 and 1939 have been disregarded in practice, even by specialists, with known disastrous results.
* Mumford, Lewis. Men Must Act. Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1939.
** Consult, for example, comments of Supreme Court justices about the impossibility of 'justice' when juries are made up of individuals of low grade 'mentality', etc.