SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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AIMS, MEANS AND CONSEQUENCES                 13
disregarded these structural semantic issues and so was constructed on cruder animalistic patterns.
The difficulty in passing from the old system to another of different structure is not in the non-aristotelian system as such, which is really simpler and more in accord with common sense; but the serious difficulty lies rather in the older habits of speech and nervous responses, and in the older semantic reactions which must be overcome. These difficulties are, perhaps, more serious than is generally realized. Only those who have experienced the passing from euclidean to non-euclidean, and from newtonian to non-newtonian systems can fully appreciate this semantic difficulty; as a rule, it takes a new generation to do it painlessly and with entire success. This applies to the general public, but is not an excuse for scientists, educators, and others who are entrusted with the education of, or who otherwise influence, the semantic reactions of children. If any reader realizes his difficulties and seriously wants to overcome them, another suggestion may be given. A structural diagram in the present work, called the Structural Differential, shows the structural difference between the world of animal and the world of man. This structural difference is not yet fully realized; neither is its semantic importance understood, as it has never been formulated in a simple way before; yet the permanent and instinctive realization of these structural differences is unconditionally necessary for the mastering of the present theory of sanity. This diagram, indeed, involves all the psychophysiological factors necessary for the transition from the old semantic reactions to the new, and it gives in a way a structural summary of the whole non-aristotelian system. As the diagram is based on the denial of the 'is' of identity, its use is practically indispensable; it has been made in relief and in printed forms, to be kept on the wall or the desk as a permanent visual structural and semantic reminder. Without actual handling, pointing the finger or waving the hand at it, seeing the order, and so on, it is practically impossible, or very difficult, to become trained, or to explain the present system to ourselves or others, because the foundation of all 'knowing' is structural, and the Structural Differential actually shows this structural difference between the world of animal and the world of man.
One of the best ways for grown-up persons to train themselves in the present theory of sanity is to try to explain it to others, repeatedly pointing to the Structural Differential. In my experience, those who have disregarded this advice have always made very slow progress, and have never got the full semantic benefit of their efforts. As regards the verbal side of the training, it is as important to use exclusively the terms