SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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TERMINOLOGY AND MEANINGS                     25
evaluation in the patient's life. They are then consciously revised and rejected, and the given patient either improves or is entirely relieved. The condition for a successful treatment seems to be that the processes should be managed in a non-elementalistic way. Mere verbal formalism is not enough, because the full non-elementalistic meanings to the patient are not divulged; consequently, in such a case, the s.r are not affected, and the treatment is a failure.
The non-el study of the s.r becomes an extremely general scientific discipline. The study of relations, and therefore order, reveals to us the mechanism of non-el meanings; and, in the application of an ordinal physiological discipline, we gain psychophysiological means by which powerfully to affect, reverse, or even annul, undesirable s.r. In psycho-physiology we find a non-el physiological theory of meanings and sanity.
From the present point of view, all affective and psycho-logical responses to words and other stimuli involving meanings are to be considered as s.r. What the relation between such responses and a corresponding persistent psycho-logical state may be, is at present not clear, although a number of facts of observation seem to suggest that the re-education of the s.r results often in a beneficial change in some of these states. But further investigation in this field is needed.
The realization of this difference is important in practice, because most of the psycho-logical manifestations may appear as evoked by some event, and so are to be called responses or reflexes. Such a response, when lasting, should be called a given state, perhaps a semantic state, but not a semantic reflex. The term, 'semantic reaction', will be used as covering both semantic reflexes and states. In the present work, we are interested in s.r, from a psychophysiological, theoretical and experimental point of view, which include the corresponding states.
If, for instance, a statement or any event evokes some individual's attention, or one train of associations in preference to another, or envy, or anger, or fear, or prejudice., we would have to speak of all such responses on psycho-logical levels as s.r. A stimulus was present, and a response followed; so that, by definition, we should speak of a reaction. As the active factor in the stimulus was the individual meanings to the given person, and his response had meanings to him as a first order effect, the reaction must be called a semantic reaction.
The present work is written entirely from the s.r point of view; and so the treatment of the material, and the language used, imply, in general, a psycho-logical response to a stimulus in connection with meanings, this response being expressed by a number of such words as 'implies', 'follows', 'becomes', 'evokes', 'results', 'feels', 'reacts', 'evalu-