SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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TERMINOLOGY AND MEANINGS                     35
important psycho-logical factors in all s.r underlying sanity. This omission is facilitated greatly by the older systems, habits of thought, older s.r, and, above all, by the primitive structure of our A language and the use of the 'is' of identity. Thus, for instance, we handle what we call a pencil. Whatever we handle is un-speakable; yet we say 'this is a pencil', which statement is unconditionally false to facts, because the object appears as an absolute individual and is not words. Thus our s.r are at once trained in delusional values, which must be pathological.
I shall never forget a dramatic moment in my experience. I had a very helpful and friendly contact prolonged over a number of years with a very eminent scientist. After many discussions, I asked if some of the special points of my work were clear to him. His answer was, 'Yes, it is all right, and so on, but, how can you expect me to follow your work all through, if I still do not know what an object is? It was a genuine shock to me. The use of the little word 'is' as an identity term applied to the objective level had paralysed most effectively a great deal of hard and prolonged work. Yet, the semantic blockage which prevented him from acquiring the new s.r is so simple as to seem trifling, in spite of the semantic harm done. The definite answer may be expressed as follows: 'Say whatever you choose about the object, and whatever you might say is not it.' Or, in other words: 'Whatever you might say the object "is", well it is not.' This negative statement is final, because it is negative.
I have enlarged upon this subject because of its crucial semantic importance. Whoever misses this point is missing one of the most vital factors of practically all s.r leading toward sanity. The above is easily verified. In my experience I have never met any one, even among scientists, who would fully apply this childish 'wisdom' as an instinctive 'feeling' and factor in all his s.r. I want also to show the reader the extreme simplicity of a ^-system based on the denial of the 'is' of identity, and to forewarn him against very real difficulties induced by the primitive structure of our language and the s.r connected with it. Our actual lives are lived entirely on the objective levels, including the un-speakable 'feelings', 'emotions'., the verbal levels being only auxiliary, and effective only if they are translated back into first order un-speakable effects, such as an object, an action, a 'feeling'., all on the silent and un-speakable objective levels. In all cases of which I know at present, where the retraining of our s.r has had beneficial effects, the results were obtained when this 'silence on the objective levels' has been attained, which affects all our psycho-logical reactions and regulates them to the benefit of the organism and of his survival adaptation.