SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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Let me illustrate this by a structural example: let us take a man-made green leaf. We see that in it green colour was added. Now let us take a natural green leaf. We see that the green colour was not added to it, but that the natural green leaf must be considered a process, a functional affair which became green without anybody's adding green colour. In the old savage mythologies, there were always demons in human shape, who actually made everything with their hands. This primitive mythology built up a 'plus' or additive language which attributed to the world an anthropomorphic structure. This false notion of the world's structure was, in turn, reflected in the language. It was a subject-predicate, 'plus' language, and not as it should be, to fit the structure of the world, a functional language.
Here we come across a tremendous fact; namely, that a language, any language, has at its bottom certain metaphysics, which ascribe, consciously or unconsciously, some sort of structure to this world. Our old mythologies ascribed an anthropomorphic structure to the world, and, of course, under such a delusion, the primitives built up a language to picture such a world and gave it a subject-predicate form. This subject-predicate form also was closely related to our 'senses', taken in a very el, primitive form.
This 'plus' tendency not only shaped our language, but even in mathematics and in physics we are still much more at home with linear ('plus') equations. Only since Einstein have we begun to work seriously at new forms of representation which are no longer expressed by linear (or 'plus') equations. At present, we have serious difficulties in this field. It must be admitted that linear equations are much simpler than nonlinear equations. I will explain later that the notion of two-valued causality is strictly connected with this linearity or additivity.
Neither Aristotle nor his immediate followers realized or could realize what has been said here. They took the structure of the primitive-made language for granted, and went ahead formulating a philosophical grammar of this primitive language, which grammar - to our great semantic detriment - they called 'logic', defining it as the 'laws of thought'. Because of this formulation in a general theory, we are accustomed even today to inflict this 'philosophical grammar' of primitive language upon our children, and so from childhood up imprison them unconsciously by the structure of the language and the so-called 'logic', in an anthropomorphic, structurally primitive universe.
Investigation shows that three great names in our history have been very closely interconnected: Aristotle, who formulated a general theory of a primitive language, a kind of 'philosophical grammar' of this Ian-