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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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104          III. NON-ELEMENTALISTIC STRUCTURES
the physiological axes in their simpler forms are similar to, if not the result of, such excitation-transmission gradients.
For the organism to work as-a-whole, some sort of integrating pattern is necessary. The behaviour of the organism-as-a-whole results, first, from patterns already present, and, second, from the possibilities of further development and integration in response to particular external factors. The physiological gradients give such means.
The development of our nervous system is strictly connected with the above principles discovered by Child.2 In axiate animals and man the chief aggregation of nervous tissues is localized in the apical (head) end, which region is characterized primarily by a higher rate of metabolism in the early stages. Physiological gradients originate as simple protoplasmic reactions to external stimuli, and so the nervous system originates in protoplasmic behaviour. Nerves then become simply struc-turalized and permanent physiological gradients, and so exert a physiological dominance over other tissues.
From an epistemological point of view, we should notice that the gradients are primarily quantitative and that we do not need specific factors to determine them. Any factor that will determine a more or less persistent quantitative differential in the protoplasm ought to be effective. The above theory is structurally supported by a large number of experiments. For instance, we can experimentally obliterate or determine new gradients.8 The organism appears in this new light as a behaviour reaction-pattern, and substantiates the old saying that the function builds the organ. Not only should the organism be treated as-a-whole, but it is impossible to isolate the organism from its environment. A functional interrelationship is established between the two.
This theory appears, also, to be fundamental for psychiatry and for psycho-logics, for it establishes the head as a dominant region on the base of an experimentally proven higher rate of metabolism. From Child's point of view, as suggested by Dr. William A. White, the main dynamic gradient, the central nervous axis, gives the structuralized evidence of the degree of correlation of the other organs and of the degree that the body is under the control of the head-end of this gradient. The failure to keep in touch with this centre of control leads to the disintegration of the individual*. The head-end is also the most modifiable point m the axis of control, a conclusion which is of the utmost significance in psychotherapy. It is known that the metabolism of organs can be affected by 'psychic' stimuli, and it is only one step further to understand, as White says, why we may have other structuralized functions, such as structuralized anti-social feelings, structuralized greed, structur-