SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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130          III. NON-ELEMENTALISTIC STRUCTURES
such adjustment requires a full understanding of the structural issues at hand and a fundamental structural departure from A methods and means. These structural issues and means of departures from A methods are explained in the following chapters.
To sum up: The non-el principle formulates a structural character inherently found in the structure of the world, ourselves, and our nervous system on all levels; the knowledge and application of which is unconditionally necessary for adjustment on all levels, and, therefore, in humans, for sanity.
As 'knowledge', 'understanding', and such functions are solely relational, and, therefore, structural, the unconditional and inherent condition for adjustment on all human levels depends on building languages of similar structure to the experimental facts. Once this is accomplished, all the former desirable semantic consequences follow automatically.
For simplicity, we have considered only examples of the 'organism-as-a-whole', but, as a matter of fact, such a detached consideration cannot be considered entirely satisfactory, as, structurally, every organism depends on its environment; and, therefore, in building our languages, we ought to coin terms which also involve the latter by implication. Fortunately, this condition does not involve us in serious difficulties, when once identity is eliminated and the fundamental problems of structure are grasped. Indeed, the terms which we have already used, or which will be used as we proceed, are all of such a non-el structure as to involve the environment by implication.
In dealing with 'Smith', the difficulties are particularly serious because his nervous system is the most complex known. It is stratified four-dimensionally (in space-time), and the dominance of some centres introduces prodigious and manifold interrelations non-existent in nervous systems of simpler structure; and we still have to learn how to handle the former. Fortunately, mathematical methods and psychiatry explain a good deal about this question, and give us the desired means to apply what we have learned.
Obviously, to 'know' something is quite different from the habitual application of what we have learned. This semantic difference is particularly acute in the case of language, as it involves structural implications which work unconsciously. It is not enough to 'understand' and 'know' the content of the present work; one must train oneself in the use of the new terms. Then only can he expect the maximum semantic results.