SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON ORDER
163
the world called an 'electron', which appears as an 'energy' factor, the relative persistence or invariance of dynamic sub-microscopic structure gives us, on macroscopic levels, an average, or statistical, persistence of gross macroscopic characteristics, which we label 'iron'.
The above should be thoroughly understood and digested. As a rule, we all identify orders and levels of abstractions and so have difficulty in keeping them separate verbally (and, therefore, 'conceptually'). Thorough structural understanding helps us greatly to acquire these new and beneficial s.r.
Under such structural empirical conditions, a language of order, which implies relations and structure, as enlarged to the order of abstractions or level of consideration, largely volitional, becomes the only language which, in structure, is similar to the structure of the world, ourselves included, and so, of necessity, will afford the maximum of semantic benefits.
It should be understood that, on structural grounds, terms like 'substance' and 'function' become, in 1933, perfectly interchangeable, depending on the order of abstraction. 'Substance', for instance, on the macroscopic level becomes 'invariance of function' on the sub-microscopic level. It follows that what we know about the macroscopic ('anatomical') structure can be quite legitimately enlarged by what we know of function (structure on different levels). This interchangeability and complementary value of evidence is conditioned by structural considerations, and the fact that 'structure' is multiordinal. On gross anatomical grounds, we know a great deal about this structure of the nervous system. Because of experimental difficulties, very little is known of the structural sub-microscopic happenings, yet we can speak about them with benefit in functional terms; as, for instance, of 'activation', 'facilitation', 'resistance', 'psychogenetic effects', 'diffusion', 'permeability', the older 'inhibition',.
In such a cyclic chain as the nervous system, there is, as far as energy is concerned, no last stage of the process. If there is no motor reaction or other reflex, then there is a semantic or associative reaction with 'inhibitory' or activating consequences, which are functionally equivalent to a motor reaction. At each stage, a 'terminal' receptor is a reacting organ in the chain.3
We know quite well from psychiatry how nervous energy may deviate from constructive and useful channels into destructive and harmful channels. The energy is not lost, but misdirected or misapplied. For instance, an 'emotional' shock may make some people release their energy into useful channels, such as concentrated efforts in some direction, which would have been impossible without this shock; but, in