SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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when there is no reason to have pains, and so on, endlessly. Their survival value, if not taken care of, is usually nil. This reversal of order, but in a mild degree, is extremely common at present among all of us and underlies mainly all human misfortunes and un-sanity.
This reversal of order in its mild form is involved in identification or the confusion of orders of abstractions; namely, when we act as if an 'idea' were an 'experience' of our 'senses', thus duplicating in a mild form the mechanism of the 'mentally' ill. This implies nervous disturbances, since we violate the natural (survival) order of the activities of the nervous system. The mechanism of projection is also connected with this reversal of order. This reversal transforms the external world into a quite different and fictitious entity. Both ignorance and the old metaphysics tend to produce these undesirable nervous effects of reversed order and so non-survival evaluation. If we use the nervous system in a way which is against its survival structure, we must expect non-survival. Human history is short, but already we have astonishing records of extinction.
That such reversal of order in the manifestations of the functioning of the nervous system must be extremely harmful, becomes evident when we consider that -in such a case the upper layers of our nervous system (the cortex) not only do not protect us from over-stimulation originating in the external world and inside us, but actually contribute to the over-stimulation by producing fanciful, yet very real, irritants. Experiments on some patients have shown how they benefit physically when their internal energy is liberated from fighting phantoms and so can be redirected to fight the colloidal disturbances. Such examples could be cited endlessly from practically every field of medicine and life. This problem of 'reversal of order' is not only very important semantically, but also very complex, and it will be analysed further on.
The reader should not miss the fact that an analysis in terms of order throws a new light on old problems, and so the scientific benefit of the use of such a term is shown. But this is not all; the use of the term order has brought us to the point where we can see far-reaching practical applications of the knowledge we already possess, and of which we have not so far made any systematic use.
We know that the activity of the nervous system is facilitated by repetition, and we can learn useful habits as easily as harmful. In the special case of s.r also we can train ourselves either way, though one may have useful survival value; the other being harmful, with no survival value. The problem is again one of order, and, among others, a problem of extension and intension, as has already been mentioned several times.