SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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vival order of our nervous processes. It seems unnecessary to point out that a structural and semantic enquiry on this particular question might be important and beneficial. It seems, without much doubt, that human institutions and activities should be in accord with 'human nature', if we are to expect them to survive without crushing us, and a scientific enquiry in this 'human nature' would be not only desirable but exceedingly important.
The reader, with the help of another person, should perform a very simple experiment. Let the assistant select secretly a dozen newspaper headlines of letters of equal size. Let the reader then sit in a chair without altering his distance from the assistant and let the assistant show him one of these headlines. If he is able to read the headline, it should be rejected, and a new one selected by the assistant and put a foot or more farther away. If this one is read correctly, it should be rejected, and a third one placed still farther away. By such trials we can finally find a distance which is slightly greater than the maximum range of clear visibility for the reader, so that, although the headline is only slightly beyond the distance at which one could read it, yet it would be illegible. Let the reader then try as hard as possible to read headlines which are just beyond his visual range. When he is convinced that he cannot read the headline, let the assistant tell him the content of it. Then the sitter can usually see with his eyes the letters, when he knows what is supposed to be there. The question arises, what part in the 'seeing' is due to 'senses', and what to 'mind'? The answer is, that, structurally, the 'seeing' is the result of a cyclic interdependent process, which can be split only verbally. The independent elements are fictitious and, structurally, have little or nothing to do with actual facts. The human nervous system represents, structurally, a mutually interdependent cyclic chain, where each partial function is in the functional chain, together with enforcing and 'inhibiting', and other mechanisms.
Up to this stage, we have used the term 'cyclic order', but, in reality, the order is recurrent, though of a character better described by the 'spiral theory', as explained in my Manhood of Humanity on p. 233. In the 'spiral theory', we find the foundation for this peculiar stratification in levels and orders, which is necessitated by the structure and function of the human nervous system. It should be noticed that the equations of the circle and spiral are non-linear, non-plus equations.
The above relation underlies a fundamental mechanism, known in psychiatry as 'sublimation', in which, and by which, quite primitive impulses, without losing their intensity and fundamental character, quite often are transformed from very primitive levels, which frequently