SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON ORDER
185
matically to the reversal of natural order. As a method of preventive education and psychotherapy, whenever we succeed in reversing the reversed order or restoring the natural survival order, serious beneficial results are to be expected. These theoretical conclusions have been fully justified by experience and the work of Doctor Philip S. Graven in psychotherapy. It should be noticed that different primitive 'magic of words', or modern 'hypostatizations', 'reifications', 'misplaced concrete-ness', 'objectincations'., and all semantic disturbances represent nothing else but a confusion of orders of abstractions, or identifications in value of essentially different orders of abstractions.
The above considerations are entirely general, but, because of their novelty, they have not, as yet, been applied in the non-aristotelian simple and workable form to psychiatry or education. In a very instructive paper on The Language of Schizophrenia," Doctor William A. White applies some of these notions. Because of the method of approach, I will quote from this paper. It should be understood that this paper deals, also, with other issues, and the quotations do not do justice to the author, because I quote only those passages which are of particular interest here, omitting the literature given by Doctor White. The italics and one footnote are mine.
'It requires but a moment's serious consideration to realize that the subject of schizophrenic language must be immense if for no other reason than that it involves an understanding of the whole subject of language of which it is but a part. The extent and depth of the subject of language may be further appreciated from the fact that the single feature of its neuronic background as it is brought to attention in aphasia constitutes one of the most complex problems in the whole field of neurology and one with respect to which we are still hopelessly ignorant, especially when the enormous amount of work that has been done in this field is considered. . . .
'There have been a few other recent contributions to the subject of schizophrenic thought and speech which, as they run more in line with my own thinking on the subject, I will refer to more fully. These studies equate the processes of thinking of schisophrenic persons with those of primitive peoples and of children.
'. . . In the archaic thinking of a prelogical kind, found among primitive savage races, the vividness of the images is greater than among more highly developed races, and the effect produced in the observer is projected and believed to be an inherent attitude of the object, which thus acquires a "demonic" character. All things which arouse a similar emotion are thought of as being actually the same. In dementia praecox there is a similar loss of objectivity; hallucinations and reality are imperfectly distinguished, and every happening has a meaning and effect on the observer; the idea of an action produces the action directly, instead of offering a possibility of action, and this is interpreted as a compulsion from without. Paralogical thinking is a stage beyond this; identification of objects is based on similarities, differences being neglected. . . . This form of thought is common in dementia praecox.
'. . . While for the normal person the chief criterion of the world of real objects is their independence of him, whereas imaginary things depend for their