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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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186 IV. STRUCTURAL FACTORS IN A LANGUAGES
existence on him, the general characteristic of the schizophrenic patient's experience is that his mental and imaginary experiences have a substantial and concrete nature when the normal person would see only symbols and analogies. His thoughts have magic power and can produce real results; they have for him a substance and he can manipulate them physically. . . .
'Many other childish manifestations resemble those of schizophrenic persons: children's jokes, tricks, and plays in words have a similar autistic character, with no apparent meaning in relation to actualities, and thjs changes at puberty. Children, like the patients, love to make up a sort of neoplastic language of their own, having meanings known only to themselves or their immediate circle. Perseveration and stereotypy in speech and actions are often observed in children. Their musical performances show the same mechanical rendering, and the same preference for simple melodies and rhythms as are found in schizophrenic patients. . . .
'Just in the same way we must be careful not to equate the regressive psychotic and the primitive too literally. That there are close analogies in their respective ways of thinking there is no doubt and that the recognition of these analogies has been of the utmost importance in enabling us to understand schizophrenic thinking must be acknowledged but perhaps, to be on the safe side, the matter should rest there for the present at least.
'Another point should be made at this time, after what has been said of the loss of the boundaries of the ego, its indefiniteness, etc. These expressions are apt to be equated, if we do not think carefully, with such concepts as disintegration and dementia. We must not lose sight of the magic of words and not be led astray by the old meanings when we are striving for new ones but are forced to use the words in current use. . . . Now regression to a childish or primitive level of this sort, which is what occurs in those conditions in which the ego is said to lose its clearness of definition, does not imply disintegration in the sense of disorder but regression to a different kind of order or, as my friend Korzybski would say, to a lower order of abstraction.
'This is important for a principle is embodied in the nature of this change. . . .
'This principle, namely, that the schizophrenic thought processes and language are of a lower order of abstraction, accounts, in part at least, for another phenomenon. If by a process of regression the mechanisms of thinking tend to ever more primitive levels then we should expect them ultimately to arrive at a concrete perceptional level, and when this occurs hallucinations, which have long been regarded as evidence of the schizophrenic splitting, come into the picture. While I believe that there must be other factors to account for the hallucinations they are at least to be expected as the natural outcome of regression - as are the forms of thought already referred to....
'It comes about, therefore, that we cannot understand the language of the schizophrenic patient without the aid of these principles, because the language of a lower level of psychologic development, or a lower order of abstraction, must remain unintelligible to those who think in the terms of higher levels. The whole problem of the understanding of the psychoses, from this point of view, might be well considered as the problem of the translation of the language of the psychoses.
'Summary and Conclusions '1. A complete understanding of the language of schizophrenia would_ imply an understanding of language in general of which schizophrenic language is only a part. This would further imply an understanding of thought m general of which language is largely an expression. Because of its extent this program is quite impossible, but certain principles need to be clearly in mind in order to avoid taking over, in any attempt to understand the language of schizophrenia, certain misconceptions in both of these territories which are still rife, not having been as yet fully replaced by the newer ways of thinking about the matters involved. . ..