SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search

'2. There is one psychiatric assumption I have made and which is fundamental Id my approach to the problem of the language of schizophrenia. It is that schizophrenia is a regression psychosis. This is of the greatest importance for, if it is true, we should expect to find in the thinking and in the language of schizophrenic patients characteristics of earlier stages of development, earlier genetic levels.
'3. The development or evolution of thought and speech, the assumption of genetic levels, implies that there must be a law in accordance with which this development proceeds. This law is that thought and language in their development change from feeling, concreteness and perception in the direction of reasoning, differentiation and abstraction.
'4. The law of schizophrenic thought and language must be the reverse of the law for their development, on the assumption that schizophrenia is a regression psychosis.
'5. This reversal of the taw of development implies results that are very different from those implied in the old terms "disintegration" and "dementia."
'6. This reversal can be briefly and simply indicated. The language of schizophrenia is of a lower order of abstraction than normal adult language.
'7. The thinking and the speech of schizophrenia while of a lower order of abstraction nevertheless make use of words which we are accustomed to use to express a higher order. This discrepancy is one reason why such language is so hard for us to understand. Another reason for our difficulty in understanding the schizophrenic patient is that while some of his symbols are of a lower order of abstraction by no means all of them are so that there is a strange mixture which further confuses our understanding. Still another difficulty is due to the magic of words* We are still far from free of this influence and are therefore forced to think that when there is a word there must be a thing corresponding to it and also forced to think of the wording as necessarily meaning what it usually has meant in our experience.
'8. The reversal of the law of development in schizophrenia also accounts, in Part at least, for hallucinations which have long been regarded as signs of the schizophrenic splitting. Regression must lead ultimately to concrete, perceptional configurations and all that that implies.
12. For the understanding of the language of schizophrenia, therefore, the whole dynamic situation needs to be comprehended. The main obstacle to this understanding has been, in the past, the magic of words* ...'
Identification, or the confusion of orders of abstractions, in an aristotelian or infantile system, plays a much more pernicious role than the present official psychiatry recognizes. Any identification, at any level, or of any orders, represents a non-survival s.r which leads invariably to the reversal of the natural survival order, and becomes the foundation for general improper evaluation, and, therefore, general lack of adjustment, no matter whether the maladjustment is subtle as in daily life, or whether it is aggravated as in cases of schizophrenia. A non-aristotelian system, by a complete elimination of 'identity' and identification, supplies simple yet effective means for the elimination by preventive education of this general source of maladjustment. Book II is entirely devoted to this subject.
*t'Magic of words' represents only a minor yet very complex manifestation of anstoteltan s.r of identification and, naturally, exhibits, also, the reversed natural order m evaluation. - A. K.]