SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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and use these symbols, an identity of the different states of the nervous system of the person who wrote the above two symbols, an identity of the surfaces., of different parts of the paper, in the distribution of ink, and what not. To demand such impossible conditions is, of course, absurd, but it is equally absurd and very harmful for sanity and civilization to preserve until this day such delusional formulations as standards of evaluation, and then spend a lifetime of suffering and toil to evade the consequences. This may be comparable to the spending of many years in teaching and training our children that one and one never equal two, that twice two never equal four., and then they would have to spend a lifetime full of surprises and disappointments, if not tragedies, to learn, when they are about to die, that the above statements are always correct in mathematics and very often true in daily life, and finally acquire the sadly belated wisdom that they were taught false doctrines and trained in delusional s.r from the beginning.
If we revised these false doctrines, we would not twist the lives of younger generations to begin with. It seems that, for the sake of sanity, the term 'identity', symbolizing such a fundamental false structural doctrine, should be entirely eliminated from the vocabulary, but the term 'identification' should be retained in psychiatry as a label for extremely wide-spread delusional states which, at present, in a mild form, affect the majority of us.
If we investigate the standards of evaluation of animals, the experiments of Pavlov and his followers show that, after establishing a 'conditional reflex' (which means a physiological relating of a signal with food, for instance), the physiological effect of the signal on the nervous system of the animal is to produce secretions similar in quantity and quality to those the food produces. We can thus say that, from a physiological point of view, the animal organism identifies the signal with food. That represents the animal standard of evaluation at that given period. But even the animal nervous system is flexible enough to learn by experience that identification has no survival value, for, if, after the signal, food is repeatedly not forthcoming, he identifies again the signal with the absence of food. In more complex experiments, when both these identifications are interplayed, the result is a real physiological dilemma, culminating, usually, in a more or less profound nervous disturbance, corresponding to 'mental' ills in humans.
Identification represents a comparatively unflexible, rigid form of adaptation, of low degree conditionality, so to say, and, by neurological necessity, represents the processes of animal adaptation, inadequate for modern man. On human levels, it is found best exemplified in primitive