SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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224 IV. STRUCTURAL FACTORS IN A LANGUAG-ES
Section A. Structural considerations.
The facts at hand in 1933 show that the language we use for the purpose of describing events is not the events; the representation symbolizes what is going on inside our skins; the events are outside our skins and structural similarity is the only link between them. Historically, as a race, we learned sooner and more about the events outside our skins than about the events inside our skins; just as a fish or a dog 'knows' a lot about his world, lives sometimes happily and abundantly, and yet 'knows' nothing about biology, or physiology, or psycho-logics. Only recently did we begin to study ourselves scientifically. At some stage of our development, we introduced structurally simple forms of representation, such as a language of subject-predicate, of additivity,. We are still perplexed when we find that the events outside our skins cannot be pressed into schemes which are manufactured inside our skins. Our nervous system, with its ordered and cyclic structure and function, manufactures abstractions of different orders, which have quite distinct structure and different characteristics. On different levels, we manufacture different abstractions, dynamic and static, continuous and discontinuous ., which have to take care of our needs. If the verbal schemes we invent do not fit structurally the world around us, we can always invent new schemes of new structure which will be more satisfactory. It is not a problem of the world around us, for our words cannot change that, but of our ingenuity. In the meantime, we learn something very important; namely, about the world's structure, which is the only content of knowledge.
There are good structural reasons why the world should, or should not, be accounted for in terms of differential equations, or in terms and language of 'causality',. The term order is structurally fundamental and will help us in a radical and constructive way, in our quest.
First, however, we will investigate some further semantic problems, remembering that a theory of sanity, which means a theory of adjustment, should emphasize the methodological and structural means for such semantic adjustment. The dynamic-static translations are fundamentally connected with different orders of abstractions and involve psycho-logical issues connected with 'emotions' and 'intellect', linearity versus non-linearity, 'straight' versus 'curved'., explained in Parts VII and VIII.
In life, as well as in science, we deal with different happenings, objects, and larger or smaller bits of materials. We have a habit of speaking about them in terms of 'matter'. Through a semantic disturb-