SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




MATTER SPACE TIME                          225
once, called identification, we fancy that such a thing as 'matter' has separate physical existence. It would probably be a shock to be invited seriously to give a piece of 'matter' (give and not burst into speech). I have had the most amusing experiences in this field. Most people, scientists included, hand over a pencil or something of this sort. But did they actually give 'matter' ? What they gave is not to be symbolized simply 'matter'. The object, 'pencil', which they handed, requires linguistically 'space*; otherwise, there would be no pencil but a mathematical point, a fiction. It also requires verbally 'time'; otherwise, there would be no pencil but a 'flash'.
Similarly, if any one is invited to give a piece of 'space' (again give it, and not burst into speech), the best he could do would be to wave his hand and try to show 'space'. But the waving of the hand referred to what we call air, dust, microbes, gravitational and electromagnetic fields,. In other words, structurally, the supposed 'space' was fulness of some materials already 'in space' and 'in time'.
In the case of giving 'time', one could show his watch. A similar objection holds, also; namely, that he has shown us so-called 'matter' which is 'moving' in 'space'. It is very important to acquire the s.r that when we use the term 'matter' we refer to something, let us say, the pencil, which, according to the accepted el language, also involves 'space' and 'time', which we disregard. When we use the term 'space', we refer to a fulness of some materials, which exists in 'time'. But because these materials are usually invisible to the 'senses', we again disregard them. In using the term 'time', we refer to 'matter' moving in 'space', which again we disregard.
What is said here and what will follow is structurally unconditionally fundamental for a theory of sanity, because in most cases of 'insanity' and un-sanity, there is a disorientation as to 'space' and 'time'. In identification, the semantic disturbance which affects nearly all of us, and is at the foundation of the majority of human difficulties, private or public, there invariably appears a special semantic disorientation in our feelings toward 'matter', 'space', and 'time'. This is only natural, for the 'insane' and un-sane are the unadjusted; the 'sane' are the supposedly adjusted.
Adjusted to what? To the world around us and ourselves. Our human world differs from the world of animals. It is more complex and the problems of human adjustment become also more subtle. In animal life, attitudes toward the world do not matter in a similar sense; with us, they become important; hence the need of analysis of the new human 'semantic universe', which involves the 'universe of discourse'. This
15