SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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298                V. MATHEMATICS A A LANGUAGE
If we elaborate in the lower nerve centres abstractions that are static, permanent., in character, and hence inappropriate for the lower centres, we build up morbid non-survival identifications, delusions, illusions, hallucinations, and other disturbances of evaluation, resulting in milder cases in absolutism, dogmatism, fanaticism., and, in heavier cases, in a neurosis or even a psychosis.
It seems quite obvious that each nervous level has its own specific kind of material to deal with* As they are in a cyclic nervous chain and are interconnected in a bewilderingly complex way, the problem of appropriate translation of one level of abstractions into the other becomes a semantic foundation for a well-balanced functioning of the nervous system. In this respect, we differ fundamentally from animals. The above difficulties do not arise in animals to that extent, because their nervous systems are not differentiated enough for such sharp differentiation in the functioning. For this reason, without human interference, there could be no 'insane' animals which could survive (see Part VI). But, having no static higher order abstractions in the human sense, they cannot pass on their 'experiences', which are transmittable only in the higher order formulations in neural and extra-neural forms to the next generations. Animals are not time-binders.
For humans, the proper translation of dynamic into static and static into dynamic becomes paramount for sanity, on psycho-logical levels, affecting, probably by colloidal processes, the psycho-neural foundation of semantic responses.
Psychiatry informs us that most of the 'mentally' ill have their main disturbances in the dynamic affective field. It is a very difficult field to reach by the older methods, the more so that the older el sharp distinction between 'intellect' and 'emotions' prevented the discovery of workable means. 'Thinking' and 'feeling' are not to be divided so simply. We know how 'thinking' is influenced by 'feeling'; but we know very little how 'feeling' is influenced by 'thinking' - perhaps, because we have not analysed the semantic issues in non-el terms.
All psychotherapy, with its manifold theories, each contributing its share, is a semantic attempt to influence 'feeling' by 'thinking'. A large number of successful cases seems to show clearly that some such means are possible. Large numbers of failures show equally that the methods used are not structurally satisfactory. The need of more scientific investigations of a more general and fundamental, non-el character becomes emphatic. The present enquiry shows that such structural investigations suggest that the method can be found in the psycho-logics of the 'mind' at .its best; namely, in mathematics, which unexpectedly leads to a