SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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MATHEMATICS AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEMS 307
ence is lost, and a new neurological process is needed to re-translate these higher order abstractions into new lower abstractions, and thus fully and successfully to complete the nervous cycle. One can learn to play with symbols according to rules, but such play has little creative value. If the translation is made into the language of lower centres - namely, into 'intuitions', 'feelings', 'visualizations'., - the higher abstractions gain the character of experience, and so creative actr'ity begins. Individuals with thoroughly efficient nervous systems become hat we call 'geniuses'. They create new values by inventions of new methods and in other ways, which give us a new structural means of exploring, and thus of dealing with, the world around us and ourselves, and so, ultimately, human adjustment is helped.
It is important for the reader to become thoroughly familiar with the simple division of our nervous processes into terms of order in a cyclic chain. Even neurology calls the neurons excited first of 'first order', and the succeeding members of the series, of 'second order',. The above considerations have an important practical semantic bearing for all of us, since many of the processes which we are describing can be influenced educationally by simple methods, because the term 'order', when applied, acquires a physiological character for evaluation. The description and verbal analysis of the process is, naturally, complex, but once the physiological base of evaluation is discovered, the training becomes very simple, although not easy.
The principal aim of this present work is to make available a simple and practical physiological means for accomplishing what is highly desirable, and, at the same time, for eliminating what is semantically undesirable. We deal with mathematics, because mathematics is unique, and, being unique, has no substitute. When discussing the theory of meanings, we have shown that all verbalism is, ultimately, similar to mathematics in structure. This conclusion contradicts many current theories of language and meanings, and so, at this stage of our argument, we lay special emphasis on the only discipline in which these issues are clear and obvious; namely, mathematics. The older theories, based on ignorance of mathematics, have led to serious abuses of our linguistic capacities and to s.r which are mostly pathological, with the result that practically 99 per cent of us are semantically disturbed and un-sane. Many of us, even, are on the verge of more serious 'mental' illnesses.
It will be well to give a rough picture of the similarities of, and differences between, the working of the human 'mind' at its worst ('insanity'), and its working at its best (mathematics). We shall find that the average man is between the two, often dangerously close to the