SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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308                V. MATHEMATICS A A LANGUAGE
first. The following picture is rough and one-sided, but suggestive, and should be worked out more fully.
The 'insane' have structural, conscious or unconscious, 'premises', which are 'false', or, in general, semantically inappropriate. Their s.r are shifting when they should be static, or static when they should be flexible. In the main, the difficulty of evaluation lies in the lower abstractions and the affective field. These abstractions are not properly transmitted or translated or regulated by the higher centres; or else, the higher order static abstractions are projected with too strong affective components on the lower centres. Hence, different identifications, delusions, illusions, and hallucinations result. Their 'ideas' are evaluated as things or experience, and affectively objectified in different degrees, which results in the above mis-evaluating manifestations. These semantic disturbances and tensions make the 'mentally' ill believe irresistibly in the 'truth' of their 'premises' and their inductions and deductions, which they follow blindly. In them, as in the rest of us, some internal affective pressure comes first, but because in humans the effect of higher nerve centres cannot be entirely abolished, this affective pressure is rationalized somehow into some sort of 'premises'. This organism-as-a-whole process is entirely general and applies to all of us in all our activities, but is most clearly seen in the ordered details in the work of creative scientists and 'geniuses', and in the more severe cases of 'mental' illness. To the 'mentally' ill these 'premises' have the value of 'the' and not 'a' premise. They act upon them, and so cannot adjust themselves to a world different from their fancies. They would seldom survive at all if left alone by themselves, particularly in a complex 'civilization'.
Mathematicians, also, have structural premises, often called postulates, but they never evaluate them to be 'true'; wherefore their premises cannot be 'false'. They have no claims, and claims are always affective. Like the 'insane', they follow up these premises blindly, but, being generally conscious of abstracting in the field of their profession, they are not usually subject to semantic disturbances in this Held and do not live out their theories in life, the theories thus remaining affectively hypothetical. If a mathematician were to believe, with strong affective evaluation, that his premises are 'true', these premises then would become mostly false, or meaningless,-or, in general, inappropriate. If he lived through them, the given individual would then be 'mentally' ill, not because of his premises, but because of the semantic disturbance, which would involve erroneous evaluation, identifications, confusion of orders of abstractions in his affective attitude toward his premises. This subtle organism-as-a-whole mechanism,, in which all affective pressure