SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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MATHEMATICS AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEMS 309
can be rationalized, and all rationalization can produce affective manifestations, not only makes the present non-el analysis possible and legitimate, but also offers some explanation of those remarkable cases of 'mental' illness in a number of mathematical geniuses. Under such organism-as-a-whole structural conditions, a general consciousness of abstracting not restricted to a special field is the only possible safeguard against the semantic disturbances which lead to an unbalanced 'mental' condition.
As we have seen, the difference between 'sanity' and 'insanity' is subtle. The reader must be reminded that it takes a good 'mind' to be 'insane'. Morons, imbeciles, and idiots are 'mentally' deficient, but could not be 'insane'.
The so-called 'sane' also have structural premises; we all have some standards of evaluation. These are also usually false, or, in general, inappropriate, being mostly due to our savage inheritance. But the saner we are, the less we abide by them. Therefore, in a world quite different structurally from our fancies, we are often able to adjust ourselves for all practical purposes, often avoiding major disasters for a number of years.
For instance, the believers in extraordinary blisses in the 'other life' or the 'other world' should welcome death. Why be so unhappy here, when, according to their doctrines, there is such an ideally happy future after death? Why make use of medicine and doctors, when a deadly illness should open the door to everlasting bliss! In conflict with such a creed, he lives as long as he can, often most unhappily, and is generally willing to spend fortunes on doctors and medicines to delay the bliss! The genuine and very serious danger to all of us of such creeds is that when the s.r of an individual are trained in this way he finally does become indifferent, or apathetic toward actualities in this world, so that cunning, and often pathological, individuals are thus given an opportunity of directing human affairs toward their personal ends.
Naturally, with the increase of the complexities of conditions, the dangers also increase in a geometrical ratio, because when m.o realities become too unbearable, the masses cease to be influenced by these semantic illusions, and they break all barriers, only to fall again under the influence of new leaders very often equally irresponsible and ignorant.
Unfortunately, the failure to understand these semantic issues, based on animalistic lack of foresight, results invariably in a great deal of unnecessary suffering. There is little doubt that without these delusions and illusions we should look after the conditions of our actual lives more closely, and many of our pressing needs would be adjusted.