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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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342
VI. ON PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
general protoplasmic characteristics, combined with structural polarity, symmetry., and is not efficient enough for the survival of higher organisms.
Under more complex conditions, the adjustment for survival must be more flexible: a similar direct stimulation must, under different conditions, result in different reactions, or different stimuli, under other conditions, produce similar reactions, resulting, ultimately, not only in direct responses to stimuli, but also in the equally important holding in abeyance of the reaction, or even the abolishing of it. Let us assume that the direct response of a cat to a mouse would be clawing and chewing. If that given cat would just claw and chew when the mouse was some distance away, I am afraid such a cat would soon starve, for such an immediate response would not be a survival response, and this characteristic could not become hereditary. The cats which have survived and perpetuated their characteristics are, as a rule, different. When they see, hear, or smell the mouse at a distance, they flatten out, keep still, crouch., and get ready, until they are in such a position that a jump will procure the victim, and not merely frighten it away.
We see that, under more complex conditions, the nervous mechanism must produce not only direct responses to the stimuli but also equally important delays and temporal or permanent abolishments of these direct responses to stimuli.
Hitherto, we have analysed the simplest reactions of a positive character in which a stimulus produces a direct arid obvious response; e.g., the showing of the food or the ringing of the bell results in an excitation in the nervous system and the secretion from the salivary glands. We are, however, acquainted with another type of fundamental nervous activity of equal importance. For instance, in experimenting with the positive reactions, we must be careful not to introduce any extra stimuli, as any new stimulus immediately excites an investigatory reaction, and the alimentary conditional reaction becomes temporarily abolished. From our personal experience, we know a large number of stimuli which have some such hindering effect on our respiration, circulation, locomotion., which we describe as 'paralysed with fear', 'speechless with rage', 'struck dumb', 'stupefied with pain',. The diminution, or deviation, or the lack of some function or response on the nervous level is usually called 'inhibition'.
The term 'inhibition' is structurally a profoundly unsatisfactory and a misleading psycho-logical term, and should be completely abandoned in physiology and neurology, although it could be retained in psycho-logics and psychiatry. This term is in general use, and the sug-