SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON 'INHIBITION'
343
gestion of abandoning a term in general use is always hard to accept. Therefore, it will be well to analyse it in some detail. In this case, it does not matter if the positive suggestion of a new term or terms is structurally acceptable; the analysis of the term 'inhibition' shows clearly that it has false to fact implications, and so should be rejected in neurology in any case.
This term is a favorite word in ecclesiastical and legal literature. and means, in the main, to forbid, to prohibit, to hinder, to restrain. It is a psycho-logical term; it implies anthropomorphic 'free will' and 'authority' notions perfectly unfit for neurological use. It is not an exaggeration to say that the structural implications of this term underlie the older animalistic prohibitive and punitive education, legal and ecclesiastical tendencies, which, in 1933, are known to be not only in a larger sense inoperative, but positively harmful. On the human level, this word is, perhaps, responsible for the fact that so much about our educational and social methods is uncertain and often harmful. Education is a process of building conditional and s.r of different orders. If the neurological terms dealing with conditional reactions are structurally unsatisfactory, our speculations which are carried on in these terms must involve these false implications. When the empirical results are unsatisfactory, as they must be, because of wrong structure of the arguments, and a scrutiny of our argumentation shows them to be correctly following the structural implications of the language used, then we usually blame 'human nature', which is a very unintelligent excuse, indeed.
The implications of the term 'inhibition' become a guidance for our conduct; we repress and, in consequence, breed un-sanity and maladjustment. On animal level, 'repression' is workable, but, on human levels, we need a subtler regulative mechanism, in accordance with the structure of the human nervous system, and this is found in the fuller condition-ality of reactions, based upon consciousness of abstracting, and involving, of course, affective components, semantic factors of evaluation which regulate human impulses without the animalistic repression. In humans, the 'inhibited', repressed impulses often remain as internal excitatory factors; they are not eliminated by some 'supernatural' hocus-pocus, but remain active, sometimes very active, semantic sources of internal excitation, resulting in conflicts which generally have pathological results.
We are usually told that 'inhibition' plays an important role in conditional reactions. With the introduction of the degrees of conditionality, the importance of the possibility of altering, delaying, or abolishing some immediate response becomes much more accentuated. Indeed, it appears that this possibility of influencing responses is an important factor in the