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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON 'INHIBITION'
345
sistence of such structural features in science as 'inhibition' in neurology, 'force' and 'heat' in physics..
According to scientific standards of 1933, there is, as far as I know, only one biological system in existence which can be called modern, and this is the A biology of Professor C. M. Child (see Chapter VIII). It is, therefore, necessary to accept this system, and also the A neurology of Professor Herrick, which is based on this biology.
Generally, the neurologists tell us that the structural aspects of 'inhibition' are unknown. To a large extent, this is true, although it is quite obvious that a 'psychologicaf term cannot shed any light on its physiological structure. To get glimpses of this mechanism, we must start our analysis quite low in the scale of life and see what the most general characteristics of protoplasm are.
All protoplasm is irritable. In any undifferentiated bit of protoplasm an excitation must (1933) spread in a diminishing gradient, establishing, by necessity, a region of highest excitation in contact with the stimulus, resulting in a polar orientation, with an eventual future head-end, and establishing a physiological gradient, long preceding the appearance of any differentiated tissue. The nervous system is a later outgrowth of such an oriented dynamic field, and its primary morphological and physiological characteristics are, to that extent, predetermined, being, in the meantime, a joint phenomenon of the inherent characteristics of protoplasm, its irritability, conductivity, and what not, and of its reaction to the environment. The physiological gradient is, then, the simplest and the most general primary reaction arc in a given individual, and constitutes the physiological basis for the structural and functional development of all other arcs.1
Amoebas are primitive little aquatic animals of approximately spherical symmetry which have no differentiated organs at all; yet they show quite complex reactions and various adaptive activities to be found in higher animals. The amoebas can pursue their victim, show preference for stimuli, and move away from the prick of a pin, select their food,. This fact shows that protoplasm, so little differentiated, and, from the organic point of view, undifferentiated, exhibits both muscular as well as neural characteristics. This fact is fundamental. It shows that in colloids which happen to be sensitive and which possess a special type of conductivity, which, from a physico-chemical point of view, is only a special aspect of one mechanism, there is already present the potentiality for any further development. Professor Child's physiological gradients, the structural precursors of the nervous system, are a necessity, because of the dynamic potentialities of the plenum and the necessary relation