CONDITIONAL REACTIONS AND PSYCHIATRY 363
The experiments of Pavlov disclose, also, a fact which, on human levels, introduces serious complications; namely, that some animals have highly excitable nervous systems, and that some have less excitable ones. Experiments conducted on some individuals produce one effect; similar experiments performed on individuals with different nervous systems produce different results. In some instances, the nervous systems are so sturdy that no disturbances appear at all.
To anticipate a little: it appears that under the present linguistic, educational, social, economic., conditions, nearly all of us suffer from nervous and semantic disturbances, produced by copying animals in our nervous responses. This last condition occurs because the larger conditionally of human responses has not been taken into consideration; its mechanism is unknown, and we do our best to teach and enforce the animalistic responses. As yet, we have had no physiological and simple methods by which to train in this larger conditionality. This is a simple explanation of our failure. Only a few of us have such sturdy nervous systems that they do not become semantically disturbed in any marked degree, and these are exceptions. Obviously, even an attempt to build a general theory dealing with these semantic problems may be useful, for the very mistakes made may serve others as an incentive for further enquiries in a field which is practically unexplored and extremely large.
In the formulation of the present general theory, theoretical considerations suggested necessary neurological mechanisms; yet the standard books on physiology and neurology did not give enough data. In the recent work of Pavlov, I found sufficient experiments and data to illustrate the neurological mechanisms which underlie the present theory. It seems likely that the work of Pavlov and the experiments described, together with the theoretical issues raised in the present system, will be of value to psycho-logicians and psychiatrists, provided that they pay attention to the semantic non-confusion of orders of abstractions, without which it is practically impossible to translate experiments dealing with nervous responses of animals to the human levels and escape verbal fallacies. The language of the structure, as introduced in the present work, is essential in this respect; in fact, the present writer could not have carried out his analysis without it.
Pavlov also suggests some applications to human pathological cases which are recognized as such, the average person being assumed 'normal'. The present work is an independent theoretical enquiry, and the results are much more general, as they show that the general neurological mechanism allows an almost universal misuse of our nervous systems, because of the disregard of structural, linguistic, and semantic issues.