SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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372          Vll. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
definable in simpler terms at a given date is inherent and seemingly unavoidable.
When our primitive ancestors were building their language, quite naturally they started with the lowest orders of abstractions, which are the most immediately connected with the outside world. They established a language of 'sensations'. Like infants, they identified their feelings with the outside world and personified most of the outside events.
This primitive semantic tendency resulted in the building of a language in which the 'is' of identity was fundamental. If we saw an animal and called it 'dog' and saw another animal roughly resembling the first, we said, quite happily, 'it is a dog', forgetting or not knowing that the objective level is un-speakable and that we deal only with absolute individuals, each one different from the other. Thus the mechanism of identification or confusion of orders of abstractions, natural at a very primitive stage of human development, became systematized and structurally embodied in this most important tool of daily use called 'language'. Having to deal with many objects, they had to have names for objects. These names were 'substantives'. They built 'substantives', grammatically speaking, for other feelings which were not 'substantives', ('colour', 'heat', 'soul',.). Judging by the lower order abstractions, they built adjectives and made a completely anthropomorphised world-picture. Speaking about speaking, let us be perfectly aware from the beginning that, when we make the simplest statement of any sort, this statement already presupposes some kind of structural metaphysics. The early vague feelings and savage speculations about the structure of this world, based on primitive insufficient scientific data, was influencing the building of the language. Once the language was built, and, particularly, systematized, these primitive structural metaphysics and s.r had to be projected or reflected on the outside world - a procedure which became habitual and automatic.
Was such a language structurally reliable and safe ? If we investigate, we can easily become convinced that it was not. Let us take three pails of water; the first at the temperature of 10° centigrade, the second at 30°, and the third at 50°. Let us put the left hand in the first pail and the right in the third. If we presently withdraw the left hand from the first pail and put it in the second, we feel how nicely warm the water in the second pail is. But, if we withdraw the right hand from the third pail and put it in the second, we notice how cold the water is. The temperature of the water in the second pail was practically not different in the two cases, yet our feelings registered a marked difference. The difference in the 'feel' depended on the former conditions to which our