SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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If we are not conscious of abstracting, we must identify - in other words, whenever we confuse the different orders of abstractions, unavoidable if we use the 'is' of identity, we duplicate or copy the animal way of 'thinking', with similar 'emotional' responses. In the following chapters, this tragedy will be explained in detail, and it will be shown that practically all human difficulties involve this semantic factor of copying animals in our nervous reactions and evaluation as a component.
A theory which not only throws light on this serious problem, but which also gives means of replacing the old harmful s.r by more beneficial ones, may be useful, in spite of various temporary difficulties which are due to the old identity-reactions and the lack of familiarity with the new.
The old identity-reactions are extremely ingrained, particularly with grown-ups. Serious effort and permanent reminders are necessary to overcome them. The Structural Differential represents such a structural visual reminder, which we should keep constantly before our eyes until the pernicious disturbances of evaluation have been overcome. For Smith, the fundamental evaluation can be expressed in simple and quite primitive language - 'This is not this'.
The above most vital semantic factors of evaluation indispensable for adjustment and sanity are conveyed to him whenever he looks at the stratification indicated on the Differential. The hanging free strings indicating the non-abstracted characteristics train his s.r to be aware of the non-allness of, and the lack of identity between, his abstractions.
Our old s.r were similar to Fido's; we were never fully, conscious of abstracting. Through wrong evaluation we identified what is inherently different and longed for, or assumed some impossible 'allness' in our 'knowings'.
Practice has shown me, definitely, that to acquire these new reactions of consciousness of abstracting is difficult and requires 'time' and effort to accomplish, in spite of the exceptional, nearly primitive, simplicity of the means employed. The 'silence on the objective levels' sounds very innocent; yet it is extremely difficult to acquire, as it involves a complete checking of all semantic disturbances, identifications, confusions of orders of abstractions, habitual 'emotions', 'preconceived ideas'., practically impossible without the use of the objective Differential to which we can point our finger and be silent, to begin with. In fact, to disregard this point, actually means failure in accomplishing the desired semantic results. At present, as far as experience has gone, the main results were achieved when a given individual had conquered this