SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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416         VII. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
that everything in this world influences everything else, and that happenings leave some traces somewhere.
A similar analysis can be carried on in connection with the object and the event. Briefly, the object represents structurally an abstraction of some order, does not, and cannot, include all the characteristics of the event; and so, again, we have some characteristics left out as indicated by the lines (B').
Here we have the possibility of making a series of most general, and yet entirely true, negative statements of great semantic importance; that the label is not the object, and that the object is not the event,. For the number of m.o characteristics which we ascribe to the label by definition does not cover all the characteristics we recognize in the object; and the number of characteristics which we perceive in the object is also not equal to the infinite numbers of characteristics the event has. The differences are still more profound. Not only do the numbers of m.o characteristics differ, but also the character of these abstractions differs from level to level of the successive abstractions.
We can now define 'consciousness of abstracting' as 'awareness that in our process of abstracting we have left out characteristics'. Or, consciousness of abstracting can be defined as 'remembering the "is not", and that some characteristics have been left out. It should be noticed that in this formulation, with the aid of the Structural Differential, we have succeeded in translating a negative process of forgetting into a positive process of remembering the denial of identity and that characteristics are left out. Such a positive formulation makes the whole system workable and available for the semantic training and education.
The use of the Structural Differential becomes a necessity for any one who wants to receive full semantic benefit from the present work. A book is, by necessity, verbal. Whatever any author can say is verbal, and nothing whatsoever can be said which is not verbal. It seems entirely obvious that in life we deal with an enormous number of things and situations, 'feelings'., which are not verbal. These belong to the 'objective level'. The crucial difficulty is found in the fact that whatever can be said is not and cannot be on the objective level, but belongs only to the verbal levels. This difference, being inexpressible by words, cannot be expressed by words. We must have other means to indicate this difference. We must show with our hand, by pointing our finger to the object, and by being silent outwardly as well as inwardly, which silence we may indicate by closing our lips with the other hand. The verbal denial of the 'is' of identity covers this point also when shown on the Differential. If we burst into speech based on the 'is' of identity, as we