422 VII. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
most beneficial, semantic, pacifying effect upon the 'over-emotionalized' identification-conditions. The neurological mechanism of this action is not fully known, but some aspects are quite clear.
The more elaborate a nervous system becomes, the further some parts of the brain are removed from immediate experience. Nerve currents, having finite velocity, eventually have longer and more numerous paths to travel; different possibilities and complications arise, resulting in 'delayed action'. It is known that the thalamus (roughly) appears connected with affective and 'emotional' life, and that the cortex, farther removed and isolated from the external world, has the effect of inducing this 'delay in action'. In unbalanced and 'emotional' 'thinking', which is so prevalent, the thalamus seems overworked, the cortex seems not worked enough. The results take on the form of a low kind of animalistic, primitive, or infantile behaviour, often of a pathological character in a supposedly civilized adult. It appears that the 'silence on objective levels' introduces this 'delayed action', unloading the thalamic material on the cortex. This psychophysiological method is very simple, scientific, and entirely general. The standard 'mental' therapy of today applies also a method of re-education of s.r, as if relieving the thalamus, and putting more of the nerve currents through the cortex, or eventually furnishing the cortex with different material, so that the thalamic material returning from the cortex could be properly influenced.
If we succeed in such a semantic re-education, the difficulties vanish. The older experimental data show that in many instances we have succeeded, and that in many we have failed. The successful cases show that we actually know the essential semantic points involved; the failures show that we do not know enough, and that our older theories are not sufficiently general. At present, only the more pronounced and morbid semantic disturbances come to the attention of physicians, and very little is done by way of preventive measures. Besides the pronounced disturbances in daily life, we see an enormous number of semantic disturbances which we disregard, and call 'peculiarities'. In the majority of cases, these 'peculiarities' are undesirable, and, under unfavorable conditions, may lead to more serious consequences of a morbid character. They usually involve a great deal of unhappiness for all concerned, and un-happiness appears as a sign of some semantic maladjustment somewhere, and so may be destructive to 'mental' and nervous health.
In advanced 'mental' illnesses, such as usually come to the attention of psychiatrists, there are certain psycho-logical symptoms which are generally present. The symptoms of interest to us in this work are called 'delusions', 'illusions', and 'hallucinations'. All of them involve the