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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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HIGHER ORDER ABSTRACTIONS                   439
Human beings are quite accustomed to the fact that words have different meanings, and by making use of this fact have produced some rather detrimental speculations, but, to the best of my knowledge, the structural discovery of the multiordinality of terms and of the psychophysiological importance of the treatment of orders of abstractions resulting from the rejection of the 'is' of identity - as formulated in the present system - is novel. In this mechanism of multiordinality, we shall find an unusually important structural problem of human psycho-logics, responsible for a great many fundamental, desirable, undesirable, and even morbid, human characteristics. The full mastery of this mechanism is only possible when it is formulated, and leads automatically to a possibility of a complete psychophysiological adjustment. This adjustment often reverses the psycho-logical process prevailing at a given date; and this is the foundation, among others, of what we call 'culture' and 'sublimation' in psychiatry.
Let me recall that one of the most fundamental functional differences between animal and man consists in the fact that no matter in how many orders the animal may abstract, its abstractions stop on some level beyond which the animal cannot proceed. Not so with man. Structurally and potentially, man can abstract in indefinitely many orders, and no one can say legitimately that he has reached the 'final' order of abstractions beyond which no one can go. In the older days, when this semantic mechanism was not made structurally obvious, the majority of us copied animals, and stopped abstracting on some level, as if this were the 'final' level. In our semantic training in language and the 'is' of identity given to us by our parents or teachers or in school, the multiordinality of terms was never suspected, and, although the human physiological mechanism was operating all the while, we used it on the conscious level in the animalistic way, which means ceasing to abstract at some level. Instead of being told of the mechanism, and of being trained consciously in the fluid and dynamic s.r of passing to higher and higher abstractions as normal, for Smith, we preserved a sub-normal, animalistic semantic blockage, and 'emotionally' stopped abstracting on some level.
Thus, for instance, if, as a result of life, we come to a psychological state of hate or doubt, and stop at that level, then, as we know from experience, the lives of the given individual and of those close to him are not so happy. But a hate or doubt of a higher order reverses or annuls the first order semantic effect. Thus, hate of hate, or doubt of doubt - a second order effect - has reversed or annulled the first order effect, which was detrimental to all concerned because it remained a structurally-stopped or an animalistic first order effect.