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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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HIGHER ORDER ABSTRACTIONS.                  441
state, produced a semantic blockage which did not allow us to pass to higher order abstractions; in the second case, it actually produced morbid manifestations.
The consciousness of abstracting, which involves, among others, the full instinctive semantic realization of non-identity and the stratification of human knowledge, and so the multiordinality of the most important terms we use, solves these weighty and complex problems because it gives us structural methods for semantic evaluation, for orientation, and for handling them. By passing to higher orders these states which involve inhibition or negative excitation become reversed. Some of them on higher levels become culturally important; and some of them become morbid. Now consciousness of abstracting in all cases gives us the semantic freedom of all levels and so helps evaluation and selection, thus removing the possibility of remaining animalistically fixed or blocked on any one level. Here we find the mechanism of the 'change of human nature' and an assistance for persons in morbid states to revise by themselves their own afflictions by the simple realization that the symptoms are due to identifying levels which are essentially different, an unconscious jumping of a level or of otherwise confusing the orders of abstractions. Even at present all psychotherapy is unconsciously using this mechanism, although, as far as I know, it has never before been structurally formulated in a general way.
It should be added that the moment we eliminate identification and acquire the consciousness of abstracting, as explained in the present system, we have already acquired the permanent semantic feeling of this peculiar structural stratification of human knowledge which is found in the psycho-logics of the differential and integral calculus and mathematics, similar in structure to the world around us, without any difficult mathematical technique. Psycho-logically, both mathematics and the present system appear structurally similar, not only to themselves, but also to the world and our nervous system; and at this point it departs very widely from the older systems.
Let me give another example of how the recognition of order of abstractions clears up semantic difficulties.
I recall vividly an argument I had with a young and very gifted mathematician. Our conversation was about the geometries of Euclid and Lobatchevski, and we were discussing the dropping and introduction of assumptions. I maintained that Lobatchevski introduced an assumption ; he maintained that Lobatchevski dropped an assumption-. On the surface, it might have appeared that this is a problem of 'fact' and not of preference. The famous fifth postulate of Euclid reads, 'If a straight