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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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470         VII. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
permanent semantic state. This gives us a kind of semantic co-ordinate system, in which we can represent any life situation or scientific situation, or any difficulty, with great clarity, and so evaluate them properly. In verbal theoretical explanations this procedure appears complex; in practice, it is not so. It is extremely simple, provided we persistently follow the instructions, which are based on theory and practice. Above all, we must not expect results too quickly.
For reasons already explained, students should not only hear and see the explanations, but should also perform for themselves, should handle the labels and indicate with their hands the different orders of abstractions. After preliminary explanations, the children should be called to the Differential, and, using their hands, they should explain it. This applies, also, to grown-ups and to patients. The Differential is not only a permanent structural and semantic reminder which affects many nerve centres; it is more, for, in training, it conveys the natural order through all centres. Any reader who refuses to use his hands in this connection handicaps himself seriously, because ordering abolishes identification.
Fundamentally, there is no structural difference between the use of language and the use of any other mechanical device; they all involve reflex-action. It is well known that any pianist, telegraph operator, typist, or chauffeur would not be a successful performer if he had to meditate about every move he makes. As a rule, verbal explanations of the working of the respective machines are necessary at first, yet the structural reflex-skill required is actually acquired by prolonged practice, where again all nervous centres are involved. We all know what amazing unconscious reflex-adjustments a good driver of a car can make in case of unexpected danger.
A similar semantic reflex-skill is required in handling our linguistic apparatus, and, in case of danger, of sudden turns and twists, our orientation should also work unconsciously. That is why the structural feeling for the working of the apparatus is required. All nerve centres should be trained to employ the most effective means to affect the organism and its working as-a-whole.
The semantic training of grown-ups and that of children do not differ in essentials. Children have fewer established habits, have more fluid s.r than adults, and, therefore, the results with children are achieved more quickly and last better.
I shall now explain how to train children. A similar method applies to adults, also; but an adult should not trust himself too much that he has completely acquired 'consciousness of abstracting'. He must train very thoroughly. I speak from personal experience. Although I have