SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search

482          VII. THE MECHANISM OF T1ME-B1N1MN(,
I have already mentioned that some educators may assume the eventual harmfulness of training in the consciousness of abstracting on the ground that children should be kept 'close to reality'. The answer to such an argument can be found in the recognition that what in the older days seemed 'reality' must now, in the light of new knowledge, be considered delusions, and the older training as preparatory for acquired un-sanity. The modern conditions of human life appear much more complex than those of animal life, or of the primitive man. Every year, perhaps even every month, new human 'realities' make their appearance; complexities arise and our educational systems do not equip the children semantically to meet these new conditions. After investigation one may find by himself that the older 'allness' and identifications represent delusional factors found nowhere in the empirical world, and thus have to conclude that if we train children in such delusions, adjustment to the actual world is made extremely difficult, if not impossible. It is true that some beneficial results do not appear at once, but only after the full consciousness of abstracting is acquired. Thus, at an early stage of the training, when the student begins to realize the delusional character introduced by the 'is' of identity, the general and well-known tendency may struggle hard to retain the delusions. His first reaction may be that of disappointment, with its many concomitants, depending on his temperament, metaphysics.; but when he acquires the freedom of the full consciousness of abstracting, all levels will be evaluated properly and he will be able to adjust himself to conditions of m.o reality described in the present work, which cannot be avoided by any one. 'Knowledge' or 'intelligence' is only possible with abstracting, and, therefore, it fundamentally involves 'non-allness'. 'Omniscience' would involve a 'knowledge' of every point-event. These are fundamentally different, and such a world would be one of chaos, where knowledge would be impossible. Life, m.o abstracting, and m.o intelligence start together and are conditioned by the m.o process of abstracting.
Among the many semantically beneficial results of such training, besides the training in sanity and, therefore, in adjustment, a few other benefits should be mentioned. Our life, our m.o mentation, the structure of our language, with its syllogisms, fallacies., consist for the most part of the constant utilization of the different levels of abstractions. This appears as an inherent characteristic of 'human knowledge', and, therefore, we cannot abolish it without abolishing m.o intelligence altogether. Intelligence requires the passing from level to level in both directions. All the benefits we possess follow from this; but also many semantic dangers are hidden in it. Similar remarks could be made about an auto-