SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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mobile,. A great many beneficial results follow from the use of automobiles ., but there are also great dangers involved. For instance, at present we have regulations for the driving of an automobile. A driver has to pass his examination, demonstrate his practical reflex-ability in driving., before he is allowed to drive in public. Similarly with our language; we find the greatest benefits in it, and we should utilize them. Proper training in the use of language should teach us how to avoid dangers. Obviously, 'consciousness of abstracting' teaches us how to avoid these dangers; likewise, once we become trained in the passing to higher and higher order of abstractions, we become capable of the performance of what we call 'high intelligence'. The difference between 'high intelligence' and 'low intelligence' consists in the fact that a 'high intelligence' has a larger outlook backwards as well as forward; a 'low intelligence', as suggested in Fig. 2, sees only a little backwards (ignorance) and foresees only a little. A 'high intelligence' has a larger span or field; it knows more about the past and looks further into the future.
It is no mystery that when we want to look further into the past and the future we need higher and higher order abstractions. By training in this passing to higher and higher abstractions we train the 'mind' to be more efficient; this 'mental' expanding should be the structural and semantic aim of every education.
Once we eliminate identification, we must accept structure as the only possible content of 'knowledge' and also realize that no 'knowledge' is ever free from some structural assumptions. Sometimes it is pathetic to watch the metaphysical performances of some otherwise very eminent scientists, who seem entirely innocent of these facts. They often attempt to divorce their metaphysics from science, and miss the point that primitive metaphysics represents 'science' or the structural assumptions of that period, whereas modern science represents structural assumptions or metaphysics of modern 'times', which cannot be reconciled with the older 'science'. The difference appears in dates, not in kind. The real problem before mankind presents itself in the selection of a structural metaphysics. If we select the primitive structural assumptions and have to live under present conditions, we must become a split personality which cannot adjust itself. If we accept modern structural assumptions called science, we may adjust ourselves. In no case can we free ourselves