SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




UN-SANITY VKkSUS SANITY
493
semantic, system-function, and linguistic point of view. Whether or not the term 'consciousness' has any content besides 'consciousness of abstracting' may be disregarded for the moment. At any rate, the term 'consciousness of abstracting' gives very vital and workable psychophysiological means of analysis, of an impersonal, and general structural, and semantic character. Enquiry into the clinical cases and literature shows that pathological cases, amenable to treatment, appear improved by a similar evaluational treatment; namely, the correction in some form or another of the semantic disturbance of the lack of 'consciousness of abstracting'.
'Mental' illnesses (infantilism included) appear as semantic arrested development or a regression to lower levels, to those of the primitive man, the infant, the animal. The animal is not conscious of abstracting; man can become so. Here we find the precise mechanism of a decisive nature which not only supplies us with preventive measures, but which should also become of therapeutic value.
All life exhibits conservative characteristics acquired during the long periods of its development. In the facts of heredity and embryology, we have an excellent evidence of this. In its development, the Kerm cell of an animal or man repeats in a very abbreviated way the structures of forms from which it descended. The ever-changing environmental conditions, although they affect each organism to a large extent, produce extremely few hereditary changes, which again may be considered an indication of the conservative characteristics of life.
As we have already explained, life, abstracting, and 'intelligence' started together, and are consequences of the physico-chemical colloidal structure of the protoplasm. Psychiatry also assumes that 'the unconscious', 'tendencies', and 'impulses' originated with life itself. From this point of view the past piled up structurally upon the past until the highly complex organism called Smith made its appearance. In this process of evolution the 'instincts' and 'impulses' have had an important role, not only conservative, but also compensatory and protective. In man, s.r should be based on proper evaluation and so play both a stimulating and protective role. Under A conditions of delusional evaluation, the protective role appears practically non-existent; the human organism, under modern conditions, becomes over-stimulated, resulting often in pathological conditions. Consciousness of abstracting, or the elimination of delusional evaluation, abolishes man-made, artificial, and harmful irritants.
I shall borrow from Jelliffe an excellent diagram to illustrate the evolution of the periods of growth and shall follow closely his exposition.1