SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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UN-SANITY VERSUS SANITY
495
The child has not entered, as yet, into a social stage of development. 1 le remains egotistical, egoistical, self-centred, and asocial.
At about fourteen, the social semantic period begins, which leads, when 'normal', to the adult socialized individual.
We should realize that these semantic stages are 'normal' when they are lived through within the age limits indicated here. Even if children show some characteristics which are not desirable (organ erotic or autoerotic, narcissistic), this, in itself, does not constitute a danger, provided they outgrow these undesirable manifestations. The serious dangers, and even tragedies, begin when some of the infantile or narcissistic semantic characteristics are carried over into the life of the grown-ups.
Not only 'intellectual' growth but also 'emotional' development may be arrested on some earlier lower level. In such cases we speak of idiots, imbeciles, and morons on the 'mental' levels; and of moral imbecility, infantilism, narcissism, and, in general, of 'mental' illness on the 'emotional' levels.
Besides arrested growth, or under-development in some respect, cases of so-called regression are frequently encountered. Regression follows the general scheme as outlined in Fig. 1, but in a reversed order. The following diagram, Fig. 2, is also taken from Jelliffe, with slight modifications.
Fig. 2
As processes, life, development, or regression are best represented as 'vector quantities' which have direction and magnitude. In one type of cases of regression the progressive tendency or energy is strong; yet I lie obstacle is also very great, so that the progressive tendencies may not be strong enough to carry over the obstacle or to conquer it. Again, the progressive tendency or energy may be weak, and the obstacle correspondingly slight, yet strong enough to start the regressive movement.
In the healthy individual the progressive tendency is not easily diverted from its forward course. He conquers his obstacles (C) and jjoes on (arrow A). Weaker individuals (A') may surmount their obstacles with more difficulty or may start regression on smaller ob-