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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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The patient also exhibits other neurotic semantic symptoms. She is too impatient to read and does not remember what she has read. She can never remain quiet. She is very keen-sighted to find fault in others, very acute to hear the last verbal equivocations, and very neat and clean with reference to her bodily secretions. Here we see clearly the semantic mechanism of infantilism and the contradictions between the conscious performance and the unconscious fantasies.
In an hypothetically healthy individual, his make-up could be represented graphically by a circle on the social level of adjustment. He would have outgrown the passing semantic stages of the archaic, organ erotic, and narcissistic periods.
Failure in semantic adaptation to 'reality' might be represented by dips in the curve to such a level as the individual fixation or regression has put him. By such means we have an excellent method to represent clearly the weak spots and to show the focal semantic points of conflict in evaluation where energy is diverted to useless or harmful fantasy ends.
When the dips or deviations are few and slight, we call them idiosyncrasies ; for instance, such a habit as the narcissistic tactile fantasy of toying with a button, a moustache, or eyebrow. When the number of failures is larger and the semantic symptoms go to lower levels of development, we speak of hysteria,. When the level of regression is still lower (organ erotic or archaic), we are usually entitled to speak of a psychosis.8
We have already emphasized over and over again that the organism works as-a-whole, and that, therefore, any el splittings cannot lead to satisfactory results. The verbal division of 'body' and 'mind' remains verbal, and also involves a language whose structure does not correspond to the structure and functioning of the organism. A language is like a map; it is not the territory represented, but it may be a good map or a bad map. If the map shows a different structure from the territory represented - for instance, shows the cities in a wrong order, or some places east of others while in the actual territory they are west., - then the map is worse than useless, as it misinforms and leads astray. One who made use of it could never be certain of reaching his destination. The use of el language to represent events which operate as-a-whole is, at least, equally misguiding and semantically dangerous.
With this in mind, let us briefly analyse the 'obstacle' in Fig. 2. As we deal with 'obstacles' in a life sense, we can generalize the obstacle to some semantic factors involving meanings and evaluations which may arrest the development as well as result in regression.