SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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The higher and lower order abstractions seem structurally and neurologically, as well as functionally, interconnected in a cyclic chain, and so can never be entirely divided. A language - any language - involves undefined terms which, with the structure of the given language, express the silent and unconscious metaphysics underlying it. A language, for its maximum serviceability, must, at least, have the structure of the events it attempts to describe; and so science must first discover the structure of events, for only then can we shape our languages and give them the necessary structure. Any advance in our knowledge of nature is strictly connected with new languages of similar structure which reflect the structure of the world. This last 'knowledge' at each date represents again 'modern metaphysics. In all such enquiries we have to struggle with the older, mostly primitive structural metaphysics and unconscious linguistic semantic consequences. Enquiry into these subjects must throw new light on the unconscious processes, and so diminish the vast field of the unconscious.
The structural unconscious seems to be more general, more fundamental than the special, or individual, psychiatrical one, because analysis shows that the latter follows from the former. As the reader may recall, life, 'intelligence', and abstracting in different orders started together. Without abstracting, recognition, and, therefore, selection would not be possible. The world of the animal, as well as of man, represents nothing else than the structural results of abstracting, without which life itself would be totally impossible. Man alone has the power of extending the orders of abstractions indefinitely. When Smith has produced an abstraction of some order, perhaps by making a statement, he has the potential capacity of analysing and contemplating this statement, which has become a fact on record, and so he can abstract to a still higher order., without known limits. It is this capacity which crowds the world of Smith with endless 'facts' belonging to very different orders of abstractions. The animal's capacity for abstracting ceases on some level, and is never extended without a change in the nervous structure. So the animal's world is comparatively simple, the world structure of man being, by comparison, indescribably more complex. Man's problems of adjustment, therefore, also become more complex. Human medicine is much more complex than veterinary science, although the higher animals differ very little in their gross anatomical structure from humans. The structural m.o facts, which resulted from abstracting in different orders, differ in number as well as in complexity. The human capacity for expanding indefinitely the orders of abstractions brings about this peculiar stratification of 'human knowledge'.