SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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children. Children behave like children, and that ends the subject. But children have fewer responsibilities, their sex impulses are undeveloped., and so their behaviour cannot be equally dangerous to themselves and others. But not so with grown-ups. They have responsibilities, duties, often strong sex impulses., which make out of the infantile 'adult' an individual dangerous to himself and others. The term 'social' period, or 'socialized' individual, is sometimes wrongly interpreted. The fact that human achievements and capacities are accumulative and depend on achievements of others makes us, by necessity, a social time-binding class of life, which again involves more complex modes of adjustment. Whether we approve or disapprove the existing legal and police regulations has nothing to do with the fact that in a social class of life some restrictions are necessary. Our present commercial 'civilization' can be characterized as of an infantile type, governed mostly by structurally primitive mythologies and language very often involving primitive s.r. One need but read the speeches of different merchants, presidents, and kings to be thoroughly convinced of this. The rules and regulations are naturally antiquated, and belong to the period to which the underlying metaphysics and language belong. The 'adult' or scientific semantic stage of civilization would be precisely the 'social' stage of complete evaluation of our privileges and duties.
In speaking about infantilism, it should be remembered that the child has an advantage over the imbeciles, idiots, and 'mentally' ill who have stopped development or have regressed to the age of the infant or the child. The 'normal' child profits by experience and outgrows the semantic characteristics that are natural to a given age. In cases of arrested development or regression, the undesirable infantile characteristics persist in the grown-ups and are a source of endless difficulties and suffering to them and their associates. Thus, in our childhood we all have had experiences similar to that of the patient of Dr. Jelliffe, and are no worse off because of them. But, if the reader should imagine himself in the position of the patient with those infantile characteristics, he would realize that an enormous amount of suffering, fear, shame, bewilderment., results for the patient. The worst feature in such cases is found in the fact that an infantile type usually cannot 'outgrow' or alter such characteristics by himself, and needs very wise and patient outside help in re-training, or medical assistance, if he is ever to overcome earlier inappropriate s.r. But if we start the education of an infant with appropriate s.r, such a procedure must play a most important preventive evaluational role.