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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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In the field of higher abstractions the train of 'ideas' of children, imbeciles, and idiots is restricted. Uncommon 'ideas' are left out, and only those which originated in immediate 'sense perception' are easily grasped. Until lately, even in science, such an attitude was noticeable, as, for instance, in gross empiricism, or in the case of the physicist already mentioned who was willing to 'fight' to prove that he 'saw' the 'electron',. He did not realize that inferential entities are just as good abstractions as those he 'sees'. The attitude of the 'practical man' who pooh-poohs science and the 'highbrows' may serve also as an example.
Children, idiots, and imbeciles cannot comprehend anything complicated ; they see some elements, but miss the relative wholes. We have elaborated a racial language of 'senses' and elementalism. Similarly, in schizophrenics the relative whole is disregarded, while, on the other hand, a single semantically effective characteristic is sufficient to connect the most heterogeneous abstractions in an unnatural whole. Word-relations have a predominance over actualities (identification). Thus, a patient looks anxiously at a moving door and exclaims 'Da f ressen mich die Thiiren'* and refuses to pass through the door-way. Here we see the identification of words with objects carried to the limit. In general, the s.r of the schizophrenic seem such that he identifies intensely his higher abstractions with the lower.15
Much excellent material on infantilism can be found in Dr. Joseph Collins' The Doctor Looks at Love and Life, particularly in his chapter on Adult Infantilism, from which much of the following material is taken, and which I acknowledge gratefully.
Children and idiots live in the present only and do not concern themselves with the past and the future beyond their immediate gratification. Infantile types also want all the 'sense' enjoyment of the moment, never enquiring about the sufferings of others or of the consequences for themselves in the future. Indeed, their attitude is often hostile toward those who take into consideration a larger field. 'Apres nous le deluge' represents their royal semantic motto. On national and commercial grounds, they devastate their natural resources, since they are interested only in some immediate and selfish advantage. They love praise and hate blame, not realizing that a critical attitude gives the foundation for proper evaluation and becomes a semantic characteristic of maturity and that, generally, it is more beneficial in the long run. They thrive and thrill on commendations and compliments, and shiver and shrink at disapproval. Such characteristics are found even in whole nations. They
♦Animal = Thier, Door = Thiir, so that the unconscious play upon words gives the meaning; 'Doors devour me', for 'Animals devour me'.