SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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UN-SANITY VERSUS SANITY
517
are self-satisfied, and keep aloof from others in international affairs, not realizing that this is impossible, and that the attempt is ultimately harmful to them. They assume, as an excuse, the superiority of their institutions ., and the 'righteousness' of their own conduct.
Children and superior idiots appreciate resemblances more readily than differences. Simple generalizations are possible, but often they are hasty and faulty. A child's pride and self-respect are hurt if he is considered different from other children, or is dressed differently. Originality and individuality are tabooed among children. Because of semantic undevelopment, differences become a disturbing factor to them; they want everything standardized. On national grounds, the adult infants standardize all they can and have even a kind of hostility to anything which has an individual flavour. For instance, those who wear straw hats after an arbitrary date are attacked on the streets. Not wanting to 'think', or to bother about differences, they fancy that they can regulate life by legislation and they keep busy manufacturing 'laws', which are very often impracticable and self-contradictory. When they pass several thousand 'laws' a year, these become a maze and a joke. The ultimate semantic result of such over-legislation is a complete lack of justice or of any respect for 'law'. Not being able to 'think' for themselves, they leave that bothersome function to politicians, priests, newspapermen ,. Under such conditions life is impossible without expensive lawyers.
Not having the critical semantic capacity for proper evaluation, their likes and dislikes are very intense. They cannot differentiate the essential from the unimportant. The immediate 'sense' perception or 'emotion' unduly influences their actions. Impulses to copy others dominate them. They are often prejudiced. This results in weak judgement, over-suggestiveness, 'emotional' outbreaks, exaggerated sensibility, variability of affective states., and, finally, in an attitude toward life devoid of proper evaluation. Their moods are changeable; their attention readily gained and as readily diverted. They become easily intimidated and frightened, and easily influenced by others.
The above semantic characteristics are sponsored by commercialism, and build up the kind of methods, advertisements, and business policies which we see about us. This also introduces a semantic factor of disintegration into human relationships, as it leads to methods of trickery, to 'putting something over' on the other fellow, and appeals to self-indulgence ,. When such commercial tactics are national, their sinister educational effect is pronounced. Children, from the age when they begin to read, are impressed by such practices as normal and take them as