SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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552          VII. THE MECHANISM OF TIME-BINDING
on the semantics, structure of language, doctrines, understanding, knowledge, attitudes, metaphysics., of his parents or their substitutes, which shape his semantic reactions.
If we abandon the problem of the two-valued 'determinism' in connection with such a fictitious, isolated individual, and apply oo-valued determinism to an actual, non-isolated individual, we see at once that the whole situation is different. If parents and society accept oo-valued determinism, they realize their own responsibilities toward the individual, and understand that the actions of parents, society., are, to a large extent, responsible for the future development of the child on quite deterministic psychophysiological grounds. If an individual behaves in a way detrimental to others and to himself, and an enlightened society decides to do this or that with him, that is a different proposition. The main point is that, if we were to accept an indeterministic attitude, a great deal of harm would be done by parents, teachers, preachers, and society in general; harm which could be prevented. This is, to a large extent, unrealized, and in the old way no one was supposed to be responsible except the poor victim of 'free will'. Under such A conditions, we sponsor bitterness, cruelty., under the labels of 'sin', 'justice', 'revenge', 'punishment', or whatever it may be. On deterministic grounds, when society and educators realize fully their own responsibilities, we should blame the individual less, and should more and more investigate structure, language, our systems, metaphysics, education, conditions of living ,. Instead of a holy frenzy for 'justice', 'punishment', 'revenge'., we would try to improve conditions of life and education, so that a newborn individual would not be handicapped from the day of his birth.
Since the organism operates as-a-whole and no one is free from higher order abstractions and structural assumptions, we see that the keeping of savage-made metaphysics must involve us individually and collectively in an arrested or regressive development. From the organ-ism-as-a-whole point of view structural ignorance must result in some semantic defectiveness.
The objection that there are cases of great 'mental' brilliancy accompanied by very vicious tendencies is easily answered by the fact that the problem is formulated in an el way. 'Mental' brilliancy does not tell the whole story of the organism-as-a-whole. One may be 'mentally' brilliant, yet infantile or a 'moral imbecile'. In life, we deal with the whole non-isolated individual, who may be pathological in a great many ways. If it is objected that science is so complicated that it would be impossible to impart such knowledge to the masses, the answer is that, as this enquiry shows, science involves some structural metaphysics and seman-