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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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CHAPTER XXXV
ACTION BY CONTACT
The difficulty involved is that the proper and adequate means of describing changes in continuous deformable bodies is the method of differential equations. . . . They express mathematically the physical conception of contiguous action. (45)                                                                max born
The analysis of 'matter', 'space', and 'time' from the point of view of structure and of orders of abstractions has led us to far-reaching conclusions. Let us summarize the semantic results, and consider some of the immediate consequences.
We may begin by recalling the difference between the lower order and higher order abstractions. The lower order abstractions are given to us by the lower nerve centres. They are 'dynamic', 'continuous', non-permanent, shifting, unreliable, and above all unspeakable.
They have a character of immediacy, because, structurally in terms of order, they are closest to outside events. They come first in order in the functioning of the nervous system. We always associate with them some 'objectivity' as, by necessity, the eventual definition of an 'object' starts at this level.
It should be emphasized over and over again that, speaking correctly, on this level we cannot define anything, since abstractions on this level are fundamentally unspeakable. We may look, listen, handle, feel. , but cannot speak and therefore cannot define. The moment we define our objects, we are no longer on the level of lower order abstractions. By neurological structural necessity we have passed to the higher nerve centres (speech), and higher order abstractions. This is what is meant when we say that this lower level is unspeakable.
Because these lower order abstractions are closer to the outside events, and because they come first in order, they have a special character of immediacy, with which we must start. The struggle begins when, through some primitive-made doctrines or structural assumptions (metaphysics), we try to avoid going any further than these lower order abstractions. As a matter of fact, this is an impossibility, because of the very structure of our nervous system. However intensely we believe that it is possible to do so, and however 'emotionally' we attempt to do it, we are cherishing delusions, which easily become morbid identifications, delusions, illusions, and often hallucinations.
This level being unspeakable, the only way to function on this level is to look, listen . , but to be silent outwardly as well as inwardly. This last condition represents a most beneficial semantic state, really difficult, perhaps impossible, to acquire without training.
The higher order abstractions appear to be products of the activity of the higher nerve centres, further removed from the external events and lacking, therefore, in immediacy. But these higher abstractions are static and so may
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