The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




68
THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
land of "these gentle prejudiced people." For this, we must look outward. For this we must face the world squarely as observers. And this should give us even stronger convictions about our loyaltiesat that date.
But what about our principles? you will persist. Surely these are enduring!
Why shouldn't we refer our principles to the world of people and things for periodic validation? Why shouldn't we keep our principles open-end? We live in a world of process. Everything moves. Everything changes. There was a time when the principle of free enterprise was inviolable. As time moved on, as conditions changed, antitrust laws had to be passed to protect the American people from free enterprise. Not so long ago, we held sovereignty as a firm principle. Today, millions of people are looking at that principle with inquiring eyesin relation to the world as it exists today.
Keep principles inside the skull and they are closed; let them be referred to the world of people and things, and they are open-end. Take them out of the category of thoughts and place them within the framework of the "triangle."
Cool, quiet, symbolic references to something(s) in the world must surely be the springboard to opinions, to loyalties, and to principles.
Ogden and Richards give us the formula for accurate descriptions of things in the world.12 This is the formula for testing what we think we know. This is the formula for transmitting what we do know. Could this not also be the formula for revitalizing our outmoded opinions, loyalties, and principles?
12 Accurate descriptions are essential to our interpretations of everything we perceive in the world. See Section 25 below, for Korzybski's distinction between description and inference.