The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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88                    THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
Thus a science orientation of space-time leads to a semantic device that will shatter the permanence of a static judgment of another human being.
24. Index everything to show uniqueness
Another basic assumption of modern science is that everything is unique; that everything is different from everything else in the world; that nature designs originals.
Korzybski's semantic device for indicating the uniqueness of every person, thing, situation, etc., Is the Index:
Human beingi is not human being2, etc. Homei is not home2, etc. Boyi is not boy2, etc.
Even though everything is unique, everything can be classified. You and I are different, but both of us can be classified as "human beings" Your ranch house and my apartment are different, but both can be classified as "homes." David and Johnny are different, but both can be classified as "boys."
We classify, of course, on the basis of similarities. There are basic similarities in all human beings; there are basic similarities in all homes; there are basic similarities in all boys, etc.
Every word is a class word, with the possible exception of proper nouns. (Look into a telephone book and see that even the same proper noun may represent many individuals.) Verbs are class words in that each represents a class of action. "Run" represents a class of action that is different from another class of action, "walk," for example. Syntactical terms perform class functions.