The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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IOO                  THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
what appears to be the same camera, we do not ask for evidence concerning justification of the higher price. We reason like this:
The price tag is a sign of quality. This price tag is higher than that one. Therefore, this product is better than that one.
Here is identification of price tag with qualitytwo distinct and different orders of abstraction. Korzybski calls such behavior "unsane" because the human being does not exercise consciousness of abstractinghis unique human potential.
Korzybski points out, as Gardner Murphy does in another context, that the language system and the nervous system are one and inseparable. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that even intelligent people may identify the word and the thing. Perhaps this explains why the word "leukemia" sets up unmanageable disturbances; perhaps this explains why we drool when we hear the word "steak"; perhaps this accounts for the fact that our wants, our longings, our desires, our needs fasten themselves on enticing words as if they were things.
Attention to the vertical index will remind us that the verbal world is not the actual world; that the word is not the thing.
But there is more to it than that.
People who confuse the word and the thing are what Korzybski calls "verbalizers." These are the ones who abhor silence; these are the ones who believe that life is lived not on the silent objective level but on the verbal level of abstraction. Such people, Korzybski says, need to be trained one hand over the mouth, the other pointinguntil they