Presented before the Washington Society for Nervous and Mental Diseases,
June 25, 1925; and the Washington Psychopathological Society, March 13, 1926.
Printed by The Printing House of Jas. C. Wood
2021 Nichols Avenue S. E., Washington, D. C.
Presented before the Washington Society for Nervous and Mental Diseases,
June 25, 1925; and the Washington Psychopathological Society, March 13, 1926.
THE present paper is the outline of a further elaboration of Time-Binding, The General Theory. presented before the International Mathematical Congress of 1924 in Toronto, Canada, to be referred to here as the General Theory (G. T.).
Nearly two years have elapsed since its publication, and I am happy to find that I have nothing to retract. I find it wise, however, to amplify that former outline to furnish those who use the Anthropometer (to be referred to as the A.), which is now available, with more adequate information.
The present paper is written for a very limited class of readers, namely, those already familiar with my work and who are willing to look over the references indicated in the G. T. and here. I assume therefore that the reader is acquainted with quite a number of subjects. Both papers are outlines and far from exhaustive. I emphasize only special points which are known but disregarded in general, or else not known. Usually all the additions that an intelligent and unprejudiced reader can make to this outline are foreseen and legitimate; most of the possible objections of the old kind are also not disregarded, but the theory takes care of them in the form and by the method in which it is expressed. Quite often I use at present words admittedly vague; it would be impossible to make them more exact without expanding this paper into many chapters. In most cases this vagueness is intentional, to be eliminated in a fuller exposition to be published later.
It should never be forgotten that the G. T. as outlined in this and in the preceding works is deliberately treated as a branch of natural science; it is descriptive, but in a language allowing fewer incorrect inductions and deductions than the older forms of representation. It is not a speculation, which gives me more freedom in handling and adjusting, the system to facts known in
My work is deliberately a non-aristotelian system, to follow up which, to the point of familiarity, is inherently difficult—as difficult perhaps as the study of the non-euclidian systems. The Greek gods are still potent, firmly rooted in our habits and in the structure of the generally accepted form of representation.
Historically non-aristotelian attempts have been even more numerous than the non-euclidian, but no system has been built as yet to the best of my knowledge. The primitive form of representation which Aristotle inherited, his metaphysics, and his philosophical grammar, which we call "logic," are strictly interconnected, so much so that one leads to the other.
In my non-aristotelian system I reject Aristotle's metaphysics (circa 350 B. C.) and accept modern science (1926) as my metaphysics. I reject his postulate that man is an animal, the postulate of uniqueness of subject-predicate representation, the postulate of cause in the form he had it, the elementalism of "percept" and "concept," his theory of definitions, his postulate of cosmical validity of grammar, his predilection for intensional methods, etc., etc.
I accept man as a man, use functional representation whenever needed, expand the two-term relation cause-effect into a series, introduce organism as-a-whole form of representation in the language of time-binding, orders of abstractions, accept postulational methods as the foundation for a theory of definitions and therefore of meaning. which bridges the conscious with the unconscious, introduce modern "logical existence," relations, differential and four dimensional methods, use the extensional methods, etc., etc., and so build up my system.
One extremely important and disregarded problem arises in connection with introversion and extroversion, which is of crucial significance in preventive mental hygiene. Plato was an introvert, Aristotle an extrovert, and so their systems are permeated
It need hardly be added that these problems should be of supreme interest to educators, psychiatrists, parents, etc., as the disregard of them can not lead to the education of a whole man, but leads rather to the production of two distinct half-men or some other multiple personalities, mild in the beginning, but which easily can become morbid under the stress of life.
One of the aims of the G. T., and of training with the A., is precisely the building up of this extroverted-introvert type, the normal man, a whole man, a time-binder; avoiding the splitting of personality, which if avoided in childhood, may be of preventive value, increasing the resistance, and so facilitating future adjustment. Such education leads to an entirely different outlook upon the world and ourselves, and so favors adjustment, mental health, and happiness.
The characteristic that a language is a form of representation, one out of an infinity of possible forms is obvious to any one who has taken the bother to understand the G. T. and A. I therefore prefer the term "form of representation" to the familiar term "language" because "form of representation" is more correct, more general, and much more full of implications. Although the term "form of representation" is taken from mathematics the reader who analyses it will discover that my more general use of it is not only legitimate but obviously fully justified; into the details of such an analysis I cannot enter here.
Does the G. T. and the A. represent something new? This question is rather of some importance, and on entirely impersonal grounds. The study of man is as old as man himself; a great
I use the term "discovery" in quotation marks for lack of a better word. My "discoveries" are often neither discoveries (without quotation marks) nor re-discoveries. Re-discoveries are common in science and no one is shy about them. A re-discovery is mostly characterised by the fact that an individual A did not happen to know that an individual B had discovered the same thing before him. Under such circumstances, A's ingenuity is perfectly equivalent to the amount B has displayed. In my case it is not re-discovery because usually I know what has been done before by B; such knowledge is necessary in my field. I do not need to use the same ingenuity as the re-discoverer; my "discoveries" are less than re-discoveries from the point of view of ingenuity displayed. At the same time, although less ingenious, "discoveries" in my system are more important.
I attempt to establish a "science of man"—"Humanology," as I call it. I use a new form of representation, not primitive but modern, 1926, and I do this deliberately. Forced by the form of representation I have to explore my subject independently and carry on my inductions and deductions in a purely formal manner. In this process I am led automatically by this new form to certain results independently of others, and that with practically no display of personal acumen or ingenuity. I am willing to admit that any moron, not of the lowest type, if properly trained to master the new form of representation could reach approximately the same result. These are made obvious and simple by the new form of representation. But when I am led automatically by this modern method to "discover" without difficulty and effort what has been actually discovered before and which is already admitted by mankind to be important, sometimes very important, it is a fact of the deepest significance. It shows
Let me give a few examples of re-discoveries. Frege discovered what numbers are. Russell, independently and without knowing the work of Frege, made the same discovery. The same honor to both! The achievement was very important; the caliber of mentality, no doubt was first class in both cases. There are also the instances of Newton and Leibniz and the calculus; and of Gauss, Lobachevski and Bolyai and the non-euclidian geometries. Theirs also were re-discoveries.
My own case, however, is different. In my independent inquiry I came across difficulties and had to solve them or quit. My solution is given in the G. T. and the A. It is found that this theory covers the theory of mathematical types invented by Russell, but in a different garb, a garb which makes it much more general and workable. Was this discovery or re-discovery? To my mind, neither. It was "discovery" because I knew about the theory of types long before, so it cannot be re-discovery. I could not accept the theory of types because it is not general enough and does not fit in my system; as far as my work is concerned I had to dismiss it. Scientific method led automatically to a solution of my difficulties; and perhaps no one was more surprised and happy than myself when I found that the G. T. covers the theory of types. The conclusion which follows is reassuring: the G. T. with the A. appear to be sound and fundamental if they can lead to solutions which cover such important achievements as Russell's theory of types.
Some one might say: perhaps it is the same thing. There are empirical proofs that it is not the same, and that the G. T. is more general. Bertrand Russell and myself write books (empirical fact) and are interested in human affairs. If the theory of types, of Russell were the same as the G. T., Russell, and not I, would have discovered the thesis developed in my Manhood of Humanity and the present General Theory. Yet he did not discover them;
If we were to apply the G. T. and the A. in the realm of physics we should be led, without Einstein's genius, to Einstein's theory.
The G. T. is, among other things, a theory of what Eddington, without formulating it, called the "standpoint of relativity," obviously a psychological affair. Quite naturally the "standpoint of relativity" precedes the formulation of the theory of Einstein, which applies to Einstein as well as to others. If called "big names" for this particular "achievement," I should disclaim them, as I disclaim them for the "discovery" of the "theory of types" as such; but what I should claim is this: the G. T. of Time-Binding as explained in my writings seems to be sound and very fertile, leading to many far reaching consequences, some of which are already worked out, others not.
After all, the reader who is familiar with it should not be surprised that the General Theory of Time-Binding leads to a psychology of discovery, which I cannot prove otherwise than by making "discoveries" over and over again. I claim, for instance, a theory of universal agreement; how can this be "proved"? Again, only by showing in special cases how disagreement can be eliminated. On theoretical grounds the old animalism and aristotelianism are rampant everywhere, even in science and philosophy. The older theories of knowledge which are based on "percepts" and "concepts" are to the fullest extent elementalistic theories of universal disagreement. With such prevailing doctrines, one should really wonder that we do not behave still more
To return to the question of "discoveries." We "discover" in the present paper the "scientific, or public unconscious"; it is similar to the "preconcept" of Dr. H. S. Sullivan, with which I became acquainted recently, and whose work I respect highly. Again, it is not as yet the same thing. The situation is similar to the case of types of Russell. A system has its own requirements and a form of representation has its own implications.
THE reader should not miss the point that this work is a non-aristotelian system, a general theory, and that not in name only; something which at present does not exist to my knowledge. It is not a compilation. Compilations lack the organic unity which a system has, and which has made systems so useful through all history. This theory is easily understood and remembered and therefore workable.
This work is not in animalistic competition with existing branches of science, but a human, Time-Binding, co-operative enterprise and might be of assistance to specialists in those branches; in general it is in full sympathy with all and each of them. With daily increasing numbers of special facts, systems are becoming increasingly rare and increasingly difficult and laborious to formulate. Some day they must become group activities requiring special training and devotion; because of this we can foresee the necessity of establishing a new science for which the name "Humanology" is suggested. This science of course must be non-aristotelian in structure.
Science after all is the highest form of adjustment, and is displayed by no organism except man; therefore no study of
Quite naturally, since I make it my business to study all forms of human behavior and adjustment, not excluding psychiatry, mathematics and science in general, the G. T. must differ from all special sciences, for which reason its author, necessarily, must work at present in an uncomfortable isolation. The problem of adjustment is strictly dependent on the organism's power of abstracting. An organism without eyes and ears is much more handicapped in a world of continuous happenings than an organism with them, etc., etc. Since man has the unique power of extending his orders of abstractions indefinitely, his power of adjustment also increases indefinitely, provided he uses this power. It is therefore possibly of some use to inquire into the mechanism of it; perhaps we shall be better equipped to use it more effectually.
The use of a new form of representation also has important consequences. Occasionally such a new form of representation brings to light characteristics which another form would not reveal and quite often brings problems to a sharp issue where formerly the same issues were not sharp; also it usually throws a new light on old problems. It is very difficult, if at all possible, to decide a priori if such or such a form of representation will be particularly important; such things show themselves in practice, and the justification of a new form is its fertility. Thinking in unfamiliar terms is bothersome, yet it forces us to think anew, and so diminishes the influence of old preconceived and unconscious notions upon us. The usefulness of new forms of representation is usually quite important.
To give an example. Every line, except the X axis, through a point O, which is the intersection of a parabola with its X axis, cuts the curve a second time. This fact, important for us to know, appears clearly in the polar co-ordinate form of representation but does not appear in the rectangular form of equations. In my own case the whole theory is an example, and many issues have already been emphasized, as on pages 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14,
In quite a number of cases the importance is in emphasis. Issues disregarded, although supposedly known and never analysed because considered such "commonplaces" as not to be worthy of analysis, are re-valuated and appear extremely important, all of which leads in my case to empirical verification.
I am not trying to prove some special creed, but to apply as rigorously as possible the modern (1926) scientific standards to the study of the behavior of Smith, Brown, etc. With this aim in view, I had to reject the older forms of representation and build up a new form. Having done this, I take a handful of labels in my pocket, so to say, look around anew and label as I go, the results being all the time independent, because of this new form of representation. Here an interesting mathematical analogy arises. The characteristics which appear in this new form, and yet are the same as in the older ones, are perhaps characteristics intrinsic in our subject, as they have survived the transformation of our form of representation. Such transformation is the only method by which we may be sure that the characteristics are intrinsic, independent of our accidental form of representation. So the fact that we discover in our new form of representation many characteristics which appeared also in the older forms is in itself a fact not only of interest, but also an indication that these characteristics common to different forms of representation, may be intrinsic in our object, and are not extrinsic, or read into our analysis by the form we use. The fact that quite often we "discover" the "obvious" has in itself a scientific value.
After formulating the G. T., I made a search of the germane literature and found that my analysis differs considerably, as a whole, from others. First of all I have never come across a system of such a deliberate non-aristotelian character, of such ramification requiring so many special studies, nor having the same structure. I have never seen or heard of anything similar to the Anthropometer and its application. Details, even, are frequently so different from the old that quite often the reference to existing works are given for sake of contrast. The above explanations are given because often a superficial reader who
My personal experience has made it obvious that there is some obscure psychological process involved in training with the A. which until recently I was unable to explain or formulate. All my experience convinced me that in spite of the approval of the A. and the G. T. given sometimes in the form "that's all known" or "platitudes," the very person saying so the next time he opens his mouth bluntly refutes in fact all he formerly admitted and called, perhaps, "platitudes." This experience appears to me to be without a single exception; at least I have not met any one of this class doing otherwise. My main difficulty has seemed to be not with people who could not understand the G. T. and the A. at once, but with those who seemingly understood and approved it, but considered it a matter of "platitudes." Quite naturally having such experience with trained and rigorous thinkers, the importance and difficulties of this work were brought forcibly home to me. It became more and more evident that at the bottom of it there was some fundamental difficulty affecting all mankind, some pernicious, old, very old, habits of thought, unconscious in the main, "fossils" of our savage ancestry. I found myself dealing with the field of paleopsychology, to use the excellent term of Dr. Jelliffe.
How to connect my own work with that of the psychologists became my next problem. After much meditation I selected psychiatry for that purpose and not psychology, and that for serious reasons. All science is the study of some behavior; even mathematicians study the behavior of the entities which they invent or posit. In order to study "psychology" we would need to study the behavior of man as-a-whole, and all the forms of
Usually we think of psychiatry as a science of mental illness, or "morbid psychology," the term "psychology" being reserved for the study of the so-called "normal" man as-a-whole. Before we can orient ourselves in these matters we must see what we label what, otherwise "normal" has no meaning. Everybody's observation shows that extremely few people are free from some kind of mental deficiency, because extremely few can follow any kind of rigorous thought, so that statistically "normal" means "mentally deficient." From this point of view, and in agreement with Dr. Malinowski, the anthropologist, I conclude that psychiatry is the study of the "normal" man, since it deals with the mentally deficient, the Fido, the savage, the baby within us. Perhaps the "copying of animals in thinking" (see G. T., p. 15.) is more serious and universal than I stated in my outline.
The implications of the last mentioned fact are very different from those involved in the false statement that we are animals. If you and I and Fido are the same thing, then of course there is nothing to be done about it; but if we merely copy Fido we can stop that at our pleasure, the moment we realise it, which is very different. The hopeless on one level becomes hopeful on another.
I grow more and more convinced that the claims of the G. T. were not exaggerated. A number of actual experiments with the A. have shown the most astonishing and beneficial results, and many claims of the G. T., even many which were only implied, have been confirmed empirically. If such results accumulate, so that we learn that the few initial ones were not accidental, but actually due to training with the A. and the G. T., it would mean that mathematics, which among other achievements makes a business of unraveling unconscious assumptions, may be considered as "higher psychiatry," essential for human thought and mental hygiene, with extremely far reaching consequences for
The above does not mean that mathematicians now get this psychological benefit out of their work. The great majority of them do not know what was said here, or else know it vaguely, and believe that mathematics has very little, if anything to do with human life and happiness, an attitude representing creeds false to facts and which therefore may be morbid in character.
The present outline may be of interest to those mathematicians who are concerned with the broader aspects of their science, and the psychology and methods of teaching it; and to educators in general. Psychiatrists in especial might find the work important, because of the pointing out of preventive methods where at present there are none, and suggesting perhaps new methods, more general and therefore perhaps more fundamental, which might throw new and unexpected light on problems, particularly where the older methods failed, or did not give entirely satisfactory results. There seems to be little doubt that the "scientific, or public unconscious" is a more fundamental, deeper level underlying the private unconscious. Perhaps the clarifications on the private level do not clear up the public, or scientific, level which represents the creeds of a certain epoch, and so might be in agreement with the general development of the race. It is interesting to note that "epoch-making discoveries" are seldom if ever isolated; usually they come in bundles, being discovered by several individuals independently; they are "in the air," as we say—perhaps they are in the protoplasm more than in the air. With the dynamic theory of "matter," and the difference between the world of man and the animal as indicated by the G. T., the term "evolution" is gaining a much broader meaning. This public unconscious, by its very character, is such that we can deal with it on a wholesale base, through public education. My experience seems to show that this is the case, although more facts in this field are necessary.
In this border land—this no man's land, as yet—between psychiatry and mathematics we deal with the "unconscious" and therein we find the common ground where they meet. In using
To explain a little.
Two assumptions are said to be absolutely equivalent when each of them can be deduced from the other without the help of additional new assumptions. For instance, (a) the fifth postulate of Euclid: "If a straight line falling on two straight lines make the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely, meet on that side on which are the angles less than the two right angles," (b) "Two straight lines parallel to a third are parallel to each other," (c) "Through a point outside a straight line one and only one parallel to it can be drawn." Each assumption silently, unconsciously presupposes the others, so that they can be deduced from each other. They actually are different forms of the same proposition. Another case is equivalence relatively to a fundamental set of assumptions A, B, C,..... M. It might happen that in diminishing the fundamental set two assumptions which were equivalent before cease to be so. For instance, the following assumptions are mutually equivalent and also equivalent to the fifth postulate of Euclid. (a) The internal angles, which two parallels make with a transversal on the same side, are supplementary (Ptolemy). (b) Two parallel straight lines are equidistant. (c) If a straight line intersects one of two parallels, it also intersects the other (Proclus). (d) A triangle being given, another triangle can be constructed similar to the given one and of any size whatever (Wallis) (e) through three points, not lying on a straight line, a sphere can al ways be drawn (W. Bolyai), etc. The following assumptions are only equivalent to the euclidian fifth postulate if we retain the postulate of Archimedes: (a) The locus of the points which are equidistant from a straight line is a straight
The crucial point of this discussion is that all of what was said is not obvious even to an attentive and intelligent reader. It took nearly two thousand years and some of the efforts of the best thinkers of the world to discover these connections and implications. Here we have a glimpse of the "scientific, or public unconscious," a problem of great importance to be worked out by mathematicians and psychiatrists in the light of the G. T. In this paper I am only pointing out this problem and no attempt is made to analyse it.
Let us assume that the fifth postulate of Euclid is a false assumption seriously detrimental to human life, comparable to some of the false doctrines that underlie the morbid symptoms with which psychiatry deals every day. Let us assume, further, that a doctor innocent of the structure of human knowledge and the equivalence of assumptions would succeed after painful and laborious efforts in eliminating from the system of a patient this vicious assumption, but because of his innocence pays no attention to some other assumption, equivalent to the first, and would not eliminate it. (See G. T, pp. 26, 27.) In such a case rationalisation about the first false doctrines would probably make the treatment a failure, as the other unconscious and equivalent doctrine would in virtue of the extremely logical character of the unconscious perform its task and make the treatment ineffective. Of course, all possible degrees of failure might happen. The tangle of equivalent assumptions in daily life is still entirely unanalysed yet it seems that what is given on pp. 26, 27 of the G. T. is of the most fundamental importance. The semi-failures so common in the practice of psychiatrists seem to indicate that the fundamental structure of "human knowledge" as explained in the G. T., gives a clue to the explanation of them.
The scientific, or public unconscious would be the implications which, far from obvious, are silently hidden behind some set of postulates, "unconscious" because totally unknown and unsuspected, unless uncovered after painful research. Any form of representation has its own assumptions at the bottom, and when we accept a form of representation we unconsciously accept sets of silent assumptions of which we become victims in the long
This scientific, or public, unconscious seems to be more fundamental than the private (psychiatrical) one because the very structure of human knowledge is such. As the reader may recall (see p. 14 ff. of G. T.) life, intelligence and abstracting of different orders start together; without abstracting, recognition and, therefore, selection would be impossible. The world of the animals as well as the world of man is nothing other than the result of abstractions without which life itself would be totally impossible. But man alone has the power of extending the orders of his abstractions indefinitely. When Smith produces an abstraction of some order, perhaps by making a statement, he has the faculty of analysing and contemplating this statement which meanwhile has become a fact on record (potentially, anyway) and so he can abstract himself to a still higher order, or level, and so on endlessly. It is this power which crowds the world of Smith with endless "facts" belonging to very different orders or levels of abstractions, and which constitutes the extremely complex world of man. The animals' power of abstraction ceases on some level, and is never extended without change in their structure (evolution), as the diagram on page 35 makes obvious. So their world is comparatively simple, the world of man being by comparison indescribably more complex. It is for this reason that veterinary science is so "simple" as compared with human
I RECALL a vivid argument I had with a young and very gifted mathematician. We were discussing the dropping and introduction of assumptions. Our conversation was about the geometries of Euclid and Lobachevski. I maintained that Lobachevski introduced an assumption; he maintained that Lobachevski dropped an assumption. On the surface it might have appeared that this is a problem of "fact" and not of preference. The famous fifth postulate of Euclid reads: "If a straight line falling on two straight lines makes the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely meet on that side on which are the angles less than two right angles." (We must note in passing that a straight line is assumed to be of infinite length, which involves a definite type of metaphysics of "space," common to the aristotelian and older systems). This postulate of Euclid can be expressed in one of its equivalent forms, as, for instance: Through a point outside a straight line one and only one parallel to it can be drawn. Lobachevski and others decided to build up a geometry without this postulate, and in this they were successful. Let us analyse further the activity of Lobachevski (what he did). To do this we go to a deeper level, where we discover that what on his level had been the dropping of an assumption becomes on our deeper level the introduction of an assumption, namely, the assumption that through a point outside a straight line there passes more than one parallel line.
The same could be said about the psychiatrical "complexes." On some level they might exist; on another, a higher order of abstraction, a deeper level of analysis, they do not exist. What actually happens is that a doctrinal being, the baby, reacts to the inherited and inhibited doctrines of his parents, teachers, etc., to be explained later. As a matter of fact all human life is a permanent dance between different orders of abstractions. Similar analysis of the lowest developed tribes of savages would confirm this conclusion. But as yet mankind as a whole (not a few academicians perhaps) is totally unaware of the extreme benefit as well as dangers of this "dance." The mechanism of our rapid accumulation is thus revealed (see p. 11, G. T. ) and it also explains why we are, as a whole, on such a low level, with artificial difficulties hampering us everywhere.
The G. T. and the training with the A. aims at making these benefits as well as dangers conscious, formulated in a workable way. The expected results should be in both directions. One, exercising the beneficial side of it, which leads to a high development of "mentality," which after all is nothing else than passing to higher orders of abstractions; the other, the avoiding of the dangers which can be expressed in the form of avoiding the confusion of orders of abstractions, which would be preventive of unhappiness, insanity, imbecility, wars, revolutions, and what not. All of this works automatically the moment we are trained in the consciousness that we abstract, which is the secret of all "thinkers" and "geniuses." It might be objected that there are many men who are conscious that they abstract and yet do not escape the "ugly" side of "human nature." My whole limited
A very interesting point should be noted. One and the same question can be answered sometimes both yes and no, depending on the order of abstractions; this diminishes to a very large degree the old sharp field of "yes" and "no." This restricts the possible field of human conflict, a consequence which is of importance, and which alone would save billions of dollars spent unnecessarily because people, scientists, manufacturers and so on, cannot agree on some subject, owing to their innocence of the above. Any executive knows too well what enormous trouble and expense little disagreements involve.
The use of the A. in homes, schools, offices, courts, parliaments, etc., would save mankind considerable trouble and expense—countless efforts which at present are spent unproductively. Men somehow have learned to manage their live stock scientifically, but the management of human affairs is still on a savage plane, owing, in the final analysis (1926), to Fidoism.
There is something more than the elimination of disagreements. There is a satisfaction, mental, emotional, etc., when things run smoothly. Many problems of "fact" on one level become problems of "preference" on another, thereby helping to diminish the field of disagreement.
It is important to throw some light on the problem of "preference." Let us take the case analysed above: which statement or attitude is preferable? The one claiming that Lobachevski dropped a postulate, or the one claiming that Lobachevski introduced a new postulate? Both are "facts," but on different levels, or of different orders. The "dropping" is an historical fact; the "introducing" is a psychological fact, inherent in the structure of human knowledge. The preference is fairly indicated: the psychological fact is of the utmost generality (as all psychological facts are), and therefore more useful, since it applies to all
This psychological fact is of unrealised importance, particularly in the study of the enormous field of the unconscious, which embraces not only the individual's history or the race's history but practically the history of all life. Here comes the importance of our new conceptions of "space," "time," "matter," "infinity," etc., as indicated on pp. 26 and 27 of the G. T. The old mythologies are not "primary" but secondary, based on Fidoism, our inheritance from the pre-human ways of "thinking." The same could be said about such problems as the one of Lobachevski, or about "complexes," or about a great many others, of similar import.
The faculty for higher and higher abstractions, no matter how high or low they may be, is a most characteristic faculty of man which can be found even among the most primitive people. The potentiality for passing from one level to a deeper one, from one order of abstractions to a higher one, is inherent in man. Whenever and wherever he stops the unconscious begins.
Until recently we did not suspect that the scientific, or public unconscious might be as morbid as the private unconscious with which psychiatry deals. My experiences with the A. and the G. T. seem to show that this is the case.
It is no mystery that maladjustment to the "environment" (including doctrines) is the origin of the majority of mental ills. In helping this adjustment we directly help mental, and therefore physical, well being; that these mutually affect each other is a commonplace of present day psychiatry. The G. T. and the A. give us not only the means for training in the consciousness that we abstract, but formulate a method by which unconscious doctrines are made conscious; the whole G. T. is based on this principle.
In this connection we see the importance of the circularity of human knowledge, which circularity is not a matter of speculation but is a fact of natural history. This directs our attention to a deeper point of analysis, a higher abstraction, namely, it will no more be the older and usually accepted standard demanded of you by existing science that you "define your terms," but a deeper, more fundamental one, inherent in all human knowledge, which starts with undefined terms, which as undefined rep-
In this work we are in complete agreement with mathematics, considered as a form of human behavior, the only science which starts deliberately with undefined terms. This characteristic of the G. T. is one which appears to be novel, as I am not aware that this has ever been done before. Of course, the undefined terms which I use as the base of my work represent "creeds" which in other disciplines are, and remain, unconscious: I make them conscious by frankly stating them.
There is no escape from the inherent structure of human knowledge; the choice is between having unconscious, unaccessible, unrevisable, and therefore extremely dangerous, creeds; or making these creeds, postulates, undefined terms conscious, and so giving one the liberty of analysing them or even of abandoning them. This diminishes the enormous field of the unconscious, the silent records of all past life, and so expands the field of the conscious which might be expected to be useful.
In the G. T., I accepted the ordinary names for things, making individual names with the help of indexes, as for instance Fido', Fido'', or Fido I, Fido II, etc. But as a class of names makes no proposition and cannot express a meaning, I accept as my set of undefined terms such terms as "order" (in the sense of betweenness), "relation," "difference," and a few others. The actual process is by necessity symbolic and is not indicated here. To develop it in a full system will be the task of years.
In analysing the structure of human knowledge and its inherent circularity, owing to the fact that we must start with undefined terms, we came to the conclusion that all human knowledge is postulational in structure and therefore mathematical in which we find the link between the conscious and the unconscious. Mathematicians have been inclined to claim in general that all of mathematics is "logical" in structure. Both statements may be said to amount to the same thing.
It is of no small importance which form we accept, so that a few words about it will not be amiss. Mathematicians discovered some time ago that the form of representation they use is not of indifference to the results they obtain. Speaking roughly, they
Let us apply correct symbolism to some of these issues, logic for example. We find that "logic" by definition is the science of the "laws of thought." How could such a thing be produced at all? Someone would have to observe all possible forms of "thought," abstract himself from the study of those facts and generalise them, and so formulate the "laws of thought." He would have to study all forms of "thought" and therefore he should make not only studies of the activities of the average man, but also of "geniuses," the "insane," and particularly mathematicians. Because mathematics is free from material content it represents "pure thought" in action. If we take definition seriously, as the little word "must" on p. 13 of the G. T. seems to compel us to do, then we conclude that such a thing as "logic" does not exist at present. What passes for "logic" is only a philosophical grammar of a pre-scientific, primitive form of representation, which Aristotle and his followers did not even make but inherited from primitive ancestors, uncritically accepted, generalised, and put into a system. Correct symbolism tells us un-
We must look in another direction. We can survey the achievements of mankind which have proved to be the most beneficial and of lasting value, study them, and try to train ourselves in repeating the mental processes which have made them. In this way we are led to the study of mathematics and science and acquire the habit of rigorous thought. Naturally, such a way is wasteful; it would be simpler to have a general theory true to the definition of the term "logic," and study this short, ready-made formulation, rather than the actual performance of rigorous thought, and formulate those generalisations for ourselves. At present, this cannot be helped. Such generalisations from actual performance by the best thinkers is called "scientific method," or "applied logic."
As an historical fact mathematics has proved of the very highest value; its structure admits of being perfect. Again applying correct symbolism we see that by definition whatever has symbols and propositions is a language. Mathematics is therefore a language. What kind of language is it? We see that it is a perfect language but at its lowest development—lowest simply because it is not a language in which we can speak about everything.
How about our daily language? We know that with it we can speak about everything, but unfortunately cannot speak sense about anything except by accident. We conclude that language is the highest of mathematics, because all-embracing, but it is at its lowest development—lowest because we cannot speak sense in it.
The result of this analysis is that mathematics and language are different stages of one and the same process, mathematics being the lowest in its development but at the perfect end of the process. Quite naturally it is wiser to start with the perfect product and make it fundamental. For the same reason it is more expedient to consider the whole of human knowledge mathematical in structure, because in such a way we start from something which actually exists, is on record, can be studied, etc., than to start from something which as yet does not exist, like a "logic" true to its definition. From the foregoing it is obvious that any general theory which might be called "psychology" or
It is impossible in this paper to elaborate upon the influence a form of representation has upon the characteristics we find. Let us say briefly that we are saddled with a "plus," a primitive-made language and its implications; and with it, it is impossible to analyse adequately the universe, ourselves included, which are not "plus" affairs. We see, for instance, how psychiatry has been seriously hampered and is still struggling with the "soul," a "plus" affair, and yet psychiatrists persist uncritically in calling man an animal! Of course the "soul" is not something intrinsic with Smith or Jones but it is a characteristic which depends on the aristotelian form of representation. If we accept man as man, as we should do, it leaves us free from "plus" verbal implications. If we think of man as an animal or a god, we are at once saddled with "plus" or "minus" aristotelian implications, which lead to errors. It seems that persisting in pre-human (Fido) attitudes toward our own thinking processes is much more serious and disastrous than would appear to a casual reader.
The world around us is a dynamic affair; human thought for its best working has to deal with static pictures. Again arises the problem of the form of representation. If we select a dynamic form of representation such as we inherited from our primitive ancestry, rigorous rationality is impossible. Such paradoxes as those made famous by Zeno will prevent it. (See Russell under Zeno). This primitive inheritance culminated in science with the system of Sir Isaac Newton and his followers, and in philosophy with the bergsonian and similar systems. They were the first approximations as far as the primitive form of representation could make it possible. Curiously enough the notion that the earth is flat has governed our speculations for ages, and it was a primitive approximation. Only with the Einstein theory, in our own days, do we abandon the other corresponding primitive notion of the flatness of the world of stars!
What is the way out? The way is so simple when once discovered, so simple, indeed, that we can only wonder that it was not discovered long ago. The facts are of course not changed, the world around us remains dynamic; our minds remain static for their best working. The way out is the invention of new forms of representation that would account in static terms for
HERE should follow a disregarded chapter on the development of science. Unfortunately a few suggestions only can be given here.
The atomistic principle—the principle of individualisation—has been extremely fruitful in science. We introduced this principle in the study of substance, electricity and finally applied it to processes themselves, as in the quantum theory. This principle has far reaching consequences; it implies dealing with separate individuals, which again carries with it the extensional attitude, the naming of individuals, and so leads to correct symbolism. The same could be said about mathematics which began with the extensional attitude from which all the rest followed by implication. As the reader already knows, my own work is consistent with this; it requires a new form of representation, which carries also important unconscious elements in it. It diminishes the field of the unconscious by making many of the unconscious assumptions conscious. It seems to the writer that these methodological, and therefore psychological considerations give us a glimpse into the larger values of science, and account also for
The "organism as-a-whole" is also a principle which involves a new form of representation. The parallel to it will be found in the einsteinian mathematics. Psychologically Einstein made up his mind to talk sense or stop talking. He decided to see the world anew. He had to abstract himself to a very high order and free himself as much as possible from preconceived ideas, which are always implied by the accepted form of representation. He decided to see facts and to label them anew. Helped by mathematical method and symbolism he succeeded. This involved a thorough-going behavioristic attitude. But it was a new behaviorism, a mathematical behaviorism in which the rôle of the observer is not disregarded. The implications which the observer carries with his form of representation are considered. Other attitudes are fallacious; they disregard the share of the observer in the observation, an error avoided by the G. T. and the A. By labeling correctly as he went along, Einstein found that by no hook or crook can we divide "space" and "time" (we might add "matter"). "Such a thing is impossible," he said, "therefore let us stop talking about it as if it were possible." Minkowski, his follower, formulated the necessary form of representation and worked out the language in which he does not attempt to divide that which cannot be divided. So the world geometry of four dimensions of Minkowski came into existence. It makes the Einstein general theory possible and it opens a new era in which mankind acquires a static representation for dynamic events. All this enables us to be rational and in accord with the world and with ourselves.
Mathematical space-time (with a hyphen) is the mathematical counterpart of the naturalist's "organism as-a-whole." In my work I follow the same impulses, I refuse to divide what cannot be divided and so I am obliged to establish a new form of representation in the language of "time-binding" and "orders of abstractions." The results are astonishingly similar; the old absolutism goes. But the system is no longer aristotelian.
A few words more regarding the form of representation. When a donkey kicks a donkey there may be a broken bone but the complications are few and of no great consequence. But when Smith kicks Brown the situation at once becomes much more complicated. If Smith and Brown happen to be kings, the kick might be considered as a "deadly offense of a nation by a nation," and without even a broken royal bone a war might follow and
The point in question is that to understand "space," "time," "infinity," etc., we need asymmetrical relations, which are totally excluded by the aristotelian subject-predicate "plus" form of representation. In other words, if we accept the primitive-made language—a "plus" form—under no circumstances shall we be able to give an account of any asymmetrical relation and therefore of "space," "time," "infinity," etc., and so will not be able properly to analyse such a simple statement as "Smith kicks Brown." (See Russell under relations.) The powers and dangers of forms of representation are ever present with a doctrinal, symbolic class of life; in it we find the ready source of our unique powers and as well as our maladjustments.
Consider a striking example of what a form of representation means. In a paper presented before the American Mathematical Society and printed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science February, 1926, Doctor Rainich, the mathematician, tried to introduce "mass" into space-time, each belonging to a different form of representation. He succeeded but at the price of splitting space-time into the original space and time. It is to my knowledge the first proof of how intimately a form of representation is inwardly interconnected, and does not allow much tampering. This fact is of extraordinary importance for psychologists and psychiatrists who always deal with symbolism of some sort. It would be of great interest to have these problems worked out by them.
The circularity of human knowledge has its physiological counterpart. It is an established fact that circularity exists in the physical structure of the human organism. We find in many cases that doctrines which provoke "emotions" are the result of some glandular secretions; these glandular secretions are af-
All the parts of the nervous system are not of the same age; some, as for instance the vegetative system, are older than others. The same can be said about the brain; the brain stem and cerebellum are older than the cerebral cortex. The brain stem and cerebellum are devoted chiefly to reflex and instinctive activities; the cerebral cortex is devoted to the higher associations. The vegetative nervous system is intimately connected with the vital primitive functions of the organism and also with the affective (emotional) and unconscious. The inter-connections within the systems and between the older and newer systems are unspeakably complex and every kind of deviation in the connections is possible, all of which is not sufficiently known at present. It is interesting to note how the consideration of this phylogenetic age difference between different parts of the nervous system may throw some light on problems in connection with "mental age," not only as tested by psychologists but also in the sense I use it in the G. T., where "mental age" is considered according to the amount of information one has. The primitive, the pre-human, the Fidoism, the emotional, and vast unconscious (not necessarily repressions) go together and indicate a low mentality, insufficient use of the cerebral cortex, and the prevalence of the control by the more primitive and older systems.
Mathematics is the leading discipline among all sciences and the only one which—because of its postulational structure—might be perfect. Because of this structure mathematics virtually abolishes the field of the scientific unconscious by making all assumptions, as expressed even in undefined terms, conscious. Quite naturally this shifts the neurological activities by engaging the higher centers, the cortex.
We should not be surprised that, under such circumstances, the "motional" and "emotional" systems of science and philosophy, systems which make rigorous rationality impossible, are the remains of the pre-human, pre-cortex epoch of development. The above considerations explain also why we are governed and swayed so easily by unconscious doctrines; there is such pre-
In the rough, men can usually be divided into four types. Some of us "think" better in visual terms (visile type); some in auditory terms (audile type); some are motile type, and finally some are tactile type. Extreme cases in which individuals belong wholly to one class or another are rare; with the majority of us as a rule all of these propensities are brought into play. It may be suspected that individual peculiarities found in this respect in life are the results of individual peculiarities in the interconnections between the older and the newer nervous systems. The main difficulty is to affect the unconscious, the affective, which in physiological terms means to affect the vegetative nervous system. Psychiatrists know well that quite often a patient is fully aware of his situation, understands thoroughly the mechanism of his trouble and yet nothing happens; the morbid symptoms persist. The foregoing might suggest why rationalisation alone is quite often not sufficient; equivalent doctrines play the havoc because they are disregarded. It seems, however, that the main difficulty is always somehow connected with the equivalence between the dropping of one assumption on one level and the introduction of another on a deeper level. After serious efforts a patient may be induced to drop some assumption, but the patient's very logical unconscious will not stop there; this dropping which is achieved by rationalisation is not enough, as there remains a most intimate connection of this assumption with others on a deeper level which have not been eliminated or clarified. The conflict remains. As a rule this cannot be so easily helped; the inherent structure of all human knowledge being such that a man can pass to higher and indefinitely higher orders of ab-
We are able now to give a suggestion concerning the solution of the "obscure" psychological process involved in training with the A. and the G. T. The fact is that all claims and suggestions expressed in the G. T. become empirical facts only and exclusively after a training with the A.; mere talking about it and rationalising without training, no matter how well done, usually remains practically valueless. This surely was a puzzling situation, which some time ago made me feel almost hopeless about the whole problem. I had very little doubt that the majority of people would ask an explanation of such a fact (for them it was just a claim on my part and not a "fact") and if an explanation were not forthcoming they would drop the whole matter and never start training with the A. The explanation is found in the very complicated interconnections between the nervous systems of different ages, the older ways of "thinking" being unconscious, habitual already in permanent effect upon the older nervous system. The problem was and is to affect the older systems, the affective, the unconscious, or quit. Seemingly this is precisely what the A. does. Being made in relief, with movable pegs, strings, and, particularly, labels which also are movable it is somehow better fitted than any other device I know to drive home this G. T., because it operates through all known channels, the visile, the audile, the motile, the tactile, thus giving us the maximum opportunity to deal with the vegetative nervous system, and therefore the unconscious and affective.
We know that a piano player or a car driver is never a good player or driver unless he plays and drives unconsciously; the same applies to the A. It seems that the eye, which in reality is a part of the brain itself (as we know from embryology), is one of the oldest organs of life and somehow is closer connected with the vegetative system than the ear. Because of this it may be that although the G. T. is an intellectual affair it may reach the affective side of man because training with the A. is a physical affair by which all available channels are called
A few words about the "complexes" of the older psychiatry. We quite often speak about "complexes" as we might speak about a table or a chair or a house; this certainly is an objectification of higher abstractions, very vicious in effect. If we apply correct symbolism to the facts, we see that a human baby is born, not only with its natural propensities and impulses, largely connected with its structure and functions, quite few and simple to observe and analyse, but also is born into a full doctrinal surrounding built of the creeds of his parents, teachers, and what not. He is taught a language which, being a form of representation of a definite kind in the main primitive-made, also carries with it full-fledged metaphysics and by implication distorts and colors observation and "thought" with preconceived and transmitted false creeds.
Having no knowledge of the past or future conditions the baby is from birth under full dominance of the doctrinal set in which it happens to be born. The old animalistic standards begin their deadly work. We begin to repress the baby instead of enlightening it and so from the beginning the future mental disturbances are already implanted. In all actuality there is no such thing as a "complex"; it is simply an extremely complex reaction of a complex doctrinal being to complex doctrinal follies of other complex doctrinal beings. I said "follies" and do not apologise! Underlying this whole situation, due in the main to Fidoism all through, is the complete incapability of the parents and teachers for sound doctrinal orientation, due again to the lack of a scientific treatment of doctrines which involve human daily lives, and particularly the lack of elaboration of methods by which such orientation may be had. On the level of this inquiry the errors are of omission; in life they become errors of commission. The main aim of this work is to fill this gap.
We have here another example of fundamental circularity. Each "cause" is already an "effect"; each "effect" another "cause," strictly interwoven and operative with great precision, in spite of bewildering possibilities. This precision gives us
THE accompanying diagram gives a suggestive sketch as to how the strings and the labels of the A. should be most effectively arranged as shown by my practice. It is not to be supposed that this arrangement is the only one possible.
It is important that in explaining the A. we should use our hands freely, follow up the lines with our hands, play with the labels, speak about the different levels, orders of abstractions, by showing them actually, hanging them, taking them off, etc. This labeling with our hands teaches us the most important essentials of our attitude towards words, and cannot be overstressed. In explaining the A. we should give a general idea of the G. T.; we should explain the event a, how the object b is already an abstraction of some order, which we call here "first order"; and should label the object b with a label c. Then the statement c and its level becomes a fact, and we can look at it, contemplate it, and abstract ourselves still further to a higher order, or deeper level, concentrate our attention on this new fact and speak about it; and so we produce a statement on a different level d. We repeat the same procedure with d and so reach e, etc. It is important in the training not to be shy of repetitions; they help greatly. By such training we exercise the inherent faculty of man, as man, to pass to deeper and deeper levels, or higher and higher orders of abstractions, a characteristic which might be considered as a definition of "human mind" as distinguished from the activities of animals. This peculiar power—it is the secret of the rapid accumulative power of man—we label the time-binding power. We use a new label since the old terms are not sharp. In this way we find two entirely different worlds; the world of Fido, which is comparatively simple however complex
It is important to remember constantly that it is the feeling of the described processes which matters most. The labels are used in three ways; one, as labels, names; the second, to indicate levels; the third, to illustrate the fundamental circularity of human knowledge as indicated by the arrow in the diagram on page 35. Each "characteristic" being one of the highest abstractions man of a certain epoch has produced, or will produce. The present descriptions are far from exhaustive and perhaps even far from satisfactory, but any intelligent reader will be able to amplify this rough sketch.
The higher the order of abstraction, the deeper the level of our analysis, the simpler and more all-embracing the higher abstractions become. The lower abstractions are always made by necessity from a very limited number of observations; they are non-satisfactory in extent; connections are blurred or unknown; generality is impaired, and so the corresponding theories become difficult and in conflict. To teach science to the masses it is perhaps not best to "popularise" something which probably never can be done satisfactorily, but to formulate theories of higher orders of abstractions, on deeper and deeper levels. Such theories would become extremely general, all-embracing and so ultimately very easy to grasp. This might give the man on the street the benefit of modern science.
The above statements run counter to accepted creeds—so much must be granted—but the legitimacy of these creeds has never been investigated. It is an empirical fact in the meantime that the opposite is true, namely, that we all somehow start, and always have, from the latter end (see p. 20 of the G. T.). That mythology precedes science is an empirical fact. On a very low level of development mythology was all that man knew; the troubles began to accumulate when his knowledge began to grow; yet he kept his old mythology, and conflict began. At present we see this conflict becoming more and more acute, and among more advanced races it has come to the point of mental and physical
The principle of least action, for instance, as called by Silberstein in his Theory of Relativity the "Variational Principle," originated fundamentally in metaphysical principles that some supernatural rule reveals itself in nature. Leibniz formulated it in the form, that of all the worlds that may be created the actual world is that which contains, besides the unavoidable evil the maximum good. Yet this principle in its mathematical formulation, called also the hamiltonian, principle appears of extreme generality and therefore usefulness; it allows us to derive the fundamental equations of electro-dynamics and electron theory. It has survived the einsteinian revolution, and is one of the invariants of nature, independent of the system of reference of the observers (see Max Planck, A Survey of Physics).
It takes hundreds of pages of Principia Mathematica, for another instance, to establish the proposition that "one and one are two," yet some savages know it; and we begin the education of our children with such advanced knowledge. Somehow it seems easier to start from a very advanced stage of mathematics.
To give more examples. The euclidian system involves several "infinity" assumptions; in it a line has infinite length; the space constant is infinite; and the natural unit of length is also infinite. In the newtonian system the velocity of light is assumed unconsciously to be infinite, which is an assumption false to facts (see Bonola 46ff, 74, 94. Chap. V; Sommerville 58, 162, 203, and Einstein).
The aristotelian system and allied systems are equally belittered with such "infinity" assumptions. It is extremely interesting to note that in the aristotelian systems as well as in the euclidian and newtonian systems the same mechanism exists for the introduction of these different "infinities"; namely, such an "infinity" when introduced in the denominator
Modern progress does not consist only of the discovery of new knowledge but in the clarification of the ideas involved and the elimination of fallacious or unjustified silent unconscious assumptions which have crept into these primitive systems, and vitiated them, through the disregard of facts, facts unknown to the founders of those older systems. We see why the old mythologies are so dangerous. They all disregard facts, and therefore lead directly to false creeds about this world and ourselves, and so must lead to maladjustment with all its serious consequences. It is very characteristic and significant that the non-euclidian and non-newtonian systems elucidate or eliminate some of these undesirable primitive notions, which also permeate the aristotelian systems and therefore the structure of our language, a defect which again the present non-aristotelian system helps to clarify.
The fact that primitive man unconsciously littered his form of representation with these vague or fallacious feelings of "infinity" is due perhaps to the fact that he could not help but feel (not knowing it explicitly) that his power for higher and higher abstractions is unlimited, and he was using this power constantly though he did not clearly understand what he was doing.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the aristotelian, euclidian and newtonian systems have one most interesting characteristic in common, namely, that they all have a few "infinities" too many. The, modern non-euclidian, non-newtonian and finally non-aristotelian systems, after analysis, eliminate these unjustified notions; new systems arise, quite different from the old ones, which again have this characteristic in common that they have a few "infinities" less, an important characteristic which is especially important in the non-aristotelian system as it helps to clarify our older mythologies. If I am not mistaken the present theory is an example of this.
In my work I deliberately tried to acquaint myself with many more "facts" than the usual generalisations involve (all forms of human behavior, not omitting "insanity," science and mathe-
No one will doubt probably that it is easy and simple to train a child with the A. using an apple or an orange; asking him to tell "all" about it, and then when he has finished his tale to show him experimentally, using the microscope if need be, that he did not say "all," which is an impossibility, because all we know and may know are abstractions of different orders—the word "abstraction" meaning "not all." Having conveyed this to him experimentally it is easy to train him habitually to remember unconsciously, that in the whole series of human "facts," "this is not this, and this is not this," as shown by the A., and so all through. This simple and childish training is the psychological key not only to the understanding of modern science but also ourselves; a key for the unlocking of the tangle of doctrines from which human life is never completely free. This accomplished—and it can always with patience be accomplished—the individual Smith becomes an entirely different person; his whole attitude is changed, in general; most of his difficulties vanish. Modern achievements in science are due to the same psychological attitude, but the modern scientists seldom keep this professional attitude outside of their specialty. Usually in private life and particularly in discussions of human problems the Fido predominates, and so the refute in practice what they ought to know from science. My observation shows me that this is the case practically everywhere, so that trainingwith the A. might be of use even to scientists. Originally I did not think so, but observation has forced me to change that opinion.
It is an historical fact that a few men have contributed more to mankind than others. We call this class "geniuses." Analysing their activities we find that the great majority of them have a peculiar characteristic noticed by Leibniz, a power to see the old anew. This power can be found in most of them. What does it mean? No more and no less than that "geniuses" are freer somehow from Fidoism and preconceived ideas; they mistrust unconsciously the old forms of representation and build up new forms and invent new languages to describe old facts. By using a method by which we can train ourselves to the conscious-
A significant fact should be noticed about the G. T. and the A. One general and simple rule applies to three most fundamental errors, which are more destructive of human endeavors than we have ever dreamed of: the rule is, "This is not this, etc.," as shown on the A., which means that b is not a, and c is not b, and d is not c, and e is not d, and f is not e, and g is not f; which is to say that an object is not an event, that a word is not an object, and a statement about a statement is not the same statement, nor is it on the same level.
It should never be forgotten that the A. conveys also something which it is impossible to convey by words at all, and which is extremely difficult to master habitually. Whenever we use a word we are never on the level of the object but always on the level of the label; to reach the level of the object we must point to it with our finger and be silent. Those critics who burst into speech all the time never succeed in being on the level of the object; and all their activity is on the level of talky-talk which without the A. they hardly realise or can realise. This realisation when acquired makes a rather profound and very subtle difference in attitude, which in the meantime is an exceedingly valuable psychological acquisition, it teaches us to observe. It explains also why the art of criticism is such a difficult one; the majority of critics defend some creed, silent or explicit, instead of making an impartial analysis of the subject in hand, which ought to be always a higher order of abstractions.
If we have not the sense for this inherent stratification of all human knowledge we are entirely unaware of the mixing of our levels, the confusion of orders of abstractions, and so the two fundamental errors arise. One is the mistaking of a label—a word—for an object. This error is very common and usually very difficult to avoid. It is the origin of the savage magic of words. Some call it "hypostatization" or "reification" of the older philosophers; others, like Whitehead, use the term "misplaced concreteness." I call this error "objectification of higher abstractions," it is a confusion of orders of abstractions. I select the common
When Whitehead and Russell were working at the foundations of mathematics they found themselves confronted by a very serious difficulty, namely: they came across endless paradoxes and self-contradictions, which of course would make mathematics impossible. After many efforts they found that all of these paradoxes had one general source, in the rough, in expressions that use the word "all," as, for example, "a proposition about all propositions." They found that such totalities, or such "all," were not legitimate, as they involved a self-contradiction to start with, namely: a proposition cannot be made about all propositions without some restriction since it would have to embrace the very proposition being made. So they had to invent the theory of mathematical types for the purpose of avoiding such fallacies. The theory of types solved the problems of the mathematical paradoxes and self-contradictions. That theory is rather difficult, but at present it is indispensable if we are to have mathematics without self-contradictions. Nevertheless, for reasons that cannot be here given, the theory is somehow distrusted and disliked by most, the authors included. Please note that the G. T. and the A. are built upon "non-allness."
In my researches in Humanology I came across the same difficulties and had somehow to solve them. My solution is given in the G. T. and the A. It is very interesting, instructive and, it seems to me, important to notice that the G. T. and the A. cover also the theory of types. It gives it in a different garb, perhaps one more sympathetic and more effective in form, for the application to daily life and not only to mathematics. It seems that the theory of types, although of purely mathematical origin,
As I said above the secret of training with the A. is the childish training to the effect "this is not this, etc."; Fido's "thinking" considers "this is this" and fights and dies for it. To reiterate. A statement about a statement is not the same statement, but is already the product of higher abstraction. From this we see that a proposition about other propositions belongs to a different level of abstractions and should not be put alongside the original set of propositions. The term proposition is such that it can be applied to all levels except the first order of abstractions. The other developments are very similar to the theory of types but cannot be explained in this short paper, and the reader must be referred to the Principia Mathematica (Chapter 11 of the Introduction).
How about the application of it to life? It seems unnecessary to enlarge upon the acknowledged fact that human beings are completely immersed in symbolic dealings with each other and ultimately with themselves, because our habits of speech become parts of our data, and represent already preconceived ideas. What we talk, and how we talk, and our attitudes toward our own and other people's talk, our personal life, community life, national and international life, institutions, customs, habits, etc., depend on what we talk, how we talk, what the other fellow talks, and our attitudes toward these endless talks. How can one revise or correct the statements of himself and others that he might "feel" are somehow wrong, when he himself has not the capacity for clear thinking and does not know the dangers of speech?
The same problems remain perhaps in a more acute form in psychiatry. A baby is born; his parents not only talk over their problems and begin to talk to the baby, but the whole life of the parents, embracing all of their creeds, customs, habits, institutions, taboos and what not, is entirely and thoroughly colored not only by all the talky-talk of all their family, friends, prophets and what not, but also by their attitude toward the talky-talk they are hearing constantly, etc., etc. Of course there is a short cut across this endless tangle, namely: let us assume that a baby is educated in a proper way, has explained to it and is shown the structure of human knowledge, and is trained in the way more or less outlined here. Would it be as easy to wreck his life?
IN this short space it is possible to show only one, though most important, application of the A. to the confusion of higher order abstractions, which corresponds to the confusion of types of Russell. Before we make a decision we usually make a more or less hasty survey of happenings, this survey being a foundation for our judgment, which is the base of our action. This statement is fairly general as the elements of it can be found by analysis practically everywhere. Our problem is to clear the general case no matter on what level. Let us follow up roughly the process.
Let us assume a hypothetical case of an ideal observer who would observe correctly and would give an impersonal, unbiased account of what he had observed. Let us assume that he has seen happenings †, ‡, *, ¶ occur, and then a new happening occurs. He gives a description of the facts in the case, let us say in the form a, b, c, d,........x; and then he makes an inference from facts, or reaches a conclusion, or forms a judgment about these facts. Obviously we are on at least three different and distinct levels of abstraction. We assume further that facts unknown to him, which always exist, are of no importance in this case. Let us assume that his conclusions are correct and the action which this conclusion motivates is proper.
Let us now take another individual Smith, ignorant of what was said here, a politician let us say, who habitually jumps his levels (mixes his orders of abstractions) and rather makes a business out of it. Let us assume that he is observing the "same happenings." What would happen? He would have witnessed the happenings so and so †, ‡, *, ¶, and the new happening would be also a new happening to him. His process would be as follows: the happenings †, ‡, *, ¶, he would describe in the form a, b, c, d, from which he would form a judgment, reach a conclusion B, which means that he would pass to another order of abstractions, another level. When the new happening would occur he would handle it with an already formed opinion B and so his description of the happening would be colored, and no longer the x of the ideal observer but B(x)=y. His de-
A diagram will make it clearer, as it is very difficult to explain this merely by words. On the A. it is shown without difficulties.
First order abstractions
|†, ‡, *, ¶, . . .||†, ‡, *, ¶, . . . .|
|.....||. . . .|
Second order abstractions
|a, b, c, d,... x
|a, b, c, d,... B(x)=y
and what not.
Third order abstractions
Let us illustrate the foregoing with two clinical cases. In one, a young boy refused persistently to get up in the morning; in another, a boy persistently took money from his mother's pocketbook. In both cases the actions were undesirable. In both cases the parents jumped the levels; they mixed their orders of abstractions. In the first case they concluded that the boy was lazy; in the other, that the boy was a thief. They added these inferences to every new description of facts, so that their new "facts" became more and more distorted and colored, and the actions more and more detrimental to all concerned. The general conditions in the family became worse and worse until a final break-down followed. The psychiatrist dealt with the problems as shown in the dia-
It seems unnecessary to enlarge upon this subject. Every one of us can supply endless examples of this kind from our own observation or experience. Naturally, the generality of our method is a powerful asset and because of its generality it can be given to everybody; it can be taught in homes and schools. It is a preventive method in the millions and millions of cases where human life is wrecked through the lack of a working educational theory concerned with these matters. It is not enough to preach these "platitudes," if one wishes to call them so; they must be practised as well, otherwise the talky-talk and preaching is a farce. If the parents of the boys mentioned above had been trained as children with the A. would the situation have become as acute? For years?
The diagram on p. 44 explains also the difference between this work and other works. Because I understand the G. T. and the A. and have trained myself with it, I am able to avoid the mistakes indicated, on any scale, no matter how large, mistakes which as a matter of record have not been avoided at present, even by scientists.
Let us go to the consideration of orders of abstractions on the A. We naturally are on three levels. On one, the first level, we see with our eyes, let us say; we could give a moving picture of them. We would see what humans do (even writing a book, which is also behavior). In this case we would have to have an ideal moving picture in every conceivable detail. At a second order of abstraction we describe our facts, that they (a) eat, sleep, etc.; (b) cheat, murder, etc.; (c) love, sacrifice, etc.; (d) moralise, philosophise, legislate, etc.; (e) scientifise, mathematise, etc.
What we usually do however is this: we abstract on a higher level facts (a); jump a level; form a conclusion "man is an animal," etc. With this conclusion we jump the level again and color the description of our facts (b), (c), (d), etc., jump again to a higher level, and build conclusions from descriptions (a)
It might appear at first glance that all being said here is simple and easy. On the contrary it is not. In all my studies and experience I have never found anything more difficult. It involves the uprooting of old habits, taboos, philosophies and private doctrines, the worst being our primitive-made aristotelian language, all of which is deeply rooted in us, working unconsciously. Therefore rationalisation, lip-service to the "understanding" of it, will not do whatsoever. Patient and persistent training is the only way to acquire this special sense, the habit for sensing the mixing of orders of abstractions. This sense is difficult to acquire, as difficult perhaps as learning to spell correctly, but when acquired we can never miss the continuous jumping of levels of abstractions, and so utilise it consciously and become immune to its dangers. Most of the important terms apply to all levels, except the first one, a fact impossible to avoid ("ambiguous to type" of Russell), and which makes this special sense uniquely important. It seems needless to repeat that all said here applies in the fullest extent to our social, political, economical and international problems. Before any sanity can be brought into these problems, before they can be rationally analysed at all, the very investigators would have to be trained first to avoid these verbal pitfalls, without which training and re-education older Fido debates on all sides are a waste of time and effort. I say "waste of time" simply because there is no end
A word of warning will not be amiss. Experience has taught me that the training with the A. and the G. T. are painful and disagreeable for grown-ups. It requires such an amount of persistence and effort, as much as to learn spelling or grammar, that unless a man is unhappy and looking for help I would not attempt to train him. Children as a rule have no difficulties in getting it. They have less to unlearn.
The theory of types was invented by mathematicians to solve their troubles; but in mathematics when a trouble is solved successfully it remains solved, disposed of for good. Not so in human life in general; "troubles" arise continually. The G. T. and the A. help to solve them, and because they deal with life, they are bound to have continuous application in all degrees, wherever human life is.
In the beginning psychiatrists and some mathematicians probably will be first to experiment with the A., the psychiatrists because they will find that with the G. T. and the A. they will be able to unravel that still more general and universally present form of the unconscious which I call the scientific or public unconscious, and which underlies a great many mental troubles. They will find in it methods of education by which to influence surroundings of the patients so often responsible for breakdowns; and methods to deal with equivalent assumptions; and finally a preventive method in general education where to my knowledge there is none at present. The training with the A. and the G. T. should theoretically improve what we call "mentality." It might even help imbeciles and morons; but as yet I have no experimental material in this field. That it helps super-morons I have many examples.
The methods of training are obvious. First of all the student ought to understand the G. T. Then he should keep the A. before his eyes; look at it; handle the labels and strings, and thus become thoroughly acquainted with it; tentatively explain it to friends and so slowly acquire the habit of it, thus keeping the labels in his pocket, so to say. In this way the consciousness that we abstract, which is the main issue, will become a permanent acquisition. Whenever he hears an argument of any kind, or reads one in the papers, some political speech for example, he should try to apply the A., which means to trace the confusion of orders of abstractions (Fidoism in our language) and the underlying assumptions. Of the confusion of orders of abstractions two at present are the most important; first, the objectification of higher abstractions; second, the reading of inferences into descriptions. If this is done, the student will find abundant material, some of it astonishing enough for further inquiry. It is useful to take actual arguments because after some training with the G. T. and the A. the student may lose the capacity for inventing hypothetical cases. They will seem too stupid to him.
Personally, I have lost this capacity, so that in my work I must depend on the arguments of other people for material.
When this preliminary training is fairly well advanced and the student has acquired a more or less habitual consciousness that he abstracts, it is time for him to pay attention to the other important points of the theory, which, because they depend on this consciousness that we abstract, will present no difficulty whatsoever. When this full re-education is completed the student will find himself psychologically equipped to understand Einstein and modern science. After Einstein is understood it is extremely useful to read one or two works in which Einstein is attacked, or in which rival theories are propounded. It is only after such work is done that the student will be able to appreciate fully the generality of the G. T.
Einstein's theory has many aspects: some are mathematical, some are physical, some psychological, some methodological, etc.; there is at present a serious confusion in these matters, due in the main to the lack of appreciation of the many aspects this theory represents. Einstein himself stresses the physical side, which may be true or false accordingly to experiment. No "philosophical" generalisation taken from this particular field has any
Our world in 1926 is an entirely different world from what it was a few years ago. The problems of human life are problems of adjustment, and to adjust ourselves to anything we men have first to know something about this "something" we have to adjust ourselves to. Happiness is becoming increasingly rare among modern men, and will remain so as long as we persist in applying animal standards to ourselves. Now, such an error has also different levels. Before the error as such is discovered on a higher order of abstractions (deeper level) it is not "error" but "truth," or "fate," or anything we please. It is a necessity. When the error is discovered by a new analysis on a deeper level it ceases to be "truth" or "fate" or "cruel necessity"; it becomes simply error. The problem of compulsion on the older level becomes a problem of preference on the new level. We have two ways open before us (not only one any more); we can select either way we please. If we decide that we like the old miseries and the eventual extinction of the human race let us suit ourselves. It is our pleasure and no more a necessity. If we decide otherwise, again it is our pleasure. In this matter the author has nothing to say except that "necessity," "fate" are bluffs, plain and simple, although we may do whatever we please. What will mankind do? I really do not know. Our Fido ways are so unspeakably deep-
There is indeed a tremendous power, unrealised as yet in the application of correct symbolism to facts and in the understanding of the structure of human knowledge! Let us take for instance the problem of adjustment. I use, for sake of illustration, a pencil. If we believe (creed, 1000n B. C.) in the "absolute concreteness" of it (whatever this could mean) then of course we deal with fiction; but if we believe (a creed just the same, 1926 A. D.), as explained in the G. T., that the pencil we see and hold in our hands is an abstraction of a certain order which we call the first, then we deal with reality. In the first case we deal with fictions and we cannot adjust ourselves to such a fictitious world and so we may break down. In the second case, we deal with reality; we can adjust ourselves; we do not break down. Psychiatrists will probably be interested in this transformation of different "realities." It is a problem which is intimately connected with mental ills.
Similarly, in parlor conversations we ascribe to the theory of Relativity the principle that "everything is relative"; if we analyse such a statement on a deeper level we come to the conclusion that this statement if true would be an absolute statement. It is important to note that these statements have very little to do with the external world; they reflect in the meantime the structure of human knowledge and so again what is relative on one level might become absolute on another, an instance where the field of human disagreement is diminished and two opposites can be reconciled. The understanding of this mechanism is of great importance in our lives.
THE reader should understand that this work is a limited inquiry, into a limited subject, with limited results. The metaphysician need not become alarmed; as Whitehead has put it, I stop where he begins to become excited. The present work is not a speculation but an inquiry (1926) into the natural history of man as-a-whole, and all his activities. Such an enterprise seems to be novel, and because of that fact naturally it must be full of weak spots which future inquiries will correct or eliminate. In my case I attempt to build deliberately a non-aristotelian
In closing I wish to draw the attention of the reader to a desideratum, much emphasised of late by the best educators, psychiatrists, neurologists, etc., and all men of experience and wisdom. It might be expressed somehow as follows. The first aim of scientific pedagogy should essentially be the prolongation of the plasticity of childhood, the preservation of mental youth, so to say. It seems to the author that this desideratum is a very serious and useful one, and if only we could do a little in this direction a great deal would thereby be accomplished. It seems that the present theory and the A. give the means to build up such plasticity. The consciousness that we abstract is the psychological key to this plasticity; the fact that all human knowledge is postulational in structure (mathematical) is another important step in this direction. All of this when understood and habitually acquired, affects our unconscious attitudes which are essential for such plasticity. It involves automatically a psychological attitude and philosophy of "as if."
This non-aristotelian theory aims to be very general in its limited field, which happens to be rather wide, and applies to all talky-talk, no matter who does it. I stress the talky-talk; it is a self-imposed limitation to delete the old metaphysics from the problem, as there is no way out with it. The reigning metaphysics are neither true nor false as investigation shows; they
The attitude of the writer is neither that of "materialism" nor "idealism" of the old, "materialism" being a hypocritical "idealism"; "idealism" in its turn being some kind of elementalism. Instead of cleaning up a mess I select to start anew, as a matter of economy of time.
If we must label this system, non-aristotelian would probably be the most appropriate. In my Manhood of Humanity and other writings I have already begun an independent non-aristotelian inquiry.
My claims are conservative and often merely suggestive. The grief in such work as this comes from trying to originate a science of man. In this unique subject we all somehow assume that we are experts; we jump to criticism (higher order abstraction!) before we know what we are talking about. No field of human inquiry is equally unpleasant and ungrateful—and seemingly more important. Another great difficulty is found in the fact that, at present, such a non-aristotelian line of inquiry is novel and that therefore I have to work practically unaided. In my experience I have found that many scientists (not all) when they are outside their own field of specialty, are just the same narrow, innocent, blind followers of prejudices and vicious habits of thought as average men: their opinions in such matters are just as little valid. When I say to one of these that I try to establish a "science of man" he usually tells me cordially, "fine enterprise"; but when it comes to face the issues of this "fine enterprise," he often is no more the scientist, his personality splits somehow, and he talks usually as a hurt and naughty baby; quite often he is not willing even to grant to me the most orthodox standards of fairness universally applied in science. Fortunately he who will go through with the training will discover for himself whether my claims are exaggerated. If he will not pay the price he cannot be a competent judge; his judgment could not be
The reader cannot miss that the present work, as well as future similar works where all forms of human behavior will be studied and which will be non-aristotelian in character, will require not only special training but also cannot be classified under any one of the older branches of science, although dealing practically with all of them as forms of human behavior. We had even to look into metaphysics, apply correct symbolism to it to find that it has no meaning, which is the only legitimate statement which can be made about it. The metaphysicians try to speak about the unspeakable, which in parlors is misbehavior, but in life becomes a fraud, it is an attempt to make noises pass for words, which they are not.
My attempt is as yet without academic pigeon hole, academic sanction, chair, or bread and butter, blessed with all academic and non-academic prejudices, all of which is a serious handicap to the author and to future workers. Is it useful? Is it worth while? Is it important? Those who will study it and apply it will know for themselves. I am eager for practical experimental results and would greatly appreciate reports of the same.
Because of the misuse of the term "Human Engineering," I have been compelled to abandon this label and have returned to another name already coined in my Manhood of Humanity, namely, "Humanology."
The material presented here so roughly is being worked out in a book form under the title Time-Binding; The General Theory, An Introduction to Humanology, to be published shortly.
I AM deeply indebted to Professors C. J. Keyser, E. T. Bell and R. D. Carmichael, Doctors W. A. White, H. S. Sullivan, P. S. Graven, and a few other personal friends for their kindness in reading this paper in MS. and for their valuable criticisms and suggestions. I owe much also to Mr. H. L. Haywood for editorial assistance. At the same time, as I need not say, I assume entire responsibility for these pages, especially since I have not always followed the suggestions made.