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Natural order of evaluation
"It is commonplace that a problem stated is well on its way to solution, for statement of the nature of a problem signifies that the underlying quality is being transformed into determinate distinctions of terms and relations or has become an object of articulate thought."
John Dewey, On Experience, Nature and Freedom.

"It is best to learn as we go, not go as we have learned."
Leslie Jeanne Sahler


The realisation of the relative importance of the orders of abstraction for survival of the organism, led Korzybski to formulate the natural order of evaluation in the following manner:

  1. the silent level of process, the physical event,
  2. the objective silent level,
  3. the first verbal level, descriptive,
  4. higher verbal levels, inferences,
  5. etc.
The process level is more important for survival than the objective level (for example, an electric wire under high voltage exhibits no sign of danger at the objective level but can kill you none the less). The silent objective level is also more important than the descriptive verbal level, the descriptive level more than the inferential levels, etc.
This natural order corresponds on the Differential Structural to a 'reverse' order, the higher orders of abstractions being at the bottom and the event level at the top. Since the order on the SD is arbitrary, one may wonder why it has not been made to correspond to the verbal terminology, by putting higher levels at the top and lower levels at the bottom? A tentative answer is that, being trained from childhood to read from top to bottom, Korzybski placed the first, lower levels at the top and the higher levels at the bottom. So that we consider first the lower levels.
© ESGS, 2002.