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:
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.
- the silent level of process, the physical event,
- the objective silent level,
- the first verbal level, descriptive,
- higher verbal levels, inferences,
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
© ESGS, 2002.