Manhood of Humanity Author:Alfred Korzybski Preface — THIS book is primarily a study of Man and ultimately embraces all the great qualities and problems of Man. As a study of Man it takes into consideration all the characteristics which make Man what he is. If some readers do note the absence of certain expressions familiar to them, it does not mean that the author does not feel or think a... more »s many other people-he does-and very much so; but in this book an effort has been made to approach the problem of Man from a scientific-mathematical point of view, and therefore great pains have been taken not to use words insufficiently defined, or words with many meanings. The author has done his utmost to use such words as convey only the meaning intended, and in the case of some words, such as "spiritual," there has been superadded the word "so-called," not because the author has any belief or disbelief in such phenomena; there is no need for beliefs because some such phenomena exist, no matter what we may think of them or by what name we call them; but because the word "spiritual" is not scientifically defined, and every individual understands and uses this word in a personal and private way. To be impersonal the author has had to indicate this element by adding "so-called." I repeat once again that this book is not a "materialistic" or a "spiritualistic" book-it is a study of "Man" and therefore does and should include materialistic as well as spiritual phenomena because only the complex of these phenomena constitutes the complex of Man.
The problem has not been approached from the point of view of any private doctrine or creed, but from a mathematical, an engineering, point of view, which is impersonal and passionless. It is obvious that to be able to speak about the great affairs of Man, his spiritual, moral, physical, economic, social or political status, it must first be ascertained what Man is-what is his real nature and what are the basic laws of his nature. If we succeed in finding the laws of human nature, all the rest will be a comparatively easy task-the ethical, social, economic and political status of Man should be in accord with the laws of his nature; then civilization will be a human civilization-a permanent and peaceful one-not before.
It is useless to argue if electricity be "natural" or "supernatural," of "material" or of "spiritual" origin. As a matter of fact we do not ask these questions in studying electricity; we endeavor to find out the natural laws governing it and in handling live wires we do not argue or speculate about them?we use rubber gloves, etc. It will be the same with Man and the great affairs of Man?we have, first of all, to know what Man is.
Though this book has been written with scrupulous care to avoid words or terms of vague meaning-and though it often may seem coldly critical of things metaphysical, it has not been written with indifference to that great, perhaps the greatest, urge of the human heart-the craving for spiritual truth-our yearning for the higher potentialities of that which we call "mind," "soul" and "spirit"-but it has been written with the deep desire to find the source of these qualities, their scientific significance and a scientific proof of them, so that they may be approached and studied by the best minds of the world without the digressions, and misinterpretations that are caused by the color and the confusion of personal emotions; and if the book be read with care, it will be seen that, though the clarifying definition of the classes of life has been chiefly used in the book for its great carrying power in the practical world, its greatest help will ultimately be in guiding the investigation, the right valuation and especially the control and use of the higher human powers.
In writing this book I have been not only introducing new ideas and new methods of analysis, but I have been using a tongue new to me. The original manuscript was very crude and foreign in form, and I am greatly indebted to various friends for their patient kindness in correcting the many errors of my poor English.
I am also under great obligations to Walter Polakov, Doctor of Engineering, for his exceedingly helpful suggestions, not only in giving me a thorough criticism from the point of view of the Engineer, but also in devoting his energies to organizing the first "Time-binding Club" where these problems have been discussed and criticized, with great practical results.
To all those who have read and criticized the manuscript or helped otherwise-Professors E. H. Moore, C. J. Keyser, J. H. Robinson, Burges Johnson, E. A. Ross, A. Petrunkevitch; and Doctors J. Grove-Korski, Charles P. Steinmetz, J. P. Warbasse; Robert B. Wolf, Vice-President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Champlain L. Riley, Vice-President of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers; Miss Josephine Osborn; to the authors, L. Brandeis, E. G. Conklin, C. J. Keyser, J. Loeb, E. S. Mead, H. O'Higgins, W. Polakov, J. H. Robinson, R. B. Wolf, for their kind permission to quote them, I wish to express my sincere appreciation.
I wish also to acknowledge the deepest gratitude to my wife, formerly Mira Edgerly, who has found in this discovery of the natural law for the human class of life, the solution of her life long search, and who, because of her interest in my work, has given me incomparably inspiring help and valuable criticism. It is not an exaggeration to state that except for her steady and relentless work and her time, which saved my time, this book could not have been produced in such a comparatively short time.
Mr. Walter Polakov of New York City, Industrial Counsellor and Industrial Engineer in New York City, has kindly consented at my request to act, with my authority, as my representative to whom any further queries should be addressed in my absence from America.
To all other friends who have helped in many personal ways I express thankfulness, as I wish also to thank John Macrae, Esq., the Vice-President of E. P. Dutton & Co., for his unusual attitude toward publishing the book.