Developing Sanity in Human Affairs

By Susan Presby Kodish; Robert P. Holston | Go to book overview

Table 1 continued
How does mind operate apart from body?
16. PSEUDO-WORDS AND NON-REFERENCING WORDS.
Words with no true referents. Index the reference.
What specifically do you have in ref-
erence?
"That makes him a failure." What specifically do you mean by
"failure?"
Does "failure" refer to anything that
actually exists? Does it not merely
function as an intensional definition?

NOTES
1.
This article originally appeared in General Semantics Bulletin 63 ( 1996): 45-57 and is used by permission.
2.
Ellis and Harper ( 1975) identified ten irrational ideas that "stand in the way of leading an anxiety-free, unhostile life" (p. 88). These indicate some powerful, irrational, and illogical ideas that we need to challenge to create and live by a more rational philosophy. A New Guide to Rational Living ( Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.). The general semanticist will see in these formulations the linguistic shift that REBT suggests in moving away from static, elementalistic, nonreferencing identification to formulations that put the speaker back into the map and that own one's own semantic- evaluations.

Demanding Approval: "I must have love and approval from all the people I find significant." "Need," as implied here, constitutes a pseudo-word, a non-referencing word that creates a false-to-fact map about one's drives. "Must" indicates a modal operator of necessity and maps a false-to-fact need. This illogically "sets up a perfectionistic, unattainable goal" (p. 92). Solution: Question this statement, dispute it, substitute "want" for "must," focus on loving rather than getting love, refuse to confuse getting love and having personal worth.

Demanding Achievement: "I must prove thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving; or, I must have competence and talent in some important area of life." The irrationality in this one shows up in the "notion that humans have value proportional to their accomplishments; that they might as well curl up and die" if they don't (p. 102). Solution: Challenge the "am" in the statement "I am a butcher, baker, candlestick maker" (p. 104). Eliminate the "to be" verbs of "am" and "are". Stop rating yourself according to your performance. "No horror exists if you never have coitus--merely disadvantage and inconvenience" (p. 107). Engage in anti-awfuliz-

-289-

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