Brain Development – Concrete to Abstract
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Researchers found that the ability of college freshman to comprehend semantic meaning, different from concrete meaning, has diminished. Only 50% of college freshman could think in abstract semantic concepts which had historically been assumed to open at age twelve. The rest were stuck back in their early childhood concrete language patterns. This anticipates and predicts an inability of young people to interact with abstract concepts such as the bill of rights, beauty, philosophies, and even more the abstract languages of science and mathematics. This reflects a biological failure to develop the necessary brain-structures needed to produce the internal imagery that give these abstract word-symbols meaning.

There was a study done in the late 1980’s at a big western university, now let’s see what state it was.  At any rate I was there for about a week and they had made a study of their incoming freshmen to see where they stood in what we call the Pieje in stages of development centering around the development of concrete operational thinking which depends on concrete language and interacting with your world in a very viable real way at age 7, which runs from about 7 to 11 when the child is in this state of what we call concrete operational thinking.  Then around 11 or 12 there opens up what we call formal operational thinking which is the ability to comprehend, understand and use Symantec language which is not concrete language, not language designating things and objects but language designating meaning, ideas or concepts.   And the discovery was that only 50% of their incoming freshmen could sent in Symantec language which had always been assumed to open up at age 12, only 50% of the incoming and these are the university students, supposedly the cream of the crop of your whole state, and only 50% of them have arrived at a 12 year old stage of development.  The rest of them were still back in their concrete operational stage which means a word had to have a direct physical correlation in their immediate comprehension or the word was meaningless to them, which meant also that there was no way in the world you would ever be able to explain the meaning of something so abstract as The Bill of Rights or The Constitution or The Sermon on the Mount, or more less getting into how level abstractions such as Science and Chemistry and so on.  They just didn’t have this available.  The neural structures weren’t there.   So now we find that 50 years ago the average American child, high school student, had a working vocabulary of approximately 25,000 words.  Now today that’s been reduced to 10,000 words which means that there has been a serious loss of the scope of what, the language which is what we call descriptive and they’re left only with the concrete images or language, of concrete imagery of tangible physical touchable stuff.  Now unfortunately you can’t touch metaphoric symbolic thinking.  You can’t touch Symantec language.  It isn’t available on the sensory system.  You can’t convert into a concrete language or an image the principles of Chemistry or Physics or any of that, or Mathematics or the higher ethical domains of experience.  None of that is available on a concrete level but only on a Symantec meaning level.  And so we have eliminated the descriptive aspects of the child’s language system and left them only with the concrete immediately physical aspects of language.  And what did this do, it’s thrown them into some very severe boundaries of their own comprehension, their own ability to perceive.