To the human being, on the other hand, the red light is, in our terminology, a symbol, and we shall term the human reaction a symbol reaction: that is, a delayed reaction, conditional upon the circumstances. In other words, the nervous system capable of only signal reactions identifies the signal with the thing for which the signal stands; the human nervous system, however, working under normal conditions, understands no necessary connection between the symbol and that for which the symbol stands" (14). "These directive utterances with collective sanction, which try to impose patterns of behavior upon the individual in the interests of the whole group, are among the most interesting of linguistic events...There is probably no kind of utterance that we take more seriously, that affects our lives more deeply...In its laws, society makes its mightiest collective effort to impose predictability upon human behavior" (68-69).
Such language is almost always phrased in words that have affective connotations.
Such directive utterances are often accompanied by appeals to supernatural powers ("So help me God").
If God does not punish us for failing to carry out our agreements, it is made clear, either by statement or implication, that our society will. (can be put in jail for breaking laws)
The formal and public utterance of the vows may be preceded by preliminary disciplines of various kinds. (initiations for frats, ceremonies before priesthood)
The utterances of the directive language may be accompanied by other activities or gestures, all calculated to impress the occasion on the mind. (people stand when judge enters room, people wear gowns for commencement and weddings)
The uttering of the vows may be immediately followed by feasts, dancing, and other joyous manifestations. Again, the purpose seems to be to reinforce still further the effect of the vows. (receptions after weddings, after graduations)
In cases where the first utterance of the vows is not made a special ceremonial occasion, the effect on the memory is usually achieved by frequent repetition. (classrooms say pledge of allegiance every morning, awards displayed in a common area)
Through communication we make agreements creates predictability and order.
"Guiding ourselves by means of such maps of territories-to-be, we can impose a certain predictability upon future events. With words, therefore, we influence and to an enormous extent control future events...These attempts to control, direct, or influence the future actions of fellow human beings with words may be termed directive uses of language. If directive language is to direct effectively, it cannot be dull or uninteresting...The nature of the affective means used in directive language is limited, of course, by the nature of our aims...We supplement directive language, therefore, by nonverbal affective appeals of many kinds...Now, if we want people to do certain things and don't care why they do them, then no affective appeals are excluded"
"The 'object' of our experience, then, is not the 'thing in itself,' but an interaction between our nervous systems (with all their imperfections) and something outside them. Bessie is unique...But our nervous systems, automatically abstracting or selecting from the Bessie-in-process those features of hers in which she resembles other animals of like shape, functions, and habits, classify her as a 'cow.'...When we say, then, that 'Bessie is a cow,' we are only noting the process-Bessie's resemblances to other 'cows' and ignoring differences" "It is the 'insolubility' of the rat's problem that leads to its nervous breakdown, and...rats and human beings seem to go through pretty much the same stages. First, they are trained to make a given choice habitually when confronted by a given problem; secondly, they get a terrible shock when they find that the conditions have changes and that the choice doesn't produce the expected results; third, whether through shock, anxiety, or frustration, they may fixate on the original choice and continue to make that choice regardless of consequences; fourth, they sullenly refuse to act at all; fifth, when by external compulsion they are forced to make a choice, they again make the one they were originally trained to make...finally, even with the goal visible in front of them, to be attainted simply by making a different choice, they go crazy out of frustration" (169-170).
"But human breakdowns are ordinarily caused by problems that human beings themselves have created...There are limits to a rat's power of abstraction. But there are no clear limits to the potential human capacity to abstract and organize and make use of abstractions. Hence, if human beings find problems insoluble because of fixed reactions...they are functioning at less than full human capacity"