On Sane Interactions, or Sanity: Not in the Individual Sense, but in the Social Sense …


I don’t know about you, but when I think about sanity, especially as promoted within general semantics, I tend to think about it in the individual sense.

That is, I think about sanity as a personal thing.  That general semantics is for you, in order for you to get sane.

But last night while lying in bed before sleeping, it struck me that general semantics didn’t actually seem to be about something so individual and personal.  Sanity, I was thinking, was a bit more social as  treated in general semantics.  Specifically, I was thinking about sane interactions.  What they might be.  What they look like.  And how general semantics seems to be talking more about those than just personal sanity …


I think the notion of sane interactions evolved a bit from thinking about life as a negotiation, which I’d been thinking about recently.  Or, perhaps separately I was thinking about how some interactions I have can be just plain insane, and thinking about insane interactions just got me thinking about sane interactions.  I don’t remember the train of thought.  But I remember that the idea of sane intereactions was really interesting.

War, from a korzybskian perspective, probably fits the bill as an insane interaction.  Coordinating schedules with friends and family is probably a bit more on the sane interaction plane.  That is, it probably is sane interaction insofar as you, your friends, and family aren’t trying to sabotage plans at the same time.  Does that mean that sanity is a quality of interaction wherein the participants don’t sabotage each other’s pursuits toward particular goals?  And insanity is a quality of interaction wherein the participants do sabotage their goals?

If so, that would mean that many sports are probably insane interactions.  Well, at least on the surface.  Digging a little deeper, competition is intentional in many sports, so if you don’t compete, and instead cooperate with the opposing team, you’ve probably created an insane interaction.  But let’s say that at your job, you require cooperation, so any competition you are unnecessarily faced with may make it seem that you are in an insane interaction.


As far as what general semantics is talking about when it talks of sanity, it is talking to you.  But maybe it’s talking to you and that other person you’re interacting with.  Maybe it’s looking at time-binding (the passing on of constructive information from generation to generation, a term coined by Alfred Korzybski) not as done by individuals but as done in interactions.  That is, if God were in a helicopter, maybe he’s not looking at you, but instead looking at the interaction you and that other person happen to be in.  And his advice is not to make you better, but to make your interaction better.  Hm?

Probably more later.

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