Holy Korzybski, Batman!


Perhaps you’re coming to my general semantics blog after seeing a link from my recent series of contributions to ETC: A Review of General Semantics.  If so, welcome!

Or if you aren’t aware of what I’m talking about, in ETC 68:2 (April 2011) I edited together a transcript from a recording of Alfred Korzybski I came across on a record series at the Institute of General Semantics.  It had not been released.  My friend Victoria Libertore voluntarily did the original transcription of the records, which I sent to her in MP3 files I created from the recordings.  From there, I polished the transcript, correcting words and punctuation to match more closely what is on the recordings.  Voila!  “New” Korzybski work!

In my general semantics blog, you’ll find some of my new essays on general semantics and my explorations of its ideas.  I’ve followed general semantics since 1994 or 1995 (I became a member of the International Society for General Semantics in 1995).  In recent months, I’ve explored the meaning of the term “general semantics,” which seems to get its profile from the title of the major work in the field, Korzybski’s Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics.  I make a case that in the title, the phrase “General Semantics” actually means “General Implications.”  Therefore, the name of our field, “general semantics” doesn’t really mean much more than “general implications,” a fact that will lead you to asking the question, “General implications of what?”

I follow by arguing “General implications of adopting a non-aristotelian system.”  But finding “non-aristotelian system” a bit clunky in normal parlance, I opt for the term “modern scientific thinking.”  By that, I mean the thinking that scientists employ these days, especially in contrast to the “scientific” thinking that contemporaries of Aristotle or subsequent followers of his adopted.  To summarize Science and Sanity, it is a study on the general implications of adopting modern scientific thinking, particular when those adopting this kind of thinking are the unsane or insane.  The language component in general semantics is not all that remarkable in its advice: “Change your language to fit reality.”  It’s just that not all that many people who exhibit unsane or insane tendencies understand a modern scientific take on reality.  Thus, they operate delusionally.  So proposing that the unsane and insane look at what they’re saying and change what they’re saying to fit reality I suppose was pretty innovative at the time.  Given how some of my friends think, act, and stress, many people still don’t get or simply resist looking at their problems with revised, more scientificaly accurate language … so general semantics remains still pretty innovative!

In this general semantics blog, I also cover some communication theory as well as semantics (in contrast to general semantics).  Use the Search box at the top to cover specific topics, or use the tags found at the end of essays or in the flyout above to pull up essays on topics of interest.  I’m periodic in my writing in this blog on general semantics, and these last few months have been a little light as I cover other responsibilities in the field.  But I love writing here, and I hope to do some more for you, so subscribe via RSS if you won’t be checking back soon.  Thanks for stopping by, and read on!

Ben Hauck

See also: , , , , , , ,

~ End Article and Begin Conversation ~

~ Now It's Your Turn ~

Feel free to use <strong>, <em>, and <a href="">


Search this Site




alfred-korzybski aristotelianism cassius-keyser concept conflict definition engineering extension extensional-orientation game-theory gantt-chart general-principle-of-uncertainty generic-terms goals human-engineering identity implication improv insane insanity intension is-of-identity language language-as-generic manhood-of-humanity marketing mathematical-philosophy meaning non-aristotelianism non-elementalism personal-engineering productivity sane sanity science science-and-sanity semantic-reaction semantics structural-differential thinking time-binding unsanity values walter-polakov ways-of-thinking