Printer Friendly



IN DECEMBER 1999, while surfing and searching the Internet for references to Korzybski and general semantics, I stumbled upon this link:

[less than]www. .htm[greater than]

The site contained lecture notes by Wayne Danielson, University of Texas, for a Mass Communications course. After some introductory material, Slide 4 of 30 caught my attention:

Quote of the Day:

What distinguishes us from all other creatures? --

"A quarter inch of cortex."

-- Alfred Korzybski

Professor Danielson then addressed the general topic of The Trouble With Language, using several general semantics formulations and tools. The slide-lecture is based on a chapter in the Werner J. Severin and James W. Tankard Jr. book, Communication Theories: Origins, Methods and Uses in the Mass Media. (Fourth edition. New York: Longman, 1997.)

As I reviewed Professor Danielson's presentation, I recalled the list of educators compiled by Peter Christopher that appeared in the Summer 1999 ETC. Inspired by the time-binding initiatives of Peter and Wayne, I began the new year by sending an e-mail to all those listed with e-mail addresses in the ETC article, as well as other known-to-me time-binders. My e-mails included several links related to general semantics which I've found meaningful, educational, informative, etc. The editors of ETC then suggested to me that a broader audience might find such links useful and invited this article. I gladly accepted their invitation. However, I want to state clearly that many more articles than the ones mentioned below reside on the sites I've listed. These articles serve only as a representative sample of the available online 'wealth' that I personally can recommend.

Located on the Institute of General Semantics website:

[less than][greater than] (Note the hyphen.)

* Biography, memoirs, and remembrances of Alfred Korzybski:

[less than][greater than]

A "must read," in my opinion, for anyone who finds value in the system that Alfred Korzybski formulated. One can gain an appreciation for the formulator behind the formulations in these compassionate, well-written and most accessible articles first published in the General Semantics Bulletin Number Three, 1950:

* "A Biographical Sketch," by Charlotte Schuchardt. -- Charlotte Schuchardt Read first studied with Korzybski at a seminar in Chicago in 1936, then joined the Institute in 1939 as his editorial secretary. She currently serves as Director Emeritus of the Institute and remains active in the organization. Charlotte Read celebrated her 90th birthday this past December.

* "A Memoir: Alfred Korzybski & His Work," by M. Kendig. -- M. Kendig, known by most as simply "Kendig," joined Korzybski in 1938, helped him establish the Institute of General Semantics, and served as the first Educational Director. After Korzybski died in 1950, Kendig assumed the duties of Director of the Institute and formulational torch bearer. She led the organization for the next two decades, serving as the driving force behind the General Semantics Bulletin, the annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lectures, and the seminar-workshops. She died in November 1981.

* "An Appreciation by One of His Students," by Guthrie M. Janssen. -- Guthrie M. Janssen edited Selections from Science and Sanity during his yearlong working fellowship at the Institute in 1946-47.

* "The Alfred Korzybski I Know," by J. Samuel Bois. -- J. Samuel Bois published an impressive body of work in general semantics, including The Art of Awareness and Explorations in Awareness, and served as principal lecturer at the Institute's seminar-workshops immediately following Korzybski's death.

* "He Deepened My Awareness," by Irving J. Lee. -- Irving J. Lee, professor of speech at Northwestern University until his untimely death in 1955, authored some of the most popular of the general semantics "popularizations," including Language Habits in Human Affairs.

I would hope the above names "ring a bell" with many readers of ETC. Some other articles on this site I recommend are:

* "Korzybski and General Semantics," by George Doris:

[less than][greater than]

Published in the General Semantics Bulletin Number 50 (1983). Then Editor Robert P. Pula described this article as "[ldots] one of the most successful recent attempts we have seen" in presenting a "popular yet rigorous" explication of general semantics. General enough for the beginning student of general semantics to grasp, yet with enough formulational 'meat' to provide a beneficial review for the more experienced time-binder. Note particularly Dori's s explanations distinguishing grammar, logic, semantics, and general semantics.

* "The Role of Language in the Perceptual Processes," by Alfred Korzybski:

[less than]www. Shtml[greater than]

Published in Alfred Korzybski: Collected Writings 1920-1950. Korzybski died on March 1,1950, leaving this as his last published work. Charlotte Schuchardt completed the final "minor" editing, and presented the paper at the University of Texas Clinical Psychology Symposium on Perception, April 3, 1950. This paper, together with his Introduction to the Second Edition of Science and Sanity, provide overviews of the system which reflect the benefit of Korzybski's continual re-examination of the formulations even after publishing Science and Sanity.

* "Using General-Semantics" by Dr. Susan Presby Kodish:

[less than] Shtml[greater than]

Published in ETC, Spring 1998. Susan Presby Kodish and her husband, Dr. Bruce I. Kodish, wrote the most recent overview of general semantics, Drive Yourself Sane!, the second edition of which will appear soon. "Using General-Semantics," from the Institute's seminar-workshop curriculum, provides practical applications for fifteen general semantics formulations. Suitable for daily use, these applications take general semantics out of the theoretical, academic realm and into that worthwhile endeavor of driving yourself sane (!).

* "Creating Sense-able Questions For Silent-Level Experiments," by Bruce I. Kodish:

[less than][greater than]

More often than not, new students of the discipline overlook the non-verbal awareness aspects of general semantics. These short but effective exercises help one grasp the profundity of Korzybski's insight: "Our actual lives are lived entirely on the objective levels, including the un-speakable 'feelings,' 'emotions,' etc, the verbal levels being only auxiliary, and effective only if they are translated back into first order un-speakable effects, such as an object, an action, a 'feeling,' etc, all on the silent and un-speakable objective levels." S&S, page 35.

* "Fuzzy Logic and General-Semantics in Everyday Life," by Bruce Kodish and Susan Presby Kodish:

[less than][greater than]

This well-written 1994 paper, presented at the Colloquium on Exploring Life Applications of Fuzzy Logic, relates how 'fuzzy logic,' or the avoidance of exclusively two-valued orientations, applies to hotly-debated topics such as race, ethnicity, the beginning of life, physical disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identification, and political labels. (Other articles by Susan Presby Kodish and Bruce Kodish reside on the IGS site at:

[less than][greater than].)

* "General Semantics: A Critical and Meta-Critical System," by Milton Dawes:

[less than][greater than]

Certainly no stranger to readers of ETC, Dawes presented this paper at the Eleventh International Interdisciplinary Conference on General Semantics, at Hofstra University in November 1995. Dawes' articles 'always' reflect his unique insights into how a general semantics orientation results in more fully human living and evaluating. (Other articles by Milton Dawes reside on the IGS site at:

[less than] [greater than],

and on my site,

[less than][greater than.)

* An annotated bibliography of books related to general semantics, by Robert P. Pula:

[less than][greater than]

This bibliography by the equally-familiar-to-ETC-readers Robert Pula provides an invaluable aid to serious students and aspiring time-binders, not only because he's compiled a listing of the most important books about, and related to, general semantics, but he also provides rigorous and critical assessments of those books.

* "Neuroscience Update (1995)," by Robert P. Pula:

[less than][greater than]

In this extended explication, Pula reviews three books, relating how general semantics "holds up" under the light of then-current (1995) neuroscience. He discusses: Gerald M. Edelman's Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind; Patricia Smith Churchland's Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain, and The Making of Memory: From Molecules to Mind by Steven Rose. (Other articles by Robert Pula reside on the IGS site:

[less than][greater than].)

* "A Brief Historical Survey" of the Institute of General Semantics, by Charlotte Schuchardt Read:

[less than][greater than]

Presented July 27, 1988, at the International Conference on General Semantics held at Yale University, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Institute. This paper appeared in the General Semantics Bulletin Number 54 and provides a fascinating -- in my opinion -- glimpse into the early days of the organization from Charlotte Read's unique perspective.

The International Society for General Semantics continues to add to its site at:

[less than][greater than] (Note: no hyphen.)

Several articles from the archives of ETC merit your particular attention, especially these three:

[less than][greater than],

* "A Compendium of Definitions," by Robert Wanderer:

[less than][greater than]

Have you ever entered a discussion and found yourself futilely attempting to define general semantics? Robert Wanderer, Director of the International Society and recipient of the 1999 J. Talbot Winchell Award for his contributions to the advancement of general semantics, provides this most helpful compendium of definitions. And even with this seemingly comprehensive compilation, we remember the etc. -- more could be said.

* "A General-Semantics Glossary, Part 1," by Robert P. Pula:

[less than][greater than]

From ETC, Pula offers this concise, rigorous description of the discipline. Note that several other selections from his "Glossary" appear on the site, with links located on:

[less than][greater than]

Pula's entire glossary of general-semantics terms will soon appear in book form under the title A General-Semantics Glossary: Pula's Guide for the Perplexed published by the International Society for General Semantics.

* "TO BE OR NOT TO BE: E-Prime as a Tool for Critical Thinking: E-Prime! -- The Fundamentals," by D. David Bourland, Jr.:

[less than][greater than]

D. David Bourland, Jr., formulator of E-Prime and current President of the International Society for General Semantics, studied under Korzybski and served as working Fellow at the Institute during Korzybski's final year. In this article, published in ETC in 1989, Bourland puts forth a rational explanation of the theory underlying E-Prime, and a compelling case for its application.

I call your attention to the articles linked on the ISGS home page under the column heading, "Free for Reprinting (good reading, too!)." Gregg Hoffmann, resident media literacy expert and veteran journalist who also teaches journalism at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, writes a monthly column on timely topics which even non-editors and non-publishers may enjoy. The four articles available as of this date include: "Why the Concern About Y2K?," "The Man-Made Millennium," "Snarling and Purring Through the Primaries," and "Rocker Rocking Baseball."

While you visit the ISGS site, also check out the announcement about "Time-Binding 2000: A Virtual General Semantics Conference":

[less than][greater than]

I encourage you to also explore the sites below, some hosted by organizations, others by individuals:

* European Society for General Semantics:

[less than][greater than]

The increasingly-active European time-binders host this informative site in no less than four languages: French, English (British version), Spanish, and Italian. German and Polish pages appear as works-in-progress.

If you don't have access to Korzybski's Manhood of Humanity or Collected Writings, I especially recommended these three works by Korzybski available on the ESGS site:

* Manhood of Humanity -- The complete text of Korzybski's first book resides at:

[less than][greater than]

* "What I Believe."

[less than][greater than]

From Collected Writings, "Originally written in 1948 on invitation for a symposium, 'The Faith I Live By,' New Delhi, India."

* "General Semantics -- Toward a new general system of evaluation and predictability in solving human problems."

[less than][greater than]

This article first appeared in the 1949 edition of American People's Encyclopedia, Volume 9.

Here are some other pages that certainly warrant your visit.

* Wendell Johnson Memorial Home Page, including chapters from several of his books:

[less than][sim]njohnson/wjhome.html[greater than]

Wendell Johnson authored one of the most influential and widely-read books on general semantics, People In Quandaries, as well as many other books and articles during his tenure at the University of Iowa. His son Nicholas Johnson, former Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and 1995 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer, hosts this thoroughly enjoyable and very personal site in memory of his father.

* "Quantum Psychology: E and E-Prime," by Robert Anton Wilson:

[less than][greater than]

Author, comedian, futurist and 1997 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer, Robert Anton Wilson provides another entertaining and informative explanation of and justification for E-Prime.

* The Sensory Awareness Foundation:

[less than][greater than]

From their home page: "The Sensory Awareness Foundation was founded in 1971 to provide information on the work of Elsa Gindler and Charlotte Selver." Korzybski included "semantic relaxation" demonstrations as a key component of his intensive seminar-workshops. Charlotte Selver came to the U.S. from her native Germany in 1938 -- coincidentally, the same year as the formation of the Institute of General Semantics. In the mid-1950s, she lectured and led sensory awareness exercises as a member of the Institute's seminar staff. Her work greatly influenced Charlotte Schuchardt Read, who continues to promote this under-appreciated aspect of re-training and re-orienting the organism -as-a-whole-in-environments-at-given-times. Read served on a panel discussion of sensory awareness as part of the one-day colloquium on "Mindfulness" last October at Pace University, co-hosted by the Institute and the Straus Thinking & Learning Center.

* Life Moves:

[less than][greater than]

From Charlotte Selver to Charlotte Schuchardt Read to Dr. Bruce I. Kodish, time-binding continues in this important area of sensory awareness.

Three other "must-reads" on the Transmillennium site are:

* Bruce Kodish's "Emptying Your Cup: Non-Verbal Awareness and General-Semantics." (Published in ETC, Spring 1998.)

[less than][greater than]

* "About General-Semantics," co-authored by Bruce Kodish and his wife Susan Presby Kodish.

[less than][g reater than]

* "Contra Max Black" -- Bruce Kodish provides an extensive examination and critique of what some have termed the "definitive criticism of Korzybski's work."

[less than][greater than]

For two other educational sites that offer rewarding reading, visit:

* The Straus Thinking & Learning Center, Pace University:

[less than][greater than]

An endowment by Robert K. Straus established The Straus Thinking & Learning Center at Pace University in New York City. Led by longtime general semantics and critical thinking advocate Dr. Rachel Lauer, the Center works closely with the Institute in co-sponsoring and hosting numerous programs related to the field.

* Steven Lewis Home Page:

[less than][greater than]

Steven Lewis teaches biology at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, Kansas. A student of general semantics for over twenty years, Steven has created a site that includes an impressive compilation of articles congruent with Korzybski's formulations, both in terms of theory and application.

And finally, I offer a few links located on my own site:

[less than][greater than]

* A short tutorial:

[less than][greater than]

Though not advertised specifically as general semantics, I've tried to compose a 16-frame, 20-minute overview that challenges readers to assess their own individual orientation, or approach to living.

* Notes from an Institute-hosted seminar, "Tools For Living," led by Milton Dawes:

[less than][greater than]

Milton Dawes and I conducted a weekend seminar called "Tools For Living" in May 1999 in Dallas. This article summarizes what we did in the Institute-sponsored seminar and provides, in my opinion, an excellent overview of general semantics as a system in 'layman's' terms.

* Several articles collected from the writings of Milton Dawes:

[less than][greater than]

While somewhat overlapping the selections available on the Institute's site, I continue to add articles to my site in an attempt to provide as much access as possible to the works of this amazing and inspiring time-binder.

* Some quotes I find pertinent to general semantics:

[less than][greater than]

Drawn from within the general semantics literature as well as other related disciplines.

* My attempt to introduce general semantics:

[less than][greater than]

Enough said.

Please note that this list does not remotely constitute a 'complete' list. At best, it resembles a start. I encourage you to check out these sites, offer feedback to the 'owners,' and tell others about good links that you have discovered. I certainly would enjoy adding more general semantics links to my website, and I feel confident both the Institute and the International Society webmasters would as well. As time-binders, for those of you/us who choose to accept such a calling, I submit that this type of interaction goes with the territory. Or map, depending on where you locate yourself in the analogy.

A version of this article with active links resides on the author's website at:

[less than][greater than], and on the ISGS site at: [less than][greater than]. These addresses were accurate at press time.

Some older browsers may require the inclusion of "http://".

(*.) Steve Stockdale serves as a Trustee of the Institute of General Semantics. He resides in Irving, Texas, where he publishes a twice-monthly online newsletter, Chanticleer Calls, [less than][greater than], emphasizing "[ldots] differences that make a difference." William Safire described this site as thoughtful." Steve receives e-mail at: [less than][greater than].
COPYRIGHT 2000 Institute of General Semantics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2000

Related Articles
General semantics on the Internet.
Robert Wanderer on GS Then and Now.
Ed MacNeal -- General Semantics Then and Now.
Institute of General Semantics. (News & Notes).
International GS Conference scheduled for November 2003. (News & Notes).
Science progresses when separated things are brought together. (News & Notes).
Charlotte Schuchardt Read 1909-2002.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters