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Travels in China and Japan

ETC author, lecturer, therapist, and trainer Dr. Risa Kaparo traveled to China with her daughter, Deanna, last October. Dr. Kaparo lectured on the system of Somalogics[SM] to the faculty at Dalien Medical School. They also visited the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guilin, Dali, and Dalian.

"I was so touched by the openness of people I met, and their deep thirst for shared inquiry," Kaparo told us. This was her first trip to China, and she would love to go again. On route to China, they stopped in Japan where they explored one of the magnificent gardens in Suzhou.

Kaparo, who lives on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, often trains professional therapists and educators. Her "Poetry and E-Prime" appeared in the Summer 1992 ETC, and her three-part "Developing a Self-Referencing System: The Matrix" began in the Winter 1996-97 ETC.

In November, she will visit Egypt and London, returning in December. In London, she will lead a Yoga Mastery[SM] workshop for Yoga teachers.

In Egypt she will visit Cairo, Aswan, Bahariya Oasis, Edfu, and Luxor.

"I will be teaching Somalogics[SM] embodiment work and Somatic Meditations[SM] all along the tour to people from all walks of life coming mostly from California. I look forward to teaching on this trip, which will be co-led by noted Egyptologist, Fadel Gad, and my close friend, the wonderful sound healer and Chantress, Lisa Rafael, who has a beautiful CD out called Prayers of Alia, which she recorded in the great pyramids."

Kaparo's book of poetry, Embrace, published by Scarlet Tanager, will be out in the first quarter of 2002.

"The poems chronicle one women's soul-engendering journey, from her own childhood to the stewarding of the next generation, redeeming a legacy of trauma, and an affirmation of love that comes through embracing the depths of meaning that nourishes life."


like children who've slept with their bellies empty

rush into the streets

hungry to eat the morning

like rock quickened by tendrils of light

I've walked with the sun until night fell

forgetful of the reason of hours

still the road rears its head

slithers like a snake beneath my feet

midnight clings to my breast

coils its blue flesh about me

now flames of stars

lick my body

flames like mouths of women

in love

I am nothing

embrace me

even nothing can not last

Dr. Kaparo will be in the San Francisco Bay Area to give a workshop on Somatic Meditations [SM] on October 5th, 2001. Later, in early 2002, she will return to the Bay Area to do readings from her book at Cody's Books in Berkeley and other spots. Contact Risa Kaparo at: Web page:

How Do You Use General Semantics?

In reviewing our membership roster, I discovered that most of our members work in education (teachers, graduate and undergraduate students, librarians, trainers) or communication (journalists, writers, editors, translators). However, we also have members in such diverse fields as business, architecture, art, engineering, finance, government, law, management, marketing, mathematics, medicine, military, religion, research, computer science, life science, social science, physical science, music, etc.

Some of our members have applied general semantics formulations in their careers and other activities. I invite you to send us a short report (500 words or less) about how you have used general semantics in your work or in other activities.

For example, I have found that studying general semantics has increased my awareness of the assumptions that I make. In the early 1980s, I worked as a computer programmer. When the computer was running, a "bug" in my program triggered a "634 Conversion Error" message, and suddenly everything stopped. That error message was all the help I was going to get from the computer; it wouldn't tell me which of the six or more types of conversion errors was the cause of the problem in my particular case. This computer, named Oscar, just stonewalled me. Oscar wasn't like the helpful, conversational computer, HAL 9000, in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, who could suggest possible reasons for a malfunction.

I felt a tide of anger at this unexpected and even insulting surprise. My gut-level reaction was emotional: "You stupid machine, you should be doing what I told you to do! I did not make any mistakes in writing your program code. It must be your fault, you dumb computer, not a flaw in my program!" That was my assumption.

Then I realized that the probability was 99+ % that the error was in my program (the software), not the machine (the hardware). At that point I took a deep breath and a 'thalamo-cortical pause,' (as recommended by Korzybski in Science and Sanity). I gave myself time to calm down and just sit quietly and think carefully. I began a mental field trip through the various sections of my BASIC-language program, trying to imagine the most likely location of my programming error -- if, indeed, I had made a mistake. At this point, I had achieved 'thalamo-cortical' integration, and with it, the ability to more effectively think through and think around the problem.

Next, I brought up the program on-screen -- just a few thousand lines of code -- so I could find the problem (or problems). Grudgingly, I began to check the program code, looking for any kind of error, and sure enough, I found that I had left out a darn comma in a dimension statement. In those days, the computers were unforgiving, no matter how trivial the coding error. However, I must say that working with such a stubborn machine was a worthwhile experience because it convinced me of the validity of some general semantics formulations and of the principles of scientific method; the need for careful and systematic thinking; and the importance of cultivating skills for thinking about my thinking.

So I invite you to write your own story. Make it dramatic: Teach us a lesson about how we can become more skillful in reducing the number of unnecessary bad experiences. Make it funny: Sometimes, failure to apply general semantics principles leads to humorous but harmless misunderstandings. Make it useful: Tell us how applying a general semantics principle contributed significantly to a good outcome when dealing with your children, parents, colleagues, or others.

Another way to approach writing a report for this Membership Page is to answer the questions, "Knowing what I know now about general semantics, if I could go back in time to talk to myself as a kid, what general semantics advice would the adult-me give to the kid-me? How could I have used general semantics in my youth, which might have made life better? In other words, what general semantics wisdom do I have that might benefit the young people of the 21st century?"

Come one, come all -- domestic and international members of all ages: Send me your write-ups, and photos, if you wish; you may see them published in ETC (as we have done with Dr. Kaparo's report above). Send your contribution by e-mail ( or by postal mail (preferably as an electronic file in Microsoft Word on a 3.5" IBM-compatible disk) to ISGS, ETC Membership Page Editor, P. O. Box 728, Concord, CA 94522, USA.

One more thing: Remember that we're always looking for new members. If each member found only one new member for ISGS, that would be a great help. I imagine that you have at least one friend who would be interested in general semantics if he or she knew of its existence. Tell such a friend about our web site, or suggest that they contact the ISGS office for some introductory information and a free copy of ETC.

You, the intelligent thinkers, the terrific time-binders, who care deeply about the future of humanity and our planet, can help to make the world a better place. Do some networking to spread the word about general semantics. I feel sure that many thousands out there would appreciate becoming aware of general semantics. We don't need to persuade people to study and use general semantics; there are so many people out there already who are GS-type thinkers. Let's find them.

Many people worldwide know that, for the sake of human and planetary survival, we need more skills and resources for improving human harmony and rational behavior -- yet they cannot imagine that something like general semantics exists. Help them discover it. They may thank you for it, as I thanked my friend, Greg B. Phillips, who introduced me to the work of A. E. van Vogt. I read van Vogt's futuristic, classic science-fiction novels, The World of Null-A and The Players of Null-A, which describe how general semantics could serve as the basis for a society, as well as being a useful, science-oriented educational discipline that I could internalize. These Null-A books (still available) have become so popular, since they first appeared in the mid-1940s, that they have been translated into nine languages. For my sake, I'm glad that Mr. van Vogt made the effort to write his books so I could discover and benefit from general semantics.
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Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Previous Article:Glimpse 2001.

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