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Pensandolo Bien.

Ramiro J. Alvarez. Pensandolo Bien. Bilbao, Spain: Desclee De Brouwer, 1999.

Little known to ETC readers because his writings have not been translated from the original Spanish, Ramiro J. Alvarez presents Korzybski's general semantics with inventive twists in Pensandolo Bien ..., Guia practica para asomarse a la realidad (translation: Come To Think of It ..., a practical guide for getting closer to 'reality'). An educator, clinical psychologist, amateur landscape painter, and professional author, Alvarez, who lives in Galicia, first learned of Korzybski in the 1990s from Richard Bandler's and John Grinder's The Structure of Magic. At the time, Alvarez was writing his own manual to teach neurolinguistic programming.

What distinguishes Pensandolo Bien's treatment of general semantics? Many readers of ETC will remember Gilbert Gosseyn from A.E. van Vogt's Null-A books--Van Vogt set his Null-A novels several centuries into the future, as if to say that humanity might some day achieve "sanity." In contrast, Alvarez gives his readers Wumph, the first of a post-Pleistocene band to emerge from the caves after Europe's ice age. Orienting himself to the extensional facts of a changing earth, Wumph communicates through grunts, hand gestures, and pictures traced in the dirt, as he leads and lifts his comrades out of darkness, fear, and ignorance. However implausible the character may seem from the perspective of scientific cultural anthropology (despite his undeveloped language skills, Wumph displays sophisticated consciousness), Alvarez's creation makes the point that delayed response, non-allness 'thinking,' silence on the objective levels, etc., have served as the engines of human time-binding, predating not only systematized general semantics but all written language, as well.

Along with the triumphant narrative of Wumph and his red-haired concubine Mirwa, Pensandolo Bien contains expository passages, charts, tables, an "uncritical inferences" test, and citations to the work of David Bourland, Albert Ellis, Isabel Caro and other authors known to students of general semantics. Most chapters conclude with summaries and suggestions for "practical applications." Chapter and sub-chapter headings include: "Subject-Predicate Structure," "Non-Verbal Methods," "Levels of Abstraction," "When Words are Too Much," and "Extensional Focus." Dr. Caro has called Pensandolo Bien "an excellent representation of GS principles."


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Author:Ardery, Philip
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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