Friday, December 09, 2011
The subject of General Semantics (and Count Alfred Korzybski) came up quite often when studying with RAW, even if only indirectly (as in discussions of E-Prime, for instance, or Non-Aristotelean Logic).
GS aims to improve one's ability to evaluate the world and one's place in it.
Details of that amazing sounding set of lectures, here.
I guess RAW learned about GS later, perhaps via Burroughs, and A.E.Van Vogt, etc - or through the founders of NLP - Bandler and Grinder (say). Or maybe Bucky Fuller, Alan Watts or Gregory Bateson.
Bob himself gave a lecture at the Institute of General Semantics - here in PDF format.
More recently, Graham Rae gave this interesting presentation:
He posted the text of the talk on this forum at Reality Studio.
This OM post has appeared now in response to our hearing about a huge biography of Korzybski written by Bruce Kodish which sounds fascinating (to me).
Kodish has a blog related to this material here.
And here, on the relationship to Burroughs.
For those who do not know anything about the subject, this brief summary by Piero Scaruffi might give you a glimpse, although whether such a brief description may confuse more than enlighten, who can say?
• Animals: hunters and gatherers = bind to territory, i.e."space-binders"
• Humans: agriculture = bind to a memory of the past and prediction of the future, i.e. "time-binders"
• Time-binding is enabled by a nervous system that is capable of constructing and manipulating symbols
• Time-binding allows to transmit knowledge to succeeding generations
• The rate of growth of human knowledge is exponential (aka the Jumping Jesus Phenomenon)
• Language allows time-binders to categorize/generalize experiences and communicate them to others
• General Semantics to remedy the limits of language:
• We have fewer words and concepts than experiences: we "confuse" similar situations
• We must evaluate a situation less by intension (its category) and more by extension (its unique features)
• We must avoid categorization/generalization and spot the unique characteristics of a situation
This link goes to the Institute of General Semantics, relating to the new biography.
New York Society of General Semantics - about Korzybski by Susan and Bruce Kodish
fUSION aNOMALY on Korzysbski
fUSION aNOMALY on Burroughs
Steven Lewis - brief bio of Korzybski
Steven Lewis on General Semantics
Donald Fagen mentions GS, RAW, Van Vogt and Burroughs
Language, a virus? By Florian Cramer
The Road to Interzone: Reading William S. Burroughs Reading by Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens - The Road to Interzone Interview by Paul Hawkins