ALFRED KORZYBSKI SCIENCE AND SANITY PDF

This theory is only for the physical bodies of animals; its effect upon humanity is sinister and degrading. We see the principle at work all about us in criminal exploitation and profiteering. As a matter of fact, the ages-long application of this animal principle to human affairs has degraded the whole human morale in an inconceivably far-reaching way. Personal greed and selfishness are brazenly owned as principles of conduct. We shrug our shoulders in acquiescence and proclaim greed and selfishness to be the very core of human nature, take it all for granted, and let it pass at that. We have gone so far in our degradation that the prophet of capitalistic principles, Adam Smith, in his famous Wealth of Nations, arrives at the laws of wealth, not from the phenomena of wealth nor from statistical statements, but from the phenomena of selfishness-a fact which shows how far-reaching in its dire influence upon all humanity is the theory that human beings are "animals.

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Overview[ edit ] "Identification" and "the silent level"[ edit ] In the "Silent and Verbal Levels" diagram, [9] the arrows and boxes denote ordered stages in human neuro-evaluative processing that happens in an instant. Although newer knowledge in biology has more sharply defined what the text in these boxes labels "electro-colloidal", [10] the diagram remains, as Korzybski wrote in his last published paper in , "satisfactory for our purpose of explaining briefly the most general and important points".

Once trained, general semanticists affirm, a person will act, respond, and make decisions more appropriate to any given set of happenings. Although producing saliva constitutes an appropriate response when lemon juice drips onto the tongue, a person has inappropriately identified when an imagined lemon or the word "l—e—m—o—n" triggers a salivation response.

According to the memory-prediction model for intelligence, if the stored representations resolve the arriving patterns, this constitutes "understanding", and brain activity shifts from evaluation to triggering motor responses. When the retrieved representations do not sufficiently resolve newly arrived patterns, evaluating persists, engaging higher layers of the cortex in an ongoing pursuit of resolution.

The additional time required for signals to travel up and down the cortical hierarchy [15] constitutes what general semantics calls a "beneficial neurological delay".

Korzybski called his remedy for identification "consciousness of abstracting. The techniques Korzybski prescribed to help a person develop consciousness of abstracting he called "extensional devices".

Suppose you teach in a school or university. Students enter your classroom on the first day of a new term, and, if you identify these new students to a memory association retrieved by your brain, you under-engage your powers of observation and your cortex. Indexing makes explicit a differentiating of studentsthis term from studentsprior terms.

You survey the new students, and indexing explicitly differentiates student1 from student2 from student3, etc. Suppose you recognize one student—call her Anna—from a prior course in which Anna either excelled or did poorly. Again, you escape identification by your indexed awareness that Annathis term, this course is different from Annathat term, that course.

Not identifying, you both expand and sharpen your apprehension of "students" with an awareness rooted in fresh silent-level observations. Language considerations figure prominently in general semantics, and three language and communications specialists who embraced general semantics, university professors and authors Hayakawa , Wendell Johnson and Neil Postman , played major roles in framing general semantics, especially for non-readers of Science and Sanity.

The science[ edit ] Many recognized specialists in the knowledge areas where Korzybski claimed to have anchored general semantics—biology, epistemology , mathematics, neurology, physics, psychiatry, etc.

Keyser , C. Bridges , W. Ritter , P. Bridgman , G. Korzybski wrote in the preface to the third edition of Science and Sanity that general semantics "turned out to be an empirical natural science. So Black summed up general semantics as "some hypothetical neurology fortified with dogmatic metaphysics. The benefits come from maintaining an awareness of the principles and attitudes that are derived from GS and applying them as they are needed.

You can sort of compare general semantics to yoga in that respect In introductory remarks to the participants, Korzybski said: General semantics formulates a new experimental branch of natural science, underlying an empirical theory of human evaluations and orientations and involving a definite neurological mechanism, present in all humans.

Chase called Korzybski "a pioneer" and described Science and Sanity as "formulating a genuine science of communication. You talk about semantics and not Korzybskian semantics. The structural differential , patented by Korzybski in the s, remained among the chief training aids to help students reach "the silent level," a prerequisite for achieving "neurological delay.

To me the great error Korzybski made—and I carried on, financial necessity—and for which we pay the price today in many criticisms, consisted in not restricting ourselves to training very thoroughly a very few people who would be competent to utilize the discipline in various fields and to train others.

We should have done this before encouraging anyone to popularize or spread the word horrid phrase in societies for general semantics, by talking about general semantics instead of learning, using, etc. Yes, large numbers of people do enjoy making a philosophy of general semantics. This saves them the pain of rigorous training so simple and general and limited that it seems obvious when said, yet so difficult.

Johnston, executive director of the Society at the date of the merger, to teach general semantics with a light-hearted Practical Fairy Tales for Everyday Living. In general semantics, it is always possible to give a description of empirical facts, but such descriptions remain just that—descriptions—which necessarily leave out many aspects of the objective, microscopic, and submicroscopic events they describe.

Time binding: The human ability to pass information and knowledge from one generation to the next. Korzybski claimed this to be a unique capacity, separating people from animals.

This distinctly human ability for one generation to start where a previous generation left off, is a consequence of the uniquely human ability to move to higher and higher levels of abstraction without limit.

Animals possess knowledge, but each generation of animals does things pretty much in the same way as the previous generation, limited by their neurology and genetic makeup. For example, at one time most human societies were hunter-gatherers, but now more advanced means of food production growing, raising, or buying predominate.

Except for some insects for example, ants , all animals are still hunter-gatherer species, even though many have existed longer than the human species. For this reason, animals are regarded in general semantics as space-binders, and plants, which are usually stationary, as energy-binders. Connections to other disciplines[ edit ] The influence of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle , and of early operationalists and pragmatists such as Charles Sanders Peirce , is particularly clear in the foundational ideas of general semantics.

Korzybski himself acknowledged many of these influences. Although Korzybski never acknowledged any influence from this quarter, he formulated general semantics during the same years that the first popularizations of Zen were becoming part of the intellectual currency of educated speakers of English. On the other hand, later Zen-popularizer Alan Watts was influenced by ideas from general semantics.

Albert Ellis — , who developed Rational emotive behavior therapy , acknowledged influence from general semantics and delivered the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture in Solomonoff was the inventor of algorithmic probability , and founder of algorithmic information theory a.

Kolmogorov complexity. Another scientist influenced by Korzybski verbal testimony is Paul Vitanyi born July 21, , a scientist in the theory of computation. During the s, s, and s, general semantics entered the idiom of science fiction. Notable examples include the works of A. The ideas of general semantics became a sufficiently important part of the shared intellectual toolkit of genre science fiction to merit parody by Damon Knight and others; they have since shown a tendency to reappear in the work of more recent writers such as Samuel R.

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General semantics

Born in Warsaw , Poland , then part of the Russian Empire , Korzybski belonged to an aristocratic Polish family whose members had worked as mathematicians, scientists, and engineers for generations. He learned the Polish language at home and the Russian language in schools; and having a French and German governess , he became fluent in four languages as a child. Korzybski studied engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology. After being wounded in a leg and suffering other injuries, he moved to North America in first to Canada, then to the United States to coordinate the shipment of artillery to Russia. He also lectured to Polish-American audiences about the conflict, promoting the sale of war bonds. After the war he decided to remain in the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in He met Mira Edgerly , [3] a painter of portraits on ivory, shortly after the Armistice ; They married in January ; the marriage lasted until his death.

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Alfred Korzybski

Overview[ edit ] "Identification" and "the silent level"[ edit ] In the "Silent and Verbal Levels" diagram, [9] the arrows and boxes denote ordered stages in human neuro-evaluative processing that happens in an instant. Although newer knowledge in biology has more sharply defined what the text in these boxes labels "electro-colloidal", [10] the diagram remains, as Korzybski wrote in his last published paper in , "satisfactory for our purpose of explaining briefly the most general and important points". Once trained, general semanticists affirm, a person will act, respond, and make decisions more appropriate to any given set of happenings. Although producing saliva constitutes an appropriate response when lemon juice drips onto the tongue, a person has inappropriately identified when an imagined lemon or the word "l—e—m—o—n" triggers a salivation response. According to the memory-prediction model for intelligence, if the stored representations resolve the arriving patterns, this constitutes "understanding", and brain activity shifts from evaluation to triggering motor responses. When the retrieved representations do not sufficiently resolve newly arrived patterns, evaluating persists, engaging higher layers of the cortex in an ongoing pursuit of resolution. The additional time required for signals to travel up and down the cortical hierarchy [15] constitutes what general semantics calls a "beneficial neurological delay".

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Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics

Words are like maps. If a map is not the territory it represents, a word is not the object it represents. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness. If the map could be ideally correct, it would include, in a reduced scale, the map of the map; the map of the map of the map; and so on, endlessly, a fact first noticed by Royce. What does all this mean? Is this important?

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