Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Message to 'General Semanticists' From Aristotle

Those who consider themselves serious students of Korzybski's work would do well to heed the words of Aristotle, who said in his Ethics (a book—by the way—that Korzybski read carefully):
We are right then in saying, that these virtues are formed in a man by his doing the actions; but no one, if he should leave them undone, would be even in the way to become a good man. Yet people in general do not perform these actions, but taking refuge in talk they flatter themselves they are philosophising, and that they will so be good men: acting in truth very like those sick people who listen to the doctor with great attention but do nothing that he tells them: just as these then cannot be well bodily under such a course of treatment, so neither can those be mentally by philosophising. [Book II, IV, p. 32. D.P. Chase, translation. NY: E.P. Dutton, 1911, (1915, 1920)]
Like it or not, what is called "consciousness of abstracting" in korzybskian lingo constitutes something, like the 'virtue' mentioned above, to be developed through deliberate action over time, in order to become a habit. Korzybski and others following him (including my wife and I) have taught techniques for developing such consciousness. (Of course, one does not necessarily need to study 'general semantics' to do this.) Although,using general semantics will surely involve some changes in how you talk, talking about general semantics does not necessarily indicate that you are practicing it.

4 comments:

Crushtor said...

Indeed; every session the AGS has with Mr. Laurie Cox he slams his fist on the table and passionately exclaims: "You must practice GS; not just talk about it!"

Bruce I. Kodish said...

Aye! Practice, indeed, constitutes the golden key! I am inclined more and more to slam my fist on the table too, to emphasize that point.

Give a hug and warm best wishes to Laurie for me and my wife Susan.

And how about a report on your meetings for this blog. Send me an email report and I'll put it up here. Hurrah for the AGS!

Anonymous said...

Well, Crushtor. I see you did write a report. Here's a link to it for the rest of y'all: http://www.crushtor.net/2009/10/2nd-meeting-of-ags-melbourne-chapter.html

Anonymous said...

Precisely!