Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chapter 56 - Time To Try New Things: Part 2 - The IGS Seminar-Workshop

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

One way to develop new leaders would be to open up Korzybski’s seminars. For one thing, Kendig had long noticed that,
...The people who came to [Korzybski’s] seminars got a great deal out of them, and they were moved, and something happened inside of them, inside of their skins. But they got some very peculiar notions that they took away in their notebooks—I used to look in their notebooks sometime. So I thought, well, I asked him if I could just have a few sessions afterwards, after the seminars, and find out what was inside their heads,...I thought it might be nice if we could straighten out at least some of their verbalisms, as well as their semantic reactions. (2) 

For a number of years, Korzybski had provided time slots during his seminars for guest lecturers such as Dr. William Peterson, a University of Chicago physician and an Institute Honorary Trustee who had authored a multi-volume work on the influence of weather on health and behavior. Johnson, Hayakawa, Lee, and others had also lectured on non-aristotelian applications in their work. Why not bring in these kinds of presentations—and what Kendig wanted to do—after Korzybski had introduced the system? These extensions to Korzybski’s seminar would emphasize participant practice and the variety of applications of the system—a workshop. After all, application remained the main thrust.

By February, the first IGS “seminar-workshop” (Kendig’s term for the new format) was being planned for that summer. As Kendig wrote in a promotional letter she sent out a few months later, “At this time it seems to us that increasing competence of ‘old students’ is of equal or greater importance than enlarging the number of IGS students. The seminar-workshop program was organized to suit this situation.”(3) After this first one in 1944, the IGS would continue the Seminar-Workshop—with ongoing transformations—as a yearly offering usually given for three weeks every summer. (Elements of the workshop were integrated into Korzybski’s shorter intensive seminars as well.)

This first one was supposed to go from July 6 to 28, but having to rearrange the schedule to accommodate the guest speakers allowed them to finish two days early. Korzybski first gave the seminar, his 36 hours of lecture-demonstrations on the basic formulations. Then while he saw individuals for interviews, the other students participated in the workshop sessions (another 50 hours), which included group discussions with Kendig on applying GS, as well as lecture sessions and other activities in areas of special interest led by various advanced students such as Congdon, Hayakawa, Johnson, and Bontrager. Raymond W. McNealy, M.D., Institute trustee, surgeon and medical school professor discussed “General Semantics and Medical Education”. Wilbur E. Moore, head of the Speech Department at Central Michigan College of Education, gave presentations on “New Patterns for Debate”, and “Non-verbal Electrical Tests of Extensionalization”. (He had been doing research on the effects of extensional training on galvanic skin resistance using ‘lie-detection’ instruments). Korzybski also had some sessions with those who had attended previous seminars to deal with theoretical and practical questions related to people’s attempts to make applications. Francis Chisholm, who gave several workshop presentations, assisted Kendig in organizing and running the entire seminar-workshop.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
2. M. Kendig, “Talk in Los Angeles, 1/18/1961, Unpublished. IGS Archives. 

3. Kendig promotional letter, 5/19/1944. AKDA, IGS Scrapbook 4.13.

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