Friday, November 28, 2008

G.S. in Six Words

There's a book whose title explains what's in it: Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

I thought I'd give this six-word treatment a try to describe Korzybski's work:
"Map not territory, simple—not easy."
As Gregory Bateson pointed out, every schoolboy 'knows' that a map is not the territory it represents, doesn't represent all of the territory, etc. Yet application of this understanding remains rather more difficult than many people imagine. The news is full of stories illustrating map-territory, model-actuality, word-thing, etc., confusions.

I found an interesting blogpost here by 'The Climateer' on the current financial mess we are in: After The Crash: How Software Models Doomed The Market The writer references Korzybski. Click on the link to the post where he discusses G.S. [General Semantics] in more detail here: Modeling:The Map Is Not The Territory. Nassim Taleb has made similar points (quoting Korzybski—without attribution) about the folly of economists taking their models too seriously.

Map not territory, simple—not easy!


Ben said...

The study of reactions to language.

6 words!


Ben said...

Ooo, how about this!?

The study of interpretation.