Friday, October 16, 2009

"Some Thoughts on GS-Training" by Benjamin Eckenfels

I received the following email yesterday from a correspondent in Germany, Benjamin Eckenfels. He had some very significant responses to a recent blogpost of mine and I wanted to share his comments with others. With his permission, here's what Benjamin had to say:
Dear Bruce,
I just read your blogpost A GS Revival? – Korzybski in Academia & the Communication Connection about how GS might start to reenter the academic world (which I would appreciate very much). In fact when I became interested in GS the absence of scientific reviews and recent research was a thing that nearly kept me from learning about GS at all. The reason: How could some discipline that claims to be rooted deeply in the scientific method be trusted, if it is not critically reviewed, revised and updated by scientists at regular universities?

I soon learned that GS seems to take a long winter sleep since the 'good old days' when it seemed to be comparatively popular. Undoubtedly you and your wife are with your book(s) two of the few persons that might change that by means of making GS accessible for readers in 2009. Since GS as a matter of fact is 'driving me sane' I would personally like to thank you for your efforts in making GS more understandable.

Nevertheless from my point of view two main problems remain: As far as I know there is a substantial lack of 'real' research on GS and a severe dearth of practical training material. Towards a solution to the first problem persons like the present IGS Executive Director Lance Strate might contribute in the near future. But what can be done with regard to practical training in GS?

The crucial importance of application of GS in every day life is stressed in nearly every book on GS I've read so far. But besides some kind of “homeworks” there is no material for training available. Therefore every persons interested in GS has to develop it's own training from scratch. I believe this complicates things especially for people from outside the USA (like me) who have not the opportunity to meet with others to work or discuss issues regarding GS so easily. The new IGS-website has a forum and a section called “Learning Center” and this is definitely a good start. But still this provides no means for systematic training; a way to get GS formulations 'into the human nervous system'.

So why do I dwell on this specific point so much? In your blogpost mentioned above you write that you have been influenced (maybe trained?) by some general semanticists like Charlotte Schuchardt Read, Allen Walker Read, Stuart A. Mayper, Robert Pula, Kenneth G. Johnson, etc. You also write that you “qualify as the world's foremost living authority on Korzybski's life and work”. Together with your proven ability to write on GS very 'well', that makes you the only candidate I can imagine to design a practical GS-training - maybe in form of an “workbook” additional to “Drive Yourself Sane”.

I believe such a “workbook” might be a beneficial project for a writer like you and a true 'time-binding' from your teachers in GS towards the people who try to learn about GS in the future.

To cut a long story short: For by now (2009) I believe GS is in fact too 'acadamic' (theoretic rather than practical) to be 'academic' (being a subject of scientific research). How can we expect persons not trained in GS to evolve a discipline that is not theirs? Who is doing the research in chemistry? The trained alchemists? I hope you give this ideas a try.

Last but not least: Let me again thank you for what you have done so far. It really helped me to get along with a lot of things.

Kind regards,
Benjamin Eckenfels (Gie├čen/Germany)

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