Monday, January 18, 2010

Korzybski's Struggles As A Teacher

Korzybski died in the early morning of March 1, 1950. A few months short of his 71st birthday. He died, as they say of cowboys and cavalrymen, 'with his boots on', still wondering, formulating, teaching, fighting the good fight against foolishness—both personal and more general socio-cultural forms of folly. Though the creative 'spirit' in him still flowed strongly enough, he also showed the signs of wear from the constant, never-ending work. Though he still had things to do at the time of his death, he had also gotten thoroughly used up in his struggles.

Many people today do not understand the extent to which he devoted himself to teaching and working with individuals. He had thousands of students in his lifetime, and the personal work with many of them constituted a major part of his work-life after 1933. He felt he couldn't continue working without doing the personal one-on-one interviews or consultations with his students. Many of them felt grateful to him for the rest of their lives. Some of them felt that he saved their lives. This personal work gave him a tremendous amount of stimulation, joy, etc. But it also put a tremendous strain on him as well.

I find Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's comments about teachers quite relevant to understanding Korzybski and his struggles as a teacher:You Cannot Work With A Person Or Speak With A Person Without Having His Image Imprinted On You

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