Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 2010 Update on Korzybski Biography

My wife Susan and I just completed the editing of the first draft of the Korzybski biography that I've been working on for the last six years. That hasn't left me much time for blog posting, for which I apologize. We have some pruning to do as I've written a massive book filled with detail and I want to shorten it as much as I can, without sacrificing the details that people will want, to make it as unintimidating as possible to interested readers. So we are working very hard and hope to have the book out, certainly by this time next year if not earlier.

After reading the first draft manuscript Susan gave a very capable summary of Korzybski's life in two sentences:
"He had a very busy, sometimes too busy, exciting and exhausting life. Then he died."
Measured by today's lifespans he wasn't that old when he died, a few months short of his 71st birthday. But he packed a helluva lot of living into those years. I think readers will be pleasantly surprised about what they learn about Korzybski, what he was aiming for, and his incredible accomplishments. I'll keep you posted on the books progress toward publication, which will be soon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

From the Stray Thought Bin-'Medium and Message'

The medium is the message.
The message the medium.
It's all message, all medium.
All 'happy' and tedium.
Call the media ecologist.

Call the media ecologist.
And watch the show.
Call the media ecologist
And watch the commercial.
What's the show? the commericial?
And how do you know?
Call the media ecologist.

Symbolic environments.
Artificial plants?
Call the media ecologist.
Is it 'real'?
Is it Memorex?
How bad am I hexed?
Call the media ecologist.

Show me the garden.
Show me the bricks.
I'm going to start digging.
I'll build something with sticks.
I'd like to stop talking, the computers, blackberry,
The deluge of info seems all the more hairy,
I'd like it to stop if just for a minute.
There's no way out though,
but just getting through with it.
Call the media ecologist.

I've got to get conscious of what I'm about.
About it about it,
No other way out.
And so in the meantime
Best give out a shout:

Friday, July 2, 2010

General Semantics Glossary - 'Multiordinality'

Multiordinality; Multiordinal Terms: recognition that terms can be assigned different 'meanings' depending on the level of abstraction on which they are used; terms can be applied to themselves at different levels of abstraction, taking on different 'meanings'; terms as variables until level of abstraction is specified.

When 'Art' Becomes 'Science' and 'Science' 'Art': Charles Biederman and Alfred Korzybski

In October 1948, Charles Biederman’s long-awaited, lavishly illustrated, 710 page Art As The Evolution of Visual Knowledge appeared. Some people might feel puzzled to find Alfred Korzybski’s ‘general semantics’ linked with ‘art’. But when Biederman gave a copy of his book to Korzybski signed, “To my teacher Alfred Korzybski I dedicate this volume [signed] Charles Biederman”, he didn’t exaggerate; his attendance at Korzybski’s 1938 seminar had made a profound influence on his art and his theory of art. Following Korzybski, he had taken as his motto “Nature is not words.” According to Biederman’s biographer and friend Niel Larsen,
Korzybski’s thinking was far more sophisticated than this simple example suggests, and he proved enormously influential to Biederman, more so than any other single individual save Paul Cezanne...Korzybski’s seminar not only opened Biederman’s eyes to semantics and the scientific method, but it focused his thinking regarding the evolution of western art and started him on the path to writing his own ambitious book,...a project that he anticipated would take him a year or two to complete. It took ten. [Neil Larsen, Dec. 2000. “Charles Biederman: A Brief History.”]
John W. Barnes and Joan Waddell Barnes, husband and wife students of Korzybski, wrote an extensive 18-page review of Biederman’s book, which the Institute printed and distributed as its April 1949 membership mailing. In their analysis, Biederman had presented the function of ‘art’ as a series of statements about and means of orientation toward ‘reality’ and had pointed to the ultimate possibility of a merger of ‘art’ and ‘science’ with other aspects of human culture:
Biederman’s work suggest...the first basic extension which Korzybski’s theories have yet received...‘art’ and ‘science’ must eventually function (and can to a degree, now function) as related methods for our orientation to reality, hence for sanity. (The issues are of course extremely complex. Thus, in one way, when ‘art’ becomes a ‘science’ it will function as another related system within the non-aristotelian-system-as-a-whole. Perhaps this is the significant consideration.)