Monday, November 14, 2011

"Korzybski's Legacy: What Is It? How Do We Carry It On?" - presented by Bruce I. Kodish, Author of Korzybski: A Biography, at the 2011 Institute of General Semantics (IGS) Weekend Symposium, "Communicating in the 21st Century", on 10/29/11 at the Princeton Club, New York City

Here are links to the text and audio of the presentation I gave at the Institute of General Semantics (IGS) Symposium - "Communicating in the 21st Century" on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 at the Princeton Club in New York City. 

Marty Levinson, President of the IGS Board of Trustees introduced me to the group. Marty organized a great conference and I want to thank him and the IGS Board for inviting me and being willing to listen even though I had some difficult things to say about the present state of GS and the IGS. I felt nervous delivering this talk and you'll probably tell when you hear it.  But I consider it one of the most important presentations I've ever made, and a valuable one for someone who wants to get a running start as to what Korzybski and his work are about. 

Here's the opening paragraph:
Korzybski’s legacy: what ‘is’ it? How do we carry it on? In the way that I’m using the term legacy here, as “a thing handed down by a predecessor,” Korzybski’s legacy has a number of related aspects. Partly, it consists of tangible objects: artifacts and archives left behind. Partly it consists of the Institute of General Semantics itself. However, mainly today I want to focus on what Korzybski taught, the legacy of the wide-ranging system of formulations, known as GS (‘general semantics’). Korzybski advised that when you study someone’s work “…read not only what you read, but study the author.”[1] In other words, do your best to get inside his or her head, find out what problems they tackled, what questions they asked, what they wanted to say. I’ve studied the author and I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned about Korzybski’s work. What constitutes the core of what he taught, his legacy? How has it come down to the present? What opportunities exist for us now to carry it on?

[1] Korzybski: A Biography, p. 8

I want to thank my friend Heron Stone of Gendo for his help in editing the audio recording and getting it up on the Gendo podcast, which I heartily suggest that you subscribe to. He's the closest thing to an internet Socrates I've met. 

Here's the audio link of Gendo Podcast 689

Here's a link to the pdf of the edited and augmented text  


Anonymous said...

Bruce, I'm slowly making my way through "Korzybski." You're right: it's a good read. That was not an easy accomplishment in with a subject like Korzybski. As far as I can see, no one else could have produced this monumental work with such passionate interest.

Gary David

Bruce Kodish said...

Thanks, Gary. I know you wouldn't say that if you didn't mean it. I think your teacher, the great Sam Bois, would have liked it too.