Monday, September 1, 2014

Chapter 16 - "Binding Time": Part 3 - "Binding Time"

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

The main formulation of what would become Alfred’s first published book, Manhood of Humanity (1921), had popped up in his sleep. But it had resulted from years of reading, contemplating and internal struggle. ‘Man’—a term which Korzybski used in the accepted 1920s sense as equivalent to all humankind, i.e., men, women, and children—constitutes the “binding time” class of life. (In the final published version, perhaps under the influence of native English-speaking editors, he changed the term to “time-binding”).

Our symbolic/linguistic capacities allow us humans to ‘bind’ or organize our experiences and/or the products of our experiences so as to transmit and receive from one person and one time to another. Because we have the potential to begin where the prior individual or generation left off, we can benefit from and build upon the experiences of others at an accelerating rate. Even though animals might communicate and transmit their experiences to some extent, the facility that humans have to do this puts us in a qualitatively different dimension from other creatures.

Alfred finished the first draft of the book rather quickly, possibly within a week or two. He had little in the way of reference books. The most ‘scientific’ book on his sister-in-law’s shelves seems to have been an old copy of Herbert Spencer’s The Principles of Biology. Korzybski’s completed manuscript entitled The Manhood of Humanity and its Universal Language (7)—the language being mathematics—made no direct reference to Charles Ferguson’s program of social reforms, although it seemed in keeping with Ferguson’s goal for a scientific sociology. More specifically, the manuscript explored what Alfred considered necessary for building an applied science of humanity, a human engineering as he termed it. Human engineering would make conscious use of the human capacity to “bind time” and thus apply it more usefully to all human activities. This would allow humanity as a whole to close the period of its childhood. 

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
7. The Manhood of Humanity and its Universal Language. AKDA 4. 

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