Saturday, September 19, 2015

From the Stray Thought Bin: Attention Deficit Blues

Sometimes I diverge when I should converge and sometimes I converge when I should diverge; but I'm working on it.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

From the Stray Thought Bin: Like Mayflies

We fool ourselves that everything will stay the same, the way things 'are', 

When in reality every thing is eternally changing, developing, emerging—including you—in this creative universe we live in and are a part of—not apart from. 

And we, we are like mayflies—here in a day and gone in a day before we know it.
The Brief Lusty Life of the Mayfly

Ephemeral tiny waves of frothy consciousness in the vast ocean Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Or somehow riding on the waves.

And, if so, who am 'I' the rider? 

I don't know.

But I do know there is a wonder in being alive and conscious, a sense of the mystery I belong to—a
nd it belongs to me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

What Do I Like Best About Korzybski: A Biography?

A Brazilian correspondent contacted me through the message board of my page and asked:
Q: About your book, Korzybski: A Biography, what do you like best about it??? 

V. S. 

A: What I like best about my biography of Korzybski? Hard to pick just one aspect. For one thing, my wife and I and only a few other people are in Korzybski's direct lineage of student-practitioners. There has been much dilution and distortion of his teachings and I did my best to present those teachings in their fullness and with the widest context I could. GS is not actually focused on language as many people think, but is more concerned with human reaction/evaluation and primarily the study of self. I wanted to do honor to my teachers—and the great teacher Alfred —and I believe I did that without making him into a saint. He was a great man but a man for all that and he had foibles and flaws as we all do. I feel I represented his life in the best way possible.

As well, I'm proud of the book, not only as a documentation of Korzybski's work and how it developed but also as a lively and interesting narrative. With that book, I came of age as a writer.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Rebbe Nachman on The Process Universe

Rebbe Nachman? 
"For Rebbe Nachman, living in tune meant awareness—being aware of the transient nature of this world and the eternity of the next.

From his window facing the marketplace Rebbe Nachman spotted one of his followers rushing by: 

"Have you looked up at the sky this morning? The Rebbe asked.

"No, Rebbe, I haven't the time."

"Believe me, in fifty years everything you see here today will be gone. There will be another fair—with other horses, other wagons, different people. I won't be here then and neither will you. So whats so important that you don't have time to look at the sky?!"

From The Empty Chair: Finding Hope and Joy: Timeless Wisdom from a Hasidic Master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Adapted by Moshe Mykoff and the Breslov Research Center

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Albert Einstein Chimes In On Logical Fate

"The world we have created today as a result of our thinking thus far has problems that cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

From the Stray Thought Bin: Creativity 1 Is Not Creativity 2

Creative doing is a good antidote for creative worrying. 

Marcus Aurelius Among the Non-Elementalists

"And in the case of superior things like stars, we discover a kind of unity in separation. The higher we rise on the scale of being, the easier it is to discern a connection even among things separated by vast distances." 
——Marcus Aurelius, Meditations*

quoted from Nature's Hidden Force by George Land and Beth Jarman, p. 81

Sunday, July 5, 2015

From the Stray Thought Bin: Un-Sanity

Un-sanity: the territory between sanity and insanity where the vast portion of humanity resides. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dear Alfred!

Alfred Korzybski was born in Warsaw, Poland (then part of the Czarist Russian Empire) on this day, July 3, 136 years ago in 1879.  I described his work, confusedly (to some) called "general semantics" in the 2004 edition of the General Semantics Bulletin #71:

The Scientific Philosophy of General Semantics
General Semantics (GS) qualifies as an unusual, tough- to-‘pin down’, interdisciplinary field. “Is it a science or  a philosophy?” Perhaps GS may best be seen as neither ‘science’ nor ‘philosophy’ but rather as both/and––a scientific philosophy applicable moreover to the life concerns of ‘the man and woman in the street’.

In the scientific realm, GS has elements which bring it within the larger field of the behavioral/social sciences.  Here, the main accomplishment of Alfred Korzybski, the original formulator of GS, was theoretical: his integrative theory of human evaluation based on knowledge from a variety of fields. Formulated as a foundation for a new interdisciplinary science of humanity, GS suggests methodological guidelines for all (yes, all) areas of inquiry and has substantive implications for ongoing research on neuro-evaluative, neuro-linguistic factors in human behavior.

In addition to this, GS focuses on examining underlying assumptions in a way that many people would call  “philosophical.” Korzybski did not find that term entirely congenial––chiefly because it had become associated with verbalistic speculations detached from scientific/mathematical knowledge and practical application. However, he did respect the work of some philosophers, especially some of those who worked in mathematical logic and the theory of knowledge or epistemology. Indeed, he viewed his own inquiry into “the structure of human knowledge”as “an up-to-date epistemology.” Korzybski pioneered in applying knowledge from mathematics, physics, biology, neuroscience, psychiatry, etc., to epistemological questions, and conversely, in applying an up-to-date, scientific epistemology to physics, biology, psychiatry, etc.––and especially to everyday life. He contended that factors of sanity exist within the work of mathematicians and scientists.

A great deal of wisdom was present in the culture when Korzybski formulated GS. Nonetheless, much of this wisdom did not get applied. To an appalling extent––despite the work of Korzybski and many others––it still doesn’t. With its emphasis on daily life application, the scientific philosophy of GS has preeminent value in providing specific methods for practicing a scientific attitude—an attitude of inquiry—for individuals, groups and organizations.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

From the Stray Thought Bin: Ignorance and Ignorance of Ignorance

If you have struggled to understand a subject of interest and realize that you still remain short of adequately understanding it, your ignorance will not impede further progress in learning. But if you think you understand adequately and you actually don't, your ignorance of your ignorance—which amounts to false knowledge—will stop you in your tracks. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chapter 65 - Farewell

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 teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”
—Khalil Gibran, “On Teaching”, The Prophet (1)

About 60 people from around the United States and Canada came to Connecticut for the memorial service at the Institute on Saturday, March 4, 1950. Since she could not come, Mira sent in her stead, an arrangement of flowers molded in the shape of a five-pointed star. One of her nicknames, “The Wonder Star”, had come from the variable star discovered in 1905 that astronomers had named “Mira”.(2) The flower star—indicating Mira’s presence—was placed at the head of the plain open coffin where Alfred’s corpse lay wearing his glasses and the khaki attire he had favored.

As they gathered, guests heard some of the music Alfred loved best: recordings of the Sixth (Pathetique) Symphony of his favorite composer, Tchaikovsky; Asa’s Death by Grieg; and Siegfreid’s Funeral March from Wagner’s Die Gotterdammerung (which Korzybski liked in spite of its Nazi echoes). Then Ralph Hamilton sang Hugo Wolf’s Weyla’s Song.

Kendig and Charlotte wanted Bob Redpath to conduct the service. Kendig had told him,
...both Charlotte and I believe that you will do it simply and with dignity, and that he would have liked you to do it. You may not know all that there is to know about GS but you will give the feeling that you have for him, and that he sensed. And that is what we want. (3) 
Redpath read passages from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet (extracts from “On Teaching” and “Farewell to the People of Orphalese”); Proverbs 3:13-18; Chapter 13 of First Corinthians (which to Redpath seemed to fittingly “refer to the faith-love that underlay the personality [of Alfred] and the effort towards mankind underlying his whole life-work)”(4); Erwin Schrodinger; Ivan Pavlov; and, from Korzybski’s own writings, Manhood of Humanity and the “Preface to the Third Edition” of Science and Sanity.

The quote from the Preface to Schrodinger’s book What is Life? seemed to Redpath an especially fitting description of Korzybski’s lifework:
We have inherited from our forefathers the keen longing for unified, all-embracing knowledge. The very name given to the highest institutions of learning reminds us, that from antiquity and throughout many centuries the universal aspect has been the only one to be given full credit. But the spread, both in width and in depth, of the multifarious branches of knowledge during the last hundred years has confronted us with a queer dilemma. We feel clearly that we are only now beginning to acquire reliable material for welding together the sum-total of all that is known into a whole; but, on the other hand, it has become next to impossible for a single mind fully to command more than a small specialized portion of it.

I can see no other escape from this dilemma (lest our true aim be lost forever) than that some of us should venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and theories, albeit with second-hand and incomplete knowledge of them—at the risk of making fools of ourselves. (5)
The service closed with the playing of the fourth movement (a funeral march) of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred that Korzybski had often enjoyed listening to in the evening hours with friends. In a statement that Redpath read beforehand to those assembled, Charlotte had written:
...Usually when we played music in the evenings,...he said, ‘Let’s end with a funeral march.’...[Alfred] particularly loved the dramatic poem ‘Manfred’ by Byron and the music which Tchaikovsky composed to it...Manfred, the hero of Byron’s poem seemed to Alfred as one who was ceaselessly and passionately in quest, searching, searching, and who refused ever to surrender; and while listening to the music Alfred used to make a large question mark in the air with his hand : ‘Why, why, what is it all about?’ Toward the end of the symphony, the music comes to a climax, and the death of Manfred is at hand, and then follows the beautiful, solemn and peaceful finale. (6)

Soon afterwards, an autopsy—as Korzybski had arranged for— was done by an associate of his long-time friend, Doctor Nolan D. C. Lewis, at that time Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Hospital. (Lewis was ill and could not come to do it himself.) Korzybski had observed many autopsies Lewis conducted at St. Elizabeths Hospital when both worked there in the mid-1920s. Both men had an interest in the relations—even sketchier in 1950 than now—between brain, behavior and consciousness. Dr. Lewis, who had looked at and handled many human brains, later reported the observations of Korzybski’s brain:
It showed some of the normal shrinkage due to the age of the man, but it had a very rich blood supply which is significant and a complex convolutional arrangement which will be very important to study in detail, as it is the brain of a great scientist. (7)
Alfred’s cremated remains were buried in a little cemetery in Lime Rock, in a simple grave, marked with the Ā (non-A) symbol representing the non-aristotelian system he had formulated and taught. (Alfred’s beloved Mira, without whose urgings and help he would never have produced his work, died four years later. As both had wished, her remains were buried next to his.)

Ernest R. Schaefer, a Yale University art student whom Bob Redpath found, had already made a death mask and casted both of Korzybski’s hands. With the help of those notably large and supple hands, Korzybski had done his job; now he himself was done. Others would have to carry on.

Death Mask of Alfred Korzybski
by Ernest R. Schaefer of Yale University School of Art

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. 
1. Gibran, p. 64, qtd. in “Memorial Service for Alfred Korzybski, Four March 1950”, General Semantics Bulletin 3 (1950), p. 14. 

2. David Linwood [Levine], personal communication. 

3. Qtd. in Redpath, Vol. II. p. 69. 

4. Redpath, Vol. II. p. 71. 

5. Schrodinger, p. vii, qtd. in “Memorial Service for Alfred Korzybski”, General Semantics Bulletin 3 (1950), p. 14. 

6. “Memorial Service for Alfred Korzybski”, Ibid., p. 13. 

7. Qtd. in Schuchardt 1950, p. 40.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Chapter 64 - Hardly A Day Off: Part 9 - More Work To Do

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.

With the seminar done in early September, Korzybski and the Institute staff returned to Lime Rock. The atmosphere of bedlam after the Congress while preparing for the seminar had ceased, but the small staff still seemed mightily busy, if not overwhelmed, with work. Mac Mallach had been joined in June by a new office assistant Henrietta Vandervoort. “Miss Van”, as she was called, managed the 8,000-name student and general mailing lists and stencils, and did the general correspondence filing as well as secretarial work for Charlotte. As 1949 was drawing to a close, she may have helped to keep Charlotte and Kendig sane—and thus everyone else as well. Like many people in the U.S., their nerves were probably a little on edge anyway. On September 23 came ominous news: President Truman confirmed that Stalinist Russia had exploded an atomic bomb. In China, with Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces forced to retreat to Taiwan, the Communists under Mao Zedong had won the Civil War. On October 1, Mao declared a “People’s Republic” in Mainland China. 

Still, they had good news at the Institute of General Semantics. Dave Bourland had just received the Korzybski Fellowship, which he had applied for in June. He would draw a stipend from the Institute and, along with his ongoing duties, would take on a few more responsibilities, and also presumably get more time to study with Korzybski. Among other things, along with Ralph Hamilton, he began working as an Assistant to Kendig, editing the Institute’s new publication, the General Semantics Bulletin (GSB)—with Lynn Gates in charge of production and cover-design.

Given its currently dicey relationship with the International Society and lack of control over ETC.’s editorial content, it seemed time for the Institute to bring out its own regular publication. GSB would serve as a more rigorous korzybskian alternative to ETC.’s watered-down approach. (In fairness to Hayakawa, he would continue to publish articles by more korzybskian writers like Allen Walker Read, Sam Bois, Ray Bontrager, etc., along with articles that people at the Institute would consider unsuitable from a non-aristotelian point of view.) Also by consolidating important articles into the GSB, the Institute could stop sending them out as separate mailings, and in that way save time, effort, and money. The first General Semantics Bulletin (Numbers One & Two)—a double issue for “Autumn-Winter 1949-1950” published for ‘Members of the Institute’ “for information and inter-communication among workers in the non-aristotelian discipline formulated by Alfred Korzybski” with “news, views, comments, group activities, work-in-progress reports, research and applications, etc.” and intended “to appear three or more times per year”—was ready for the printer by the end of February 1950. Korzybski would naturally know and have a say about whatever was going into this first issue, but he was not much involved with the editing or production.

Besides working directly with Alfred, Charlotte had other business needing her attention. For example, she was managing the production of the Institute’s two newest major publication items: Korzybski’s Time-Binding: The General Theory, Two Papers 1924–1926 with an introduction by Kendig, as well as the Structural Differential wall charts. By the end of October, both were produced and ready for official announcement and sale by the Institute. Charlotte also had a great deal of correspondence to catch up with—for one thing, correspondence with Ken Keyes (partly on behalf of Korzybski). Since 1947, Charlotte had been keeping tabs on the various aspects of Keyes’ proposed biography of Alfred and sending information and loaning materials to him that she hoped would facilitate his work on it. Keyes had just moved, started a new job, and finished his first book—How To Develop Your Thinking Ability, set to be published in 1950. It wasn’t clear how much progress he had made on the biography. Not much it turned out; though by this time his wife, Roberta had finished transcribing the recording of Korzybski’s 1947 memoir—not a small task in itself. Charlotte did what she could to help him and at the end of October, she wrote to fill him in on some important information she thought he should have for the biography:
Probably you have been reading about the many books recently published on ‘The Life of Chopin’. If you do not get the Sunday New York Times, I call your attention to the Book Review Section of October 16th. I mention this because of your interest in Alfred’s biography. I also wonder if you are acquainted with the publication, Poland of Today,...The issue of October 1949 is dedicated to the Centenary of Chopin’s Death. Alfred believes it is a socio-culturally important issue and would also be helpful in understanding the Poland of seventy years ago, into which Alfred was born. We do not have any extra copies, or we would be glad to send you one. (54)

Korzybski had his own backlog of correspondence, also the Manhood Introduction to finish, and in October a new project that fell into his lap—an invitation to speak at a psychology symposium at the University of Texas in Austin. He couldn’t refuse. The psychology department there had gotten a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct an ongoing symposium on “Perception: A Focus for Personality Analysis”. Speakers would individually lecture in Texas from October 1949 until June 1950, each presenting a different aspect of the topic, which would constitute their contribution to a published book of the proceedings [Perception: An Approach to Personality]. Beforehand, they would each get a theoretical outline of the symposium by the organizers, Professors Robert R. Blake and Glenn V. Ramsey, who presented the first paper on “Perceptual Processes as Basic to an Understanding of Complex Behavior”. Each speaker would also get summaries of the preceding speakers’ presentations and would have the opportunity to revise their contribution for the book after all invited papers had been presented. Those invited included a number of significant and rising figures in the behavioral sciences. (One of the contributors, James G. Miller had only recently suggested “behavioral sciences” as a general integrating term for the life and social sciences). Besides Miller, the invited speakers included: Clifford T. Morgan, Frank A. Beach, Ernest R. Hilgard, Jerome S. Bruner, Wayne Dennis, Urie Brofenbrenner, Norman Cameron, Carl R. Rogers, George S. Klein, and Else Frenkel-Brunswik. Korzybski—the only non-academically connected, non-psychologist/non-psychiatrist in the bunch—was to give his presentation in the last week of January (the date later moved to early April). He would get an honorarium and travel expenses for the trip to Texas for both him and Charlotte. By means of his applied epistemological approach, Korzybski could probably have said something useful about any area related to “functional determinants of perceptual processes”, but his specific assignment focused on ‘the effect on perceptual processes of the language system”. He considered the invitation a great privilege and his contribution something worth sweating over. On the way back from Texas, he planned to stop in Chicago, where the GS group there wanted him to speak and he could also visit Mira. He would write his contribution, with Charlotte’s help, mainly over the first two months of 1950. But now as the end of the year approached, along with the annual Holiday Intensive, he wanted to see if he could get further along, even done, with the Introduction to Manhood. This meant another trip to New York City in November.

By this time, Mira had gotten fairly hobbled and pretty much housebound. She didn’t feel stable walking alone outside and needed help in the apartment as well. The young woman who had lived with her had left some time before. Mira wrote to Alfred about a 24-year- old medical student, Albert William Kneller, who had just started staying in the spare bedroom where Charlotte usually slept during visits. In exchange for the room and a small stipend, “Dr. Bill”—as Mira called him—was helping her with cooking, cleaning and other chores and would accompany her on those increasingly rare times when she left the apartment. Alfred, of course, felt concerned but with the help she received from her doctors, neighbors, etc., and now Dr. Bill, Mira still seemed to manage.

And despite her problems she seemed to maintain a positive outlook. She continued to write to Alfred often—little notes with memories of their earlier times together, references to his work, and interesting things she heard on the radio or read about. For instance, she had found this reference to time-binding in a collection of essays, Reflections On Our Age, newly published by UNESCO: Julian Huxley’s essay “A Re-definition of Progress”, referred to “the present culmination of life in the emergence of man—the microcosm, the time-binders with brain and mind capable of annihilating the sequence of events and tying them together in the unity of consciousness;...” As Mira noted, there was no direct reference to Alfred or his work.(55) Mira’s stream of references, suggestions, links, and leads both great and small had continued to exert an influence on the content of Alfred’s formulating. And if in his general mood he also seemed more mellow, perhaps even more hopeful—in spite of all the messes and problems he continued to observe or personally had to deal with—perhaps a little bit of Mira’s somewhat sunnier disposition had also gradually rubbed off on him. But she probably wasn’t trying to give him a subliminal message when she sent him a volume called Sunspots in Action, which she thought he might like to read. He telegrammed her on Thursday, November 17 (56):
Thanks Your Letters. Grateful For Sunspots. Am Going To New York Friday To Work On Manhood. Will Be At Thirty-Three West Fifty-First Street, As Before, Love Alfred 

Within a few days he and Charlotte were back at Hotel 33. Sometimes he just sat in his room alone, silently contemplating, visualizing what he still had left to say in the Manhood Introduction. Then he would talk things out with Charlotte, wrestling to get what he wanted into words; then having finally gotten something written, both of them would delouse it; and then the whole process would begin again. Over the past two years, as they had worked on the Introduction, Korzybski no doubt spent a fair amount of time contemplating the arc of his life’s work from its beginnings to the present. He sought to express that in the Introduction. The delay in getting it finished probably inspired frustration, but he knew the writing and editing process had to take its course. Earlier in the spring, also at Hotel 33, as he and Charlotte had worked away, he had jokingly said as she took notes, “This new introduction by Korzybski has been edited by me, as it was not finished.”(57) He surely intended this as a joke and not a prediction. Until the piece seemed good enough for publishing, he and Charlotte would have to push on with steady work. He wanted to get it done. So this extended period away from the distractions of Lime Rock seemed necessary. They stayed in New York for four and a half weeks.

Throughout this period, Charlotte kept Mira filled in on their progress. And as he sometimes did, Alfred would pencil-in short notes to Mira at the end of Charlotte’s letters. Just as Mira had pushed Alfred to write the book in the first place, she had ‘nagged’ him for years about the importance of time-binding when he had placed it to the side. Mira’s impetus had helped him to get re-engaged with the notion, and there was no one more eager than her to see the Second Edition in print once again.

A little more than two weeks into their stay, Charlotte wrote to her that Alfred had caught another ‘bug’, a chest cold, but otherwise he felt alright and was working hard. As Charlotte told her, the Introduction had a good structure in spite of that eternal—or infernal—delousing. They felt very anxious to have it done. Other than Alfred inviting 25 people up to their rooms for a December 7 cocktail party for Charlotte’s birthday, they didn’t appear to socialize or go out much. One visitor, Dr. Wolf, a student of Alfred’s from the last summer seminar, came socially but also examined Alfred and prescribed some quinine, which seemed to help his cold. Wolf also told them about a friend of his, photographer Lotte Jacobi, who had photographed many writers, artists, and scientists in Weimer Germany and, as a Jew, had escaped to the U.S. before World War II and was now living in New York. She was interested in Alfred’s work and wanted to take his picture. Alfred didn’t object, Charlotte contacted her, and Lotte Jacobi came to Hotel 33 sometime during the next few weeks to do so. 
Alfred Korzybski, December 1949
(Photographed by Lotte Jacobi) 
Charlotte and Alfred had gone through at least several more drafts and had gotten the Introduction into what Charlotte considered pretty good shape. But they still hadn’t finished it by the next-to-last week in December when they had to get back to Lime Rock. With the Holiday Intensive at the Sharon Inn starting on December 26, they needed several days to prepare and on Christmas had to get themselves and the seminar stuff moved to the Inn, even though it was only a few miles away. So they returned on December 21. When they got home they found that Kendig had been admitted to the Sharon Hospital, apparently due to exhaustion. Typical of her, she had already done the seminar planning, assigned tasks to the staff, and left a memo with the details for Alfred and Charlotte. She was out of the hospital in a few days. She would stay at the house but was able to participate in the seminar, coming over for part of the day and having lunch and dinner at the Inn with Alfred, Charlotte, and the others. Thank goodness they had a small group. The seminar went well. Alfred did a good job, seemed jovial and sharp, even if he no longer paced the room nor made points by brandishing his cane or stamping it on the floor. On December 22, just before the seminar started, he had sent out a special invitation letter to friends and trustees to attend the New Year’s Party, which might indicate his mood:
Dear ____ 
As this half-century draws to a close, I want to share with you our hopes for the years to come. I wish that our whole ‘semantic family’ could toast together the New Year, and the New Era...(58)
In the seminar group photograph he looked rather worn and tired. He, Kendig, and Charlotte could all use a good rest. That wasn’t going to happen. As a compromise perhaps, as soon as they had gotten back from New York, he had Charlotte write to Mr. McKee from the GS group in Chicago to cancel the lecture he was supposed to give there. It’s quite likely that also at his impetus, his University of Texas presentation got moved back from the end of January to April 3. The Intensive was over on January 3. He had several more days for personal interviews with students, and then he and Charlotte had to get rolling on the paper for the Texas conference. The Texas paper would put Manhood on the back burner for now.

With Mira’s birthday on January 16, and her and Alfred’s 31st wedding anniversary on January 17, 1950, a flurry of congratulatory telegrams and notes in the mail went back and forth for several days between Chicago and Lime Rock. The Institute staff drank with Alfred to Mira’s birthday and their anniversary. Mira and Dr. Bill toasted to her and Alfred on glasses of orange juice. Alfred sent a handwritten note to Mira (59)
                                                                                 January 17,1950 
Pardon pencil but I want a carbon copy. Many thanks for your notes and wire. We had a very warm ‘burstday party’ and anniversary for you. Yes, our union has perhaps had a world influence, thanks to you. Without you I certainly would never attempt my work. In my two books, as you know I give full credit to you and am so happy that I can provide for your life security.
Charlotte and I are sweating over the paper for Texas, certainly she did the main ‘sweating’ and did really a splendid work, you will have a copy. Otherwise no news except that damn sweating day and night, which is no news.
With my Devoted best wishes Donk

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. 
54. Charlotte Schuchardt to Ken Keyes, Jr., 10/25/1949. IGS Archives. 

55. MEK to AK, 10/7/1949. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 1. 

56. AK to MEK, 11/17/1949. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 1. 

57. Charlotte Schuchardt, “Editor’s Note” to Second Edition of Manhood of Humanity, p. v. 

 58. AK “1950 New Years Party Invitation”, 12/22/1949. IGS Archives. 

59. AK to MEK, 1/17/1950. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 1.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Chapter 64 - Hardly A Day Off: Part 8 - At the Castle

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.

At the end of the Denver Congress, the Mutual Broadcasting System gave Alfred a one-minute radio spot to explain his work. He barely had time to declaim the five-sentence description he had written for the Introduction to the Second Edition of Science and Sanity, which began: “General semantics is not any ‘philosophy’, ‘psychology’, or ‘logic’, in the ordinary sense.”(43) The August 1 edition of Time magazine had another feature story about him as well. Mira must have felt thrilled to hear and see these acknowledgements of his work in the national media—despite their brevity and, in the case of the Time article, inaccuracy as well. The Time Education feature entitled “Always Either-Or” depicted Korzybski at the Congress depressed at the state of the world. The accompanying photograph of him labeled “Semanticist Korzybski” had the subtitle: “A hopeless count.”(44) Charlotte sent a corrective letter to the editor, which Time didn’t publish. 

Mira undoubtedly also felt thrilled when a few days after the Congress ended, Alfred and Charlotte, on their way back to Lime Rock, stopped in Chicago to see her. They stayed for at least a week, with Charlotte probably taking the opportunity to visit her parents nearby in Milwaukee.

Back in Lime Rock by the second week of August, they scrambled to prepare for the annual summer seminar-workshop. They had to rent a truck to schlep Korzybski’s special chairs, typewriters, and the myriad other things they needed, to the seminar site 35 miles north of the Institute—“The Castle” in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Occupied during the academic year by Barrington School, a posh private institution for girls, the castle was built at the end of the 19th Century for the widow of a San Francisco railroad baron. David Levine, who came to attend as a student-staff member, described it as,
...complete with battle crenellations on the gray masonry, ivied walls, a classic Greek ‘temple’ out on the back lawn, and a nine-hole golf course,...It was a perfect, self-contained world with sleeping quarters for thirty or forty “students”, a grand piano, and a conservatory where the seminars were held. We dined out on the enormous side patio, near the kitchen. (45)
The seminar-workshop, advertised with the theme of “Time-binding and the Improvement of Human Evaluation, Communication, Social Relations and Scientific Advance”, ran from Sunday August 14 to September 6, with private interviews given by Korzybski after he finished his course of lecture sessions. 65 students registered, with 45 staying for the full workshop. “The group”, as the report published by the Institute later put it, “was typical of other courses in one respect, what a student called their ‘stimulating un-homogeneity.”(46) 

Korzybski’s 57th course since the founding of the Institute seemed like one of his best ever. Stoked by the recent Congress, he seemed in excellent humor. Before his first lecture, testing the microphone, he said “One, two, three, testing. Then after three comes four. Then five.” Kendig chimed in to suggest to him that they ring a bell for the latecomers not yet in the lecture hall. Korzybski replied, “How about a pistol?”(47) His 40 hours of lectures, replete with stories, diagrams, and demonstrations, took up about a third of the entire seminar-workshop. As he had done for a number of years, he made sure to have a showing of Jules Masserman’s film “Experimental Neuroses in Cats”, since he felt the movie had relevance for neurotic humans as well as experimenter-crazed cats. He also had David Levine set up the box of mousetraps and candies for the chain reaction demonstration. David remembered the ‘explosion’: “ was spectacular! One got the feel all right!”(48)

As part of the workshop, Kendig was beginning to integrate group dynamics (based on Lewin’s research) into the curriculum. In the month before the Congress, she had attended the National Training Laboratory in Bethel, Maine. Along with three of the seminar students who had also studied there, she led a workshop panel discussion on group dynamics and instituted small group discussion sessions (based on the Bethel “T-groups”) with a facilitator to encourage group members to examine their own processes of interaction. These self-reflexive sessions would become a regular and fascinating part of Institute seminar-workshops for years to come. Kenneth G. Johnson, a teacher at later Institute seminars, recalled some of the things he heard during sessions he ‘led’. Once, after a long, uncomfortable pause someone interjected, “I love the silence. I just enjoy sitting here whether anyone is talking or not. Don’t you?” Another observed, “Have you noticed—we’re more in the here-now today than we were yesterday.”(49)

Korzybski had invited George Kingsley Zipf to give a lecture about his work; Zipf’s presentation at Great Barrington became a high point for Korzybski. Zipf, University Lecturer at Harvard (which meant he could teach whatever he wanted), had started out in the fields of English and Philology. After getting his doctorate in Comparative Philology and Linguistics, he had written two books, The Psychobiology of Language and National Unity and Disunity: The Nation as a Bio-Social Organism, along with numerous articles before his latest book, Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort: An Introduction to Human Ecology (HBPLE), published at the start of 1949. In HBPLE, Zipf indicated his aim to develop “an objective science of society that may be used as a frame of reference for an empiric system of ethics,” and recognized Korzybski as one of a group of figures whom he considered to be working with him along that line. He appreciated Korzybski’s brilliant analysis of the way that “intangible and trite verbalistic behavior” led to “enormous intellectual confusion.”(50) (Korzybski, in turn thought highly of HBPLE and by July had it added to the list of books recommended by him available for sale by the Institute.) Dave Bourland had become a student of Zipf at Harvard and probably helped get his teacher even more interested in Korzybski’s work. Zipf’s paper for the July Congress, “General Semantics and the Principle of Least Effort: Toward a Synthesis,” appeared as a genuine effort of integration. Indeed Zipf wrote that “if the synthesis is to succeed, it will be General Semantics either in its present structure or altered with the evolution of time and further experience that will absorb the Principle of Least Effort, not the reverse.”(51)

Zipf wrote to Korzybski after his seminar-workshop presentation expressing regret that he couldn’t stay longer at Great Barrington. But the two men remained in contact. Korzybski soon invited Zipf to become an Honorary Trustee of the Institute and Zipf accepted, getting voted in at the meeting of the Institute Trustees on December 9. In his paper and lecture, Zipf had sought to express “an intimation of what I feel profoundly is the next great step that
General Semantics may be about to take.” Unfortunately, he didn’t have the opportunity to integrate his work with that of Korzybski. After receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in January 1950, he became ill during the summer and died at the age of 48 in September 1950. (52)

In her report on the 1949 seminar-workshop, published in the first General Semantics Bulletin, Kendig wrote this summary: “With this course- [at Great Barrington] we felt we had now evolved the most fruitful sort of pattern.”
Looking backward, we found we had come a long way from the early Seminars in the old Chicago Institute building when people came to two or three lectures a week for many weeks, or every day for one week of intensive lectures. Students’ obvious needs for review, practice, and conferences on applications germinated the workshop program. It began in 1943 with a few days of review and drill, a few talks on applications by old students after the Seminar and little opportunity for the informal group learning which living together affords. We have come a long ways, too, from the summer of 1946, when we moved the Seminar-Workshop and ourselves from Chicago to Lakeville on two weeks’ notice and improvised our first 24-hour living and learning program at the Indian Mountain School. (53) 

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. 
43. The full descriptive quote from Science and Sanity that Korzybski chose for his one-minute radio broadcast, goes as follows:
...General semantics is not any ‘philosophy’, or ‘psychology’, or ‘logic’, in the ordinary sense. It is a new extensional discipline which explains and trains us how to use our nervous systems most efficiently. It is not a medical science, but like bacteriology, it is indispensable for medicine in general, and for psychiatry, mental hygiene, and education in particular. In brief, it is the formulation of a new non-aristotelian system of orientation which affects every branch of science and life. The separate issues involved are not entirely new; their methodological formulation as a system which is workable, teachable and so elementary that it can be applied by children, is entirely new. [Korzybski 1994 (1933), pp. xxxviii-xxxix]

44. “Always Either-Or”. Time, 8/1/1949. AKDA Scrapbook 41.494. 

45. David Linwood [Levine], “Institute of General Semantics – 1945 to 1950 – A Personal History”. Unpublished. 

46. “1949 Seminar-Workshop: A Report”. General Semantics Bulletin 1 & 2, p. 38. 

47. Korzybski, “Rough Draft of First Lecture, 8/14/1949. IGS Archives. 

48. David Linwood [Levine] to Bruce Kodish, 8/12/2008 email. 

49. Kenneth G. Johnson. “Group Process Notes”. IGS Archives. 

50. Zipf 1949, pp. 481-482. 

51. Zipf 1952, p. 7. 

52. Zipf’s name remains widely mentioned in reference to a kind of pattern he observed in the relation between rank and frequency of occurrence among a wide variety of phenomena, including word usage in texts, populations within and among cities, distribution of economic power and social status, etc. This relation became known as “Zipf’s Law”—not a designation that Zipf himself used. Zipf’s books, long out of print, remain mainly unread. His “principle of least effort” remains an often-downplayed-if-not-dismissed curiosity and his vision of integrating it with Korzybski’s work remains largely unexplored. Besides Zipf’s Congress paper eventually published in the General Semantics Bulletin, a few preliminary efforts to relate the principle of least effort to general semantics include the articles of Bourland 1950, Saunders 1958, and Payne 1967, all published in the General Semantics Bulletin

53. “1949 Seminar-Workshop: A Report”. General Semantics Bulletin 1 & 2, p. 40.

< Part 7      Part 9 >

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chapter 64 - Hardly A Day Off: Part 7 - A Bequest To His Fellow-Sufferers

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.

At Sunday night’s closing banquet at one of Denver’s mountain-view restaurants, Korzybski was presented with a check for $1,837 raised over several months by the Alfred Korzybski Fellowship Fund Committee, intended to pay for tuitions and stipends for working Fellowships with Korzybski at the Institute. (39) 

Korzybski’s scheduled banquet speech followed, beginning with a couple of stories, before the meat of his presentation: the text of the “Bequest of Pavlov To The Academic Youth of His Country”, written shortly before Pavlov’s death in 1936. At the end of 1944, Korzybski had sent it to Hayakawa to print in ETC. In his 1947 ‘Protest’ letter to Hayakawa, he had referred to it again, writing “Whoever will read that ‘testament’, whenever he finds the word scientific or science, he should substitute life, since the advice of this epoch-making man applies to both science and life.”(40) He repeated this admonition to the banquet audience, then read “Pavlov’s Bequest” aloud (in italics below). Since it described so well the path he himself had followed, Korzybski was turning it into his own bequest to them:
What can I wish to the youth of my country who devote themselves to science? 

Firstly, gradualness. About this most important condition of fruitful scientific work I never can speak without emotion. Gradualness, gradualness and gradualness. From the very beginning of your work, school yourself to severe gradualness in the accumulation of knowledge. 

Learn the ABC of science before you try to ascend to its summit. Never begin the subsequent without mastering the preceding. Never attempt to screen an insufficiency of knowledge even by the most audacious surmise and hypothesis. Howsoever this soap-bubble will rejoice your eyes by its play it inevitably will burst and you will have nothing except shame. 

School yourselves to demureness and patience.  Learn to inure yourselves to drudgery in science. Learn, compare, collect the facts! 

Perfect as is the wing of a bird, it never could raise the bird up without resting on air. Facts are the air of a scientist. Without them you never can fly. Without them your ‘theories’ are vain efforts. 

But learning, experimenting, observing, try not to stay on the surface of the facts. Do not become the archivists of facts. Try to penetrate to the secret of their occurrence, persistently search for the laws which govern them. 

Secondly, modesty. Never think that you already know all. However highly you are appraised always have the courage to say of yourself – I am ignorant.

Do not allow haughtiness to take you in possession. Due to that you will be obstinate where it is necessary to agree, you will refuse useful advice and friendly help, you will lose the standard of objectiveness. 

Thirdly, passion. Remember that science demands from a man all his life. If you had two lives that would be not enough for you. Be passionate in your work and your searchings. (41) 
Korzybski then proceeded with his own commentary on this. He told those assembled in the restaurant:
Never forget that gradualness. About the third bequest, passion, sometimes I wonder whether today some of that passion of which he [Pavlov] speaks is lacking, and among some young men and women there is some cynicism, bitterness, or frustration creeping in, which are a serious handicap for further knowledge. Never lose that wonder about the world and ourselves, that capacity to ‘see the old anew’, as the great Leibnitz said, which has led mankind to its great achievements so far. Never allow that hunger to know to become too satisfied, for our human race is young and still immature, and there are many thousands or millions of years ahead in which to continue our search for structure, which is all we will ever know, since the silent levels will never be the same as the structure in which we will represent them.  
Here today, I am happy that we have taken another step forward. I am proud and honored that we can share this forward step together.  
I am grateful to Miss Kendig, who is so largely responsible for this congress and to Dr. Kelley and to Miss Schuchardt, who has helped me. I am also grateful to Dr. Murray, Dr. Larson [an associate professor in the Department of Speech Communication], Chancellor [Alfred C.] Nelson [Honorary Congress President] and the University of Denver, and the Denver students of general semantics.  
I may end with a quotation by the great physician, Dr. Alexis Carrel: ‘To progress again man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor.’ My best wishes and thanks to you, Fellow-Sufferers. (42) 
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. 
39. “Report on the Alfred Korzybski Fellowship Fund”, General Semantics Bulletin 1 & 2 (Autumn-Winter 1949-1950), p. 27. 

40. “Korzybski’s Protest Letter to the Editor of ETC.”, Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, p. 824. 

41. Pavlov’s “Bequest” qtd. from Dec. 1943 Scripta Mathematica, in Notes of AK Third Congress Banquet Speech. IGS Archives. 

42. Notes of AK Third Congress Banquet Speech. IGS Archives.

< Part 6      Part 8 >

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chapter 64 - Hardly A Day Off: Part 6 - The Third Congress on General Semantics

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.

Charlotte and Alfred returned home in mid June. Even though they hadn’t finished the Introduction, at least they had gotten far enough along—with several more drafts and a structure that had gelled—to have it near the semi-final form Charlotte had hoped for. They could return to it in the fall. With most of the other new material for the Second Edition of Manhood in proofs, the book seemed well on its way to publication, but unfortunately not in time for the upcoming Congress. They had also started the somewhat simpler process of getting Alfred’s 1924 and 1926 Time-Binding papers photographed for reprinting in a booklet, as well as setting up for the production of lithographed Structural Differential wall charts on heavy linen-backed map stock—both the booklet and wall chart to be ready for sale later that year. Now back in Lime Rock, Alfred and others prepared for the upcoming Third American Congress on General Semantics at the University of Denver and a very busy next few months. 

On July 3, he had his 70th birthday. They gave a little party for him at the Institute. Mira sent a note. He planned to see her shortly and telegrammed ahead to her. On July 8, Charlotte and he would leave on the New York night train with a next day afternoon stopover in Chicago so that they could visit with Mira at the station for a few hours, before traveling on to Denver. Arriving on July 10, they would then have a day and a half to ‘rest’ before things started up with the short pre-Congress intensive seminar Alfred was teaching at the University.

When they did finally arrive at their Denver Hotel, which Charlotte described in a note to Kendig as an “old people’s home”, Alfred seemed “all right.” Charlotte had felt concerned about his health. He had been having a lot of colds, seemed a little rundown, and had not responded well to the high elevation on his previous trips to Denver. She had already wondered to Elwood Murray when they were planning things, if Alfred should minimize his time in the mile-high city. Perhaps Alfred was taking on too much by teaching the pre-Congress intensive. There was nothing she could do about it now. Alfred seemed intent on fulfilling everything they had planned.

After they arrived, Charlotte just wanted “to sleep and sleep” but she didn’t have time for much rest.(33) She was assisting Alfred in his short seminar at the University ‘barracks’ where Elwood Murray had his office. The afternoon and evening course ran from Tuesday, July 12 to the following Tuesday, July 19 with a break for the weekend and a ‘whopping’ tuition fee of $18. The fifty or so students were supposed to have read Science and Sanity or Selections from Science and Sanity ahead of time, but it’s a good guess many of them didn’t. Alfred and Charlotte had prepared a class handout of “Books And Articles Referred To By Korzybski In His Lectures”—a short list of works of significance for him. The list might confuse those who viewed Korzybski’s work in terms of ‘semantics’, but seemed a good example of the wide scope of Korzybski’s actual concerns:
Lenin: A Biography by David Shub  
Topological Psychology and Resolving Social Conflicts by Kurt Lewin 
‘The Mathematical Way of Thinking’ by Dr. Hermann Weyl, Science, Nov. 15, 1940. 
‘Qualifications of a Research Physicist’ by Dr. Albert W. Hull, Science, June 12, 1931. 
‘Two Modes of Social Adaptation and Their Concomitants in Ocular Movements’ by Trigant Burrow and Hans Syz, Journ. Of Abnormal and Social Psychology, April 1949.  
The Nature of the Physical World by A. S. Eddington (34)
Before the course ended, that scope would—with any luck—begin to make sense to the students who hadn’t known much about general semantics. Given the limited time Korzybski had for presenting the material or for getting to know the students (no personal interviews), when the seminar finished, he considered it “very successful.”(35) 

Korzybski and Charlotte had only a couple days break before the start of the Congress on Friday July 22. Kendig had flown in on July 16. With Dave Bourland and Lynn Gates to help her, Elwood Murray, and Douglas Kelley, they managed to pull off a well-organized and highly successful event. Kendig had a lot of issues to contend with. For one thing, she had worried that Hayakawa and others might boycott the Congress, but both he and Rapoport came and presented papers, as did Chisholm. Peace seemed to prevail despite the recent unpleasantness of the ISGS election. 300 people registered for the Congress with 75 presentations given over the Congress’s three days.(36) 

Korzybski helped start out the Congress with his keynote address at the opening general session on Friday morning. His talk was entitled, “Implications of Time-Binding Theory for Human Progress in A Free Society Versus Stultification by Dictatorships of Human Time-Binding Potentialities”. At least in his outlined notes (according to Charlotte, he diverged from them in his actual talk), he began by discussing how the notion of time-binding emerged from his early life experiences and how the development of his later work (in a way summarized in the structural differential) came out of time-binding—the structural differential representing the fundamental difference between animals and humans. Time-binding progress depended “on our freedom to revise our higher order abstractions in conformity with study of facts.” Dictatorships, in basic opposition to human time-binding potentialities, kept people infantile, clinging to authority, unable to think for themselves, fearful, and isolated from others. To the contrary,
With a realization of time-binding, we realize we are not 25 or 50 or 75 years old. We are millions of years old. All dependent on each other. Time-binding involves feelings of responsibilities, duties to ourselves and others, duties to future generations. What do we want to leave as a legacy to our children? If we are conscious of ourselves as time-binders, we take pride in doing our part in carrying forward the best wisdom of the race and enlarge on it, for the benefit of future generations. This involves serious obligations and moral issues.  
In closing, I want to quote some wisdom from Shakespeare which applies to us here very directly: ‘To thine own self be true, and it will follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’ But before we can be ‘true to ourselves’ we have to know ourselves, and this is the chief aim of general semantics. I will end with a quotation by Robert Browning [he had gotten this from Mira and planned to use it in his introduction to the Second Edition of Manhood]:  
‘Tis time new hopes should animate mankind, new light should dawn.’

I hope you are feeling as encouraged and hopeful as I do when I see this splendid group here, carrying on so constructively and helping to realize more fully our potentialities as time-binders. (37)
Over the next three days, the Congress featured several general sessions plus separate sectional meetings on Education; Socio-Economic Issues; General Semantics in a Communication Program (with enough papers for two panel discussions on the University of Denver’s use of GS to unify its curriculum); Theoretical, Methodological and Linguistic Issues; Speech and Clinical Psychology; “An Organismal Approach to the Liberal Arts Curriculum” (another University of Denver panel on applying GS); Psycho-Somatic Issues and Applications; Education Applications; Education and Communication: Special Applications; A Panel on Methods and Materials for General Semantics Study Groups and Adult Education; and a Round Table on the Arts as Communication.(38)  The surprising number, variety, and quality of presentations over just one weekend, pleased Korzybski; the surfeit of stimulation must have set participants’ heads abuzz. Kendig intended to produce a volume of Third Congress papers. This never happened, probably due to subsequent financial and manpower issues at the Institute, but a number of the papers were subsequently reprinted in the General Semantics Bulletin and ETC.

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. 
33. Charlotte Schuchardt to M. Kendig, 7/12/1949. IGS Archives. 

34. “Books and Articles referred to by Korzybski in his Lectures”. IGS Archives. 

35. AK to MEK, telegram, 7/22/1949. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 1. 

36. The printed Congress Program Notes seemed as remarkable for its distancing from the term ‘general semantics’ as for its emphasis on the Congress theme of ‘time-binding’. Its opening page, Historical: On General Semantics and Korzybski’s Works, devoted much space to explaining what ‘general semantics’ was not, reflecting how problematic the confusion of ‘general semantics’ with ‘semantics’ had become for Korzybski and others at the Institute. (On the day he left for Denver, Korzybski had written bluntly to Hayakawa about the latter’s role in that confusion.) [AK to S.I. Hayakawa, 7/8/1949. Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, pp. 837-841.] The opening paragraph of the Program’s “Theme and Organization of the 1949 Congress” rather significantly expressed Korzybski’s and others’ growing estrangement from the term ‘general semantics’ which could easily have been crossed-out without any significant loss of comprehension:
The work of the Third Congress will stress the General Theory of Time-Binding as a foundation for a science of man, and applications of the non-aristotelian methodology derived from this functional definition of man as a time-binding class of life. It will stress the implications of Time-Binding and the non-aristotelian methodology of General Semantics for organization and integration, without regimentation, of human progress on the various personal, social, scientific levels of sane development. It will stress the criteria of sane progress on the dynamic bases of human time-binding potentialities when released from static statistical thinking and orientations of current aristotelian modes of evaluation. It will stress the extensional methods as generalized physico-mathematical method, its implications for concrete creative thinking on non-verbal levels as distinct from our ingrained aristotelian methods of verbal thinking by definition from which stem many blockages in personal and social adjustment and scientific advance. [Program Notes - Third Congress on General Semantics, “Theme and Organization of the 1949 Congress”. AKDA Scrapbook 6.205.]
37. Korzybski, “Implications of Time-Binding Theory for Human Progress in A Free Society Versus Stultification by Dictatorships of Human Time-Binding Potentialities”. Unpublished Notes of Keynote Address at 1949 Congress. IGS Archives. 

38. See Third Congress program sections and scheduled presentations in Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, pp. 774-782. Except for a Friday evening reception, which he had to attend, Korzybski had the freedom to go to the sessions that interested him. The presentations underlined or otherwise marked in his copy of the Congress Program indicate what he might have attended—or at least what interested him. These included: Allen Walker Read’s presentation on “Linguistic Revision as a Requisite for the Increasing of Rigor in Scientific Method” (Korzybski marked-up a draft of his paper); Francis Chisholm’s “Positive Training for Maturity”; George K. Zipf’s “General Semantics and the Principle of Least Effort: Towards a Synthesis” (Korzybski also marked up a draft version of this); and Guthrie Janssen’s “A Time-Binding Measure for Democratic Action”, which represented a more worked-out version of the political theory that Korzybski had pointed toward over the last few years. (A version of Janssen’s paper, “Time-Binding: Functional Basis of Democracy” was published in the 1951 General Semantics Bulletin 6 & 7). A few other notable presentations marked in Korzybski’s program included: “Executive Training and General Semantics” by Sam Bois (so impressive to Korzybski and his colleagues that only a few months later they distributed it to IGS members); “Some Neglected Considerations of Order in Current Reading Methodologies” by Ray Bontrager; “General Semantics as Applied in a Course in Municipal Affairs” by W. Donald Fletcher of the Coro Foundation; “The Semiotic versus the Idiotic in Patent Law and Practice” by Cecil Kent; “On the Varieties of Research in General Semantics” by Irving Lee; “Therapeutic Techniques for the Loss of Abstract Ability in Patients with Cortical Damage” by Lawrence LeShan, who had taken some seminars with Korzybski; “Semantic Dilemmas in Neurology, Psychology and General Semantics” by neurosurgeon Russell Meyers, who only just met Korzybski at the Congress and would later become friendly with Kendig, and teach at IGS seminar-workshops; “Admitting the Patient to the Medical Team” by physical therapist May Watrous Niles; and “Some Functional Patterns on the Non-Verbal Level: Laughter at the Comic” by Harry Weinberg, Korzybski’s prize student who by this time had become an “Instructor in Public Speaking and General Semantics” at Temple University. [Third Congress Program (personally marked by AK). IGS Archives.] Papers read at the Congress included: “The Why and Wherefore in Everyday Life: An Application of Extensional Devices” by Ken Keyes; “The Island of Phenomena” by Korzybski’s old friend P. W. Bridgman; ‘Philosophical’ Interpretations of Physical Theories, Discussed from a Semantic Angle” by Einstein biographer Phillip Frank; and “The New Mathematical Philosophy” by scientific philosopher Lancelot Law Whyte, author of The Next Development in Man. Korzybski, who considered cybernetics “a turning leaf in human evolution and socio-cultural adjustment”, [Qtd. in Book Comments on Cybernetics by M. Kendig in General Semantics Bulletin 1 & 2, p. 46.] probably felt disappointed that Norbert Wiener declined his personal invitation to attend or even to provide a paper to get read by someone else. (Anthropologist Gregory Bateson, with whom Korzybski had exchanged articles, also got invited, but finally didn’t attend or contribute a paper.)

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