Friday, May 1, 2015

Chapter 58 - "Shoot Yourself!": Part 1 - Introduction

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.

Korzybski’s Holiday Intensive Seminar ran from December 27, 1945 to January 9, 1946. He had a full class of thirty-five students. Notable among them was a French Canadian psychologist from Montreal, Joseph Samuel Anselme Bois (pronounced “Bwa”), already becoming well-known in Canadian psychology and management consulting circles.

Born in 1892, Bois graduated from Laval University in Quebec and became a priest in the Catholic Church, where he served for twenty years before his dismissal “for preaching that with love, all will be good.” As Bois put it, “This translated as ‘love, and do what you want.’ They thought I meant free love, not God-love.”(1) 
J. Samuel Bois
Afterwards, he studied psychology at McGill University in Montreal, getting his PhD in 1936 at the age of 44. In 1939, he came across Science and Sanity. It changed his life—challenging to the roots the thomistic-aristotelian philosophy he had studied to enter the priesthood. Eventually he embraced the non-aristotelian revision Korzybski offered. He spent the war years as the head of Research and Information for the Canadian Army, where his work involved morale building, organizational research, and publishing the Canadian Army weekly magazine, Khaki, in English and French. Having recently left the service at the time of the Holiday seminar, he worked as head of psychological services for a Canadian management consulting firm. At the Holiday seminar, as Bois later wrote:
For two hours, from midnight until 2 A.M., [Korzybski] spoke to me in his office, after his closing lecture. I didn’t have time to remain for the workshop, and he consented at this late hour to comment on the biography I had submitted to him. (2)
Despite not spending much personal time with Korzybski, Bois became one of Korzybski’s most important continuators. Starting in 1947, he began lecturing at Institute seminar-workshops with Korzybski’s full approval. Bois would come to view Korzybski as one of that group of men called in French “les grand couers”—great hearts.(3) Teaching and developing the non-aristotelian system and discipline became the main focus of Bois’ long life of writing and teaching.
Bois teaching at 1950 IGS Summer Seminar-Workshop

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. Qtd. in Gary David, “About the Author” in Bois 1996, p. xxiv. 

2. Bois, 1950. “The Alfred Korzybski I Knew”, p. 20, in General Semantics Bulletin 3 (1950), pp. 20-21. 

3. Ibid., pg. 21. 

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