ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

This quarterly journal provides peer-reviewed articles on topics relating to general semantics.

Articles from Vol. 61, No. 1, April

Abstractions
The greatest detriment to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. DANIEL BOORSTIN A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. WILLIAM JAMES I have nothing to say and I am saying it....
A General Semantics Approach to Reducing Student Alienation
This presentation will examine a study that showed students manifesting signs of alienation (a well-recognized drug abuse risk factor) could be helped to reduce those symptoms through a general semantics approach. It is based on research conducted...
A General Semantics View of the Changing Perceptions of Christ (Excerpts): Modern Portrayals of Jesus in Works of Art
Introduction For centuries the image of Jesus' physical appearance has been etched into people's minds. Children learn in Sunday school at a young age what Jesus looked like. The most typical North American representation is a tall, lean, Caucasian...
A General Semantics View of the Changing Perceptions of Christ (Excerpts): Nontraditional Perceptions of Jesus Christ and Reactions
There have been interesting reactions to nontraditional portrayals of Jesus. One of these took place in Union City, New Jersey. The Park Theater Performing Arts Center was about to begin their production of "The Passion Play" and they had chosen an...
A General Semantics View of the Changing Perceptions of Christ (Excerpts): The American Jesus: A Paradigm Shift
As a nation, America allows it citizens greater religious freedom than any other state. This freedom allows for the development of national religious perceptions different from those found elsewhere. These perceptions lead to the formation of paradigms....
Beliefs Affecting Handwritten Communication (Excerpt)
In a world of high technology, some find handwriting unimportant. They may look with bemusement, for example, on Wendell Johnson's listing of poor penmanship among the communication difficulties amenable to a general semantics approach ("The Urgency...
Challenging Culturally-Expected Ways of Thinking
This paper will serve as an introduction to a session where participants in small groups will discuss these questions: How could we initiate an evolution in human evaluating? What challenges might initiators face? What social, economic, political,...
Conference Comments
We received the following comments from the participants of the Twelfth International Conference on General Semantics, in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 31st--November 2, 2003. This gathering of GSers satisfied my years-old urge to meet people whose...
Confronting the Challenges of Conflicting World Views: The Talk below Was Accompanied by a Multimedia Presentation
Confronting the challenges of conflicting world views is, perhaps, one of the challenges many of us had to face as infants: the sometimes conflicting world views of mother and father and of their families: different aims and ambitions in life, different...
"Conspiracy Theory" and Sound Argumentation: The Method of Cocaine Politics for Resolving "Conflicting World Views" (Excerpt)
Introduction: Recent work in communication and cultural studies has shown that, more than most other terms, the concept of "conspiracy"--a group of people acting in secrecy for an unlawful purpose--has become layered with so many emotional connotations,...
Dreams, Nightmares, and Nonviolence
Gregory Bateson, in one of his lectures, asked "Do you see me?" The audience murmured assent, that of course they saw him in front of them. But he pointed out that what their nervous systems were perceiving were patches of moving colors in their cortexes...
Exploring Time-Binding Formulations with William Wordsworth
DURING this past winter break, fortified with my portable MP3 player and a disk of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar radio serials, I took a leisurely hike around the lake at Tyler State Park in deep East Texas. During this walk, while listening to an episode...
Fifty Years Ago in Etc
Any two art appreciators, even those of similar background and sensitivity to art, are likely to differ widely in their reactions to a given work of art. The question is raised now: Why is it that two persons from fairly similar social backgrounds,...
France-USA (Excerpt)
Paris, France September 2003 As some of you may already know, I live in France, more precisely in Paris. My purpose here is to give you an account of the possible reasons explaining the French reaction to the US move in Iraq, and see if there...
From the Executive Director: Eating Menus in 2004
This issue of ETC marks another transition in the organizational evolution of a discipline. Published from 1943-1948 by the Society for General Semantics, then from 1949-2003 by the International Society for General Semantics, ETC now falls under the...
From the Pen of Bob Pula
ETC contributor and Korzybskian scholar Robert P. Pula died January 11, 2004. These selections from his collection entitled "Aphorisms, One-Liners, Snippets, Notes, Jottings, and Smart-Ass Remarks" were compiled by Robert Potter.* I call my grandson...
From the President
In 1984, Ken G. Johnson introduced me to time-binding and we ('time-binding' and I) exchanged a hearty "howdy." We stayed friendly acquaintances for the next 20 years. But the power of time-binding really had escaped me until now. As I assume the responsibilities...
General Semantics for Better Transferable Job Skills
When people learn highly specialized skills and later their particular type of job disappears through economic or technological change, they may have difficulty in finding new work; they need to identify their transferable job skills. Transferable...
If the Word Is Not the Thing, Why Call It a Piece of Writing?
Have you noticed that when describing the results of our writing activities we tend to use words that also describe physical matter, for example article, item, or piece? Does the word text suggest ideas, rather than a lump of something? The first definition...
Media Ethics between Iraq and a Hard Place (Excerpt)
A conference on general semantics, especially one titled "Confronting the Challenges of Conflicting World Views," provides an opportune moment to talk shop about the semantics and ethics of the War in Iraq, with special attention on behaviors of journalists...
Media Literacy and General Semantics
AFTER SEVERAL YEARS of involvement in both general semantics and media literacy, I have become convinced that the two "movements"--for lack of a better label--have so much in common that they should really get to know each other. Don't get me wrong....
Media Literacy, General Semantics, and K-12 Education
WHEN THE Norrback Avenue School in Worcester, Massachusetts, opened its doors in a new building in September of 1999, it had reinvented itself as an innovative magnet school program designed to integrate the study of communication into the elementary...
On Belief Systems
Abstract Three questions drive this paper: 1) what constitutes a belief system, 2) what standards can we use to evaluate belief systems, and 3) can competing belief systems co-exist and cooperate with modern science and technology for the benefit...
On Time-Binding as an Instrument of Peace (Excerpt)
Near the end of the movie The World According to Garp, based on John Irving's novel, wrestling coach and author Garp and his wife sit in his car, parked in his driveway, watching his children playing through warmly illuminated windows. Garp talks about...
Profile: Andrea Johnson
Creative. Articulate. Funny. Enthusiastic. Johnson's fervor for studying and teaching general semantics is a hallmark of her career.--Dawn Balistreri Associate Professor of Communication, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI When she was a graduate...
Ramifications of Julian Jaynes's Theory of Consciousness for Traditional General Semantics
Good morning. Thank you for coming. In my talk, first I will explore why general semantics theorists for over 70 years generally have overlooked the human behaviors that give rise to the sharpest and most violent of today's conflicts of world views--namely,...
Seeking Unmediated Truths (Excerpt)
Before most of us arrive at work, or school, or even this conference, we have been exposed to dozens, perhaps hundreds, of media messages. You might wake up to a clock radio, stumble downstairs to turn on the TV while perking some coffee. While...
Some Thoughts on the WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) Bracelet
Throughout the country, there are thousands of people, including unknown numbers of children, who wear a small bracelet inscribed with, WWJD? ("What Would Jesus Do?"). I became aware of this when my grandson wore one of these home from elementary school....
Thank You for Your Support: List of Contributors
We wish to express our grateful thanks to those who have supported our organizations with financial contributions over the basic membership rate, and for a donation of company stock. Below we list the names of those who gave so generously over the...
The Conundrum of Knowing What I Didn't Know (the Relevance of General Semantics to a Student)
To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step toward knowledge. --Disraeli Or, "I thought I was a better than average communicator until I became conscious that I am ignorant." My only consolation is that Disraeli considers my newfound...
The Language of Change: General-Semantics and Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point"
"You cannot step into the same river twice; for other and yet other waters are ever flowing on." --Heraclitus, c. 500 B.C. To Wendell Johnson, Heraclitus was 2,000 years ahead of his time. Johnson, a general semantics scholar, emphasized...
Time-Binding Time: A History of Time-Measurement and Time-Management in America
ACCORDING TO GENERAL SEMANTICS, time-binding--our ability to use language and other symbols to transmit information across time--is a unique characteristic that defines us as humans. That definition piqued my interest and I decided to do some historical...
Toward a Civil Society: Anger Management Using GS and the Techniques of the Professional Actor (Excerpt)
How do actors learn to manage and control their emotions on stage at a drop of the hat? This workshop employs general semantics formulations and the traditional rational-emotive behavior modification techniques first set forth by Dr. Albert Ellis (and...
Where Is the "Message" in Communication Models?
IN MOST communication models, the "message" floats somewhere between the "sender" and the "receiver." In the telephone-based Shannon-Weaver model, the "message" must first be "encoded" and then sent along a "channel," or wire. It is then "decoded"...