ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

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

Articles from Vol. 65, No. 2, April

36 Years Ago, in ETC: Volume 24, Number 4
DEBBIE, an earnest twelve-year-old, stands frustrated at the chalkboard after misspelling several words in spite of the teacher's exhortations to listen to the sounds. Louder, more meticulous enunciations neither lower the tension nor lessen the frustration....
66 Years Ago, before ETC: Volume 1, Number 1
PLANS FOR A GENERAL SEMANTICS SOCIETY were moving forward by January of 1942. Also envisioned was a general semantics journal. Alfred Korzybski asked Gordon McKnight to be editor, expecting him to produce at least a prospectus to be distributed at...
An Account, Korzybski Old Chap, of This Thing of Ours
WENDELL JOHNSON SAID that "the better part of science is the language of science," and like science, poetry has a language all its own. We therefore might consider the corresponding claim, that the better part of poetry is the language of poetry. Certainly,...
Arthur C. Clarke: Abstractions
I WOULD DEFEND THE LIBERTY of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent. The dinosaurs disappeared because...
Arts Reporting and the Gradation of Abstraction
S.I. HAYAKAWA'S DISCUSSION of how people use and react to words in Language in Thought and Action can be applied to explain why classical music journalism has a small readership. Often, the words in these articles describing the fine arts are so high...
Dates and Indexes
WE RECENTLY LEARNED of the death of Bernard Chalip, a noted voice instructor, teacher and author in the field of general semantics. Chalip died April 1, 2008 in Alameda, CA, at the age of 90. His singing students included noted performers of opera...
Do Words Have Inherent Meaning?
IN AUGUST 2007, PARTICIPANTS on the Institute of General Semantics Forum discussed the frequently quoted statement "words don't mean, people mean," and the question of whether or not words have inherent meaning in a thread that shares its title with...
Examining Five "Over/under-Defined" Terms Used in American Political Discourse
GENERAL SEMANTICS VIEWS Most terms as over/under defined: "They are over-defined (over-limited) by intension, or verbal definition, because of our belief in the definition; and are hopelessly under-defined by extension or facts ...." (1) Over/under-defined...
From the Executive Director
I CONSIDER IT AN HONOR and a privilege to have been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Institute of General Semantics, and I want to thank the IGS Board of Trustees for the trust that they have placed in me. The Institute, and the International...
Global Warming as a Metaphor
I FIRST HEARD THE TERM ''global warming" in the late 1970s. I heard it during some talks by nuclear scientists from Los Alamos, New Mexico. They claimed that the earth was warming up, and it would be good to build more nuclear power plants since they...
How Pseudo-Scientists Get Away with It
EACH MONTH more people read astrological journals than read Harper's, The Saturday Review, ETC., and Science combined. Millions of Americans, including many university graduates, guide their affairs at least in part by the position of the stars, juxtapositions...
In This Issue
KORZYBSKI WROTE IN SCIENCE & SANITY that "without the consciousness of abstracting, we all become nearly helpless and hopeless semantic victims of a primitive-made language and its underlying structural metaphysics." On our cover this issue we...
I Remember Being Born
I REMEMBER BEING BORN! "Nonsense" you say? Well I've certainly heard that most of my life. Nonetheless there's little doubt any more that I do remember an experience of birth. I was all of sixty years old before this was verified as a true birth memory,...
Mapping Instruction with Media
GENERAL SEMANTICIST J. SAMUEL BOIS (1978, 6) stated that "[a] revolution is a radical and irreversible change in a fundamental element in our way of life." He describes the technical developments which are occurring today as a revolution making modern...
Misunderstanding Media: A Blurry "Vision of Students Today" (Part One)
THE IMAGERY IN A RECENT and very popular YouTube broadcast "A Vision of Students Today" exposes students in a college lecture hall seemingly living in a state of "all-at-oneness" with their media. Repetitive New Age marching music provides the soundtrack...
Misunderstanding Media: A Blurry "Vision of Students Today" (Part Two)
Faces blank and joyless, rows of university students sit in a large white lecture hall and hold up messages on notepaper or laptop screens; these remarks bemoan the impersonality, expense, and disconnectedness of their academics. Sterility and emptiness...
The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word & Image
A CHILD LEARNS a novel bit of information. A set of neurons fires in his or her brain. With each reinforcement of the lesson, the same neurons fire again. The surrounding neurons, sensitized to the discharges of the first set, also begin to join in...
Why Johnny Has Difficulty Making His Point: General Semantics, Critical Thinking, and Student Writing
MOST WHO READ this publication probably either know from experience or have heard through the semantic grapevine that we can develop more precision in our evaluations if we apply the principles of general semantics. And many of us who teach attempt...