From the Institute of General Semantics Website: DROPPING NAMES

et Cetera, July 2008 | Go to article overview

From the Institute of General Semantics Website: DROPPING NAMES


A notable, if somewhat eclectic, group of individuals has crossed paths with general semantics over the years. Here are a few names you might recognize. Other names can be found on the IGS website by clicking on "Archives of Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lectures."

Steve Alien, author, entertainer, and composer attended a seminar-workshop at the Institute of General Semantics in 1961. InhisbookDumbth: AndSl Ways to Make Americans Smarter, he included a chapter encouraging readers to become familiar with general semantics. He also delivered the 1992 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture.

Stuart Chase, noted economist and writer, wrote the first popularization of general semantics, The Tyranny of Words. In a national magazine article, detailing the most influential developments of the first half of the 20th century, Chase included Science and Sanity as one of the top three books.

Dr. Albert ElHs, eminent psychologist, originator of Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), cited Korzybski's work in books he authored such as A Guide to Rational Living, Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, and How ßï Live With A "Neurotic. " Dr. ElHs also wrote the foreword to Drive Yourself Sane, by Susan and Bruce Kodish. He died in July 2007 and was remembered in the October 2007 issue of the institute's journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics.

David Fairchild, son-in-law of Alexander Graham Bell and a plant explorer who established the Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Florida was named an Honorary Trustee of the Institute by Korzybski, whom he had met in the 1920s in Washington, D.C. (http://www.ftg.org/resource/n_history.html).

Al Fleishman, co-founder of the Fleishman-Hillard public relations firm, advocated general semantics and authored a book applying GS to management, Common Sense Management. He also wrote several books and pamphlets about how to apply GS principles to challenging communications environments-e.g., Dialog with a Street Fighter deals with ways to improve the evaluations of innercity youth gang members.

R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor, architect, philosopher, writer, etc., wrote more than thirty books, coining and popularizing terms like "synergetics" and developing numerous design inventions. Late in his life, he traveled the world, gave lectures, and received many honorary doctorates. He attended and taught IGS workshops in the 1950s and delivered the 1955 AKML.

Dave Garroway, original host of NEC's Today Show, wrote at least one nationally distributed article about general semantics and moderated the 1963 International Conference on General Semantics in New York City.

Michael J. GeIb, author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, includes a book on general semantics (Drive Yourself Sane) in his recommended reading bibliography.

SJ. Hayakawa, former President of San Francisco State College in the '60s, then U.S. Senator from California in the '70s, authored many books and articles dealing with language and semantics, including Language in Thought and Action, a Book of the Month selection in 1941. He was instrumental in forming the International Society for General Semantics and served as editor of ETC: A Review of General Semantics, from 1943-1977.

Robert A. Heinlein, one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of hard science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era. Heinlein attended two seminars with Korzybski and in novels, such as Stranger in a Strange Land, he explicitly incorporated general semantics formulations and themes. In 1941, Heinlein said this about Korzybski, "You may not like him personally, but he's at least as great a man as Einstein-at least-because his field is broader. The same kind of work that Einstein did, the same kind of work, using the same methods; but in a much broader field, much more close to human relationships.

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