Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

(Some) Basic Understandings of General Semantics

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

(Some) Basic Understandings of General Semantics

Article excerpt


* Only humans have demonstrated the capability to build on the knowledge of prior generations. Alfred Korzybski referred to this capability as time-binding.

* Language serves as the principle tool that facilitates time-binding.

* Time-binding forms the basis for an ethical standard by which to evaluate human behavior.

* Acknowledging our time-binding inheritance dispels the 'self-made' notion and encourages us to 'time-bind' for the benefit of those who follow.

Scientific Approach

* Our ability to time-bind is most evident when we apply a scientific approach, method or attitude in our evaluations and judgments.

* A scientific approach involves the process of continually testing assumptions and beliefs, gathering as many facts and as much data as possible, revising assumptions and beliefs as appropriate, and holding conclusions and judgments tentatively.

* Hidden, or unstated assumptions guide our behavior to some degree; therefore we ought to make a special effort to become more aware of them.

* We live in a process-oriented universe in which everything changes all the time. The changes may be readily apparent to us, or microscopic, or even submicroscopic. There's always more than we can sense or experience.

Observe [right arrow] Hypothesize [right arrow] Test [right arrow] Revise, etc.

Abstracting and Evaluating ("Behavior Awareness")

* As human organisms, we have limits as to what we can experience through our senses. Given these limitations, we can never experience 'all' of what's 'out there' to experience. We 'abstract' only a portion of what's 'out there.'

* Our awareness of 'what goes on' outside of our skin, is not 'what is going on;' our awareness of our experience is not the silent, first-order, neurological experience.

* Given our ever-changing environment (which includes ourselves, and our awareness of ourselves), we never experience the 'same' person, event, situation, 'thing,' experience, etc., more than once.

* To the degree that our reactions and responses to all forms of stimuli are automatic, or conditioned, we copy animals, like Pavlov's dog. To the degree that our reactions and responses are more controlled, delayed, or conditional to the given situation, we exhibit our uniquely-human capabilities.

* We each experience 'what's out there' uniquely, according to our individual sensory capabilities, integrating our past experiences and expectations. …

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