Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

A New Sort of Man: Balvant K. Parekh

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

A New Sort of Man: Balvant K. Parekh

Article excerpt

Irving J. Lee related a conversation he had with Alfred Korzybski in which Lee asked, "Now, Alfred, you have been thinking about this stuff for a very long time. Can you tell me, in a nutshell, what are you trying to do? What is the objective of all this reading and studying and talking and sweating that you go through day after day, year after year? What are you after?"

Korzybski replied to Lee, "Irving, we are trying to produce a new sort of man." (1) Lee goes on to describe how Korzybski attempted to describe this new sort of man in the pages of Science and Sanity. During the course of a speech he gave in 1951, Lee outlined a profile of this new sort of man that included traits and characteristics such as:

* Competence, not merely in terms of knowledge, but in the application of his knowledge.

* Curiosity about the world and the people around him.

* Productive and efficient memory in terms of remembering the important and the significant, but forgetting the unpleasant, the petty, and the trivial.

* Highly discriminating awareness of differences, nuances, and subtleties; he would never "suffer from the blindness that obliterates uniqueness."

* Integrative personality in a holistic sense; he would know and do, diagnose and prescribe, think and feel and act. He will embody both "rugged individualism" and cooperative altruism.

* Unapologetic sincerity in his beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes toward those things he deemed to be relevant and significant, with an equal ability to disassociate himself from that which he determined to be unimportant and trifling.

* Constant awareness that his beliefs, no matter how sincere or deeply-held, are beliefs and therefore not final Truth or Knowledge; he would not shirk from exploring what lies beyond his beliefs.

* Patience in great reserves.

* Sociability and friendliness without pretention.

* Clarity and precision in his speaking, with confidence and without apology.

* Persistence and perseverance in his endeavors, while taking care to pick his battles carefully and admitting, but 'dating,' his setbacks and defeats. …

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