Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

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Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

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Article excerpt

Attended Dinner, Did Not Eat

Rex Monahan, of Sterling, Colorado, wrote to us recently:

At D. David Bourland Jr.'s request, the following is an attempt to recall my impressions of Alfred Korzybski whom I met at Denver University in July 1949. He was conducting a several-day seminar on General Semantics. It was probably arranged by Elwood Murray (English or Speech Department, Denver University).

I had made a rather puny effort to understand Korzybski's Science and Sanity. I was going through a "man, know thyself" phase, as I still am. That explains my presence at the seminar.

I was a 24-year-old psychology/geology student at the University of Nebraska, three years out of World War II service as a 1st Lieutenant Infantry Platoon Commander. Korzybski was in his 70th and final year of life. Neither of us was possessed with a high level of patience. I was probably the youngest and Korzybski was the oldest person present. There were about 20 people attending this seminar.

Among many other things, Korzybski told us that he grew up learning several languages and, as a result, he doesn't confuse words with "things," which he viewed as a fundamental error committed by most of us.

He referred frequently to the errors of Aristotelian thinking. His reference to the inadequacy of human language to the effect that you can never say everything about anything left a definite impression on me.

He was attired in khakis and was aided by a Miss Charlotte Schuchardt, who frequently and gently helped him regain a lost thought train. …

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