Academic journal article et Cetera

REMEMBRANCE: Severen L. Schaeffer, 1936-1993

Academic journal article et Cetera

REMEMBRANCE: Severen L. Schaeffer, 1936-1993

Article excerpt

Severen L. Schaeffer introduced general semantics in France and the rest of Europe in the 1960s. Many corporate managers, leaders, and other curious people attended his seminars and sometimes later used their own creative energies to spread the word about general semantics in other areas.

Schaeffer was from the United States, and grew up there and in Mexico, where his parents were working as musicians. His creative father, Myron Schaeffer, was the designer of the hamograph at the University of Toronto. This was an early electronic musical instrument for producing complex re-peated rhythmic patterns. He introduced Severen to general semantics.

Schaeffer spoke Spanish and French fluently and was exposed to cultural diversity at a time when cultural exchanges were less the norm than today. After completing his studies in sciences and because he had already made a lot of trips to Europe, Schaeffer went to France and in 1962 started conducting general semantics courses. His introductory 18-hour courses were called "weekend electroshock" by many participants because of the startling ideas he introduced to people.

Schaeffer designed his courses in a way he described as "inductive and non-linear," and helped his students develop patience to learn by analogy and experience through the course in a style sometimes abrupt and disturbing, very direct, and very different from other educational systems they would have had. …

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