ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

This quarterly journal provides peer-reviewed articles on topics relating to general semantics.

Articles from Vol. 61, No. 2, July

Abstractions
The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken. BERTRAND RUSSELL If the human nervous system were simple...
A Most Hazardous Paradox
A most ingenious paradox! We've quips and quibbles heard in flocks, But none to beat this paradox! A paradox, a paradox, A most ingenious paradox! --Gilbert and Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance USING WORDS to think or communicate is a hazardous occupation....
Can You Patent a Sick Beagle?
TRADITIONALLY, patents are awarded for innovative machinery, new inventions, and unique combinations of chemicals. In 1980 the Supreme Court took up the matter of bacteria that consumed oil, and ruled that living things could be patented. The Patent...
Fifty Years Ago in ETC: War Words and Tired Symbols
WAR WORDS and other closely-related tired symbols will pepper this paper. In other contexts they appear most frequently in the day-to-day language of the business world, particularly in the language of those engaged in advertising and sales. Before...
Free Beer Here
"Critical thinking will often put us at odds with most of humanity. But there are advantages." WE HAD TO KEEP our dog, Prince, confined, because he would viciously attack any stranger who carried a large bag. Apparently, before we adopted him as a...
From the President
In a little town in France, she stood on the corner next to the chocolate store waiting for her group. It was the 'wrong' corner, on the opposite end, causing her to be lost for nearly an hour. Above the cliffs of Omaha Beach, we looked down at...
General Semantics as Critical Thinking: A Personal View
We are witnessing the growth of a remarkable consensus that the achievement of basic literacy ... is not a sufficient goal.... [Elementary and secondary school] graduates must not only be literate; they must also be competent thinkers. (1) IN 1967,...
Goethe's Extensional Orientation
"The clash between a verbal orientation as opposed to a fact, event, or happening orientation is certainly one of the perennial themes in Goethe's masterpiece Faust." MANY GENERAL SEMANTICS EDUCATORS and practitioners stress the importance of developing...
Journey into the Future: Today's Time-Binders Shaping Tomorrow
"As one of today's time-binders, you live in the present and learn about the past for the sake of your future." "You recognize that you are one link on the long chain of generations ... You can hear the echoes of history and the generations that walked before...
Living Extensionally
"Humans, as a symbolic class of life, need to develop controls over the phantom worlds that they create with their symbol systems." THE AIM of living extensionally lies at the heart of general semantics. Living extensionally involves remembering that...
Managing Organizational Stress through General Semantics
"The stress response can lead to eustress (a positive outcome) or distress (an unhealthy outcome)." STRESS is a creatively ambiguous word with little agreed-on scientific definition (Khan, 1987). This word has served as an overarching precept for...
On "Fools"
IN OUR RELATION to the past there are three wide-open ways in which one may be a fool. One of the ways is the way of ignoring the past--the way of remaining blankly ignorant of the human past as the animals are blankly ignorant of their past and...
Politics, Advertising, and Excuses: Why Do We Lie?
"Deciding that a moral purpose justifies immoral acts can prove self- defeating." LIES OFTEN WORK by offering what seem attractively simple explanations of complicated situations or by satisfying our prejudices or hopes or fears, as in saying that...
Preface to Thinking & Living Skills: General Semantics for Critical Thinking 1995
ON THE EVENING of January 28, 1980, my friend, Greg B. Phillips, arrived at my house for his regular weekly visit. During our conversation, he made a casual offer that triggered a chain of events destined to change my life. He merely suggested that...
The Irving J. Lee Method of Teaching General Semantics
SOMEONE once said, "The trouble with Adam and Eve was not a red apple but a green pair!" Today I want to talk about what some call "ignorance and stupidity," or what in general semantics is commonly called a "misevaluation." In teaching general semantics,...
Voices
Do you hear voices? Which ones do you listen to? I hear voices ... outer voices, inner voices, loving voices, hateful ones Noisy voices, quieter ones, annoying voices, soothing ones Some persistent, some insistent Voices urging "Go, go, go." ... Cautious...
Who Is the "Source" in Communication Models?
INTRODUCTORY communication textbooks almost all have some model of the communication process. These models usually include a "source," or sender, as well as a "message," a "channel," and a "receiver." Sometimes "noise" is included in the model. There...
Why McLuhan's Still Hot and Cool
"I was struck by one notion, namely that media subtly and incontrovertibly shape the ways in which we perceive the world around us." IN GRAD SCHOOL, I noticed that the professor conducting a communications seminar had notes that were yellowed and...