ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

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

Articles from Vol. 63, No. 1, January

Absent Presence
I HAVE BECOME interested in how oxymorons help us think about media experiences. An oxymoron is a phrase containing contradictory terms. I think that when we experience all media, but particularly electric media, we have slightly contradictory experiences....
A. E. Van Vogt and the World of Null-A
"He felt a keen excitement attracting vibrant minds and turning them to the pursuit of a higher human purpose." IF A.E. VAN VOGT had written a story of his own life, he would perhaps have started with this line. In a sense, it could very well...
Bookmarking Our Perceptions
AS I GUIDE my classes down through Korzybski's Structural Differential, from the parabola (event level of reality), to the circle (object of perception), I remind students that many objects and events, for which we have no words, ideas, or even concepts,...
Catch-22: If He Gets Smarter, Execute Him?
THE SUPREME COURT decided in 2002 that it's unconstitutional to execute a murderer who is retarded. The ruling was in the case of Daryl Atkins of Virginia, who scored 59 on an IQ test in 1998. That state put the cutoff for retardation at 70. Now...
Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk-Redux
IN THE 1970s, I worked as a junior high school counselor in New York City. The students at my school didn't want to be in the building, the teachers felt burnt out, and the administrators seemed bewildered about how to improve the situation. Fortunately,...
Death with Dignity or Criminal Act?
THE TITLE of this article appeared as a headline over an article on ABCNews.com (1) during the first week in October. That week, the Supreme Court, under the guidance of newly appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, heard arguments in the matter of Gonzales...
Fifty Years Ago in ETC
We are adrift in a strange and frightening world. The same breath that promises new delights sighs at the ever present shadow of atomic destruction. We witness chaos at international and local levels. Even supposedly "friendly" nations seem to turn...
General Semantics and Holocaust Denial
Introduction CERTAIN GROUPS claim the Holocaust never happened. Almost from the beginning of the discovery of this widespread destruction of European Jewry before and during World War II, Nazi apologists, anti-Semites, and self-styled "skeptics"...
Happiness Formulae: An Update and Critique
GENERAL SEMANTICS THINKERS have developed several formulae for happiness. A recent issue of ETC discussed and reprinted original writings about such formulae by Alfred Korzybski and his followers, including Wendell Johnson, Harry Weinberg, Irving J....
Katrina Taught Us All Lessons
HINDSIGHT ALWAYS SEEMS to have 20-20 vision. Hurricane Katrina showed us just how inadequate planning had been for such a disaster. Fingers started pointing in all directions within hours of the storm passing. Criticism--some of its deserved and...
Machines Don't Have Issues-Only People Do
"WE HAVE AN ISSUE with a leaking fuel tank, and the team is stuck. We need our help right away." An issue about leaking gasoline? That sounded more like a problem to me! I arrived at the client site at 10:00 p.m. that same night, tired and a little...
Must War Be Inevitable? A General Semantics Essay
SINCE THE KOREAN WAR, the United States has been involved in a number of conflicts and undeclared wars, and other countries have had wars and internal struggles. Humans have been making war for eons. Perhaps the title of this essay should ask: is the...
Read House Dedication: A New Home for General Semantics
WHILE thousands of coastal residents fled to the Fort Worth-Dallas area seeking temporary shelter from Hurricane Rita, a few dozen members of the Institute came to Fort Worth to dedicate a more permanent home. Read House dedication activities were...
Refugee, Evacuee, or Something Else?
AS IN OTHER news media outlets, the "refugee vs. evacuee vs. something else" debate has come up at the Missouri School of Journalism, and specifically at the Columbia Missourian. While we don't have a formal policy on "refugee," the informal one...
"Response Side Semantics"
FROM THE July 1, 2005, National Public Radio broadcast of the Diane Rehm Show: Diane: Here is an interesting email from Steve, who's the Executive Director for the Institute of General Semantics. He says: "These kinds of panels invariably...
Some "New" Extensional Devices 2006
ALFRED KORZYBSKI, in Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics (1933), argued that our language would be more effective if we used certain techniques from scientific methodology. To this end, he proposed...
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