Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics

By Alfred Korzybski | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 1948

If thinkers will only be persuaded to lay aside their prejudices and apply themselves to studying the evidences . . . I shall be fully content to await the final decision. (402) CHARLES S. PEIRCE

For the mass of mankind . . . if it is their highest impulse to be intellectual slaves, then slaves they ought to remain. (402) CHARLES S. PEIRCE

In spite of the fact that since 1933 a great many new discoveries in sciences have been made, to be analysed in a separate publication, the fundamental methodological issues which led even to the release of nuclear energy remain unaltered, and so this third edition requires no revision of the text.

Soon after the publication of the second edition in 1941, the Second American Congress on General Semantics was held at the University of Denver. The papers presented there have been compiled and edited by M. Kendig1 and show applications in a wide variety of fields. A third congress, international in scope, is being planned for 1949. Students of our work who have made applications in their fields of interest are invited to submit papers to the Institute. The rapid spread of interest, by now on all continents, has indicated the need for the new methods set forth here, and many study groups have been formed here and abroad.

As the center for training in these non-aristotelian methods, the Institute of General Semantics was incorporated in Chicago in 1938. In the summer of 1946 the Institute moved to Lakeville, Connecticut, where its original program is being carried on.

I must stress that I give no panaceas, but experience shows that when the methods of general semantics are applied, the results are usually beneficial, whether in law, medicine, business, etc., education on all levels, or personal inter-relationships, be they in family, national, or international fields. If they are not applied, but merely talked about, no results can be expected. Perhaps the most telling applications were those on the battlefields of World War II, as reported by members of the armed forces, including psychiatrists on all fronts, and especially by Dr. Douglas M. Kelley,* formerly Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Corps, who reports in part as follows:

General semantics, as a modern scientific method, offers techniques which are of extreme value both in the prevention and cure of such [pathological] reactive patterns. In my experience with over seven thousand cases in the European Theater of Operations, these basic principles

____________________
*
Chief Consultant in Clinical Psychology and Assistant Consultant in Psychiatry to the European Theater of Operations; also Chief Psychiatrist in charge of the prisoners at Nuremberg. Author of 22 Cells in Nuremberg, Greenberg, New York, 1947.

-xix-

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