Following the summing up of the situation sent on
February the 5th, in which I proposed to put up a bureau of solving
human problems, Alan sent a mail proposing to call it :
of Person". I like very much this
denomination, because it gives human person an absolute value, and a good part
of the problems we got in human domains come from the fact we evaluate as
absolute abstract values (money, democracy, nation, party, etc..) and in comparison we give our life a relative value.
Then it came to my mind that "the
Person" is an abstaction supposed to represent
the people. But there is nothing like "the Person" who would really exist : we cannot meet "the Person" not get an
appointment to dinner with her. So a ministry of "the Persons" seems
to me more similar to the facts.
Burroughs expressed himself about it, saying in the
Adding Machine that "there is no value over the individual", which
means the same really. He had followed Korzybski's courses in 1936 ("My
Education") and , though he cannot be considered
as a teacher of general semantics nor never pretended so, this discipline had a
certain influence on his writtings.
General semantics, also called non-aristotelian
logic, is a method of thinking invented in the twenties by a Polish ingeneer, Alfred Korzybski, on the base of data of quantic
physics and theory of relativity. It corresponds, for our century, to what were, during antiquity, Aristotelian logic which was based
upon the euclidian physics, and in the XVIIth century, Descartes' logic, which was based upon
Newton's physics. (see "Les differentes
étapes de l'évolution de l'Occident: Aristote, Descartes, Korzybski:
trois visions de l'homme et du monde").
Hence, GS brings a quantic
vision of man and of the world and allows to apply mathematical methods of
solving problems to human sciences, leading in those domains to results of a
similar efficiency than the ones we get in scientific and technical areas. So Korzbski defined it as a science of values and evaluations,
a tool of thinking to solve human problems.
I discovered GS in 1976
reading "The World of Non-A",
"The players of Non-A" and "Null-A-Three"
Van Vogt, which are science-fiction books, written
to spread teaching and use of GS. (Van Vogt was
member of the International Society for General Semantics).
Using it in my personal and professional life at the
hospital where I tough it (group B 23 : see the summing
up of the courses), I found it quite useful
to myself, and as far as I have stated, the experiments confirmed Korzybski's
statements about its efficiency.
I became member of the Institute of General Semantics
(163, Engle Street, Englewood, NJ 07631) from 1986 to 1992, and translated Korzybski's
seminar in touch with Mrs
Charlote Read, from the Institute.
In 1996, I became member of the European Society of
General Semantics, was part of the board of directors until I quit last month,
as the work with Interzone does not allow time
anymore for the work of translation and lecturing there.
You can find Korzybski's and GS
books on the web at :
- Institute of General Semantics : http://www.general-semantics.org
As a result, I propose to use GS
methods to treat problems we face practicly. I have
no ready made solution, just a tool. Korzybski lived
at the beginning of the century, so some of his data can be considered now as
obsolete in certain domains, and have to be actualized
on the base of our present knowledges.
In economic and financial domains, Korzybski's data on
money might be helpful to get a better understanding about it and find
solutions adapted to our real needs. (see "Science and Sanity" :
Book I : "A General
Survey of Non-Aristotelian Factors", Part II : General on Structure,
chapter VI : On Symbolism." Don't be impressed by the first austere
look; this chapter is not too technical; read it twice, and you will LOL a lot!
Any feed-back, writings, suggestions, etc., welcome.