One Answer

  1. They relate approximately nothing. The fact is that – let's leave aside his ideas for now – Korzybski behaved like a freak from the very beginning.

    In 1921, he began writing regularly to his idol Bertrand Russell. A portrait of Russell hung on his office wall. Korzybski sent him his first book.�

    In 1933, he sent him his second book. Russell replied: “Your work is impressive, and your erudition is exceptional. I haven't had time to study the book carefully, but I have a good opinion of the fragments I've read. Undoubtedly, your ideas deserve serious consideration.”�

    The correspondence continued unilaterally.

    In 1939, Russell wrote a second pithy letter: “I would like to see the semantic definition of the number you wrote about.”

    The semantic definition of a number is given in chapter XX of Science and Mental Health. Russell never read the book.

    Russell was a very polite person and even responded to the nugget dietitian who asked him to evaluate recommendations for single meals. Korzybski had been bothering him for 18 years. Later, he wrote to Einstein-with the same result.

    Since “general semantics” is an epistemological project, Korzybski's books were reviewed in philosophical journals – and they were always reviewed negatively.

    Korzybski was offended – and for the rest of his life he said: “I do not deal with 'philosophers'. Korzybski believed that philosophers had “megalomania”, academic philosophers were infuriated by the self-taught aplomb. After Max Black's devastating 1949 paper “Korzybski's General Semantics”, all academic interest in general semantics came to naught.

    But Korzybski's project was not so much academic as therapeutic – he wanted to teach humanity to ” think sensibly.”�

    Quine, who had attended Korzybski's early seminars out of curiosity (and nicknamed him “the muddled voivode”), got into conversation with a happy therapist there. How good! “You don't need to know mathematics, philosophy, or engineering. There is a method – and it works! Helps clients!

    Therefore, it is not surprising that Korzybsky's books attracted the interest of psychotherapist Albert Ellis – in the most “everyday” sense, in the form of everyday wisdom: do not absolutize anything, I am not a bad person, I just behave differently, good, bad or nothing, and so on. Korzybski's ideas are the basis of Ellis ' rational-emotional-behavioral therapy (Ellis's speech in memory of Korzybski). Ellis 'early books were written with the avoidance of the verb-copula “is”, following the recommendations of general semantics. In addition, Abraham Maslow was interested in him.�

    Outside of psychotherapy, Korzybski's influence is negligible, and his admirers were mostly writers. The famous popularizer of science Martin Gardner considered him a charlatan and the leader of a”psychiatric cult”.

    I think this is a bit unfair to Korzybski. �

    His followers “pupated” in the teacher's name institute not because he was a charlatan and a sect leader, but because he was self-taught. That is, simply said the right, but long-known things to everyone with the air as if he had made a great discovery. Mixed in with complete nonsense, of course, and quite original thoughts. It seemed to him that his system was a revolt against Aristotelian logic, but in reality it is a revolt against Aristotelian metaphysics. �Korzybski seriously believed that the world is in captivity of Aristotelian ideas, and he is making a revolution in thinking. Actually, go find a hardcore Aristotelian. Ayn Rand?�

    And also, well, Kant… there was such a “philosopher”. Korzybski's metaphysics is a kind of therapeutically oriented product of Kantianism, nothing more. It's just that for many, “nervous system” sounds “more scientific” than ” transcendental apperception.”

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