A General Semantics Anecdote:

One day, Alfred Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit.

A few students took a biscuit. “Nice biscuit, don’t you think,” said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging.

On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words “Dog Cookies.” The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. “You see,” Korzybski remarked, “I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.” (via)

"The map is not the territory, the world is not the thing it describes. Whenever the map is confused with the territory, a 'semantic disturbance is set up in the organism. The disturbance continues until the limitation of the map is recognized." - A.Korzybski

"General semantics is a philosophy that deals with how people react to things that happen around them based on meaning. It was created by Alfred Korzybski during the 1920s. The goal of general semantics is for people to know that when we simplify something, either mentally or in language, that simplification is not the same thing as the thing simplified. How people understand reality is not the same as what reality is because people do not know everything about reality. General semantics teaches that there is always more to something than what is seen, heard, felt, or believed." (via)

Images from the presentation General Semantics Theory - by Zane Van Winkle:

General Semantics Lecture - by Robert Anton Wilson (1997, Audio)

Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture - by Robert Anton Wilson (2001)

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