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  • 24 Oct 2022 2:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics

    Proudly Present

    The 2021 Samuel I. Hayakawa Book Prize to

    Carolyn Wiebe and Susan Maushart (Eds.)

    for

    The Genes of Culture:

    Towards a Theory of Symbols, Meaning and Media

    Volumes One and Two

    By Christine L. Nystrom 

    Christine L. Nystrom’s provocative work offers up a fresh approach to ongoing—and increasingly urgent—questions about the role of symbols and technology in shaping human experience. In lucid, lively, and always-accessible prose, she examines an eclectic range of topics—from Hopi grammar to the etiquette of beach-going to the primal allure of the horror film—to uncover the principles that structure the way we make meaning of our world. A cross-disciplinary tour de force, The Genes of Culture integrates insights from philosophy, the physical sciences, social psychology, and cultural criticism to pose challenging questions for today’s students of media. This book is an exemplary foundation reader for graduates or undergraduates in communication and media studies.

    Volume 2 of The Genes of Culture continues Christine Nystrom’s exploration into the ecology of symbol systems and the evolution of media, mind and culture. Part One, Human Symbolic Evolution, delivers nothing less than a grand unified theory of humankind. For Nystrom, the prehistoric creative explosion that gave rise to languagea metaphorical Big Bangexplains our species’ survival. A felicitous if somewhat ignoble story, it begins with "The Incompetent Ape" who would never have made the evolutionary cut without developing the social capabilities made possible through symbolic language. And human communication, an inevitable source of problems, is the driving force behind this most peculiar of adventures: the birth of self-consciousness, tools and technologies, pratfalls of memory, awareness of our own mortality, art, knowledge, civilization, discontent, and so on. And so on, that is, if we don’t bring our story to an end. In Part Two, a series of astute and provokingly prescient lectures, Tales, Tools, Technopoly, Nystrom addresses our social and moral responsibility in cultivating the narrative of our future. Straightforward and ruthlessly critical of contemporary notions of "growth" and "progress," it concludes this volume with an alternative that is also a challenge -- an appeal to our better nature to do right by our species and the planet. A seminal text for students of media and communication, The Genes of Culture, Vol. 2 is at once readable and profound, comprehensive in its erudition and bold in its conclusions. In the spirit of Media Ecology, it invites argument, and merits acclaim.

    First given in 2009, the Institute of General Semantics awards the S. I. Hayakawa Book Prize to the most outstanding work published in the past five years on topics of direct relevance to the discipline of general semantics.  The prize includes a cash award of $1,000. 

    For a list of past winners of the Hayakawa Prize, click here.

  • 24 Oct 2022 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New from our New Non-Aristotelian Library Series:

    Formal Cause in Marshall McLuhan's Thinking: An Aristotelian Perspective by Laura Trujillo Liñán; Foreword by Lance Strate

    The concept of formal cause was originated by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, in his treatise on metaphysics, later elaborated upon by the medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas, and more recently claimed by the modern media philosopher Marshall McLuhan. Introduced as one of four types of causality, alongside that of material cause, efficient cause, and final cause, McLuhan adopted formal causality in an effort to explain the effects of media and technology. This study reviews, compares, and contrasts Aristotle’s and McLuhan’s understanding of formal cause in relation to contemporary media theory, non-aristotelian systems, and the field of media ecology.

    Ever since we thought to think about it, causality has been a slippery beast to grapple with. To make it easier to grasp, we often revert to the more convenient, if simplistic, terms of 'cause and effect,' dismissing out of hand what doesn't easily fit there, or assigning the magical, fantastic, or mysterious as agents beyond our human understanding. Against this impulse, Laura Trujillo Liñán has waded into often-murky waters, and in an admirable attempt to discover clarity, employed considerable skill and effort, and enlisted the assistance of Aristotle and McLuhan to her task. Liñán's book is an important contribution toward forming a more complete map of the challenging terrain that is formal causality.
    Andrew McLuhan, Director, The McLuhan Institute

    How do we understand the complex relationships between media and their effects With this book, Laura Trujillo Liñán adds to a growing body of work attempting to tackle this persistent question. Using lessons drawn from Aristotle and McLuhan, she offers an application of Aristotle’s four causes that sheds new light upon—and raises new questions about—McLuhan’s challenging slogan, “the medium is the message.” The book thus helps to advance discussion of important philosophical questions about speech, written language, and contemporary media.
    Gerald Erion, Professor of Philosophy, Medaille College

    Laura Trujillo Liñán’s brilliant study explores formal cause as a key concept informing McLuhan’s belief that media transform individuals and society and that it is possible to understand and control such changes by studying and even exposing often-hidden effects. Her study also roots McLuhan’s perspective in Aristotelian, Thomist, and general semantics theory. Because Trujillo Liñán treats abstract concepts with linguistic clarity and foundational grounding, her book will be a valuable text for students of media. At the same time, by tracing time-based connections and philosophical traditions, she also reveals connections poised to enrich the work of more senior scholars.
    Jaqueline McLeod Rogers, Professor and Chair, Department Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications, University of Winnipeg

    There is so much to recommend in this book that I scarcely know where to begin. Suffice it to say that by conducting a comparative analysis of Aristotle, Korzybski, and McLuhan, and by applying an Aristotelian perspective to the notion of formal cause in Marshall McLuhan’s thinking, the book’s author, Professor Laura Trujillo Liñán, has made a significant contribution to the fields of philosophy, general semantics, and media ecology. Highly recommended.
    Martin H. Levinson, Trustee and Past President, Institute of General Semantics

    Available from most online booksellers or click here to purchase via the IGS bookstore

  • 24 Oct 2022 2:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New from our New Non-Aristotelian Library Series:

    Dear Fellow Time-Binder: Letters on General Semantics by Christopher Mayer

    This is a series of short summaries and brief overviews of many main ideas within general semantics, all couched in the style of personal letters. It is designed to give people an intimate view into many insights offered with general semantics, and just as equally, it represents how principles of general semantics can be applied within everyday life.


  • 24 Oct 2022 2:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The latest publication in our Language in Action series devoted to poetry and creative writing:

    Massaging the Medium: Seven Pechakuchas by Adeena Karasick

    In the alternate universe where Roland Barthes was a TikTok star and Marshall McLuhan an Instagram Inluencer cloned with a generation of super-whiz critical-wise-cracking kids to produce super-hip trend-smart media brand collage-critique they might have approached the extra-orbital velocity of Adeena Karasick’s high-powered cultural insights. The sheer scale of her inventory of references is enough to overwhelm the synapses and explode the constellationary possibilities of trying to process the world we live in. We, not the medium, are what is being massaged, manipulated, and mangled—and Karasick artfully exposes these many machinations while keeping her cool voice and ludic edge.

    Mordantly clever these compressed works are full of edge and insight. Up-to-date and totally timely, the dense fields of text-image resonate with current associations and indexical trails of the familiar frames according to which we mediate the culturally produced encounters with our daily lives. Accurate and terrifying, lively and vivid, Adeena Karasick’s format manages its hybrid pata-para-pechakucha parametrics with dizzying and dazzling energy and skill. In other words—WOW.

    —Johanna Drucker, author of The General Theory of Social Relativity,
    DowndriftIliazd: Metabiography of a Modernist and the forthcoming Inventing the Alphabet


    Massaging the Medium is a fascinating, sensory media-mix... [where] you can hear Karasick’s voice and feel the rhythm of her reading—about technology and the senses, culture, communication, and imagination, Postman and Korzybski, the Golem, the body, language, talk, and truth. This is is a book you can dance to.

    —Eva Berger, Secretary of the Institute of General Semantics, author of The Communication Panacea, and Context Blindness: Digital Technology and the Next Stage of Human Evolution


    Language juggler Adeena Karasick did it again. By letting images speak, she crammed an unjammable aural experience in less than 200 pages. An absolute Mcluhanesque pastiche that seizes the allatonceness of our memetic culture. A book to read with your ears.
     
    Paolo Granata, University of Toronto, author of The Medium: A Marshall McLuhan Board Game

  • 24 Oct 2022 2:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our long-awaited double issue 78:3-4 (2021) of ETC: A Review of General Semantics is in the mail and is now available for download from the IGS Store in searchable PDF format.

    Table of Contents Preview

    "Letter from the Editor"

    In Memoriam: Paul Dennithorne Johnston" by Charles G. Russell

    "Remembrance: Paul Johnston" by Martin H. Levinson

    "Cultivating Metacognition: Exploring Relations Between Literacy and Modes of Thinking" by Corey Anton

    "Excerpts from Dear Fellow Time-Binder: Letters on General Semantics" by
    Chris Mayer

    "My Lambda Pi Eta Lecture" by Lance Strate

    "Indexing American Overthrows of Foreign Governments by Martin H. Levinson"

    "Prof on First" by David Sobelman

    "How I Became an Ecologist" by Rex Weyler

    "Grandpa McCoy’s Three Questions: Mapping Our way Across the Digital Divide" by Robert Albrecht

    "Critical Moral Thinking: Some Stars to Steer By" by Jeffrey Scheuer

    "A Dialogue on Language" by Peter Zhang and Robert Smit

    "There’s Only 1 Train: All Aboard the Cosmopolitan Canopy from 242nd St. to South Ferry" by Deirdre Heavey

    "Closure and Flexibility of Closure as it Relates to Perception and Inductive Reasoning" by Joseph N. Agostino

    "Closure in Perception: An Overview" by Joseph N. Agostino

    General Semantics Actions Plans:

      "Action Plan: Non-Allness" by Jora Barnes and Mary Lahman;

      "Action Plan: Self-Reflexiveness" by Kaleigh Gabriel and Mary Lahman

    Moving Action Plans to Case Studies 

      "Action Plan: Self-Reflexiveness by Erin Hickle and Mary Lahman

      "The Social Media Debate: How Might Quotes, Hyphens, and En-Dashes Help Us Reach New Understanding" by Erin Hickle, Marissa Carr, and Mary Lahman

    Poems: 

    "Enantiodromia" by Xristos Xousos

    "The Virtual Feast" by David Linton

    "Self" by NonistJohn Case Schaeffer

     Book Reviews,  Martin H. Levinson, Book Review Editor: 

    Shariatmadari, David. Don’t Believe a Word: The Surprising Truth About Language. New York: Norton, 2019.

  • 1 Feb 2022 3:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our long-awaited and eighth double issue 78:1-2 (2021) of ETC: A Review of General Semantics is in the mail and is now available for download from the IGS Store in searchable PDF format.

    Table of Contents Preview

    “Conscious of Abstraction” by Dom Heffer

    “General Semantics and All That Jazz” by Geof Bradfield/Ben Goldberg/Dana Hall Trio, and Anne Philips, with Thom Gencarelli, Lance Strate, and Ed Tywoniak

    “Excerpts from Dear Fellow Time-Binder: Letters on General Semantics” by Chris Mayer

    “‘I Hear You!’: Comments on the Sound Practice of Listening” by Lance Strate

    “Anticipatory Anxiety” by Milton Dawes

    “Interpersonal Time: A Neglected Dimension” by Joseph A. Devito

    “Are We What We Think We Are Not?” by Vijay Rangachari

    “The Art of Clear Thinking” by Martin H. Levinson

    “Dating American Disunity” by Martin H. Levinson

    “Dating Western Poetry” by Martin H. Levinson

    “Just for the Habitat: A Fanciful Tale on the Birth of General Semantics” by Martin H. Levinson

    “Waiting for the Squeeze to ‘Squooze’: Wallstreetbets and General Semantics” by Michael Quinn

    “A Prophet Sowing Golden Words: A Semantic Parable with a Happy Ending” by Richard Fiordo

    “September 11, 2001: Recollections of a New York City Police Officer” by Suzanne G. Beyer

    “The Wrought Iron Fence: Another Layer of History” by Suzanne G. Beyer

    “Ises Don’t, and Nouns Are Not” by NonistJohn Schaeffer

    “The Real-Time Blues” by NonistJohn Schaeffer

    “General Semantics ‘Action Plans’” by Mary Lahman

    “Action Plan: Self-Reflexiveness” by Erin Hickle, Marissa Carr, and Mary Lahman

    Plus Letter from the Editor.

    Cover Art

    On the Cover: Anthony Housman - Still Life (Half Dish). 2008. Acrylic on canvas. 25cm x 35cm.

  • 28 Dec 2021 3:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 1948, the Institute of General Semantics hosted a Summer Seminar-Workshop at Millbrook School in New York. In 2020, IGS released over 15 hours of digitized audio recordings from that course.

    After uncovering more audio recordings from the course, including several lectures by Alfred Korzybski and additional lecturing by Irving J. Lee, today IGS announces the release of "version 2.0" for the audio collection. This newly expanded collection contains 37 additional audio files, totaling around 24 hours of audio from the 1948 Summer Seminar-Workshop.  This expanded collection is now available for listening and download from the IGS Store.

    The recordings reflect a wide range of speakers, general semantics lessons, and teacher-student interactions. They were digitized and enhanced in 2020-2021 from reels rescued from the Institute of General Semantics archives.

    Included with the MP3 album of 62 audio files is the Listener's Guide for IGS 1948 Summer Seminar-Workshop by Ben Hauck, which meticulously brings together archival information about the course -- from its planning to names of those in attendance, and more.

    In addition to Alfred Korzybski lecturing on a wide range of topics in the seminar portion of the retreat, and introducing Douglas Kelley at a point, the following general semantics lecturers speak in the recordings on these subjects and others:

    • Stuart Chase - House on Un-American Activities
    • William Exton, Jr. - Audio-Visual Aids, Maps, Non-Verbal Symbols
    • Harry Holtzman - Visual Art; Abstract Art
    • Douglas Kelley - Work of Adelbert Ames, Jr., Psychiatry, Structure, Function of the Human Nervous System, Conditioned Reflexes; On Magic; Prejudice, and Question & Answer Session
    • M. Kendig - Introduction to Allen Walker Read; Neuro-Linguistic, Neuro-Semantic Environments on Teaching and Writing General Semantics
    • Irving J. Lee - Statements of Fact, Inferencing; Question & Answer Session
    • Allen Walker Read - Semantic Guide
    • Sam Rosen - Using General Semantics in Medical Situations

    Approximate Running Time: ~24 hours

    These audio recordings and listener's guide complement the motion picture produced during the 1948 course:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qep9ppZ0oK0

    This audio collection is available as a downloadable ZIP file including 62 MP3 audio files and a listener's guide PDF with photographs.

    NOTE: The ZIP file is 270MB, a large file. You have 4 days from the moment of purchase to complete the download, and 4 attempts to succeed.  Only order when you have enough time to download the file to a computer or external hard drive with enough space. To open the ZIP, you may need to extract the contents of the ZIP file with additional free software.

  • 28 Dec 2021 3:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 1948, the Institute of General Semantics hosted a Summer Seminar-Workshop at Millbrook School in New York. In 2020, IGS released over 15 hours of digitized audio recordings from that course.

    After uncovering more audio recordings from the course, including several lectures by Alfred Korzybski and additional lecturing by Irving J. Lee, today IGS announces the release of "version 2.0" for the audio collection. This newly expanded collection contains 37 additional audio files, totaling around 24 hours of audio from the 1948 Summer Seminar-Workshop.  This expanded collection is now available for listening and download from the IGS Store.

    The recordings reflect a wide range of speakers, general semantics lessons, and teacher-student interactions. They were digitized and enhanced in 2020-2021 from reels rescued from the Institute of General Semantics archives.

    Included with the MP3 album of 62 audio files is the Listener's Guide for IGS 1948 Summer Seminar-Workshop by Ben Hauck, which meticulously brings together archival information about the course -- from its planning to names of those in attendance, and more.

    In addition to Alfred Korzybski lecturing on a wide range of topics in the seminar portion of the retreat, and introducing Douglas Kelley at a point, the following general semantics lecturers speak in the recordings on these subjects and others:

    • Stuart Chase - House on Un-American Activities
    • William Exton, Jr. - Audio-Visual Aids, Maps, Non-Verbal Symbols
    • Harry Holtzman - Visual Art; Abstract Art
    • Douglas Kelley - Work of Adelbert Ames, Jr., Psychiatry, Structure, Function of the Human Nervous System, Conditioned Reflexes; On Magic; Prejudice, and Question & Answer Session
    • M. Kendig - Introduction to Allen Walker Read; Neuro-Linguistic, Neuro-Semantic Environments on Teaching and Writing General Semantics
    • Irving J. Lee - Statements of Fact, Inferencing; Question & Answer Session
    • Allen Walker Read - Semantic Guide
    • Sam Rosen - Using General Semantics in Medical Situations

    Approximate Running Time: ~24 hours

    These audio recordings and listener's guide complement the motion picture produced during the 1948 course:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qep9ppZ0oK0

    This audio collection is available as a downloadable ZIP file including 62 MP3 audio files and a listener's guide PDF with photographs.

    NOTE: The ZIP file is 270MB, a large file. You have 4 days from the moment of purchase to complete the download, and 4 attempts to succeed.  Only order when you have enough time to download the file to a computer or external hard drive with enough space. To open the ZIP, you may need to extract the contents of the ZIP file with additional free software.

  • 22 Dec 2021 3:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the first episode of the Hilaritas Press Podcast, Institute of General Semantics trustee Dom Heffer speaks in depth about Alfred Korzybski.

    The podcast focuses on people who "influenced and inspired Robert Anton Wilson," and Korzybski is among those who influenced Wilson.



    Click here to listen to the podcast and find it on podcast apps »

  • 21 Dec 2021 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To the IGS YouTube account, we have added a curated set videos of presentations from the 69th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and its subsequent Two-Day General Semantics Symposium, sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics, and co-sponsored by the Media Ecology Association and the New York Society for General Semantics.

    The entire event was held at the Players Club in New York City, October 1-3, 2021.

    The videos are compiled into a sequential playlist that mirrors the sequence of events from the weekend.

    Watch individual entries from the playlist »

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ETC contributes to and advances the understanding of language, thought, and behavior. Each issue of ETC provides the latest research and discourse on general semantics.

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