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  • 22 Feb 2021 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    Dear IGS Members and Friends,

    This past December, the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics elected me to the office of IGS President, and it is truly an honor and a privilege to be called upon to serve in this capacity. I want to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Martin Levinson, for his many years of service. Corey Anton remains the Vice-President of the IGS, and Jacqueline Rudig our Treasurer. Eva Berger has succeeded Vanessa Biard-Schaeffer as IGS Secretary, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Vanessa as well for her long tenure in that position. Thank you as well to Ben Hauck for managing our digital media, and to all of my fellow trustees for their support as I tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

    For those of you who do not know me, please allow me to tell you a little bit about myself. I earned my PhD at New York University in 1991, studying with Neil Postman, and presently I hold the position of Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City. I am a past president of the New York State Communication Association, the Media Ecology Association, and most recently, the New York Society for General Semantics, and I served as Executive Director of the Institute of General Semantics from 2008-2011, joining the IGS Board of Trustees in 2013. Moreover, I am the author of eight books, including On the Binding Biases of Time published by the IGS; Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition; and my second poetry collection, published by the IGS just last year, Diatribal Writes of Passage in a World of Wintertextuality. I have also co-edited seven books, including Korzybski And… (coedited by Corey Anton), published by the IGS in 2012. And I should mention that I delivered the 66th annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture in 2018, entitled, "Amazing Ourselves to Death: Contemplating the Technological Tempest of Our Times."

    As this is a time of transition, much of the work that we are doing is going on behind the scenes. You can expect to see increased output of our journal, ETC, this year, as I am working with the editor, Thom Gencarelli, to get ETC back on schedule by this time next year. We will also be making the transition from rolling membership to membership based on calendar year. Whether virtual, in person, or a bit of both, we will continue to hold our annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and concomitant symposium. And you can expect to see additional new initiatives, including new programming online, as we move forward. We will keep you informed, I promise!

    If ever there was a time when the world needed the kind of sanity that general semantics has to offer, it is now! So I ask you to continue to support the institute through your membership and donations, and by spreading the word and bringing in new members. And by all means, ask what the IGS can do for you, let us know how we can best serve you, and be of service to others.


    Lance Strate, President

  • 13 Feb 2021 3:40 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of General Semantics is pleased to announce the publication of How Do You Know?: A Guide to Clear Thinking About Wall Street, Investing, and Life by Christopher Mayer.

    About the Book

    How should you approach your investments? How should you think about them? Those are the types of questions Christopher Mayer tackles in his newest book, How Do You Know?: A Guide to Clear Thinking About Wall Street, Investing, and Life.

    Through a series of provocative--and often amusing--examples, Mayer puts those perennial investing questions into a much larger context... How do you know anything at all? His answer, which is sure to make many readers uncomfortable is... you don't.

    How Do You Know? is not another book on investing. It is full of ideas about investing, including one that hasn't been part of the public investing discussion in nearly 60 years. But Mayer's goal is not just to give you ideas, but to provide practical guidelines for uncluttering your thinking--that is, for getting unhelpful ideas and misleading information out of the way.

    The book is now available in the IGS Store.

  • 22 Dec 2020 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    After many years of faithful and fruitful service, Martin H. Levinson has stepped down from his position as President of the Institute of General Semantics, and Vanessa Biard-Schaeffer from Secretary. Both remain IGS trustees, and Biard-Schaeffer has also been appointed Ambassador-at-Large.

    We are pleased to announce the election of Lance Strate as the new IGS President, and Eva Berger as Secretary. They will join current Vice President Corey Anton, and Treasurer Jacqueline Rudig, who were re-elected to their positions.

    About Lance Strate

    Dr. Strate is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City, and the author of eight books, including On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology; Amazing Ourselves to Death: Neil Postman's Brave New World Revisited; and most recently, Diatribal Writes of Passage in a World of Wintertextuality: Poems on Language, Media, and Life.

    About Eva Berger

    Dr. Berger is a former Dean and current Senior Lecturer in the School of Media Studies of the College of Management and Academic Studies in Tel Aviv, and author of The Communication Panacea: Pediatrics and General Semantics.

  • 13 Oct 2020 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    To the IGS YouTube account, we have added nearly all of the videos of presentations from the 68th 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 over Zoom, October 9-11, 2020.

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

    As of publication, not all videos are available as we await consent from the presenters. As presenters consent, we will release more videos in the playlist.

    Watch individual entries from the playlist »

  • 9 Oct 2020 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    Our long-awaited and fifth double issue 76:1-2 (2019) 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

    "Beyond Either-or: Creativity’s Antithetical Traits" by Martin H. Levinson

    "General Semantics and Logotherapy" by Martin H. Levinson

    "Time, Memory, and Media Ecology" by Lance Strate

    "And Now for Something Completely Different: What Are We Studying in Semantics, and
    General Semantics?" by Ben Hauck

    "General Semantics’ Psychotherapeutic Use: The General Semantics Debate to Face Uncertainty" by Isabel Caro Gabalda

    "Culture: An Alternative Conception of Space-Binding" by Thom Gencarelli

    "'We Don’t Need No Education': Language or Logic?" by Michael Moore

    "The Height of Identification: Metaphorizing Corporeality and Illness" by Bini B. S.

    "General Semantics for Babies and Their Parents" by Vanessa Biard-Schaeffer

    "Origins of Popaganda" by Paul Lippert

    "Literary Applications of General Textual Semantics: New Sources and Understandings of Hamlet (Part I)" by Stan Kozikowski

    "Waze’s Impact on Ways" by Michaela Lynch

    "Hashtag’s Impact on the News" by Sajani Mantri

    "Communication: Three Pedagogical Paradigms" by Peter Zhang

    "The London Effect as We Know It" by Peter Zhang

    "Consciousness Revisited: A Buddhist Perspective, Offered as a Response to Lance Strate" by Tim Lyons

    "Arguing Semantics" by Spencer Arnault

    "An Action Plan for Nonidentity" by Courtney Zentz and Mary Lahman

    "Feminist1 Isn’t Feminist2; Anti-feminist1 Isn’t Anti-feminist2" by Alex Cote and Mary Lahman

    "Miscommunication in the Egyptian Museum: A Case Study" by Destinee Boutwell and Mary Lahman

    "Time-Binding Plan: Journey to Recovery" by Mikaylie Whybrew and Mary Lahman

    "Time-Binding Plan for Truth and Identity Triggers" by Brandon Burgess and Mary Lahman

    Two Poems:
    "Fraught" by Jane Blanchard
    "To the End of the Age" by Jane Blanchard

    Plus Letter from the Editor and Book Reviews

    Cover Art

    “Carry on Painting” by Dom Heffer (2018, Oil on Canvas, 148 × 125 cm).

    From the artist: “‘Carry on Painting’ is an ironic look at the famous British comedy genre, with its seemingly innocuous bawdy humour. The painting emerged after a family Christmas spent
    with the ‘Carry On’s’ playing back to back on a UK TV channel, much to the delight of the older generations of the family.”

    Dom Heffer (b.1978, London) is an artist, based in Hull. His work often involves paintings that are large scale and colorful, and carry a hint of anarchy. The intent is to investigate infrastructure: hidden, mechanical, or psychological. Recent works focus on the infrastructure or “semantics” of painting. They depict communications networks intruding on our visual world; canvases are netted with transmission beams, figures (or “stooges”) are distorted by interference, and visual devices called “creative blocks” disrupt the scenes.

    Dom has worked with many arts and research organizations, some of which include the Institute of General Semantics; the Media Ecology Association; UK City of Culture; 20/21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe; Arts Council England; and the Estate of Francis Bacon, London.

    Further information about Dom’s work is available at

  • 23 Jun 2020 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    Our long-awaited and fourth double issue 75:3-4 (2018) 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

    "Holocaust Commemoration and Stolpersteine" by Gary Gumpert and Susan Drucker

    "The 'Ize' Have It…" by Milton Dawes

    "The Way of the Word" by Michael Moore

    "What Can You Do for General Semantics?" by Ben Hauck (J. Talbot Winchell Award 2018 Acceptance Speech)

    "Aldous Huxley and General Semantics" by Martin H. Levinson

    "Responding to Hypocrisy: Getting a Handle on its Abundance and its Apparent Irrelevance" by Corey Anton

    "The Medium Is the Membrane" by Lance Strate

    "Emojis: New Language or Technology-Based Trend" by Marcel Danesi

    "Walter Ong’s Last Book: Language as Hermeneutic" by Sara Van Den Berg

    "Playing the Fool: Trump’s Appeal to Each of Korzybski’s Fools" by Julia C. Richmond and Ernest Hakanen

    "Meta-Semantic-Painting" by Dom Heffer

    "Postman and Aristotle on Language" by Laura Trujillo Liñán

    "How Do You Know?" by Chris Mayer

    "Taxonomies, the Ecological Fallacy, and the Net Generation" by Brett Lunceford

    "As She then Was: CF v Alberta (Vital Statistics) and the Power of Breaking" Logical Fate" by Jan Lukas Buterman

    "Democratizing Photography: The Evolution of the iPhone Camera" by Angie Caruso

    "Referents and Objects: A Parallel between General Semantics and Yog!ac!ara Buddhism" by Thomas A. Rowe

    "Ali Baba in Australia: Tale of a Semantic Shift" by Gabor Korvin

    "'Go Look It Up!' Dad's Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition" by Suzanne G. Beyer

    "'I Feel That…,' 'I Feel Like': Problems Big and Small" by Mark Bernstein

    "Eight Poems" by Barry Liss

    "Nietzsche’s Lost Aphorisms on Management" by Ross Jackson

    "I Was So Tired This Morning and Now Here I Am Awake" by Edwin Torres (in collaboration with Kristin Prevallet)

    Plus Letter from the Editor and Book Reviews.

    Cover Art

    Ross Jackson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Business at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. His current research interests include linguistic and existential facets of the military-industrial complex, and the potential intersectionality among analysis, data visualization, and d´etournement. Through his work, he advocates for a more poetic existence, or at least one that is slightly less banal.

  • 6 Jun 2020 4:09 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of General Semantics is pleased to announce the first book in its Language in Action Series.

    The book, Diatribal Writes of Passage in a  World of Wintertextuality: Poems on Language, Media, and Life (But Not as We Know It) by Lance Strate is his second poetry collection.

    About the Language in Action Series

    The Language in Action series, sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics, publishes books devoted to creative modes of expression that can open the doors of perception, and foster better understandings of the nature of language, symbols, communication, and the semantic, technological, and media environments that we inhabit. Through processes of play and probing, art can bring into awareness alternative forms of experience and evaluation to the everyday, routine, taken-for-granted world. It can also shed new light on mind and method, consciousness and culture, abstracting and attention, ecology and enlightenment, and, most important to students of general semantics, science and sanity.

    Founded in 1938 by Alfred Korzybski, the Institute of General Semantics promotes, in the words of S.I. Hayakawa, the study of how not to be a damn fool. As a non-aristotelian system devoted to enhancing human potential, general semantics has inspired numerous novelists, poets, artists, musicians, and creative thinkers. General semantics today is devoted to explorations of meaning and the meaning of meaning, of metaphors and memes, archetypes and arts, symbols and signals, signs and significance, codes and ciphers, sense perception and sense-making, and the vast variety of ways of seeing, feeling, and thinking that humanity is heir to. The quarterly journal of the IGS, ETC: A Review of General Semantics, has been publishing essays, research, and literary work since 1943.

    About Strate's New Book

    Strate's entry in the series brings together an eclectic mix of poems that address the themes of language, communication, media, technology, and poetry itself, etc.

    A bold and radiant journey into a jigsaw universe, Strate’s poems reveal a redemptive self-awareness, a playful exuberance with the twists and turns of the whirling worlds of language and imagery, feeling and experience.

    T.C McLuhan, author and filmmaker

    Significant, casually formal, sly, engaging, passionately inexact, curious, playful, and utterly readable: the magic in Lance Strate’s poems is in the profound and humble poetic intelligence that guides them. With it he creates a charged silence in the gaps between the words where their consensual meanings, along with the reader, pass through the universe of things thus far unsaid–the ever-present substance of what life feels like–before they reach the next word on the other side.

    Chuck Wachtel, poet, novelist, Pen/Ernest Hemingway Citation recipient

    Lance Strate’s wordplay unleashes a tumbling and a turning of phonemes and phrases skipping consciousness like stones on a lake. This is a delightful collection resonant with sound and rhythmic flourishes. The poet’s jesters that “…the meaning of meaning is meaning… a leaning” then immediately goes about his craft pitting story against a light-hearted dance with language.

    Lillian Allen, internationally acclaimed poet and Professor of Creative Writing, Ontario College of Art and Design University

    Lance Strate’s clever, pithy, and logocentric poetry at once celebrates language and manifests itself as performance art. Poems with titles such as “essays,” “prose,” and “these words”—unlike the verbiage described in “up in smoke” becoming “disappeared for all time”—will endure. Why? Because, for example, the science fiction poem “ode on a geekian urn” poses the definitive question of our brave new science fiction virus-sodden world: “thank goodness the Force was with us then is it with us now?” The answer: emphatically yes. We have Strate’s luminous poetic illocutionary force to accompany us and light our way during dark times.

    Marleen Barr, novelist, literary critic, and Pilgrim Award recipient

    Lance Strate has created a joyous maelstrom of cultural symbolism, timeless mystery, and linguistic dance. His style is both childlike and profound… as if Mother Goose had a son with Lewis Carroll raised by Camille Paglia and Kurt Vonnegut and given a mission to expand the boundaries of perspective and wonder. Treat yourself to insightful, poetic lunacy of the highest order.

    Stephen Roxborough, internationally acclaimed poet, co-founder of Burning Word poetry festival, and Head Poet for Madrona Center on Guernes Island

    The book is now available in the IGS Store.

  • 26 Apr 2020 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    The Institute of General Semantics recently digitized hours of recordings from Alfred Korzybski and S. I. Hayakawa rescued from reels in our archive.

    These recordings are now available for listening and download from the IGS Store.

    The following recordings of Alfred Korzybski were recently digitized:

    The following recording of S. I. Hayakawa was recently digitized:

    These recordings come after the recent digitization of more than 15 hours of recordings made from the Institute of General Semantics 1948 Summer Seminar-Workshop at Millbrook School, Millbrook, NY.

    These recordings were digitized by IGS trustee Ben Hauck.

    Download these audio recordings and more from the IGS Store »


  • 20 Apr 2020 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    In 1948, the Institute of General Semantics hosted a Summer Seminar-Workshop at Millbrook School in New York. Over 15 hours of audio recordings from that course were recently digitized, and for the first time ever, the recordings are now available for listening and download from the IGS Store.

    Recorded in August and September 1948, the recordings reflect a wide range of speakers, general semantics lessons, and teacher-student interactions. They were digitized and enhanced in 2020 from reels rescued from the Institute of General Semantics archives.

    Included with the MP3 album of 25 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.

    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
    • Alfred Korzybski - Introduction to Douglas Kelley
    • 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: >15 hours

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

    This audio collection is available as a downloadable ZIP file including 25 MP3 audio files and a listener's guide PDF with photographs.

    Click here to order the 1948 Summer Seminar-Workshop Audio Collection »

    NOTE: The ZIP file is 162MB, 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.

  • 16 Apr 2020 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    Martin H. Levinson has just released the revised second edition for his book Sensible Thinking for Turbulent Times,  and it is now available in the IGS Store.

    About the Book

    In these times of rapid change and constant upheaval, can we learn to think and communicate more effectively — at home, in school, on the job, and as citizens in the larger world? This book, which is based on the formulations of general semantics, says yes, yes, and yes! Topics in it include practical ways to improve your thinking ability, emotional self-management, creativity, and analysis of important social issues.

    Order Sensible Thinking for Turbulent Times (Revised Second Edition) in the IGS Store »

    About the Author

    Martin H. Levinson, Ph.D., is the President of the Institute of General Semantics and the author of numerous articles and several books on general semantics and other subjects.

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Quarterly Journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics

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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