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  • 14 Jun 2016 4:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with great sadness that the Institute of General Semantics reports the passing of Allen Flagg, a board member for IGS, as well as a recent president of the New York Society for General Semantics, not to mention a longtime advocate of general semantics.

    Allen passed away on May 30, 2016, in New York City.

    The NYSGS website hosts more information on Allen's life. Allen was a vibrant, energetic, and charismatic leader of general semantics education. He was adept at bringing people outside the world of general semantics into meetings and allowing them to share their perspectives, expanding the reach of general semantics and its overlap with other fields.

    In 2006, ETC: A Review of General Semantics (ETC 63:3) ran an interview with Allen Flagg by Martin H. Levinson. The interview ran with a photo of Allen. Below is the text of the interview:

    ALLEN FLAGG, the president of the New York Society for General Semantics, is 83 years young. He grew up in Ord, Nebraska and went to college at NYU where he majored in math and minored in physics and English. After World War II, Allen worked as an insurance casualty underwriter for many years. He lives in New York City in an apartment overflowing with books in every room. I interviewed him there on February 6, 2006.

    Levinson: How did you first get involved with GS?

    Flagg: I attended a lecture at the New York Academy of Sciences in 1952 given by Horace Kallen, an NYU philosophy professor who was talking about a book that he had written. At that lecture a form was passed around from the New York Society for General Semantics, which had an office in the Academy of Sciences building, requesting that people put their names and addresses on a
    mailing list. I put my name on the list.

    Levinson: What happened next?

    Flagg: I attended NYSGS meetings. In the spring of 1959 I became Harry Maynard’s teaching assistant for an “Introductory to General Semantics” course that he taught at Great Neck High School. Harry was an executive with Life International Magazine and when he was out of town I took over the teaching duties. In the fall, Harry taught an intermediate GS course at Great Neck High and I taught the intro course. A student taking my course was also attending Queens College, and he asked the college administration if they would add general semantics to their program. They agreed to do that so I also taught GS there. I have also taught general semantics classes for IBM, the New School, and Fairfield University. And, in the 1970s, I served as Executive Director of the New York Society for General Semantics.

    Levinson: Have you attended IGS seminars?

    Flagg: I have gone to perhaps 6 or 8 seminars. My interest in IGS seminars started in 1954, when Charlotte Read invited me to participate as a working scholar. I recall that Buckminster Fuller came to one the seminars I attended. Some prominent seminar presenters I remember include Francis Chisolm, who took Korzybski’s place, Samuel Bois, Marjorie Swanson, and Harry Holtzman. I have also attended a great many Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lectures. I went to all of them till about 1975, when work took me to California. I have helped organize some recent AKMLs.

    Levinson: Have you studied Science and Sanity?

    Flagg: During the 1950s and 1960s, I participated in a NYSGS Science and Sanity discussion group. Kendig and Charlotte Read, along with a dozen other experts, led presentations involving different parts of Science and Sanity. I found it a very stimulating and enlightening way to reflect on Korzybski’s seminal work.

    Levinson: Have you written about GS?

    Flagg: I have written several articles for the General Semantics Bulletin and two that have been published in books — one on dream education and general semantics that appeared in Understanding Sanity and Human Affairs and one on GS group participation exercises.

    Levinson: What are some of your other interests besides GS?

    Flagg: I am very interested in working with dreams.

    Levinson: How did that interest evolve?

    Flagg: I had a strong interest in dream analysis for a long time and that enthusiasm became intensified when I met Clara Stewart, who later became my wife in 1966 (Pearl Eppy, a board member of the New York Society for General Semantics, introduced us). Clara knew quite a bit about dream-work. She followed dream expert Kilton Stewart’s system of using dream symbols to improve the work, and I incorporated her knowledge into my dream studies. I find working with dreams is a useful complement to GS — GS emphasizes intellectual and cognitive factors while dreams are useful for understanding unconscious, intuitive levels. Both areas are concerned with knowledge and consciousness and how we know what we know.

    Levinson: Are you a member of any dream organizations?

    Flagg: I am the vice president of Friends of the Institute of Noetic Science (FIONS). That organization was founded by Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon. When Mitchell was coming back from the moon he saw the earth, in black space, as a glowing green, blue, and white sphere and this produced in him a feeling of oneness with humanity. When he arrived on terra firma he collected friends of his and organized FIONS. Interestingly, Buckminster Fuller, who gave an AKML lecture, was famous for talking about “spaceship earth.”

    Levinson: What are some of your other interests?

    Flagg: I like to run. I am a “benefactor member” of the New York Road Runners Club and I have many trophies from races that I have won. I currently do three and four-mile runs in Central Park. I also attend Marine Corps reunions. I served active duty with the Marines during World War II.

    Levinson: How has GS changed over the years that you have been involved with it?

    Flagg: Many people and organizations have taken pieces and chunks of GS and developed useful offshoots from it. For example, Neil Postman took aspects of general semantics to develop the discipline of media ecology; the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming took some of the neuro-semantic aspects of GS; and Albert Ellis has emphasized various elements of GS in his psychotherapy.

    Levinson: What do you see as the future for GS?

    Flagg: We need to get more people involved with GS. At the New York Society for General Semantics we offer meetings focused on verbal and nonverbal communication. We consider ourselves as a matrix for human communication that includes the sciences, humanities, art, dance, architecture, writing, literature, and drama. When people come to our meetings we offer them GS literature and encourage them to subscribe to ETC and learn more about general semantics. The idea is to show that GS is a multi-faceted discipline that expands one’s awareness of oneself and the world.

    Share your thoughts and memories of Allen in the comments below.

  • 23 May 2016 4:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A bit of recent news from our sister organization, the New York Society for General Semantics:

    Fordham Communications professor Lance Strate, Ph.D., has become the new president of the New York Society for General Semantics. He will be conducting monthly NYSGS meetings in the fall at The Players Club in New York City. More information to follow.

    Dr. Strate recently posted an update on NYSGS on his blog.

    For information on future NYSGS events, please visit


  • 21 Dec 2015 4:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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

    • "Work-Life & The Popular Press: How Words Create Worlds" by Mary P. Lahman and Alison Lietzenmayer
    • "World War I: The Closing Period of the Childhood of Humanity" by Martin H. Levinson
    • "Hebrew Slang" by Fred Skolnik
    • "On Being Read To" by Daniel Linton
    • "Three GS-Related Satires" by Martin H. Levinson
    • "Principles into Praxis: Peace and Nonviolence in Action" by Bini B. S.
    • "Essay: Bloody Fingers" by Barry Chersky
    • "The Next Generation: Revising the Happiness Formula" by Jermaine Martinez
    • From the Vault:
      "Michael Polanyi and Carl Rogers: A Dialogue" by Michael Polanyi and Carl Rogers
      "Not by Any Means: Doubletalk in the Service of 'Humane' Ends" by Christine L. Nystrom
      "Forward from the Editor" by Neil Postman
    • Poems:
      "Dusting the Window Sill" by Danny P. Barbare
      "Cleaning the Showers" by Danny P. Barbare
    • Plus Letter from the Editor.

    Cover Art

    The photograph used for the cover of ETC 72:2 is of stained glass work "Bloody Fingers" by Barry Chersky, an artist and writer based in Los Olivos, California. Photo courtesy of Michael Baiad.

  • 27 Nov 2015 4:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We have just added video of presentations to the IGS YouTube account from the 63rd Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture & 2-Day General Semantics Symposium, sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics at the Princeton Club in New York City, October 2-4, 2015.

    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.

  • 1 Aug 2015 5:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Sanford I. Berman

    Sanford I. Berman

    The Institute of General Semantics has learned that Dr. Sanford I. Berman -- 2003 Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecturer, sponsor of the Sanford I. Berman Award for Excellence in Teaching General Semantics, general semantics author, scholar, and longtime donor -- passed away on June 16, 2015.

    Dr. Sanford I. Berman, philanthropist, real estate investor, professional hypnotist, and former board member of the Institute of General Semantics, passed away on June 16, 2015.

    The son of a livestock broker, Berman was born Oct. 15, 1924 in Virginia, Minnesota, a small town north of Duluth. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Radio and Communications from the University of Minnesota; a Master’s in Speech from Teacher’s College, Columbia University; and a doctorate in Speech Communications from Northwestern University, where he then assisted Dr. Irving J. Lee in his famous general-semantics classes. Berman served as president of the International Society for General Semantics, and was on the Board of Trustees of both the Society and the Institute of General Semantics.

    As of the year 2000, Berman had given more than a million dollars to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); San Diego State University (SDSU); and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Berman endowed the Sanford I. Berman Institute for Effective Communication and General Semantics at SDSU in 1997, the Sanford I. Berman Chair in Language and Human Communication at UCSD in 1998, the Dr. Sanford I. Berman Professorship of Public Discourse and General Semantics at UNLV in 1999, and UNLV's Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum.

    Books relating to general semantics by Berman include Words, Meanings and People, The Closed Mind, How to Lessen Misunderstandings, and Why Do We Jump to Conclusions? Berman acted as editor for Logic and General Semantics: Writings of Oliver L. Reiser and Others and he created over 100 audio tapes on motivation and general semantics. Sanford I. Berman was a towering figure in the field of general semantics and he will be greatly missed by GSers all over the world.

    The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a profile of Dr. Berman's extraordinary life as a hypnotist and general semanticist in its July 5th obituary announcement.

    IGS is in possession of Dr. Berman's educational cassettes, which it hopes to make available in MP3 versions by year's end in the IGS Store.

  • 19 Jul 2015 5:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ETC: A Review of General Semantics will soon be mailed and is now available for download from the IGS Store in searchable PDF format.

    Table of Contents Preview

    • "The Terrance Deacon’s Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter. The Teleodynamics of Culture, Language, Organization, Science, Economics and Technology (CLOSET). Part II: Are Culture, Language, Organization, Science, Economics, and Technology (CLOSET) Teleodynamic Phenomena?" by Robert K. Logan
    • "Structuring and the Notion 'Time': A General Semantics Conscious Time-Binding Approach" by Milton Dawes
    • "The Time Binders in Korzybski’s Manhood of Humanity" by Krishna Daiya
    • "On Language Wars" by Michael Moore
    • "Danger: Deficiences Ahead" by Gary H. Mayer
    • Interview:
      "Media Ecology and Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL)" by Peter Zhang, Chin-Chin Tseng, and Natalie Sheen
    • From the Vault:
      "Metalanguage" by Gregory Bateson
      "Form, Substance, and Difference" by Gregory Bateson
      "The Relevance of General Semantics" by Alvin Toffler
    • Poems:
      "'I am a tear of the sun': Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Autobiography" by Phillip Dow
      "The Face" by Joan Colby
      "Joyrides" by Joan Colby
      "The Sketch Artist" by Joan Colby
      "Vowels" by Joan Colby
      "ISMS" by Joan Colby
    • Plus Letter from the Editor, Book Reviews, News and Notes.

    Cover Art

    The photograph used for the cover of ETC 72:1 is titled Haecceity “此”性 and is part of a textual and
    photographic essay Zen Musings as featured in ETC 71:4 by photographer Wei-Shyuan (Stone) Peng.

  • 28 Mar 2015 5:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Back issues of our journal, ETC: A Review of General Semantics, are now available on JSTOR, the digital library that includes academic journals, books, and primary sources. In addition, previews of selected articles from back issues of ETC are also available. ETC is available as part of the Arts & Sciences XIV collection on JSTOR.

    Currently, back issues from 1943-2009 are electronically preserved in JSTOR. Click here for more information on JSTOR.

    Click here to access the back catalog of ETC: A Review of General Semantics on JSTOR.

    To access the JSTOR page directly, use the URL:

    Purchase Back Issues of ETC

    If you wish to purchase back issues of ETC, you may do so in searchable PDF format from the IGS Store.

    Click here to browse back issues of ETC: A Review of General Semantics in the IGS Store.


  • 12 Mar 2015 5:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Volume 71, Number 4 (October 2014), of the Institute of General Semantics's quarterly journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics will soon be mailed and is now available for download from the IGS Store in searchable PDF format.

    Table of Contents Preview

    • "Zen Musings" by Peter Zhang and Wei-Shyuan (Stone) Peng
    • "The Terrance Deacon's Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter. The Teleodynamics of Culture, Language, Organization, Science, Economics and Technology (CLOSET). Part I: A Review and Précis of Incomplete Nature" by Robert K. Logan
    • "Political Symbols and American Exceptionalism" by John Engle
    • "The Labeling Process and Other Interdisciplinary Similarities between Buddhism and General Semantics" by Christoper Bear-Beam
    • Probes:
      "The Wise and the Journalist" by Vanessa Biard-Schaeffer
    • From the Vault:
      "Words and Music" by Hal Tracy
    • Poems:
      "Spinners" by Hillel A. Schiller
      "Fate" by Hillel A. Schiller
    • Plus Letter from the Editor, Dates and Indexes, and Book Reviews.

    Cover Art

    The photograph used for the cover of ETC 71:4 is titled "Folds褶" and is part of a textual and photographic essay "Zen Musings" that is one of our two featured pieces for this issue. Photographer Wei-Shyuan (Stone) Peng is a hydrogeologist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are a total of nine photographs presented in this photo essay.

  • 15 Feb 2015 5:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Volume 71, Number 3 (July 2014), of the Institute of General Semantics's quarterly journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics has been mailed and is now available for download from the IGS Store in searchable PDF format.

    Table of Contents Preview

    • "A Culture of Teaching and Learning Excellence Starts with an Examination of Assumptions: Influences of General Semantics on Faculty Development" by Chris Stabile
    • "Cicero's Brutus: A History of Rhetoric or a History of Politics?" by Panagiotes Kontonasios
    • "An Esperanto of Evaluation" by Devkumar Trivedi
    • Perspectives:
      "GS as a Humanist Endeavor" by Dom Heffer
    • The Next Generation:
      "Shifting Traditions: Chaucer's Narrative Accompliment in the Wife of Bath's Tale Considered in the Context of the Shift from Oral Tradition to Literate Print Tradition" by Ruth Sylvester
    • Probes:
      "Horizons" by Milton Dawes
      "Focal Knowledge, Medium Bias, and Metamedium" by Peter Zhang
    • From the Vault:
      "A Perceptual Model of the Whorfian Thesis" by Ralph L. Carnes
      "Not Since Babel" by Edmund Carpenter
    • "Inherent Meanings" by Ross Jackson
    • Plus Letter from the Editor, Letters to the Editor, Book Reviews, and News and Notes.

    Cover Art

    The cover of ETC 71:3  is from a painting by British artist Dominic Heffer titled "All the Trash Goes Somewhere."

  • 30 Dec 2014 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Newly published from the Institute of General Semantics is The Communication Panacea: Pediatrics and General Semantics, a book by IGS Trustee Eva Berger, Ph.D., and Isaac Berger, M.D.

    The book is now available from the IGS Store.

    About the Book

    The Communication Panacea: Pediatrics and General Semantics by Eva and Isaac Berger provides a most interesting and relevant examination of the profound, and often dangerous, influences that human communication practices have on health outcomes. The book, firmly grounded in the theory of General Semantics, describes the power of language use in shaping interpretations of reality and responses to health care. While grounded in relevant theory, this book is not a dry academic treatise. It provides vivid analyses of real health care cases, demonstrating how communication influences both the delivery of care and responses to health care. The book suggests best communication strategies for health care providers and consumers to achieve desired health outcomes. The authors encourage strategic use of communication that empowers consumers to take charge of their health, that promotes cooperation in the delivery of care, and that facilitates informed health decision-making. I recommend this fascinating book for health care providers, consumers, and policy makers to help them utilize communication to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care.

    -- Gary L. Kreps
    University Distinguished Professor
    Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication
    George Mason University

    Writing in the tradition of Neil Postman, Ivan Illich, and Susan Sontag, this collaboration between a doctor of philosophy and a doctor of medicine combines an innovative theoretical approach with the stories of eight patients shared not as "case-studies," but as key-moments to show how vital it is to change our mentality and our language when addressing the idea of illness itself.

    -- Lance Strate
    Professor of Communication and Media Studies
    Fordham University

    The Communication Panacea fills a major gap in the study of the modern doctor-patient relationship, applying the principles of General Semantics to the too often uncanny communicative processes affecting the way patients perceive their illness, as well as their response to it. The idea of a "personalized semantic medicine," brilliantly and rigorously discussed in this book, is suggested as a truly convincing strategy to regain focus on the patient within (and in spite of) the increasingly complex medical (corporate-like) environment.

    Berger and Berger combine a substantial innovative theoretical approach with the stories of eight patients shared not as "case-studies," but as key-moments to show how vital it is to change our mentality (as well as our language) when addressing the idea of illness itself. They challenge us to think of medicine as art and not as war; a linguistic and a conceptual shift which could impove the quality of many patients and doctor[s] alike.

    -- Elena Lamberti
    Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
    University of Bologna

    About the Authors

    Eva Berger

    Eva Berger is a Professor of Communication at the School of Media Studies of COMAS (College of Management Academic Studies) in Israel where she was Dean (2006-2012). Dr. Berger is member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics (since 2009) and of ETC.: A Review of General Semantics (since 2008). She is member of the Editorial Board of Giluy Daat: A Multidisciplinary Journal on Education, Society and Culture (since 2011) and was member of the Editorial Board of EME: Explorations in Media Ecology (2005-2014). She has held many public positions and is active in numerous organizations in Israel: She was member of the search committee for candidates for the position of Chair of the Council for Cable and Satellite Communications (appointed in 2013 by the Minister of Communication); Chair of the Board of Women in the Picture (an organization for the advancement of women in the visual arts); member of the Israel Press Council (2011-2013) and of the Israeli Film Board (2000-2006). She is member of the board of IPI (Israel Peace Initiative, since 2011). Eva is periodically invited as guest commentator on Israel's newspapers and public and private radio and television stations; she is the author of programs for the teaching of media in Israel's high schools; and has published numerous academic articles and book chapters on varying topics including war photojournalism; advertising; language, metaphor and narrative; and media and technology. Eva is married and has two sons.

    Isaac Berger

    Isaac Berger studied medicine at UNAM--National University of Mexico in Mexico City (1955-1961). He did his internship as well as his residency in Pediatrics at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and was research fellow in neonatology there. In 1965, he returned to his country of origin -- Mexico -- where along with his private practice throughout the years, he was instructor of postgraduate courses in Pediatrics at Juarez Hospital; assistant lecturer in Pediatrics at UNAM (National University of Mexico); lecturer in Pediatrics at the School of Nursing as well as at the residency program of American British Cowdray Hospital in Mexico City; and he taught neonatology at Hospital Infantil Privado where he was physician in charge of Medical Education. In 1977 Dr. Berger moved with his family to Israel where he became Head of the Pediatric Outpatient Department of Meir General Hospital in the city of Kfar Saba, and later Head of Pediatric Ambulatory Services (including Emergency Room, Clinics, Day Hospital Unit, and Child Development Unit). Isaac coauthored numerous articles and chapters in books. He retired from the hospital in 2003 and aside from his still active private practice he is medical advisor to a large child development center in Israel. Isaac is married and has five daughters and nine grandchildren.

    Purchase the Book

    Click here to purchase The Communication Panacea in the IGS Store.

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