The reality we manage to get into our heads is largely that reality which is abstracted through our symbol systems.


Time-binding: The uniquely human ability to build on the accumulated knowledge of others, potentially to an exponential degree.

Australian Society of General Semantics Inc.


Presidentís Report: 28th August 2011

Well, we’re “all” still here, enjoying each other’s company and sharing the pursuit of excellence in the study and practice of GS.

The nature, scale and location of our activities have continued apace over the year.  We continue to debate strategies for the direction of our endeavours, but meanwhile maintain what we have.


We were delighted to be part of the nuptial revelries of Pauline and Gavan on 10/10/10 at their scenic Clifftop View home – a relationship formed and nurtured in our very-own little group!

Gavan and Pauline have also sold their former home, and installed a new kitchen (particularly to service our seminar catering requirements, I’m informed).  Laurie is still making 10-year plans.  Robert and Jeanne have two grand-children coming along in Melbs.  David continues on his Special Project, and Dion has moved to the mountains.  Daniel is getting into Psychology, Tom is blogging furiously, Earl is writing poetry, Gabriel is teaching at university … so life goes on.

Our website and the Meetup facility continue to generate enquiries, and we have experimented with various strategies for follow-up.  There’s more to do in this regard.

Laurie is proposing a role of “Education Officer” for the year ahead; we trust that this will bring tangible results for new and existing members.

AGS Inaugural National Conference and UN NGO Conference

August/September last year witnessed the inaugural “AGS National Conference”, and our representing the global GS community at the UN NGO Conference on World Health.  These events were a major undertaking for AGS, consolidating connections among our Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra members, and creating an outreach to the wider community.

The planning and execution of this project provided rather an interesting insight into our organisational decision-making dynamics.  We decided on the concept, theme, title, date, location, content, structure and budget etc. via a series of “Conference Bulletins”, informal communications and business meetings. 

Opinions as to the outcome were quite mixed.  However, it was delivered on schedule and within budget, with some benefits in terms of social engagement and learning experiences.  It was a great opportunity for our Melbourne friends to meet some of the wider GS community, exchanging views and experiences.

The Monthly Seminars

We still meet (almost) every month at Gavan and Pauline’s home at Bonnet Bay, partake of sumptuous repasts, and share presentations and discussions:

February: “Introduction to GS”
March: “Manhood of Humanity”
April: “Communications”
May: “More on Communications”
June: “Robert Anton Wilson - Views on GS”
July: “NLP and GS”
August: "Aristotle the Man"
September: "Physical Roots of Ethics and Morality"
October: "How to Teach GS without Jargon"
November: "The Life and Times of Milton Dawes"
December: "Christmas Party"

You can see notes from these events on our website.

Corporate Matters:

Thank you to Pauline and Gavan for their congenial hosting of our monthly seminar meetings, sometimes when it was not really convenient, and always with consummate grace and generosity.  Gav and Pauline have survived a stressful period of refurbishment and sale of their former home, and renewal of their current kitchen in the last year, all with minimal disturbance to the intruding seminar-goers.  Regardless of the quality of seminar discussions or ebb and flow of intellectual discourse, we have been assured of abundant cups of coffee, lunchies, and ongoing snacks and savouries, certainly adding to the enjoyment (and learning capacity?) of our gatherings.

Thank you also to David for his steadfast attention to his role as Public Officer of AGS, to Gav for acting as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and everyone for their support and encouragement.

The AGS Library

We have several new titles in our “Headquarters” collection at Bonnet Bay and distributed among members.  These are indexed on our website.  Thank you to Gav and Pauline for hosting this valuable facility, even though household moving and reconstructions.

AGS Website
The AGS website continues to develop in style(?) and content, now containing quite full records of our activities, resources, and extensive links to “the GS world”.  Pauline has established us in Meetup, and we have a Facebook site as well!

International Affiliations

We continue to be an active member of the international community, exchanging correspondence  and publications with Institute and with our friends such as Milton Dawes, Gregg Hoffmann and Isabel Caro.  We enjoyed working with the Institute’s Martin Levinson to represent the GS community at the UN NGO Conference.   We look forward to an ongoing rewarding partnership with these people.

Robert James,
AGS President 2010/11

(Updated 31 August 2011)