AGS Sunday Seminar May, 2004


(Presented by Laurie Cox)


Correct Symbolism to Fact                


~ Programme ~



1.    “Introduction”

2.    “Map-Territory / Word – Thing” concepts.

3.    “Correct Symbolism to Fact”

    ~ Lunch: Gavan’s Gastronomic Delectations in the Garden ~

4.      “Personal Examples and Illustrations”

    ~ End ~






AGS Sunday Seminar May, 2004


“Correct Symbolism to Fact”



Alfred Korzybski strongly made the point that we should never forget that we are a symbol-using class of life.  We take language, of course, to be a symbol system.


We are constantly engaged in what has been termed, or symbolised as:

·        “An on-going reverie”,

·        “An inner dialogue”,

·        “Self-reflection”,

·        “Introspection”,

·        “Self-talk”.


I suggest that these all represent symbolising in one form or another.


Korzybski also maintained that most (if not all) human difficulties, problems, and controversies etc. can be solved, provided that correct symbolism to fact is used.


On reflecting on this statement, I wondered again about:

·        How do we establish fact in complex or difficult situations, and

·        How do we choose “correct symbolism” to represent these so-called facts?


My conclusion is that we can seek “correct symbolism to fact” in our inner dialogue, which may be difficult and prolonged in itself.  I recently heard myself saying on the phone something like “The bottom line” or “the party line” is to keep asking ourselves eg:

·        “Am I using correct symbolism to fact here – Where does my symbol system come from?”

·        ”In what ways do I need to amend, or adjust or scrap my “map” or symbolising of this situation?”

·        “How can I symbolise (map) the situation more accurately, and hence more satisfactorily?”


This, if you like, relates to consciousness as seen by several authors such as Kenneth Keys, Julian Jaynes and Z.L. Tory, to name just a few, and of course Korzybski, Bois, Pula, Caro, Kodish et al in terms of consciousness of abstracting.


Finally, I personally am convinced  that the formulation of “correct symbolism to fact” can be applied to all (yes, I use that dangerous word advisedly!) of the major issues facing us today, eg:

·        The Iraq war and its aftermath,

·        Divorce, marital breakdown and confusion in the “love-sex” areas.

·        Neuroses and psychoses such as schizophrenia (rated by several authors as one of our biggest social problems, and unanimously agreed to have unknown causes.  It is noteworthy here that in “People in Quandaries”, Wendell Johnson sees a striking parallel between schizophrenic behaviour and our every-day problems.  


In formulating these thoughts, I applied the approach of my Thesis Supervisor:

“Do your reading first, then put the books aside and just write.”





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