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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 General Semantics Society Inc.

First National Conference

27-29 August 2010

Pauline's "Welcome" ! .........

Hello everyone and welcome to the Australian GS First National Conference held in Melbourne to honour our newest members, Earl Livings and Tom Valcanis.

It has been such a pleasure to meet them and we look forward to our continued friendship and association through GS. We will be lucky enough to have Tom give a presentation on: "Overcoming Conservative Characteristics - Self, Society and Sanity" later today, and to be able to enjoy Earl's presentation on "Null-A, Nexialism and AE van Vogt" ("van Vote") this morning.

I would particularly like to thank Robert for his dedicated effort and extensive preparations for this conference, our brochures and for organising such a glorious venue, here at Armagh, the Initiatives of Change Centre.

After some deliberation, the title of this conference was determined to be "Living Well, through the effective use of language in thought and action, with General Semantics." And we certainly hope you feel you have moved closer to those aspirations by the end of the conference.

We trust the Conference may result in an increase of our membership. Recruitment of new members has been a task that we have not had too much success at, largely because we feel GS can come across as merely common sense, so many don't feel they need to pursue it further. We feel it could be better described, as Wendell Johnston suggested, as uncommon common sense. I find our meetings to be among many things, fun, informative and most of all an effective aid in, what I feel is the most important learning, practicing, and actual application of the GS formulations in my everyday life.

I would also like to thank Robert for his many hours of work maintaining and updating our website, particularly his interesting summaries of the monthly seminars, which I think is an excellent enticement to people who may be interested, and a fantastic resource for those who would like to be at the meetings, but due to living soooooo far away, can't attend. The Website seems to be the best ongoing form of advertising to like-minded people. We have started to get some interest through our meetup page.

UN Non-Govermental Organisations Conference

We are honoured to be representing the Institute for GS as delegates at the upcoming. UN Non Governmental Organisations Conference which will be held Mon-Wed. It is the first time that Australia will host a United Nations event of this size. It is also only the third time that the UN Non Governmental Organisations Conference has been held outside of United Nations Headquarters.

The focus this year is on global health, which aims at improving, and achieving equity in, health for all people worldwide. The Conference is, about worldwide improvement of health, reduction of disparities, and protection against global threats that disregard national borders. It will also involve many disciplines, within and beyond the health sciences, and will promote interdisciplinary collaboration. That is where General Semantics come in.

I would also like to thank David for his tireless work in liaising with the IGS and the United Nations (who were not particularly diligent in liaising with NGO's) regarding the conference, organising participants, and submitting our proposal to present a workshop entitled "Improve Your Thinking Skills for Better Health". Unfortunately we were not given a spot to present the workshop

Sydney Group

The Monthly Seminars in Sydney have now found a new venue in Bonnet Bay in Sydney's south. October's meeting is unusual in that it beckons the first AGS wedding between a certain treasurer and myself.

The Tuesday night group has been going strong for over 20 years now. Though with all of the current Tuesday night group moving in the past year, only 2 members have still been meeting with a much more informal focus than in the past.

The Sydney AGS group have been fortunate in having fascinating Seminars this year. Needless to say, it is vital to our group, and building and expanding our knowledge and application of GS to have generous and enthusiastic members put so much of their time and effort into researching and presenting our monthly seminars. Some of our topics have included:

"GS formulations as a system - How do we organise our GS Knowledge?"
....led by David

"Sharing and Teaching GS, How to Bring S&S to the Masses"
....led by Robert & Laurie

"Non Violent Communication (NVC)"
....led by David -

"Cause and Effect Formulations"
....led by David.

"Here's Something About GS - A Primer for Making Sense of Your World (the Thoughts of Steve Stockdale', former IGS Director)"
....led by Robert and Laurie.

And now I would like to introduce Laurie Cox. I have had the privilege of knowing Laurie for 21 years. I first met him at a course he was presenting on assertiveness, and was amazed at how vibrant and energetic he was for a 71yo. Laurie ran quite a few adult education courses on communicating effectively in those years, and built up a number of interested students to form a long term GS group that met every Tuesday. They became the core of Australian General Semantics, which Laurie formed with Andrew Lohrey 20 years ago.

Well now he is 92 years old, has been studying GS for over 50 years, and still an amazing man, still energetic and driven by his deep dedication to General Semantics, his desire to time bind and spread the GS word to as many people as he can.

Laurie has had a long and fascinating life, running a remote early warning observation post in New Guinea during the war, where he first met and became good friends with Robert's father; afriendship which has continued through the generations.

As a mature aged student he was awarded a Master's degree from the University of Sydney for a thesis on "Work Satisfaction". He started studying General Semantics through a two year correspondence course conducted by Professor Wendell Johnson (the author of my favourite "GS book - People in Quandaries"), attended a GS course in the US in 1989, and made it his life's work to continue studying ever since. Laurie also won the Institute's prestigious Talbot Winchell Award, presented in Las Vegas 2003.

Here's Laurie ...

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