Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Seminar Summary - 30 April 2016


"Drive Yourself Sane"
   Using the Uncommon Sense of General Semantics ... 
   We’ll revisit Susan and Bruce Kodish’s work of 15 years ago,  
   see what might have changed in that time,
   and how we can apply their principles in search of greater sanity.
   Led by Robert James.


Our seminar
was graciously hosted once again, by the congenial Pauline, Gavan and Carlton at Bonnet Bay. Gavan's "slow-roasted lamb" luncheon was a special experience for us, fortifying our deliberations and
maintaining energy.


It was a while since our last seminar, so there were some triumphs and tragedies to relate and yarns to swap.


GS Diary
In the spirit of "applying general semantics principles" to our lives, as opposed to dwelling in theory, we considered members' accounts of observations and applications relating to the principles and formulations of our discipline.



We covered much material old and new, including ...

1. An introduction to GS history and Alfred Korzybski's motivation for developing GS following WWI.  Bruce Kodish's You Tube presentation was enjoyed, as an opportunity to see and hear the man whose writing we had spent some time on.

2. Milton Dawes' paper “In Pursuit of Personal Excellence Through Conscious Time Binding.

We worked through Milton's paper in some detail, to extract pertinent general semantics pronciples and consider how they can be applied.

3. "Emma and Audrey - a Mothers Day Debacle"

This discussion revolved around a story of "everything going wrong on a day that was supposed to be perfect". 

We considered how this could be re-cast into a positive experience, with learning opportunities and positive memories!

One of our members reported his distress on missing a friend's funeral due to work commitments.  However, this provided an opportunity to follow-up directly with the widow at another time, for a fuller and more satisfying "catch-up discussion".

4. The "Drive Yourself Sane"Homework:

Hello again everyone,

Looking forward to meeting again on Sat 30 April for our next seminar, please continue reading "Drive Yourself Sane", and see if you can find some things to share with us, e.g.:
  a. Something that is new to you (presented as “fact” or a new idea etc.),
  b. Something that you agree with,
  c. Something that you disagree with (or have doubts about),
  d. Something that illustrates a value of general semantics,
  e. Something that you can apply in you life, at least as a trial,
  f. Something else of interest ...

5. Susan and Bruce Kodish's book "Drive Yourself Sane"

Drive Yourself SaneSome of the responses to this assignment:

Noted with interest the comment the "Best improvements can be obtained by a combination of physical and mental exercise. 

Agree with the emphasis on "uncommon sense". 

Question the wavy "A1-A2 line" on the P1T1 diagram.

Discussed at some length the question of gun control in the USA, and differences in the way it has been done in Australia. We noted how difficult it is to make simple conclusions about complex cause-effect relationships and statistics.

 We saw some pictures of sheep that were (or appeared to be) black on one side and white on the other (remembering our discussions on whether a sheep is black or white).

Bruce and Susan's "Unicorn and the glass door" metaphor was quite popular, bringing out quite a body of personal examples and even controversy (we don't have arguments here!).  This notion represents "Non-existent objects that we treat as real" (eg personal grandeur) as the unicorn.  Real issues that we cannot see are like a glass door, capable of bruising our nose if we ignore it!

We recalled the "three stages of knowing":

  * Knowing what we know,
  * Knowing what we don't know, and
  * Knowing it!

One participant was taken with the "DYS" emphasis on "endless complexity", and its relevance to our daily life.

We considered some of the metaphysical assumptions in the book, and the question of "Do we ever know anything?", and issues of "living with uncertainty".

This led on to questions of paradoxes, whereby a single proposition can appear contradictory (eg "You've got to be cruel to be kind!"), and the huge body of thought around the symbolism that is central to most paradoxes.

6. David's discussion on "Scams"

David presented an article on scams, illustrating many of the common pitfalls encountered in dealing with scams, and some general semantics strategies for dealing with them.

This elicited vigorous expressions of outrage from the seminar participants, and discussion of strategies for detecting fraudulent approaches.  

It was noted that many of the scamming techniques are represented in a "cleaner form" in advertising, political promotions, and even in domestic interchanges!  So the general semantics formulations can be widely exercised.

7. Postcard Association "Game/Challenge"

Robert spread out a collection of postcards.  We each selected a few, and made some statements about:

  * Why we selected these ones,
  * What associations they aroused in us,
  * How they evoked / prompted thoughts about today's discussions, and
  * What "ways forward to greater sanity" might emerge from this ... etc ... !  

Business Meeting

The usual: Plans for the year: Dates and places of meetings, international liaisons, finances etc.


Next Meeting:

Sunday 19 June

"Interpersonal relationships"


A general introduction to interpersonal elationships, be they with your spouse, friends, team mate, competitor, etc. We will also look at how GS can help improve some relationships.

Led by Mr David Hewson.

Disclaimer: This "summary" is a collection of notes derived from our discussion by a number of means.  It is by no means a scholarly dissertation on the subject as presented.  It does not purport to be the "policy of AGS".  Comment and criticism (constructive or otherwise) is welcome.  If anyone has been misquoted, copyrights infringed or confidences betrayed, please Contact us.



Updated by RJ 7 May 2016

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