Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Seminar Summary - Sunday 5 November 2017


"Time Binding"
One of the foundation concepts of Alfred Korzybski's work,
introduced in his "Manhood of Humanity"
 and developed in "Science and Sanity". 
Yet still a powerful and relevant idea
for personal, community and global application!

Led by Mr Robert James

Our seminar
at "Cifftop View" Bonnet Bay in Sydney was hosted as usual by Pauline and Gavan - Thank you both!


Sharing of triumphs and tragedies and miscellaneous yarns.


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.


In the first half of the the, we developed a special kit of the "AGS Ten GS Commandments", which Robert had been working on for some tiime.

In the second part of the day, we peroused more videos and con sidered time-binding notions. 

We perused parts of the video of a panel discussion celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the New York Society for General Semantics. This included some familiar and not-so-familiar faces, like NYSGS President Lance Strate, Terence Moran, Susan Drucker, Paul Levinson, and Marvin Kitman.  We were amused to see the Trump prediction (at 51:20).

This led on to having some fun with Marty Levinson's video on "Post Truth, Alternate Facts, & Fake News" with Marty Levinson et al.

We revisited Robert Anton Wilson in his presentation "Time-Binding and Internet Freedom".

And deliberated on a contemporary theme regarding the nature of tru grateness, in the movie "Why America isn't the greatest country in the world anymore", and considered how the issues raised might apply to Australia!


There has been some preliminary development work on a set of "GS Ten Commandments", designed as a handy reference resource, to assuage occasional embarrassment (even by some members of the AGS), in trying to recall particular general semantics principles.  Ralph Kenyon has addressed this requirement in his Kenyon Ten Commandments. 

We decided to create our own version - You can see the full statement of these, with examples and discussion, at the dedicated AGS Ten Commandments web page.  But here is a summary of them:

1. Be conscious of your levels of abstraction

Carry the Structural Differential at all times.

2. Practise Time Binding
by using symbols to convey knowledge into the future.

3. Use the Extensional Devices
        Dating and Indexing, Quotes, Hyphen, “Etc”,

4. Delay Your Reactions
considered your response, rather than “jumping to conclusions” !

5. Don’t Confuse the Map and the Territory ...
        The map is not the territory, or all of the territory, and include the map-maker

6. Watch Out for Identification:
        Remember that two individuals in a class will not be “identical”.

7. Symbols (eg words) can have Multiple Meanings:
        How many meanings of "love"?

8.  Take Care with “Allness”
Watch out for eg: “You always ... ”, “You never ...”, etc.

9. Be Certain that Nothing is Certain!

What about death and taxes?

10. Consider the Organism as a Whole:
        “Is the headache ‘caused’ by a brain tumour, or is it perhaps marital difficulties?”


The notion of "time-binding"was proposed by Alfred Korzybski in his seminal work "The Manhood of Humanity" (1921), and further developed in "Science and Sanity" (1933).

This relates to the human ability to pass information and knowledge from one generation to the next. Korzybski claimed this to be a unique capacity, separating people from animals. This distinctly human ability for one generation to start where a previous generation left off, is a consequence of the uniquely human ability to move to higher and higher levels of abstraction without limit.

Animals may have multiple levels of abstraction, but their abstractions must stop at some finite upper limit; this is not so for humans: humans can have 'knowledge about knowledge','knowledge about knowledge about knowledge', etc., without any upper limit.

Animals possess knowledge, but each generation of animals does things pretty much in the same way as the previous generation, limited by their neurology and genetic makeup. For example, at one time most human societies were hunter-gatherers, but now more advanced means of food production (growing, raising, or buying) predominate. Except for some insects (for example, ants), all animals are still hunter-gatherer species, even though many have existed longer than the human species. For this reason, animals are regarded in general semantics as space-binders, and plants, which are usually stationary, as energy-binders.

We considered these works, and drew on some additional resources:

Laura Trujillo - "An Aristotelian Approach to Time-Binding"

Milton Dawes - "A Conscious Time-Binding Event"

Milton Dawes - "In Pursuit of the Ideal of Personal Excellence through Conscious Time-Binding"

"Love is just a word - until you give it meaning"

Pay it Forward"

"What does the world mean to you?"

"I have no words left"

Prafulla Kar - "Time-Binding as Scientific (Social) Praxis"

Felipe Alexander - "Time Binding and Novelty Theory"

~ 0 ~ 


Business Meeting

We reflected on the year past and planned for the year ahead, in our usual style.

More exhilarating presentations and discussions will be held next year !

Next Meeting:

*** February 2018 :-)   ***

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 14 November 2017

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