Can we apply
time-binding principles to build on ancient
or is this just a New-Age craze
with little new to offer?
Presented by Robert James.
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.
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.
By way of preparation for the seminar, we were invited to undertake a
little exercise. The challenge was as follows:
things in your day that may go unappreciated. These things can be
objects or people; it’s up to you. Use a notepad to check off five by
the end of the day.
The point of this
exercise is to simply give thanks and appreciate the seemingly
insignificant things in life, the things that support our existence
but rarely get a second thought amidst our desire for bigger and
electricity powers your kettle, the postman delivers your mail, your
clothes provide you warmth, your nose lets you smell the flowers in
the park, your ears let you hear the birds in the tree by the bus
* Do you know how these things/processes came to exist, or how they
* Have you ever properly acknowledged how
these things benefit your life and the lives of others?
* Have you ever thought about what life
might be like without these things?
* Have you ever stopped to notice their
finer, more intricate details?
* Have you ever sat down and thought
about the relationships between these things
and how together they play an
interconnected role in the functioning of the earth?
Once you have
identified your five things, make it your duty to find out everything
you can about their creation and purpose to truly appreciate the way
in which they support your life.
Not all of us made a satisfactory effort to complete this assignment,
but there was some thoughtful response. Feedback on this will
continue in the interim and into next month seminar. Thank you
indeed, for those who responded :-)
We have seen a huge volume of
literature, multi-media resources, group-based activities and training
programmes around "mindfulness" over the last few years.
practices of meditation etc are, of course, very ancient, and highly
structured in traditions such as Buddhism (and many others).
Contemporary studies of mindfulness etc have been intensively
documented over the last few decades.
There is an embarrassment
of excellent riches available on YouTube, which provided us with a
framework for the seminar day's activities. Some of these are
We considered the nature of mindfulness, various
practices that lead to this desirable state, and some of the benefits
attributed to its use.
Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to
life that helps us to relate to our experiences with more accuracy and
clarity. Mindfulness involves being acutely aware of our
thoughts, emotions, and actions. It means being present in each
moment and paying close attention to what is happening in the present,
instead of focusing on past events or future predictions.
We observed with interest, how some "mindfulness" materials
were closely aligned with general semantics principles, without having
adopted the g-s label! Ellen Langer's writings certainly reflect
As the scholar selected to give the 46th Alfred Korzybski
Memorial Lecture, Ellen J. Langer, Harvard Professor of Psychology and
author, espouses the notion of mindfulness. Her findings,
derived from thirty years of research and study parallel much of what
Korzybski proposed almost 70 years ago as the benefits of what he
termed a general semantics, or extensional, orientation. In her
1997 book, "The Power of Mindful Learning", Ms. Langer summarizes the
distinctions she makes between mindful and mindless:
approach to any activity has three characteristics:
continuous creation of new categories;
* openness to new
* and an implicit awareness of more than one
Mindlessness, in contrast, is characterized by an
entrapment in old categories; by automatic behaviour that precludes
attending to new signals; and by action that operates from a single
the enormous number of mindfulness activities discovered, we
considered a few that take very little effort and can be done pretty
much anywhere at anytime:
* Mindful breathing
* Mindful awareness
* Mindful immersion
1. Ellen J. Langer: "The
Power of Mindful Learning" (1997)
An early work
on the subject, much referenced in later works.
"On Mindfulness: A Report on the 46th Annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial
by Ellen J. Langer, October 1999" -
a review by Steve Stockdale
(Published in the Winter 1999-2000 edition of ETC: A Review of General
Steve Stockdale gives us quite an informative review of Langer's work
from a general-semantics context. We could well devote another
one-day seminar to her work.
3. "About “Mindfulness and
GS" - Steve Stockdale
Dr Craig Hassed & Dr
Richard Chambers (2014)
5. "Mindfulness for Life"
Dr Stephen Mckenzie and Dr Craig Hassed (2012)
"Introduction to Mindfulness" YouTube video series by Drs Hassed and
Part 1: "Mental
Health and the Legal Profession"
Part 2: "What is
Part 3: "The
Stress Response and Health"
"Attention and multitasking"
"Applications of mindfulness"
"Mindfulness and executive functioning"
"Applying mindfulness for study and life"
Power of Mindfulness" magazine
("How to reduce
stress and be happier every day")
("Australia's leading natural health
and living magazine")
9. "Breathe" magazines
("Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Creativity, Escaping")
10. Tara Ward:
"Discover meditation & Mindfulness"
("Create a better life through the power of inner reflection")
11. "Mindfulness Through Colour" compendium
("BDM's Mind Series Special")
12. "Project Calm - Mindfulness Through Making"
("Create with Nature, make space for wellbeing ... ")
We reflected on the year past and planned for the year ahead, in our
Saturday 30 June:
"A Celebration of
the Life and Work of "Laurie Cox -
Pioneer of General Semantice in
Australia, and Founder of AGS"
birthday falls on 4th July. We
will consider aspects of Laurie's life
and work up to his death on 12th June
2014, both in Australia and
We will recall
experiences and exchange anecdotes,
attempting to exploit some time-binding
benefit from his time with us. We
hope to renew links with "old friends
and acquaintances" to share memories.
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