Australian General Semantics Society Inc.





Sunday 25 November 2018
"Living in a 'Post-Truth Age"

Can General Semantics be a real force for mapping new territories
 in the face of the social media onslaught and 'fake news'?
Presented by Robert James

Our seminar
at "Cifftop View" Bonnet Bay in Sydney was graciously 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.

Today's Proceedings

1. Reflections

We reviewed David's presentation last month, on "Habits for Highly Effective People"

2. Some 'Definitions' and notions about 'Truth"

A selection of quotations about truth were reviewed with respect to the application of some general semantic formulations.

We were impressed to observe how many of the respected "truths" in our culture reflected the key principles of our g-s discipline.

3. Managing Truth - Chris James's "Beyond Truth"

Chris contributed some reflections stemming from his play "Beyond Truth" which was performed in a number of countries and Australian locations.

We played the "Two Truths and a Lie" game, to test ourselves in purveying untruths, and in detecting them as purveyed by others!

4. Managing Truth - Gossip

We discussed our personal responsibility ro be bearers of "the thruth as we know it", keeping in mind the loss of detail and impositions of assumptions, cultural values and personal prejudices imposed by the abstraction process (as illustrated on the Structural Differential).

One theme that we followed in detail related to the "spreading of gossip" ...

Discussion centred on a number of video presentations and prepared handouts, eg:
  * "7 Reasons Why Gossip is Poison. And 3 Ways to Stop It."
     As per the yellow handout.

  * "The Truth About Gossip - Oprah's Lifeclass"

  * "Brené Brown on the Hidden Damage of Gossip" - SuperSoul Sessions

  * "The Danger of Gossip"

  * "Redirecting Gossip: Jeff Conway at TED"
     eg: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me ... "

5. Some "Classical G-S Presentation:

We always try to "exploit time-binding value" by building on our g-s colleagues' work.  So today, we discussed a number of these, including:

  * Lee: "Facts and Inferences"

  * GS & Post-Truth

  * "Post Truth, Alternate Facts, & Fake News" (Lance Strate)
     NY Soc for GS

  * And we always try to include something from our friend Milton Dawes, eg:
    Milton Dawes - "In Pursuit of the Ideal of Personal Excellence through Conscious Time-Binding"

6. Living with and Communicating Truth - Our Perceptions and Environment

We focussed on a number of contemporary issues, in particular the notion of "Toxic Masculinity", as per the handout.

7. The Mediated Truth that we are exposed to

Our world is quite full of information ("an overflow for most of us"), so we considered some of the things that we are exposed to such as:
  * The Challenge of "Moral Relativism" vs "Absolute Values"  

and our need for true leadership
     Bushisms - "Fool me once ... " (1:08)
     "Fool me once, shame on you .. Fool me twice, shame on me! 

  * and the dangers of
"absolutely false" media content.
     AI-Generated faces (:
     Trump, May, Obama etc.

8. Other subjects considered, with hand-out materials, eg:

  * "It's Perfectly possible to live in a Post-Truth Era!",
  * "Truth Out - Climate Change Denial",
  * "What 'makes' someone Accept or Reject Informatiom?",
  * "Post-Truth, Alternate Facts, & Fake News",
  * "Urban Myths and Legends",
  * "Dubious reporting in newspapers and magazines",
  * "Why Politicians are Allowed to Lie",
  * "The Future of the Post |Truth World".

We did not necessarily "resolve" all these issues, but we had some fun and learning experience in working with them!

       Business Meeting

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

Next Meetings will be in 2019:

*** Watch this space ***

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
21st December 2018

For details of our discussion meetings and seminars, locations and membership, Contact AGS