Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Seminar Summary - Sunday 28th October 2018


Sunday 28 October          
   Habits of Highly Effective People"

Time binding off “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”,
“The Managerial Grid”, “Getting to Yes”, “I’m OK, You’re OK”
and many other books on interpersonal relationships and Korzybski’s works,
we looked at how to improve our effectiveness and interpersonal relationships.
Presented by David Hewson.

Solving people problems in a relationship, its ineffective to try to solve them all as the costs go up as benefits levels off.  So for some things its best just to agree to disagree.  Solve what can be solved and adjust to the rest.

Interpersonal problems come in three groups

Cooperation problems
Simplest is two people cooperating to achieve a common goal.
One can also have groups from two through to national and international organisations.
Simplest is when two people have conflict about a goal but also cooperate, by both following a common set of rules,
e.g. playing chess (where you cooperate by making legal moves) or running a race (where you don’t trip up competitors).

Simplest is two people have conflict about a goal and no cooperating at any level, e.g. A “No Holds Barred fight”.


We talked mainly about cooperating, to solve problems.

General semantics formulations covered ...

Aristotle’s three laws

A=A law.  GS disagrees with the identical interpretation of the = sign.  Equal and equivalent interpretations OK.  We used money to demonstrate the difference.  Two $2 dollars coins were equal (i.e. we could not distinguish them apart except for location) and two $5 notes were only equivalent (in value as they had different serial numbers).

We covered identification problem in evaluation.

A cannot be both B and not B law.  Group gave examples of this laws limit  E.g. a train can be both coming towards you and going away.

Aristotle's rule: A cannot be both B and not B
How can something be both hot and cold? Index gives different locations e.g. kitchen stove hot and fridge cold, dating gives different time e.g. summer hot and winter cool.
Different viewpoints also can break this law e.g. Old woman / young woman picture recognised differently for different viewers.

A must be either B or not B, a contradictory.  This is distorted by some to a contrary e.g. from white and not white to black and white. From True and Not True to true and false.

Solution: Either / Or moving to Both / And.  Also change from a binary to a degree evaluation e.g. a set of statements might have 50% true and 50% false.

We talked about the GS assumptions: Map is not the Territory, Map is not all the Territory and we can make maps of maps.

We prefer the Transactional orientation as more correct than the absolute or relativist orientations.

A message received depends on the message sent and how it’s perceived, interpreted and other things like context and noise.  Meaning of message goes through the following levels: perception => interpretation => evaluation.  We abstract at all levels.

So expect to misunderstand and be misunderstood.

Increase your conditionality to get better maps.

We talked about Elementalism.  Humans can talk about some part of territory that cannot be by itself in the territory, e.g.:

Cannot have structure (e.g. a cube) without something to structure e.g. wood, steel , glass or ceramic, etc.
No space without time. So physicists use space-time.
No speed without going in some direction.  Non elementalistic term is velocity.
Also the same for a process.  It needs to be processing something.

relates to expectation.  AK suggested that optimal expectations are around the extensional minimum.  (The minimum of maximum probability, e.g. the least happy typical day.)

Viewpoints affect decisions.  A frame like a window frame, gives a particular view.  Framing a problem or decision sets boundaries about what's in and what's outside of the problem.

Extensional devices were discussed:  Date (process world), Index (non identity), Etc (Map <> all T), Quotes (dangerous words) and Hyphens (elementalism).

Arguing style relating to extensional devices:

Bad: overgeneralising e.g. “you never believe me.”
Good: indexing e.g. “I don’t believe you in this situation.”
Dating e.g. I don’t believe you today.  I believed what you said yesterday.
Etc e.g. I think you have missed out some conditions.
Quotes e.g. I don’t “believe” you, i.e. I do not have absolute faith in what you say. How about a bit of evidence for you position.

We related Covey’s "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", to GS formulations.

We discussed Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid and how it relates to elementalism:

Authoritarian (high on task, low on people) 9,1
Country Club (low on task, high on people) 1,9 
Compromise (middle on task, middle on people). 5,5
Impoverished (low on task, low on people) 1,1
Team Leader (high on task, high on people) 9,9  not patronising which is 9 + 9

We discussed Negotiating as described in “Getting to Yes”

Problems over arguing for positions.  I’m OK ( I get my position) you are not OK
Being nice is not a good method. I’m not Ok and you are OK.
How to be hard and soft.  (B and not B)  Hard on the problem and soft on the people.
Our exercise on negotiating covered:  How to have a fence or no fence.  How to live in Canberra or elsewhere.  
We used GS formulations / extensional devices to help trigger ideas, e.g. dating gave us the idea of a temporary fence.

~ 0 ~ 

Business Meeting

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

Next Meeting:

Sunday Nov. 25 2018
"Living in the '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'?
To be presented by Robert James

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 28th October 2018

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