Australian General Semantics Society Inc.


Saturday 26th August 2023
12:30 pm Sydney time, by Zoom

Our Lovely Annual General Meeting

As below:

    * Minutes,
    * Secretary's Report,
    * President's Report.

Australian General Semantics Society Inc.
Concerned with promotion of the educational-therapeutic discipline of General Semantics

Annual General Meeting
1.00pm, 26th August, 2023 at various locations via zoom


1. Attendance. Jeanne, Pauline, David, Gavan, Robert, John, Brett and Jaison.

2. Apologies – Dion and Milton.

3. Minutes of the AGM from 2022 accepted as read from Pauline’s email as a true copy of the meeting.

4. Matters Arising from the Minutes - none.

5. Presentation of Reports:

a. Secretary's Report –  Pauline reported that we are still using lateral thinking during our 4th year of covid and are continuing with zoom meetings, and thus enjoy the fellowship of people who would not be able to attend in person.   Tom in Melbourne still covers the cost for, and management of our meetup group. The library at Bonnet Bay was mentioned, as was the possibility of posting books to members.  Report accepted.

b. President's Report –In his Report, Robert discussed the state of the world, particularly the war in Europe, potential for more engagement using social media, such as Facebook, Meetup and the need to expand our social media presence with skilful management and online meetings.  He mentioned the extensive information and resources on our AGS website, as a time binding exercise, and talked about the variety of topics we have enjoyed in our meetings over the past year, eg David Purnell who talked about Quakers, as available to see on our website.

He thanked everyone individually for their contributions in their various roles, and discussed whether we could invite the NY IGS to the meetings.  We were asked by the IGS President to record John’s meeting last month, which we did and it was duly sent to him.   Report Accepted

c. Treasurer's Report – Gavan reported that Current closing balance is $247.67 with $25.00 from each member to come.  We will need to transfer the membership money via internet banking to Fair Trading now, as cheques are no longer accepted.  Gavan and Pauline will set that up with St George for the AGS Account.

d. Public Officer's Report - David reported that he has submitted the necessary forms regarding last year’s AGM and would submit the ones required this year to the Fair Trading Office etc.  He is owed US $100.00 for IGS Membership, for this year.  We decided, and voted to drop our IGS Membership to the US $50.00 rate as there doesn’t seem to be any difference to what you receive from IGS.  Report accepted.

6. Election of Office Bearers

a. President: Robert James
b. Vice-President: Jaison Tremain
c. Treasurer: Gavan Callaghan
d. Secretary: Pauline Callaghan
e. Public Officer: David Hewson

7. General Business

a. We decided to continue to hold meetings via zoom,
     with the next one scheduled for 14th October, 2023.
b. Resolved to revew our IGS Membership at the US $50 annual rate.

8. Next Annual General Meeting:  August 2024.

9. Meeting closed 1.35 pm.

Australian General Semantics Society Inc.

Promoting the educational-therapeutic discipline of General Semantics

 1pm 26th August 2023

 Secretary’s Report

AGS has demonstrated the lateral thinking and adaptability of map/territory thinking during our second year of Covid, with the continuation of on-line zoom meetings which thankfully, enabled an expanded group of participants, which has added significantly to the interest and enjoyment of our meetings. 

We have been lucky enough to have Milton from Montreal, Jaison from Ohio, Tom and Gary from Melbourne, Robert and Jeanne from Canberra, David and Brett from Wollongong, David Purnell from the Canberra Quaker Society, Pauline and Gavan from Sydney and Dion from the Blue Mountains all attend our meetings in the past year.

Tom has taken over ownership and payment of the Meetup group. 

The AGS library is still available and full of excellent titles in the ante room at Bonnet Bay, so feel free to have a look at the list of titles on the AGS site, and we could post it to you if you were really keen to read it. 

Thanks also to Robert for keeping the site updated with meetings and events, and to David for so diligently keeping members updated with meeting information on the email list, Facebook and meetup, which makes my job as secretary, very, very easy. 

Pauline Callaghan
AGS Secretary 2022-23.

Australian General Semantics Society Inc.
Promoting the educational-therapeutic discipline of General Semantics


President’s Report

Again, what can I say about our last twelve months? 

Labels like “continuing (worsening?) pandemic”, “unprecedented flooding”, “unprecedented bush fires in Northern Hemisphere” “continuing war in Europe”, “blockade of grain exports”, “bombing of grain storages”, “oil embargo”, “cyber warfare”, “trillion-dollar debt”, “skyrocketing interest rates”, “pending recession”  … so the list goes on.  But what are the “realities” – the territory behind these facile “maps” that colour the lives of human beings and the condition of our fragile planet?

Surely there is no greater need for application of the “timeless” guidelines that general semantics has to offer.   Meanwhile, the Australian General Semantics Society has moved along with its modest offerings of seminars, international networking and informal companionship. 


Our “core membership” has been supplemented by engagement with people in Australia and overseas responding to notices in our website, Meetup and FaceBook, as well as personal references and invitations.  

In particular, we welcome our friend John Gillam, who brought to us an extraordinary seminar on “Exploring the Intersection of Generative AI and Communication: Insights from Jung, Korzybski and McLuhan" last month.  John’s wife Kirstin was a therapist to “Uncle Frank” as he was declining with Parkinson’s Disease at Concord Hospital five years ago.  Then by chance, Kirstin and John arrived in Canberra, so we’ve maintained close contact with them. 

We were able to make a recording of this presentation.  This went well, and I suggest that we do more recording of our presentations – good time binding!

There is clearly a potential for more engagement via social media – this should be seen as “the next frontier” for our promotional activity!  

AGS Website and “Meetup” Sites 

The AGS website develops apace, with extensive records of our activities, resources, and links to “the GS world”.  This fulfils an important time-binding role in denoting our presence and sharing resources. 

Our Meetup group has 124 members who show an “intentional” interest, but reluctant to show-up at AGS meetings.  They are informed of all coming events, and can engage on-line.   

The AGS FaceBook page contains a long and increasing history of our activities, and people show interest in it.  But we need to greatly expand our social media presence, with some skilful, creative content management! 


In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic “lockdowns” etc, we have not yet resumed our Bonnet Bay meetings, but have exploited the very timely technology of on-line meetings (via Zoom), and have become a little more competent in facilitating this!  

On-line meetings are of course lacking in in-person social intercourse, as we’re not able to exploit Gav & Pauline’s exquisite lunchies and Bonnet Bay views, which we still miss.  However, the on-line format opens up the possibility of global engagement – we’ve had people from Montreal, Cleveland (Ohio), Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Blue Mountains all together at the same time.  Time zones can be tricky, but we’ve worked through it OK. 

I wonder if we’ll muster the confidence to invite the New York folk into our virtual midst? 

So there are exciting possibilities in terms of sharing our “virtual gatherings”, even if/when this pesky pandemic allows “real-life meetings” again. 

In the last 18 months or so, our activities have included eg:

  * February 2022: "A GS Approach to Coping with a Pandemic"
April 2022: "Novelty"
June 2022: "Pacifism"
July 2022: "Ed MacNeal's 'Master Atlas of Decision Making' "
September 2022: "Making Meaning through FaceBook, and the Googalisation of Everything"
September 2022: "Favs and Flaws of Simply Thinking Through GS Principles"
November 2022: “Quiz Time”
December 2022: “Reflections on the Year Past, Anticipations on the Year Ahead,
     and Perceptions of Reality” (Jaison)

February 2023: "The Exhilaration of the Scientific Method"
April 2023: "An Intro to the Epistemological Profile of Bois et al"
May 2023: "Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Making Human Intelligence Obsolete?"
July 2023: "Exploring the Intersection of Generative AI and Communication:
     Insights from Jung, Korzybski and McLuhan"  (Presenter: Mr John Gillam)

We were particularly fortunate in engaging David Purnell from the Canberra Quakers as our guest speaker, discussing “The Challenge of Pacifism – a General Semantics Perspective”.  David was a close friend and associate of AGS founder Laurie Cox, in the Social Developers Network.   

We shall have more seminars this year (2023-24), exploring and sharing our experiences and reflections on own little lives, the affairs of state, and global challenges. Details of these (and many other) events are available on our website:

Corporate Matters and Roles:

Sadly, we’re not able to thank Gavan and Pauline for their generous hospitality in hosting our seminars at Bonnet Bay over this last year, but we have certainly appreciated their cheerful and constructive presence “on the glass” at our on-line meetings. 

And we can certainly say “Thank you” to Pauline as loyal Secretary and Moderator of Debating, to Jeanne as Vice President and Family Affairs Consultant, to David for his steadfast attention to his role as Events Coordinator, AGS Public Officer and Senior Lecturer, and to Gav for acting as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to everyone else for their support and encouragement.

I do hope that we are open to changes in the AGS roles and office-holders in the coming year!

The AGS Library

We occasionally add new titles in our “Headquarters” collection at Bonnet Bay and distributed among members.  These are indexed on our website.  Thank you to Gav and Pauline for hosting this valuable facility.  It is indeed an unexpected treasure to encounter on the way to the loo.

We’ve had a number of discussions regarding the value/cost of keeping books, and how paper records might outlast the .doc and .jpg file formats for archival storage.  But none of us quite has the courage to get rid of them!

International Affiliations

We continue to be an active member of the international community, exchanging correspondence and publications with the Institute and with our scattered friends.

The (almost) regular arrival of “ETC – a Review of General Semantics” in our letterbox from across the seas, is a welcome resource of scholarly material. 

We have enjoyed the new opportunities to participate “on-line” in GS events internationally, such as John McWhorter’s panel discussion on “Totem and Taboo in Contemporary Talk”.  We look forward to widening our network of connections and activities of this nature.     

Thank you, AGS members and friends in Australia and around the world, for your support and commitment during the year.

Robert James,
AGS President 2022-23 



Updated by Robert James 26/08/2023