Alfred Korzybski was an acclaimed Polish-American scholar known to have evolved the field of general semantics. This field of semantics talks about how human knowledge is limited due to the development of different languages. He argued that the languages also prevent a person from acknowledging absolute reality. After completing his engineering studies he served the Second Russian Army during the First World War, and later served the French-Polish Army. These war experiences compelled him to question the concept of war and he started studying the difference in behavior of humans and animals. He was encouraged by his friends to publish his studies and he came out with his first book titled ‘Manhood of Humanity: The Science and Art of Human Engineering’. The success of the book motivated him to further progress his research on psychology and he came up with his second book called ‘Time-Binding: The General Theory’. He soon became a prominent figure in the field of psychology and traveled to various places to conduct lectures on his theories. Following is the corpus of quotations and sayings by the renowned mathematician, philosopher and engineer on science, sanity, revolution, universe, territory, map and humanity. Go through the quotes by Alfred Korzybski which throws light on general semantics and human knowledge.
To regard human beings as tools - as instruments - for the use of other human beings is not only unscientific but it is repugnant, stupid and short sighted. Tools are made by man but have not the autonomy of their maker - they have not man's time-binding capacity for initiation, for self-direction, and self-improvement.
Man's achievements rest upon the use of symbols.... we must consider ourselves as a symbolic, semantic class of life, and those who rule the symbols, rule us.
The map is not the territory... The only usefulness of a map depends on similarity of structure between the empirical world and the map...
A person does what he does because he sees the world as he sees it.
As words are not the things we speak about, and structure is the only link between them, structure becomes the only content of knowledge. If we gamble on verbal structures that have no observable empirical structures, such gambling can never give us any structural information about the world. Therefore such verbal structures are structurally obsolete, and if we believe in them, they induce delusions or other semantic disturbances.
We see what we see because we miss all the finer details.
It seems evident that everything which exists in nature, is natural, no matter how simple or complicated a phenomenon it is; and on no occasion can the so-called 'supernatural' be anything else than a completely natural law, though it may, at the moment, be above and beyond the present understanding.
Let us repeat the two crucial negative premises as established firmly by all human experience: (1) Words are not the things we are speaking about; and (2) There is no such thing as an object in absolute isolation.
The present non-aristotelian system is based on fundamental negative premises; namely, the complete denial of 'identity.'
I am the same kind of moron as the rest of you, it's the method that does the work, for me as well as for you.
It is amusing to discover, in the twentieth century, that the quarrels between two lovers, two mathematicians, two nations, two economic systems, usually assumed insoluble in a finite period should exhibit one mechanism, the semantic mechanism of identification - the discovery of which makes universal agreement possible, in mathematics and in life.