Monday, May 4, 2009

Symbolic Calculations

So, I had a great time last Thursday doing a guest lecture on general semantics for David Walczyk's information and library science class at Pratt Institute. And it was particularly encouraging to see how well Korzybski's non-Aristotelian approach fit into the course on technology and design that David was teaching.

And on a related note, after mentioning what I was doing on Twitter, I heard from GrtGrndLdr who turned out to be Alexandre Rivest on Vimeo, and who looks like this

or at least that's the image he uses for his profile. Anyway, he asked me to take a look at one of his videos, as if, which he explained was inspired by Alfred Korzybski. It's not about Korzybski's work per se, he was clear about that, but I think this is a great example of how general semantics can spark creative and critical thinking about language and symbolic communication.

as if from Alexandre Rivest on Vimeo.

Now I know that my friend Bruce Kodish would be quick to remind me that general semantics is not just about language and symbols, that's a common misconception, and it would be more accurate to say that general semantics is about how we abstract information from what's out there, and construct internal maps of the world through perception, language, symbols, and also media and technology for that matter, and it is about how we can become conscious of the process of abstracting, and learn how to improve our ability to evaluate our environment, evaluate our own thinking, and evaluate our evaluations.

But it is also true that general semantics does teach us to think about language in new and different ways, and in the case of this video, in entertaining ways as well. Thanks, Alexandre!

1 comment:

GrtGrndLdr said...

You may now reach said artist on Twitter :)