Basic: the map is not the territory, even when it’s a flag

korzybski

I’ve put off commenting on this controversy, mainly because I have no interest in taking part in whatever the current social media flavor-of-the-month might be. But this particular one is continuing, and the discussion almost inevitably neglects to take into account a basic principle of communication, a neglect that not only fuels controversy, but fuels violence.

Alfred Korzybski in particular made us aware of this basic principle through his insights in the field that became known as general semantics.

General semantics involves a lot of insights, actually, but the one I’m focusing on today is this: the map is not the territory.
Continue reading “Basic: the map is not the territory, even when it’s a flag”

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Wait…. is that the same word?

Girl inflating a red balloon

Regular readers know my daughter is in the hospital. We are working on day 16 at this point, and know that we won’t be able to go home until day 19. Some of our delay in going home comes from an interesting communication issue. Continue reading “Wait…. is that the same word?”

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A difficult holiday? Make your own meaning!

hannah_n_dad_small

Warning: I’m going to get personal with you a bit.

Communication happens in funny ways. Meaning comes from people, not from circumstances, but people inevitably create meaning around circumstances. Depression around Christmas is well-known. For me, Father’s Day is a very mixed holiday.

Part of it is something I share with lots and lots of people: my own dad died in 2002. I miss him a lot. So Father’s Day calls up both his absence and my gratitude for his presence for as long as I had him. Continue reading “A difficult holiday? Make your own meaning!”

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