The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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82                    THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
theory of relativity . . ." (page 386). Here is the perspective from which Korzybski moves forward:
If we take something, anything, let us say the object. . . called 'pencil' and enquire what it represents,17 according to science 1933, we find that the 'scientific object' represents an 'event/ a mad dance of 'electrons/ which is different every instant, which never repeats itself, which is known to consist of extremely complex dynamic processes of very fine structure, acted upon by and reacting upon, the rest of the universe, inextricably connected with everything else and dependent on everything else. If we enquire how many characteristics we should ascribe to such an event, the only possible answer ... is that we should ascribe to an event infinite numbers of characteristics . . . (page 387)
Here we have process, uniqueness, and relatedness. But what is of equal importance to us Is the fact that Korzybski states that "the only possible link between the objective world and the linguistic world Is found In structure, and structure alone" (page 61) Such a conception of language underlies the necessity for the making of verbal patterns in order to represent somethinganythingin the world.
The two terms "semantics" and "General Semantics" may confuse you. You will recall that I defined the word "semantics" as I use It. (Others may, and do, of course,
17 Notice the use of the word "represents" in this quotation. In nontechnical language, "represents'* and "refers to*' may, of course, be used interchangeably. But the student of semantics will use this difference in terminology to distinguish Ogden's and Richards* "science of symbolism" from Korzybski's "science of man.** We shall reserve the term "refers to" for symbols that have referents in the outside world of people and things and use the term "represents" (or "stands for**) in this section, as Korzybski does, for all words. Korzybski's General Semantics is concerned with all languageas one aspect of the organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environ-ment.