The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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KORZYBSKI                                      91
'all aspects . . ." (page 194) No two persons are identical, not even identical twins.
You may be willing to admit that words can never tell all about your boy and that it might be a good idea to use the index to point to the differences left out. But what about things? you will ask. How about the automobiles that come off the production line? Aren't these all "the same"?
"When we talk about things, we are usually interested in the similarities of the class, and not in the individual differences left out. When we buy a car, we are interested in the make and the model and the price. We are interested in the similarities of all Buicks, Model 60. We are interested in the class, "Buick, Model 60."
We can safely talk about a desk, a chair, a G.E. toaster, a Buick, without regard for its absolute uniqueness. We have no trouble doing business. We use as many words as we need (all of them class words, to be sure) to describe the thing we are talking about, and we can forget that we can never get to the differences left out. When we order Desk #157, Mahogany, we are not interested in the absolute uniqueness of the desk. We are not, for instance, concerned with the trees that produced the wood; we are not concerned with how they grew or whether or not they had their place in the sun. We are interested only in the similarities of all Desks #157, Mahogany. But if there were two of them on the floor, we'd probably prefer one to the other. There'd be something about the grain, maybe, or the finish. Something . . We'd look them over and say Send me this one, not that one,
I am remembering how, some years ago, I decided that the Conover piano was in my price range and the make for me. The salesman took me into the stockroom. He sat