The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




KORZYBSKI                                 Hi
Consciousness of abstracting alerts the communicator to the fact that communication between people is always approximate, and never complete.
2.  But we'd better crook our fingers, or use actual quotes, every time we use a class word if we want to stress the differences left out. We need some way to alert others, too.
When I say He's a "chef if I crook my fingers, 1 am telling you that he's a cook, but a special kind of cook. Our friend from India is famed for his curried chicken; another, from Germany, for his forty-eight-hour simmered soup. Our friend from India had better not serve us soup; our friend from Germany, curried chicken!
The crooked fingersor the quotespoint to ih& differences left out.
3.  And we'd better raise our arms high and crook our index fingers, or use quotes, every time we use a big word. This will be a signal to others that we know their responses to this word are not identical with ours, and that we must clarify meanings.
"Democracy" is one of our biggest wordsand all of us use it. We need the big words to describe our complex society. We cannot get along without them. But "democracy," by itself, is a generalization of a very high order of abstraction.
Democracy, at the peak, is a word that sums up much of our way of life. On a lower level, the same word stands for our principlesour Constitution, our Bill of Rights, etc. On yet a lower level, we use the same word to stand for our practices in government, in industry, in education; our polling places, our supermarts, our cafeterias, our press conferences, our public schools, etc. And in our every-