The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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13O                  THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
there is no separation between the organized self and the relevant organized environment. For both authors, the situation-as-a-whole is organized but changing. For both authors, there is, therefore, cross organization between the organized self and the relevant organized environment.
When Korzybski wrote Science and Sanityimz, there was no word to describe this unique organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environment conception of human behavior. Korzybski coined the term "semantic reactions" to stand for what is today1958 also described as transactional relatedness.
Korzybski states that high quality semantic reactions result from a proper evaluation of the life situation-as-a-whole. Proper evaluation is possible only when the human being looks out on the world of people and things with an awareness of process, of uniqueness, of relatedness, and of order. But, if he ignores these basic assumptions of science and the semantic devices appropriate to them, his semantic reactions will be similar to those of Rebel, the dog.
A whistle will bring Rebel on the run, even if he must upset the apple cart. Korzybski calls this a signal reaction which is normal for animals but wnsane for man. The driver who responds to the green light by putting his foot on the gas, even though pedestrians are only halfway across the street, exhibits a signal reaction. This driver has made a trigger response to the signal without properly evaluating the situation-as-a-whole. (Even some dogs know better than this!)
When the human being is controlled by the immediate environment, without regard for the relevant situation-as-a-whole, his semantic reactions will be of low quality. If the human being identifies one member of a class with another, one level of abstraction with another, fails to take