Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 1953, 29 October
Document title: Study of the Particle
Document type: lecture transcript
Event: First American Advanced Indoctrination Course
Location: Camden, New Jersey
Document ID: 1ACC-42, 53C1029
Description: Hubbard discusses his understanding of General Semantics and Korzybski.
Take this thing called “freedom.” Take this thing called “democracy.” Today they – you – everybody practices democracy. It isn’t democracy, it’s some kind of socialism. I don’t know what kind of a socialism, it’s invented all the time. But we’re fondly believing that our forefathers fought for democracy. They didn’t, they fought for rugged individualism. Well, democracy is different than rugged individualism; democracy is considerably different. Democracy is establishment by the major amount of force in the community, which is to say the most votes.
So, we – they have this muddy picture every time we go into symbols.
This sort of thing led Korzybski to write an enormous tome trying to tell people why no two people could ever converse because everything they said was impurely understood by the other one, so he was – that book called Science and Sanity is undoubtedly a very great work and I’ll read it someday. I got past the first page of it one time, but… Have you ever read the first page of Science and Sanity?
Male Voice: Yes.
Tell you what – now, have – you’re sure you read the first page? It’s a very interesting Page – you can’t find on it what the book’s all about. And the book ends the same way because I read the last page.
By the way, I had an editor friend one time and he used to buy stories and he used to find out what stories he was going to buy simply by taking up stacks of manuscripts as they came in and he’d read the first paragraph and he’d open them up to the middle and he’d read a paragraph and then he’d read the last paragraph, and they integrated into a story, he bought the manuscript without any further questions asked, because practically none of them did.
And if you apply that test to a story in a magazine you’ll – and then read the story itselt you’ll be amazed to discover that it’s a quite accurate test. It’s a test of the consistency of the story – quite accurate. The story which doesn’t do that isn’t worth reading to a large degree because it just starts – kind of starts nowhere and goes nowhere and gets noplace in the middle.
Well, when you start out to define how nobody can talk to each other and you’re using words to do it, you wind up by not talking to anybody – Q and A.
Now, Korzybski has an enormous number of very, very clever ideas. They’ve been explained to me by my friends and I appreciate it very much. I know quite a bit about Korzybski’s works. Bob Heinlein sat down one time and talked for ten whole minutes on the subject of Korzybski to me and it was very clever. This was a number of years ago and was very, very clever. Of course, I found out later that Bob Heinlein had – that was his viewpoint on what Korzybski should have written and was mostly taken from Hayakawa, but that was explained to me by another friend who talked three whole minutes on the subject of Korzybski. But this other fellow was quite accurate and he was very convincing – the number of times he pounded the table with his fist convinced me utterly, and so I know that there is something in there; I’m just sure of it. I haven’t read that book but I’m sure there is.
But I am also sure that every time I processed a preclear who was a general semanticist, I practically had to shoot him to get him off the couch. Now, is there some connection between these two data?
I had one little girl who had taken in the university something that was called semantics. I don’t know whether they follow Korzybski or who, but this girl had a communication lag that you couldn’t have reached in a jet plane in hours. And finally, I tried to figure out what this was all about because I wasn t in communication with this girl. I’d say one thing and she would sort of dazedly look around and wonder if I’d said something else.
So I just took up the whole subject of words, immediately, and just started sorting through words and all of a sudden she looked rather sad about it all. Seemed like the professor had been very good looking and it was his foregone conclusion that no two people could ever find out hat each other was saying simply because the words were all completely inexact and carried no exact meaning, one to the other. And she had thought this over carefully and had decided it was true and hadn’t talked since. She couldn’t communicate. She knew that everybody she talked to got some different meaning out of what she was saying.
Hubbard, L. R. (1953, 29 October). Study of the Particle. First American Advanced Indoctrination Course, (1ACC-42, 53c1029). Camden, New Jersey.