Author: Hubbard, L. R.
Document date: 26 April 1970
Document title: The Anatomy of Thought
Document type: Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter
Book title: Management Series
Location: Los Angeles
Publisher: Bridge Publications, Inc.
In a subject developed by Korzybski a great deal of stress is given to the niceties of words. In brief a word is NOT the thing. And an object exactly like another object is different because it occupies a different space and thus “can’t be the same object.”
As Alfred Korzybski studied under psychiatry and amongst the insane (his mentor was William Alanson White at Saint Elizabeth’s insane asylum in Washington, DC) one can regard him mainly as the father of confusion.
This work, “general semantics,” a corruption of semantics, (meaning really “significance” or the “meaning of words”) has just enough truth in it to invite interest and just enough curves to injure one’s ability to think or communicate. Korzybski did not know the formula of human communication and university professors teaching semantics mainly ended up assuring students (and proving it) that no one can communicate with anyone because nobody really knows what anybody else means. As this “modern” (it was known to the Greeks, was a specialty of Sophists and was also used by Socrates) penetration into culture affects all education in the West today, it is no wonder that current communication is badly strained. Schools no longer teach basic logic. Due to earlier miseducation in language and no real education in logic much broken-down “think” can occur in high places.
A system of thinking derived from a study of psychotics is not a good yard-stick to employ in solving problems. Yet the “thinking” of heads of states is based on illogical and irrational rules. Populations, fortunately less “well educated,” are assaulted by the irrational (kooky) “thinking” of governments. This “thinking” is faulty mainly because it is based on the faulty logic shoved off on school children. “You must study geometry because that is the way you think” is an idiocy that has been current for the past two or three decades in schools.
I have nothing against Korzybski. But the general impact of “general semantics” has been to give us stupefied schoolboys who, growing up without any training in logic except general semantics are giving us problems. Increasingly we are dealing with people who have never been taught to think and whose native ability to do so has been hampered by a false “education.”
Hubbard, L. R. (1970, 26 April). The Anatomy of Thought. Management Series (1991 ed., Vol. 1, Data Series 1R, pp.3-21). Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, Inc.