Here's Something About General Semantics

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A Primer for Making Sense of Your World, by Steve Stockdale

  • Available in eBook format (PDF) for immediate FREE download. FREE!
  • ISBN 978-0-9824645-0-2; 290 pages.
  • Accessible, well-written introduction to GS principles, plus more!
  • Written from 13 years teaching experience.
  • Filled with examples, demonstrations, and explanations; over 50 illustrations.
  • Includes articles from the GS journal (ETC) and newspaper columns.
  • Thirteen pages of Notes and Sources; Index of 270 names.
  • Links to over 150 online video clips.
  • Appropriate for all learners and teachers, middle grades through university.
  • Learn how language and other symbols influence how you perceive your world,
    how you respond to your perceptions, and how you think-and-talk about your responses.
  • The world in which we live is a world of differences. When we disregard differences, we generalize. When we generalize inappropriately, we stereotype, forming biases and prejudices. Troubles inevitably follow. We need to learn how to more critically differentiate, or discern, between what happens in our lives, how we respond, and how we think-and-talk. This book explains and applies the principles of General Semantics to promote an ongoing awareness of differences that make a difference. The book advocates an informed, open, and tolerant world view, deliberately derived from what we currently know from integrating the sciences, arts, and humanities ... without deference to dogmas, traditions, or what passes for culturally-dependent "common sense."

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    Like it? Consider a Donation

    When I visited India to give a series of GS presentations in 2007, our host, Mr. BK Parekh of Mumbai and Pidilite Industries, shared with us an educational and inspirational journal he publishes occasionally, which he distributes throughout India at no cost. He translates the Gujarati title of the journal, Gamta no kariye Gulal, as "If you get what you like, don't keep it; rather, share it." In that spirit, I gladly share Something About General Semantics. If you find something of value in this book, please refer a friend or two to this page so you can share the book with them. And if you value the book such that you would like to monetize that value, I appreciatively accept donations of any amount via PayPal or credit card.


    What's in the Book?

    PREFACE: Something About This Book
    • How I Learned About General Semantics
    • Why GS is "quest-worthy"
    • How GS is consistent with current neuroscience understanding
    • Benefits of GS as reported by university students

    Part 1 Introductions to General Semantics
    • Introduction
    • A Structured System of Formulations
    • Some Questions and Answers About GS
    • A Tutorial
    • Two Video Reviews
    • Seven Stories to Illustrate Some GS Principles

    Part 2 Explanations and Descriptions
    • Report from an 8-Day Seminar-Workshop
    • My ME Model
    • Report from a Weekend Seminar
    • About "Mindfulness" and GS
    • The Girl and the Match
    • Other Descriptions of General Semantics
    • An Explanation of the Structural Differential
    • 13 Symptoms of Language Misbehaviors
    • A GS Perspective

    Part 3 Extensions and Applications
    • Toward an Informed World View
    • Eating Menus
    • Calling Out the Symbol Rulers
    • Words by Other Names
    • Response Side Semantics
    • Semantic Pollution Fouling the Airwaves
    • How Do You Play the Game?
    • But What If ...?
    • A Fence Sieve Language
    • Why Make a Federal Case Out of Bad Words?
    • How to Size Your (Thinking) Box
    • The Bridge at Neverwas
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    Part 4 Some History
    • General Semantics Across the Curriculum
    • Snooping Around the Time-Binding Attic
    • Heinlein and Ellis: Converging Competencies

    • Full Transcript, "Lay Off of My PERSUADE Shoes"
    • Bib-Vid-liography: Some Resources
    • An Essay on Levels of Abstractions



    What students have said

    General semantics is by far the most relevant class I have taken toward my B.S. No other class has provoked the amount of interest and relevancy in the scope of human interaction, both interpersonally and worldly.
    This class was so much different from any class I've taken in college thus far. In my opinion, it was a class teaching us how to think, rather than what to think.
    This course has given me a new lens to view life through, and has expanded what, in sociology, is called my cultural capital.
    I wish I had been taught earlier about some of the general semantics principles, such as to recognize that the word is not the thing and that what we see is only a fraction of what is happening "out there" (and that what other people — namely parents, teachers, news anchors, reporters, movie directors, politicians, ministers, anyone who seems to be 'all-knowing' or speak about 'irrefutable truths' — see and share is only a fraction of all that occurs).
    There is one aspect of GS that discourages me. It seems as though GS could benefit society, or even the world. Now I know that we have only discussed the tip of the iceberg, but wouldn't we be better off if our schools actively taught this subject? Why is this a secret?

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    Fundamental Aspects

    By, About Steve Stockdale

    What Others Have Said

    It's important to realize that general semantics is not simply something of interest to scholars or university students. Teachers can and should introduce it at all levels since thinking skills are useful at every level and in every subject in the curriculum. —Steve Allen
    A man who knows how symbols are related to experience, and who practices the kind of linguistic self-control taught by the exponents of General Semantics, is unlikely to take too seriously the absurd or dangerous nonsense that, within every culture, passes for philosophy, practical wisdom and political argument —Aldous Huxley
    The goal of general semantics — to show people how they can become aware of their misperceptions, over-generalizing and poor judgments and how they can reconsider and reconstitute them so that they help themselves to more accurately perceive, accept, and live more comfortably with 'reality.' —Dr. Albert Ellis
    All of the questions raised by Science and Sanity are inherent or should be inherent in the work of any thinking writer or communicator. —Alvin Toffler
    General Semantics offers no recipe for boredom. —Wendell Johnson
    I must stress that I give no panaceas, but experience shows that when the methods of general semantics are applied, the results are usually beneficial. —Alfred Korzybski