Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chapter 54 - War Work: Part 3 - More Publicity and Reviews

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Korzybski had made an impact on many people. One of them was Robert Heinlein, a new writer in the nascent field of science-fiction writing. Heinlein—who attended a seminar in Chicago in 1940—had first attended Korzybski’s 1939 lectures in Los Angeles. That year John W. Campbell, the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, published Heinlein’s first story in that magazine along with those of A.E.Van Vogt and Isaac Asimov. What would be called “The Golden Age of Science Fiction”, which roughly spanned the next two decades, had begun. The genre was becoming widely popular. Korzybski would serve as a significant influence on some of its principal figures, such as Heinlein (one of the first to mention or make use of Korzybski in his work), Campbell, Van Vogt, H. Beam Piper, and Reginald Bretnor, among many others—more and less well-known. Their work, in turn, would help to further publicize Korzybski’s work. 

The publication of the Second Edition of Science and Sanity at the end of 1941 provided another opportunity for fresh publicity. Undoubtedly, the concurrent appearances of Hayakawa’s and Lee’s popularizations, as well as the reviews those books received, also drew attention to their primary source. New reviews of the Second Edition began to come out in 1942 in both popular and professional publications and continued over the next several years. They varied from the laudatory (psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley’s review for the April 1943 Journal of Mental Hygiene) to the respectful but questioning (Howard P. Becker in the April 1942 American Sociological Review) to sincere misconstrual (Kenneth Burke’s comments in his 1945 book A Grammar of Motives) to sheer ad hominem (philosopher Max Black’s nasty, brutal, and short attack in the April 1943 North Central Association Review).

In this latter review, Black very skillfully said little if anything of substance about the book, decrying its “faintly crazy tone” and concluding, “the volume is perhaps a little too large to be conveniently used as a missile.” Korzybski (unusually for him) bothered to protest to the editor of the publication almost a year later, writing in his typical blunt and direct fashion,
In my protest I can say nothing worse than that a reviewer should read honestly what he reviews, not glance through a book, pick here and there some few words taken out of context, falsify important issues, and just personally abuse the author. Is that the ‘intellectual’ standard of integrity of Max Black, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois? If so, fortunately this is not the standard of scientific men anywhere. Professor Black may not believe in honesty, but certainly he should be able to read understandingly; if not, he should be silent. In science we do not follow the notorious legal motto: ‘If you have no case, abuse the opponent’. 
....Under such conditions it would be only fair to education and human adjustment, and even science, if the editors of your Quarterly would decide to publish a review of Science and Sanity by a responsible person, who at least would read understandingly and honestly the volume for review, as honest criticism is always useful.  
Professor Black ends his review ‘...with the parting comment that the volume is perhaps a little too large to be conveniently used as a missile.’ Even here the reviewer mis-evaluates, as in cases of some frivolous reviewers this admittedly heavy book used as a ‘missile’ may not be so ‘convenient’ (if we want to be ‘lazy’), but it may nevertheless be very effective to knock in some sense, perhaps even honesty, and anyway some respect for heavy work. (10) 

The editor, in reply, seemed apologetic. Korzybski also sent a copy of his protest letter to Black as well as a cover letter in which he told the philosopher, “It was a painful protest for me to write, because somehow I can not reconcile myself to the lack of intellectual integrity of a reviewer who does not read the book he reviews.”(11) 

Black, apparently unchastened, replied to Korzybski with a short note, “...I am not in the habit of replying to personal abuse and I do not propose to depart from that practice in this instance. My professional reputation can take care of itself. ...As for the review itself, I am content to have readers check its accuracy by comparison with your original text.”(12) That, so it seemed, ‘was’ that. But, as we shall see, Black had not finished with Korzybski.

It didn’t cheer Alfred that much of the criticism of his work seemed beside the point, although not usually as egregiously as in Black’s review. But he had an attitude toward such criticisms much like that of his friend E.T. Bell, who wrote a short notice for the Second Edition in the October 1942 edition of The American Mathematical Monthly. After briefly describing the contents, Bell wrote,
There is nothing to add to the notice of the first edition, except one general observation: any book that was ever worth reading has been cordially damned by at least two persons. With this in mind, the author may see fit to exhibit in his third edition a select anthology of the fatuous things that have been said about general semantics, and his contribution to it, in the eight years between the two editions. Such an exhibition would be more illuminating to serious students than a hundred pages of laudatory remarks.” (13) 

Bad reviews or not, over the next few years the demand for Science and Sanity seemed extraordinary for such an apparently daunting book. With the Second Edition in print, at least 1,500 books per year were being sold—over four times the average yearly rate of sales for the first edition. By the end of the war, approximately 8,000 copies had gotten into circulation, with from a quarter to a third of individual orders coming from people in the armed forces.(14) Despite the financial and operating difficulties that the war had brought on, the Institute of General Semantics still seemed to fill a crying need. Somehow, it was going to hang on.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
10. AK to The Editor, The North Central Association Quarterly, 2/22/1944. IGS Archives. 

11. AK to Max Black, 3/11/1944. IGS Archives. 

12. Max Black to AK, 3/13/1944. IGS Archives. 

13. E.T. Bell. Review of Science and Sanity (Second Edition), The American Mathematical Monthly 49 (8), Oct 1942. AKDA 41.170.

14. Institute of General Semantics Newsletter, August 1945. AKDA Scrapbook 4.137.

< Part 2      Part 4 >

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chapter 54 - War Work: Part 2 - Questions of Morale

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S government had set up an Office of Civilian Defense to plan and coordinate federal and local government efforts to mobilize and protect civilians during wartime emergencies. Efforts included local organizations for blackouts, fire brigades, first aid, etc., with strong efforts to get civilian volunteers. The Chicago area office had distributed Block Roster Cards to local residents. Korzybski dutifully filled out his card. The question at the bottom asked for “Day and Hours Available for Civilian Defense Assignment”. Korzybski wrote, “Working on National Morale, unless in case of real emergency, have no time to spare.” 

He had already addressed the issue of morale in an interview he gave to a reporter from The Washington Post, published in that paper two days after the Pearl Harbor attack. Among other things, he pointed out that German propagandists had been using naive, isolationist, and sometimes fascistically-inclined congressmen as outlets for their material, which was getting sent out as mailings to constituents (postage paid by U.S. taxpayers) and published in the Congressional Record. Investigations were underway but the fact that these German propaganda efforts had happened with so little public attention seemed worrisome. The general public and the government needed to wake up to the importance of public attitudes—as the German and Japanese governments certainly had done. He also reviewed his by-now long-repeated view of the need for the U.S. government to employ “a board of eminent psychiatrists and other experts to plan and guide reconstruction of human values now being ravaged by Nazi and other evil influences.” As part of its job, the board could provide factual, expert opinions, not concocted lies, as the basis for counter-propaganda against the Nazis. He felt convinced that behavioral experts would legitimately be able to find Hitler and his minions psychiatrically disturbed. (At about this time Korzybski was recommending Erich Fromm’s newly published book Escape From Freedom for its analysis of “The Psychology of Nazism” and related issues.) The newspaper article concluded,
As a long range measure, Count Korzybski believes it essential to prepare to deal with the effect of the last few decades of war and chaos on the minds of the people of the world.  
“Here is a thing more deadly than any epidemic you can imagine,” he explained. “We set experts to work on sanitary measures, safety measures; we put scientists in laboratories to study cancer and the common cold. We must have no less vision in grappling with the deterioration of values, which, I seriously assure you, concerns the sanity of the whole race.” (4) 
For Korzybski, the role of the news media seemed critical for the more short-range bolstering of public values necessary to win the war. As a somewhat lonely, early proponent of recognizing and doing something about the German and Japanese threats (when that view was not popular), he had long expressed contempt for the editorial policies of The Chicago Tribune. Under the direction of its isolationist and fervently anti-Roosevelt publisher and owner, Colonel Robert J. McCormick, the newspaper had given strong support to the “America First” movement, which became a shelter not only for those with sincere anti-war sentiments but also for Nazi sympathizers.(5)  

Korzybski could feel much better about the The Los Angeles Daily News. Its owner-publisher-editor Manchester Boddy, a founding member of the Los Angeles General Semantics group, had converted the former tabloid paper into a formidable journalistic presence in Los Angeles with a circulation of over a quarter of a million.(6) 

Starting on November 24, 1941, Daily News writer Edwin Green, who had taken several seminars with Korzybski, began producing a weekly column, “General Semantics and Human Affairs ” for the paper. His column ran for over a year until the spring of 1943, when he left Los Angeles on an army assignment. He sat in as a guest at Korzybski’s L.A. weekend seminar; in March, while Alfred was teaching the intensive and doing interviews with students, the two men collaborated on five of Green’s weekly columns in the form of a series of interviews with Korzybski on the general theme of building wartime morale. The first interview, published on March 9, started,
Count Alfred Korzybski, director of the Institute of General Semantics and famous authority on human behavior, considers the daily newspaper “an instrument of tremendous power” for counteracting the effects of enemy propaganda. “Our people do not realize what a magnificent educational weapon their press can be in the battle for a sane world,” said Korzybski. (7)
To put the content of the five interviews in a nutshell, Korzybski contended that improving morale to counter enemy propaganda would require the cooperation of the government, press, and public. Clear and honest factual education could best counter enemy propaganda based on falsification and distortion. This would include conveying an understanding of the neuro-psycho-social mechanisms of behavior and deception being exploited by the enemy, an honest presentation of facts about the enemy (basically gangsters as Korzybski saw them), and a recognition of what the Allied nations were fighting for (in short, democracy against gangsterism).

In the final interview, published on April 6, Korzybski emphasized that Nazi and Japanese psychological warfare had made the term “honest propaganda” seem like an oxymoron. “It therefore becomes necessary to exclude this word ‘propaganda’ from the context of our war effort.” Instead he argued for the “morale building potency of plain facts and figures”—not a surprising suggestion coming from Korzybski. Politicians, journalists, and others needed to consider the effects their communications might have on personal, social and national morale:
The test of a public utterance,...could well be the question: “How will the issue affect the way we get along with one another?”Applying such a test to a great deal of the verbalism being put on the air and into print would serve as a counter-attack against the misleading information and defeatist arguments now actively sabotaging our war effort. (8)
Korzybski’s concern for morale extended to the Allied soldiers now mobilizing to fight on all fronts. He still carried daily reminders of his time on the Eastern Front in the First World War. He wondered about the costs some of his students would undoubtedly bear for their wartime service in this one. He had his Kipling—Barrack Room Ballads and Other Verses—close at hand, with the line from “Arithmetic on the Frontier” that he and Mira had written out in the front or end pages of their multiple copies: The flying bullet down the Pass, That whistles clear: “All flesh is grass.” How could these men and women, especially those in combat, best cope with the stresses of those flying bullets and everything else they would experience? Since the First World War, Korzybski had had a vital, personal interest in preventing and dealing with “shell shock”, which would become known as “battle fatigue” and “traumatic neurosis” during this war. From a preventive point-of-view, he had long rubbed-in the importance of minimizing expectations, and he believed those prepared for the possible horrors of their wartime experience would more likely deal adequately with whatever horrors they might actually encounter. During and after the war, Korzybski and some of his students would continue to explore how extensional methods could help people cope with post-traumatic stress problems.

Many of Korzybski’s students would soon be called into military service. I’ll note only a few. Douglas Kelley got commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He would go on to use korzybskian principles and extensional methods in group psychotherapy for psychiatric casualties in the European Theater, publishing a paper on this after the war. Irving Lee would enter the army that summer as a lieutenant in the air corps, stationed at the School of Applied Tactics in Orlando, Florida where he worked developing training aids. Allen Walker Read would be inducted into the army that summer as well, assigned to work in the Military Intelligence Service in New York City. He got an appropriate job for a lexicographer, working on an American Military Definition Dictionary, English-Foreign language dictionaries, and on military phrase books. Harry Weinberg went to war in the Merchant Marine service. As he later wrote, since the seminar he took with Korzybski in December 1940,
...I more or less neglected my study of general semantics until one September morn I found myself aboard an ammunition ship headed for Guadalcanal with a copy of Science and Sanity in my duffel bag. Naturally, since I had been a chemist, the obvious position for me aboard ship was that of chief pot washer and potato peeler. (9)
In the long run, even such apparently mundane and unrelated wartime duties could further work in general semantics. Weinberg’s meditations about seeing the sunrise and on related issues while peeling his daily quota of potatoes, would eventually lead to a paper published after the war, “Some Functional Patterns on the Non-Verbal Level”. The paper led to: Irving Lee offering him a graduate assistantship at Northwestern; an eventual PhD in speech communication; and a new career for Weinberg as an instructor in speech and general semantics at Temple University. He eventually wrote one of the best books ever written on GS, the 1959 Levels of Knowing and Existence, which incorporated parts of his original paper. Other students, like Kelley, were able to make more direct wartime contributions to GS application and research. But on the whole, the war took many of Korzybski’s students out of significant contact with him and pretty much out of the immediate picture in terms of developing his work. But then again, the war disrupted many important things.

Although Korzybski would give six seminars in 1942, the number of students and demand for seminars began to diminish. In 1943, the Institute would hold four seminars and in 1944, just three. With fewer students, the Institute would continue struggling at the edge of financial survival—not so great for Korzybski’s morale. It seems ironic because by this time the impact of his work had begun to register even more thoroughly on public consciousness. The growing recognition probably served as a major factor in bolstering Korzybski despite the wartime difficulties.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
4. “Expose Hitler’s Insanity to German People[,] Authority Urged to Counteract Propaganda[.] Expert on Semantics Says Europeans Have Horror of Such Ills” by Dillard Stokes. Washington Post, 12/9/1941. IGS Archives; AKDA 41.180. 

5. See Avedis (“Arthur”) Derounian’s 1943 book, Under Cover: My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld of America. New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., pp. 396-39. Derounian wrote under the pseudonym “John Roy Carlson”. 

6. “Two-Man Show”. Time, Monday, Nov. 23, 1942

7. Green-Korzybski Interview articles, AKDA 41.406. 

8. Green-Korzybski Interview articles, AKDA 41.407. 

9. Harry Weinberg 1959, p. xiii.

< Part 1      Part 3 >

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chapter 54 - War Work: Part 1 - Introduction

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Korzybski began a three-weekend seminar in Los Angeles on February 14. He had written about the trip to Crane, saying, “I am personally convinced that for nuisance sake Los Angeles will be bombed.”(1) Indeed, he arrived there in time to experience the most remarkable episode of ‘bombing’ on U.S. soil in World War II.

Increasingly affected by his war injuries, traveling had become more bothersome. And although financially the Institute would come out slightly ahead, the considerable expenses and the time away from home made him wonder about the worthwhileness of the trip. But the group of Los Angeles students who organized this weekend series and another intensive in March, had been insistent. (Another group of students in San Francisco had organized a two-weekend seminar in Berkeley to follow in April.) Things seemed to be going well enough, though with the lectures and the personal interviews and whatever other appointments he had, he felt extremely pressed for time—in other words, not so different from his usual slave-driving of self.

In his suite at the Wilshire Arms Hotel, the site of the seminar, Alfred had the parlor that served as his bedroom and office with a fold-up bed in the wall and a table for his desk. The actual bedroom had two beds for Kendig, who accompanied him on the train trip, and Charlotte, who’d be coming out in a few weeks to replace Kendig as his assistant. A dinette and small kitchen added to the comforts of the place. He felt happy to have a small electric heater for his room to supplement the room heat. (He tended to get cramps in his legs if he didn’t stay warm enough and it could get surprisingly chilly in Southern California at this time of year.) He felt grateful that to teach he didn’t have to commute farther than the lecture room in the hotel, since he tended to get breathless—apparently related to his ‘busted gut’, i.e., hernia—when he walked too much or otherwise overexerted.

With a great deal of ongoing Institute business to take care of, Kendig returned to Chicago a few days after Charlotte’s arrival on February 26. Charlotte just missed by a day the ‘Battle of Los Angeles’, which had begun and ended on the morning of February 25.

A few days before, a Japanese submarine had surfaced off the Santa Barbara coast and shelled an oil facility there, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Although only minor damage occurred, Southern California—which had oil depots, airplane factories, and shipping facilities galore—had gone on alert. Then, in the early morning hours of February 25, something or things happened in the sky. Who and how many saw whatever happened does not seem clear. Police had reports of from one to 100 unidentified objects—Japanese aircraft?—flying along the coast from Santa Monica to Long Beach. Sirens blared to signal a blackout. Anti-aircraft batteries began firing (over 1,400 rounds) into the sky at the invaders. The ruckus likely awakened Korzybski in his downtown Los Angeles hotel room. Perhaps he looked outside to see the ‘light’ show as did many people in Los Angeles.

Before the alert was over, five hours later, according to a newspaper account, “Thirty persons, twenty of whom were Japanese, were arrested; two persons were killed in traffic accidents during the blackout and at least two houses were damaged by shells which had failed to explode in the air. Shrapnel which fell like hail in some sections broke windows and caused other minor damage.”(2) Nonetheless, if there had been Japanese planes—if there had been any planes at all—they didn’t seem to have dropped any bombs. 

The Battle of Los Angeles 
No one in authority seemed to know what happened—or rather ‘everyone’ in authority seemed to be saying that different things had happened. While Henry Stimson, the U.S. Secretary of War, praised the successful military and civilian defense of Los Angeles, Navy Secretary Frank Knox declared that the whole thing had resulted from “a false alarm”.(3) Korzybski seemed confident, based on reports from one of his students involved in Los Angeles area civil defense, that the Japanese Imperial Air force had made its presence known. But after the war, the Japanese denied any wartime mission at this time to Southern California. One thing seemed clear: a little over two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, people had gotten very nervous. And shooting into the sky at unidentified flying objects, with different authorities giving different stories, was not going to do much to reduce the nervousness or improve wartime morale.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
1. AK to Cornelius Crane. 12/24/1941. IGS Archives. 

 2. “Los Angeles Guns Bark at Air ‘Enemy’”. 2/26/1942, New York Times

3. “West Coast Raided Stimson Concedes. Differing From Knox’s ‘False Alarm’ Statement”. 2/27/1942, New York Times

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chapter 53 - Question Marks: Part 5 - Debt Paid

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

At the end of November 1941, one of the biggest questions and sources of stress for the last two years—the unfinished business with Cornelius Crane—began to look like it would get resolved. Korzybski had just gotten the registration certificate from the U.S. Copyright Office for the newly published Second Edition of Science and Sanity, when he heard from Crane’s lawyer. He sent a telegram on November 27 to Congdon: “We are making settlement with Crane and must have trustee meeting.”(28) 

On December 11, Korzybski wrote to Francis Dewing, “[W]e are in a business conversation with the lawyer of Crane, and eventually Crane. Nothing is settled yet, but most probably some settlement will happen.”(29) Despite this promising news about Crane, Korzybski confessed to feeling rather “disorganized” due to the events of the previous four days: the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7; the U.S. in turn declared war on Japan, and Nazi Germany declared war on the U.S. The country, which had been supporting England for about two years through the Lend Lease program, had officially entered as a combatant nation on the side of Allied forces in World War II. 

Besides the negotiations with Crane, a number of other important items were dealt with at the Trustees meeting of December 19 (which, it turned out, Congdon couldn’t attend). It seemed desirable to have a larger number of board members. A committee was appointed to rewrite the Institute bylaws so this could be done. Kendig’s status was changed as well. She was elected as a regular member of the board (a change from her ex-officio status). Her title of “Executive Secretary” of the Institute was dropped although she would continue as Secretary of the Board of Trustees. In addition to the position she held as Educational Director, the board confirmed a new role for her, Associate Director of the Institute. This certainly fit the responsibilities she already fulfilled. She had become indispensable to Korzybski in running the Institute. 

One of the ways she hoped she could help reduce the burden of work on both her and Korzybski was presented at the board meeting, when she announced the appointment of S. I. Hayakawa, Wendell Johnson, and Irving Lee in their new function as honorary Fellows of the Institute. In October, as a result of an earlier brainstorm of hers, she had written to the three men, inviting each of them to accept a position as an IGS Fellow, intended not only to honor them for their contribution in forwarding GS in their teaching and writing, but to also “enlist their help in planning future developments, especially in the matter of setting and maintaining standards for workers in the discipline.” After the Denver Congress, she and Alfred had begun to feel increasingly bothered by the problem of critiquing papers submitted by some of the “eager and sincere students of GS (often college professors) whose grasp of the discipline and use of language in conveying it were unacceptable.” She hoped that “in getting the Fellows to criticize such writings, we could ‘soften the blows’ for these writers and relieve Alfred of the odium of being considered an inflexible dictator.”(30) The three had accepted, were confirmed as Fellows of the Institute at the board meeting, and met with Kendig during the Holiday seminar for further planning. They decided with her to appoint future Fellows on the basis of unanimous agreement of the existing Fellows and began working at once on some of the writings that had been submitted to the Institute. 

The meeting agenda also listed a report on another plan intended to ease Korzybski’s burden. Some of his students in Chicago had formed a committee to start a “Society for the Study of General Semantics”, which would have as a major purpose promoting “the welfare of the IGS by plans for financial support.” Financial support seemed crucial for many reasons, among them the following. For some time, Mira had been pushing the notion to Alfred that he ought to write a third, more popularly-oriented book. Although he often seemed to pooh-pooh her suggestions, he also often eventually took them up—as he did this suggestion. But he would need time to write it, time which he so far had been unable to find. The next-to-last item listed on the Agenda for discussion at the Trustees meeting, referred to his hoped-for book: “...Discussion of a possible three year plan for financial support of IGS and the need of financial stabilization to facilitate Count Korzybski’s writing his new book in that period.”(31) Financial support and stabilization remained devoutly to be wished for. 

At least the Institute had reached the point of getting out of its deep financial hole. In the last few days of 1941, Crane paid up his outstanding debts, which allowed the Institute to disburse outstanding salaries to Korzybski’s staff and repay Korzybski for the money he had loaned it, which had nearly exhausted his and Mira’s personal savings. In addition, the settlement left sufficient money for the Institute to cover rent until 1944. Korzybski felt grateful and appended a “Special Acknowledgement” to the “Acknowledgements” page specifically thanking Crane. This would appear in all future printings of the Second Edition. 

But the Institute remained far from financially secure. For one thing, seminar attendance would remain an ongoing problem over the next few years since the pool of potential students had suddenly shrunk. Many were entering the armed forces. Even those who remained civilians seemed more likely to have priorities other than coming to an Institute of General Semantics seminar. At least the Institute now had the Second Edition of Science and Sanity to sell. Surely, they would have to do something about fund-raising. The war would make that more of a challenge. 1942 didn’t look like it was going to provide a good time for rest.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
28. AK to C.B. Congdon, 11/27/1941. IGS Archives. 

29. AK to Francis R. Dewing, 12/11/1941. IGS Archives. 

30. “Memorandum on the Institute Fellows”, M. Kendig to Russell Meyers and Marjorie Swanson, Oct. 4, 1956. IGS Archives. 

31. “Notes on Order of Business and Agenda For Trustee Meeting December 19, 1941”, 12/18/1941. IGS Archives.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chapter 53 - Question Marks: Part 4 - "To Transform Myself"

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish

All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

During a large part of 1941, the question of what would happen with Mira remained another significant unanswered one for Korzybski—and for Mira too. He not only still considered her—probably unfairly—as a loose cannon in relation to his work, but he worried about her personally. However, he was too consumed by work to see her or talk to her much. He still didn’t appear to have forgiven her for her last ‘broadcast’ and seemed more likely to scold her than to ‘make nice’ whenever they saw each other or otherwise communicated. Not that they did that much. 

During this period Pearl and Charlotte may have had more direct contact with Mira than he did. As much as Mira liked them, she found that arrangement utterly inadequate. She felt lonely. She missed the intellectual stimulation of the years she had spent as Alfred’s main muse and audience, and sometime amanuensis. She still felt vitally interested in his work (perhaps even more so) and in the fate of the Institute. Indeed, the advancement of his work and the success of the Institute seemed as important to her—in her own way—as it did to him. She agreed with him that she would not be able to take the hothouse atmosphere and intense pressures of the day-to-day work there. Still she had hoped and continued to hope for some sense of “everydayishness” with Alfred: a sense that they could at least have some regular time together, however little, during which they didn’t necessarily have to deal with his students’ or the world’s neuroses—and, more importantly, where he wasn’t ruthlessly dissecting her ‘floppy thinker’. 

For Alfred, however, “everydayishness” had become a nasty word. He felt it would kill him faster than overwork. He would have his 62nd birthday in July and he didn’t know how long he had to live. (Despite the appearance of extraordinary energy that others saw, he could feel the diminishment of his vitality. The effects of his war injuries had worsened as he aged.) He felt he had to make the most of whatever time he had left by working as hard as he could. Mira could understand that to some extent. For her the greatest sin for anyone consisted of not making the fullest use of their potential. (She also didn’t consider it the wisest management of one’s energy to work to the point of sickness, which Alfred often seemed on the verge of doing.) Given that Alfred didn’t want Mira to involve herself with the Institute at all, his almost total involvement with work, and his still quite negative feelings toward her, what was she to do? 

Over the winter of 1940-41, her sister Amy had come up to stay with her. In early February, Amy had returned to Kansas City. As the end of the month drew near, Mira felt she needed some time to consider what she was going to do with the rest of her life. The studio lease ended in October and, if she wasn’t going to have much contact with Alfred, she felt no compelling reason to stay in Chicago. She had just had her 69th birthday. Her painting didn’t engage her. She wanted to get away from the “rotten rich”. She was looking for something—solace, connection. She had a few friends in Chicago. She had also made new contacts in a few of the Jewish synagogues near where she lived, and had gotten counsel from some of their rabbis. In spite of this, the city had begun to feel intolerable to her. On February 28, 1941, she wrote a note to Alfred to let him know she was going away for a few months and included a forwarding address of a friend in New York City. She then got on a Trailways bus for Washington, D.C. and other parts east. A young woman friend of hers, a doctor of engineering, would stay in her studio while she was away.(23) 

Mira spent March and probably most if not all of April in Washingon, where the Smithsonian Institute had taken one of her paintings, a portrait of Señora Helena Udaondo de Pareyra Iraola, a member of a prestigious Argentine family. She had gotten in touch with Ruel Tolman, the Acting Director of the Smithsonian’s National Collection of Fine Arts, and Charles Greeley Abbot, the Smithsonian Secretary, who were interested in the possibility of having an installment ceremony for the portrait in the fall. (This apparently never took place.) Mira also saw old friends from her times of living and working in the nation’s capitol. She kept Alfred and Pearl informed of her doings and they, or at least Pearl, wrote to her about what was going on at the Institute. 

At the end of April, Alfred finally found time to respond to a letter Mira had written to him in November 1940, in which she had summarized the ups and downs of their relationship from her point of view. Among other things she pointed out that his letters and other communications with her had come to take on “in their repetitious descriptions of your evaluation of me, a close resemblance to gramophone records.” 
For me, they are the antithesis of practicing what you preach in “S [&] S” pp. 328-9 – in being an extensionalized “impassive observer”, etc. It is our failure in being exemplars of Gen. Sem. that breaks my heart [and] disturbs me now. But one has only to read the life of a Galileo to learn what kind of citizen [and] husband some “geniuses” can be. (24)
In Alfred’s eight-page April 27, 1941 reply to Mira’s November letter, he still seemed full of anger. Mira had given her letter to Congdon (with permission for him to read it), instructing the psychiatrist to then deliver it to Alfred. Although Korzybski hadn’t hesitated about presenting his side of their dispute to Congdon, he seemed furious that Mira had sought to reveal her side of the story to him. Alfred considered this another of her ‘public’ broadcasts of their personal problems. Alfred went on to make a number of points about Mira’s misevaluating ways: for example, her inexact reference, “impassive observer”, which mixed the quoted passage’s mention of emotionally impassive with impartial observer. This constituted for him one more example of her ‘Albany-Buffalo’ disregard for facts, habitual map-territory confusions, etc. He may have been technically correct here, as he was perhaps about a lot of the behavior he complained about to her. Nonetheless, he comes across as doing the sort of petty picking he often found so distasteful in others. A great deal of his letter seems to exemplify what Mira had written about—his failure to apply his own work to himself and his relationship with Mira. To this observer, who at least aspires to impartiality, Mira was holding up a very accurate mirror to Alfred, as few if any others could do. 

By early May, Mira had gotten to New York City. She decided not to respond to the details of Alfred’s letter but simply reported to him on what she’d been doing. He wrote back with another copy of his letter asking her to respond in detail to its points. She replied that she didn’t want to continue contending with him. To her, a life like that was not worth living. She wanted more than anything to be of help to and at peace with him. If she couldn’t find a way to stay in Chicago to do that, then she would move to Washington, D.C., where the distance between them might make their unwanted estrangement more tolerable to her. She would be coming home shortly and they could discuss things then. 

While still in the East she went to see more old friends. On May 29, she wrote to Alfred from Cambridge where she was visiting the Huntingtons. She had experienced a revelation:
...Mrs. Huntington took me with her to exercise the dogs – on a farm on the top of Bellemount. We were reminiscing our relationship – from the first – the dinner Prof. H. gave you [at the end of 1923] – to demonstrate the anthropometer – to a chosen group. And of my coming “dancing in” with the anthropometer on my arm – playing with the strings of “our child” and Mrs. H. noticing the expression on your face. This is the first time in 21 years [I’ve had] that new angle of perspective – and if I had not found a new evaluation – I was going to arrange a plausible “accident.” As I saw it – the least of service I could be to you [and] your work was not to be a burden to you – by my existence. Whereas – the genuine service now – is to transform myself. (25)
This previously unknown and somewhat painful glimpse of herself, as Alfred must have seen her, struck her with a special force—perhaps because it came from a palpably kind and loving friend, her Coo-coon, as she called Mrs. Huntington. It helped her to realize—as she hadn’t before—that if she was going to have any success in getting along with Alfred, she would have to sublimate her tendencies toward pushing and dramatics that had helped her so much in obtaining her painting clientele and in working with them. (The pushing had also served as a major motivating force for Alfred in developing his work.) She wasn’t willing to assent to every one of Alfred’s complaints against her. He had some responsibility as well for the problems in their relationship. But she seemed even more willing now to make greater allowances for some of his points and more willing to bend (even if she considered him wrong) in order to make things work with him. She would find it a difficult balancing act. He could ‘be’ a stubborn “Donk”. 
Gift from Mira Edgerly Korzybska to Alfred Korzybski
Beyond that, she felt ready for a change. Her lack of formal education had bothered her for a long time before she met Alfred. Her years with him whet her appetite for learning. Living with Alfred had also given her a rather significant brush with many of the works he had studied. And she had studied everything he wrote. But the necessity of getting painting commissions had meant she usually had little time for sustained study on her own. Now she wanted to remedy what she considered her still significant lack of scientific and general knowledge and her ‘floppy thinker’. She yearned to read more deeply not only in mathematics and the sciences, but also in history, anthropology, psychiatry, literature, etc. The Huntingtons had seen that yearning. As going-away gifts they had given her copies of David Smith’s History of Mathematics and E.T. Bell’s Men of Mathematics. In the Bell book they wrote: “To Mira...who appreciates the exactitude of pure mathematics no less than the fundamentals of human relations.” The books became prized additions to her growing library. She would read them both, marking them carefully as she had learned to do from Alfred. Perhaps through her studies she could eventually become useful again to Alfred in his work, at least as another pair of eyes and ears able to bring his attention to some salient bit of knowledge from some book, article, or lecture he might otherwise not see or hear. 

With a renewed sense of purpose, she returned to Chicago in early June on another Trailways bus. She was still considering the possibility of either staying at the Institute or moving to Washington. In a somewhat blunt and negative-sounding letter that Alfred wrote to her on July 12, he quashed the idea of her staying at the Institute. If she wanted to go to Washington and hang around the parlors of the rotten rich, “masturbating salivary glands” with them, he wouldn’t stop her. That certainly wouldn’t have any appeal to her. 

But he had another suggestion, which did: 
...You could take a little one-room apartment somewhere close to the Institute and see me, say once a week, by appointment. You could even attend courses at the University where you would hear a lot of useless verbalism, read in the library and so on, provided you would not gossip about the Institute. (26)
Within a couple of months, she did exactly that. A small apartment across the street from the Institute became available in September. By the end of that month, she had moved in. By the end of the year, she had gotten a kitten, whom she called “Kitten-Kat”. She would reside in Apartment 7 at 5551 Kimbark Street, for the rest of her life, largely in pursuit of the learning that she hadn’t been able to get until then. Alfred would pay her rent and give her a monthly allowance with extra money for special expenses, books, courses, etc. He would say his main reason for continuing to work so hard was to support her education. 

"Mira's Heaven"  with Kitten-Kat 
drawing by Mira Edgerly Korzybska (27)

So at the end of the year, one important question for both Alfred and Mira seemed to have gotten answered—at least tentatively. Mira had gotten settled in a new home with a new purpose for herself and a fresh willingness to try to make her relationship with Alfred work. Her new situation seems to have provided some relief for Alfred as well. In his own way, he seemed to want to recover something positive from their relationship too. But resolution of their deeper problems would take quite a while longer. For one thing, Alfred wasn’t going to change the pace of his work. He therefore simply wouldn’t have much time to devote to normal domestic life. Mira would do what she could to adjust to that. To complicate things, he would continue for some time to remain hypercritical and distrustful of her. She would have to deal with that too. But at this point she seemed better able to stand up to him than ever before. In regard to their relationship, she also seemed more flexible than him. She loved him and wanted him to succeed. She hoped she could help him to soften some of his hard edges—for his sake as well as hers. 

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
23.MEK to AK, 2/28/1941. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 6. 

24. MEK to AK, 11/21/1940. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 6.

25. MEK to AK, 5/29/1941. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 6. 

26. AK to MEK, 7/12/1941. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 6. 

27. Drawing by MEK in 3/5/1942 letter to AK. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 6. 

< Part 3      Part 5 >

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chapter 53 - Question Marks: Part 3 - Question Marks

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

When would the book be published? Would Crane come through with some money? How to close the Institute money gap in the meantime? And how would the Congress go? With these question marks as background, Korzybski once again took to the road.

First, from May 29 to June 2, he gave an intensive seminar at Dr. Hedin’s Interstate Clinic in Red Wing, Minnesota. He had most of the Institute staff come along since an overwhelming amount of other time-dependent work, especially related to the Congress, continued to need at least some of his direct attention. Korzybski probably would have preferred not going at all. But the Hedins made the situation somewhat more appealing by moving out of their home, staying with the Andersons, so Korzybski and his staff could have their cook as well as the run of their place. Korzybski found the seminar group an interesting one to work with. It included not only the Hedins and physicians from his clinic (and their wives), but also John Anderson and his wife Eugenie, Eugenie’s sister Mary (who would marry Charles Biederman at year’s end), other physicians and educators, as well as Isadore Fankuchin, a pioneer x-ray crystallographer and explorer in what would become known as “molecular biology”. The psychologist Charlotte Buhler and her psychiatrist husband Karl also attended a number of sessions. On June 9, Alfred was still in Red Wing doing post-lecture interviews, and only got back to Chicago a little before the June 16 start of the next intensive seminar scheduled at the Institute. July provided a break from seminars but not from the intense pace of work as preparations revved-up for the Denver Congress on August 1 and 2. 

Kendig arrived in Denver and set up an office on campus about a week before Korzybski got there, a day or two before the Congress began. About 300 attended, including University of Denver students and pre-registered people from around the country. The Program started on Friday morning, August 1, with some opening introductions and short addresses by Korzybski and others. Korzybski also spoke from notes to the entire Congress group in two general sessions, with material taken from his still unpublished “Introduction”. He entitled his first talk, after dinner on Friday evening, “Non-aristotelian Methodology: Neuro-linguistic and Neuro-semantic Factors in a Disintegrating Culture”. On Saturday night after the closing banquet he gave another talk to the general group entitled “Non-aristotelian Orientation: Neuro-social Integration without Regimentation”. Some 70 authors, most of whom attended the Congress, presented around 90 papers during two very full days in four concurrent sessions on: Psychosomatic Problems, Medicine, and Psychotherapy; Education; Speech and Speech Arts; and Public Affairs. 

One notable Congress contributor, engineer and anthropologist Benjamin Lee Whorf, had just died on July 26 at the age of 44. Korzybski had recognized him (and to some extent his mentor Edward Sapir) as an important non-aristotelian formulator. Through studying the Mayan, Aztec, Hopi, and other Native American languages and cultures, Whorf had come to conclusions similar to Korzybski’s about the relations of language, perceptual processes, and other behavior. Whorf referred to his theoretical framework as “the point of view of linguistic relativity”.(14) Whorf’s invited paper, “Languages and Logic: Chemical Compound or Mechanical Mixture, a Sentence Hides within its Structure Laws of Thought Profoundly Important to the Advance of Science”, was read at the Congress and later printed in the Congress papers. Whorf appeared to not have had much exposure to Korzybski’s work except through unreliable secondary sources. Whorf expressed concern to an editor in 1940 about having his work confused “with things like the recent popular stultification of a similar subject by Mr. Stuart Chase...” Earlier in 1941 he had written in a letter that, “For the immediate future, probably the loose-thinking ‘semanticists’ à la Stuart Chase, will introduce many popular cliche’s and make [the] term ‘semantics’ a hissing and byword, so that it will cease to be used by serious scientists.”(15) Korzybski was coming to conclude that too. Whorf’s agreement to participate in the Congress indicated a willingness to make a more direct connection to Korzybski and his work despite his hesitancy about popularizers like Chase. In his paper, Whorf had referred to the “far off event” in linguistic science of “a new technology of language and thought.” Korzybski and his students were already demonstrating that such a technology was not so far off after all. Whorf’s early death at this pivotal point of connecting with Korzybski was a lost opportunity for the work of both men. 

Korzybski felt unwell in Denver’s high altitude but at least one of the questions hanging over him had been answered very nicely: he felt very good about the Congress, which even got national publicity in an article in the August 11 issue of Time Magazine(Regrettably, the Time article started with a by-this-time common mistake: “Last week 200 sworn enemies of Aristotelian logic gathered at the University of Denver...”) (16)
...The congress was a genuine success, the papers were mostly important and the attendance large. The great psychiatrist Dr. Adolf Meyer of Johns Hopkins attended the Congress, presented a paper and participated in many discussions of medical papers. At the opening of the Congress he introduced me at length in such a way that some of the audience were moved to tears. I admit that the Congress, and the unqualified warm approval of Meyer made this one of the happiest events of my life. (17)
Korzybski probably did not find out until later about the death on July 23 of his friend George E. Coghill, among biologists one of his strongest advocates. Coghill, already an honorary trustee of the Institute, had last written to Korzybski in April when he agreed to serve on the advisory committee of the Congress. 

Korzybski’s work would have figured prominently in Coghill’s uncompleted book, Principles of Development in Psycho-organismal Behavior, “designed to present a psychological and philosophical synthesis of his studies on organismic development and the significance of mentation in these vital processes.”(18) From remaining notes, Coghill’s friend and biographer, the neurologist C. Judson Herrick, paraphrased his views about “...the emergence of the specific human type of adjustment...by the process which Count Korzybski calls time-binding—the conscious blending of the past and future into the now of present experience.” 
As he [Korzybski] so passionately argues, this is the badge of our humanity. Our ability to forecast the future in terms of the past is the secret of our superiority over the brutes in control of the forces of nature, including social forces and, most important of all, the course of our own cultural development. (19) 
Korzybski and Kendig returned home from Denver and left almost immediately for an August 11 to 23 seminar at State College, Pennsylvania, during which Kendig assisted. Emmett Betts, the head of the Pennsylvania State College Reading Clinic, was sponsoring it and even offering it to students as a two-credit Graduate Education course under the title, “Psychology of Reading”. Ora Ray Bontrager, a professor of teacher training at the State Teachers College in California, Pennsylvania, and Director of the Reading Clinic there, helped organize the Penn State Seminar and also attended it—his third with Korzybski. Bontrager had not been able to attend the Denver Congress but had his paper “Re-education in Reading: A Report of Applications of General Semantics in Remedial Work in Reading” presented there. (It remains one of the best analyses of reading problems I’ve ever encountered.) Bontrager, trained in mathematics and psychology and a seasoned educator, had absorbed a great deal from Korzybski and was becoming a friend and ally.

Wisely, Korzybski had agreed to cancel another intensive at the Institute, scheduled to start August 26. Soon after returning home, however, he gave a presentation at the Unity of Science Conference at the University of Chicago in the first week of September. (He had written a complaint to Charles Morris, the Conference organizer, when he saw the preliminary program after coming back from Denver: it bothered him that he had been put in a little section on ‘Language’—and scheduled to speak last, besides. After some back and forth, Morris agreed to at least change the name of Alfred’s section to ‘Language and Personal-Social Orientation’. He also included Adolf Meyer on the program at Alfred’s request.) (20) A week later Alfred began teaching another intensive, with the lectures running from September 8 to 15 (the personal interviews as always extended the actual seminar work for Alfred beyond the final date). For several months, he had intermittently noted to Mira his ongoing sense of exhaustion. By the middle of September, he felt dead tired. 

The Second Edition of Science and Sanity (already printed in July) still hadn’t been issued.(21) Korzybski had held back the official publication date because of the unresolved business with Crane. In the acknowledgements at the end of the “Introduction”, he had wanted to add another paragraph expressing his gratitude for Crane’s initial interest in and financing of the Institute. With Crane’s obligations unfulfilled, Korzybski didn’t feel he could do that. However, sometime in September, he had to make a decision. He simply couldn’t wait any longer. On October 1, the Institute issued an addendum to its publication list announcing the availability for sale of the separately printed booklet of the “Introduction To The Second Edition” with “Supplementary Bibliography”. The notice also announced the availability of the Second Edition starting on November 1. Neither the booklet nor the limited number of books getting bound for the publication date would contain any acknowledgement to Crane. That bothered Korzybski (not just for sentimental reasons) and he was going to use this missing acknowledgement in a final October 28 appeal to Crane. 
...People know that you started to finance the Institute. Suddenly you stopped paying. People know that we are broke, and have been struggling along for two years. Naturally everybody asks the simple question, ‘What is wrong with the Institute or with Crane? I know of course what is ‘wrong’, but could not tell because you were my student...For historical reasons I have to give credit to you in my new edition for your interest and original financial help in starting the Institute. You and I have definite obligations toward the staff for our salaries. Besides, I have definite moral obligations toward the trustees and honorary trustees to carry on the work of the Institute. I feel my obligations very strongly. What I publish must adequately represent the facts of the situation and so depends on your clearing up your relationship with the Institute. In the most realistic way possible it is today a question of your name, Crane, against my name, Korzybski, and my reputation for fulfilling my obligations, which I did and am doing in spite of handicaps. Let us be clear on this subject: it is a question of your name or mine, and I can not damage my work to protect you...Something must be done about it very quickly, so please answer this letter promptly. (22)
Korzybski would have to wait a bit longer to see how this would work. 

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
14. Whorf, in Congress Papers, p. 44. 

15. Whorf qtd. in Penny Lee 1996, p. 16. 

16. “New Kind of Sense”. Time Magazine, 8/11/1941. 

17. AK to Cornelius Crane, 10/28/1941. IGS Archives. 

18. “Biographical Memoir of George Ellet Coghill” by C. Judson Herrick. National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoirs, Vol. XXII: (251-273) 1942, p. 252. 

19. Herrick 1949, p. 215. 

20. Pearl Johnecheck to Charlotte Schuchardt, 8/27/1941. ‘CS Private’ file, IGS Archives. 

21. AK to MEK 7/28/1941. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 6.349.

22. AK to Cornelius Crane, 10/28/1941. IGS Archives. 

< Part 2      Part 4 >

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Chapter 53 - Question Marks: Part 2 - A Congress and a Book

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

In her January 5 memo, Kendig also reported to Korzybski about a long phone conversation she had with Elwood Murray about a Congress on General Semantics they hoped to hold sometime that year at the University of Denver. As early as 1939, Kendig had thought about having a symposium in 1943 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the publication of Science and Sanity. But now it seemed that enough students had come through Korzybski’s seminars—and experienced personal results, made professional applications, and done sufficient research—to justify pushing up the time to the present. The publicity and interest engendered by a Congress on General Semantics might give a critical nudge to Crane and could also lead to new funding opportunities. 

But another more immediate push existed for holding such an event now—U.S. entry into the war seemed more likely than ever. If they were going to have it, they needed to get going without delay. Murray, who had infused the University of Denver Speech department with a strong korzybskian flavor, believed the University would support such an event and could cover the costs—including Kendig’s and Korzybski’s travel and other expenses—from the conference fees. Murray had initially wanted to limit papers to the field of education, but Kendig and Joe Brewer had convinced him to open the Congress to all fields from which they could possibly draw papers. During their phone conversation, Murray asked Kendig to provide names of possible presenters and a small number of invited speakers—besides Oliver Reiser, whom he wanted to have for an opening address on the broader cultural framework of Korzybski’s work. He also wanted Korzybski on the “advisory committee”. Kendig felt assured enough to give Murray the go-ahead over the phone without getting Korzybski’s permission first. Murray had gotten Kendig on the program of the Rocky Mountain Speech Conference in Denver from February 13-15. Once there she would stay an extra day to meet with him and solidify plans. In the meantime, Murray would put together a prospectus. (5) 

At their February meeting in Denver, the plans gelled. By the beginning of March, work had gotten underway on the Second American Congress on General Semantics, scheduled for August 1-2 under the auspices of the University of Denver. As the central theme of the Congress program they chose: “General Semantics and Methodological Foundations For Cultural Integration In Our Time”. Murray, the General Chairman of the Congress, would take care of the arrangements in Denver while Kendig, the General Secretary, would “secure the papers, organize and direct the program, etc.”(6) University of Denver Chancellor Caleb Gates, Jr. agreed to serve as Honorary President of the Congress. A slew of dignitaries (predominantly IGS Honorary Trustees) agreed to serve with Korzybski on the General Advisory Committee. A sponsoring committee from the University and the City of Denver, as well as program and organization committees were also formed. Writing in 1943, Kendig gave a sense of the flurry of activity required to bring it off:
...The decision to hold the Congress at the University of Denver in August, 1941, was not made until March first of that year. The announcement of the Congress and call for papers were sent out in April to some two thousand persons or institutions known to be interested in the subject. 
Citing these dates suggests the conditions under which the program was organized and the papers produced. For both the organizers and the contributors to the Congress, it was a race against time in the midst of world chaos, accelerating insecurity and disintegration of national morale. Our temerity in attempting to organize the Congress in four months, and those the busiest for the majority of the contributors (75 percent were in academic life), has been justified by developments. Had we aimed at an ‘ideal’ program ‘completely’ representative of those applying general semantics and doing allied work, had we taken a year to secure papers and arrange the program as common sense and the experience of others said we should, there could have been no Congress on General Semantics until after this war. By August, 1942, many of the contributors were in the armed forces, or otherwise engaged in war work, and travel conditions alone would have prevented the holding of a congress. (7) 
Korzybski probably felt glad that he didn’t have to do more than advise Murray and Kendig as they planned the Congress. He had enough else to keep him occupied. At the end of January, he started teaching an evening seminar, which ran until February 27. Beyond the immediate exigencies of teaching and the day-to-day business of the Institute, he also had to get out the Second Edition of Science and Sanity, to fulfill the large accumulation of back orders. Having just received the publisher’s proofs of the “Introduction to the Second Edition” in early February, he was editing and adding to it. (He would finish it in March although further correction of proofs would continue afterwards.) He was also working on the “Supplementary Bibliography of the Second Edition”, the new book jacket, and editing the proofs of the rest of the new front matter. A new page of the volumes in the International Non-Aristotelian Library listed one already published (Science and Sanity), those in preparation (including the upcoming Lee and Hayakawa books) and a revised list of the books whose authors would “be announced later”. Of the fifty-seven titles listed on that page only the three noted above ever got published. (Korzybski could be called naive but he believed in aiming high.) 

He also selected a new opening epigraph for the book in place of the ‘Fable of the Amoeba’ he had used in the First Edition. The new epigraph, placed after the dedication page, consisted of several related passages from Chapter II of Part III of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. They described Gulliver’s visit to the flying island of Laputa and his experience with some of its well-to-do but rather odd inhabitants. Although adept in mathematics and music, they indulged so ceaselessly in high-order abstractions and had so little practical sense that they had to hire individuals called “flappers” to remind them to pay attention to what was going on around them. (At least the residents of Laputa had sense enough to know they needed flappers.) (8) 
As with Swift, fierce indignation at human folly had long torn Korzybski’s heart. He probably couldn’t have chosen a better parable to illustrate the message of his book. Whether they recognized it or not, many if not most people (including mathematicians and scientists) seemed more or less in need of an extensional ‘flapper’ to bring them ‘down to earth’. Indeed, as he was finishing the “Introduction to the Second Edition”, the whole world seemed in need of flapping. With this Second Edition, Korzybski was taking another opportunity to flap people and, even more, to emphasize how they could flap themselves. 

In the “Introduction” he sought to cover not only the formulational refinements he had made since 1933, but also aspects of the original text of Science and Sanity he felt needed special emphasis. After the brief introductory section A. on “Recent developments and the founding of the Institute of General Semantics”, he devoted a lengthy Section B. to “Some difficulties to be surmounted” wherein he hoped to clarify some of the formulational blockages that seemed to prevent some people from understanding his work. 

This section concluded with part 5.“Methods of the Magician”. Korzybski had long had an interest in stage magic, employing simple tricks in his teaching to dramatically demonstrate mechanisms of misevaluation to his students. A brilliant young psychiatrist from California, Douglas McGlashan Kelley, who had attended Korzybski’s 1939 holiday intensive seminar, had stimulated his interest in magic still further. Korzybski would come to see Kelley as another of his most gifted students. As an undergraduate Kelley had already developed professional level skill as a stage magician. He had used magic as an adjunct to his psychiatric and educational work. In 1940, in the Journal of Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation, he published an article on “Conjuring as an Asset in Occupational Therapy”. Korzybski referred to it in part 5, while pointing out: “A scientific study of magic with its methods of psycho-logical deception is most revealing, as it shows the mechanisms by which we are continually and unknowingly being deceived in science and daily life.”(9) 

Korzybski would come to see the various forms of misdirection Kelley discussed as a good basis for understanding the psychology of deception the Germans and Japanese had been using so successfully in their war propaganda. And Kelley suggested in his Congress paper that: “At present the most efficient methods which we have of actively overcoming such misdirection are the principles involved in extensional evaluation and Korzybski’s non-aristotelian system.”(10) Korzybski very likely had read this by the time he completed the “Introduction”. In Section D, where he counterpoised “Old Aristotelian Orientations” to “Non-Aristotelian Orientations”, he had added “Methods of magic (self-deception)”, under the first and “Elimination of self-deception” under the second. He considered it important. In later teaching and writing he would often refer to Kelley’s work on magic and other writings of his as well.

The “Introduction to the Second Edition 1941” contains more material than I intend to elaborate here—much of it refinements Korzybski developed in papers published after 1933, which I’ve already covered. Perhaps the most important contribution of the “Introduction” consisted of the fact that Korzybski’s digest of the developments in his work would now be available alongside the original text of Science and Sanity. Those who took the time and effort to read carefully would be able to see the continuing evolution of his formulating. 

In some cases the innovations presented in the “Introduction” consisted of new packaging to clarify what he had already treated in the original text. The prime example of this consists of his discussion of the neuro-linguistic devices (indexes, dates, etc., quotes, and hyphens) that he had used throughout the book. Korzybski held that using them—along with slight hand motions when appropriate—modified the structure of people’s language and could help nudge their evaluating in an extensional direction. Based on the non-aristotelian principles he had elaborated, the devices provided a means of ‘self-flapping’. After 1933, he had explicitly written about the extensional devices in articles, but readers of the “Introduction” of this new edition could now find his filled-out treatment of them in one place in Science and Sanity. Since he hadn’t discussed them in one place in the original text as extensional devices, he considered this summary under one term a development of major significance in his work.(11) 

The “Introduction” also contained extensive discussion of the World War which the United States had not yet entered. Korzybski’s distress and anger about the continuing Japanese army assault against the Chinese and about the madness of Nazi German exterminationism, etc., appeared evident if restrained. The final sentence of the “Introduction to the Second Edition”—followed by his initials and the place and time-signature, “Chicago, March, 1941”—hints at his urgency: “A non-aristotelian re-orientation is inevitable; the only problem today is when, and at what cost.”(12) 

In addition to the new front matter, Kendig had suggested they include as back matter the scientific opinions he had obtained about the First Edition (previously printed as a promotional booklet in 1933). Science Press had to reformat this material which then needed further editing. He also was arranging to have the Front Matter, including the “Introduction” and “Supplementary Bibliography” of the Second Edition, printed as a sixty-page booklet, which the Institute would then be able to sell and distribute separately. Additionally, the Institute was obtaining and editing statements about professional applications from some of Alfred’s students to include in a thirty-two page promotional booklet, which would also contain selections of reviews of the First Edition. With all this to occupy Alfred and the Institute staff—besides the ongoing seminars and the Congress planning (soliciting and selecting papers, organizing the program, writing and editing the program pamphlet, etc.)—he could still write to Marian Van Tuyl, Douglas Campbell’s new wife, on April 6: “All the material for the second edition is already in the printer’s hands, and we expect the book out in two or three weeks.”(13) That was not going to happen. 

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
5. Kendig Memorandum to AK, 1/5/1941. IGS Archives. 

6. “Introduction”, Papers From The Second American Congress on General Semantics, p. xv. 

7. Ibid., pp. xv-xvi. 

8. See Swift, qtd. in Korzybski 1994 (1933, 1941), p. vi. 

9. Korzybski 1994 (1933, 1941), p. xlviii. 

10. Douglas M. Kelley, “Mechanisms of Magic and Self-Deception: The Psycho-logical Basis of Misdirection; An Extensional Non-Aristotelian Method for Prevention of Self-Deception” in Kendig, Papers From The Second American Congress On General Semantics, p. 59.

11. AK to Charlotte Schuchardt, Notes transcribed by C.S., 5/24/1949. IGS Archives. 

12. Korzybski 1994 (1933, 1941), p. lxxxi. 

13. AK to Mrs. Douglas Campbell, 4/6/1941. IGS Archives. 

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