RE: New Ways of Thinking

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 00:51:19 MDT

J. R. Molloy wrote

> "What is the advantage of direct experience of reality?", Lee Corbin has asked.
> To me this question looks frustratingly contrarian, because it's like someone
> in a prison cell asking what is the advantage of looking out a window. It's
> even more frustrating as I need to use words to try to seduce your attention
> away from words in order to try the simple (but nevertheless arduous)
> experiment of going beyond words, to catch a glimpse of the universe
> ineffably abiding beyond symbology, semantics, semiotics... words.

This, again, is something that Korzybski talked about frequently. He
would set up elaborate seminars in which students would try to come
to understand different "levels of abstraction". His favorite exercise
was to have a student grasp a pencil and hold it close to his or
her sense organs, and avoid using any words---even internally---to
characterize the experience. Just turn the pencil around and around,
and savor---I suppose---the raw sensual experience. His point was
"you cannot *say* what the pencil is", and, of course, "the map is
not the territory".

Okay, so this is old hat, at least to me. Yes, there is a universe
outside of our skins "beyond symbology, semantics, semiotics... words",
just as you say.

> This is not a new way of thinking, it's the way humans can experience
> existence beyond thinking, and it changes forever the way one looks at life.
> It is good to look at a flower scientifically. A more complete view of reality
> includes the remembrance that one is looking at a flower scientifically.

Well, it never changed forever the way that I look at life; I grant the
value of this exercise for people who don't understand the process of
abstracting, but this applies to very few adults these days IMO.


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