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You have just experienced your first practical exercise in general semantics.  As you will hopefully come to understand, all of these are partially correct, and all of these are necessarily incomplete.  One of the things that the study of general semantics teaches us is that there is always more to know, always more to be said. (More on this later.)

However, a relatively simple (and as you will come to see, grossly incomplete) answer to the original question follows:

General semantics is a system of formulations, ideas, and practical tools which help us to better understand and evaluate the world around us by understanding how the words and ideas we use shape our perception of and therefore our actions in and reactions to the world around us.  It encourages us to examine how we perceive things, how we label and categorize them verbally, and how our word-maps then proceed to govern how we live and experience.  Further, it gives us tools for better understanding and interacting with the rest of the world and hopefully living happier and more fulfilling lives as a result.
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