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Why Do We Study General Semantics?

“General semantics teaches that life issues become clearer and more manageable as we  move toward a better understanding of the background assumptions we bring to a situation, a willingness and an ability to make accurate observations, a willingness to continuously test, examine, evaluate, and change our assumptions and behavior based on our observations.  GS provides information, methods, structure, and practical devices to assist us with the above goals”

           Some Formulations of General Semantics — necessarily broad and incomplete

                “We live in a world of constant change and uncertainty. Our experience, knowledge and understanding have limits. Our lives blend different and sometimes conflicting relationships. Bringing this into awareness is a step toward healthier living. When we interact with an object, a person, or a situation, we form images and create symbols. Initially these occur within ourselves and our nervous systems. Our brains form these images and symbols by modeling (mapping) the outside world and in the process filters out most information. The selected information therefore represents an abstract of the interaction.  Different people select (abstract) information differently — draw different maps of a territory. Awareness of this abstracting process provides a key to developing our potential as humans.
                The symbols we form, the words we use are not the object/situation in all its infinite characteristics.  Many of our personal misunderstandings arise when we act as if we have all the information about anything or anyone.
                No two objects or situations are identical, but, for convenience, we may classify them. Treating them as if they were the same — ignoring their differences — can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and even tragedies.
                We often confuse our symbols and maps with what they represent. We benefit by remembering that the map is not the territory, the word is not the thing. We have created these symbols.
                We act self-reflexively; we react to our reactions. This gives us opportunities to improve what we believe, see and do.”
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