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” -www.general-semantics.org
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
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
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.” --www.general-semantics.org