Thursday, February 24, 2005

I'm giving up on Korzybski. The basic linguistic ideas behind General Semantics are very interesting, and I think there's a lot to the idea that our view of reality determines the foundations of how we talk about it, and that our view changes at a faster rate than the structure of the language (especially in the last 150 years or so). I also agree that this disparity can lead to some forms of mental (or at least existential) illness. However, the science in Science and Sanity is outdated and just plain wrong in some spots. Chapter X is about "Colloidal Behaviour" in organisms. Besides the chapter being centered around the outdated concept of protoplasm, Korzybski includes a passage that says different body types indicate different types of colloidal behaviour in the organism, and in turn a different type of mental ability. This was a little too close to phrenology for my tastes.

(By the way, I love that the first question on that site is "What was phrenology?". If only it was completely dead.)

Meanwhile, I've started Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain. Sixty pages in and I'm finding it very slow going so far. If I hadn't enjoyed the Mars trilogy and the Years of Salt and Rice, I'm not sure I'd still be reading at this point.
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