The Map is not the Territory

Structural Differential — Alfred Korzybski.

 

Podcast

#278: Tim O’Reilly – The Trend Spotter The Tim Ferriss Show podcast

Transcript

Tim O’Reilly: Let me go back to George Simon because a lot of what he taught was a kind of mental discipline that was rooted in a model of how consciousness happens. It was framed somewhat in the language of Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics. Korzybski drew this wonderful diagram – it was actually a tool he used to train people – that he called the structural differential.

Korzybski’s fundamental idea was that people are stuck in language, but language is about something. And so, he represented what he called the process of abstraction so that people could ask themselves, “Where am I in that process?” So, the first part of the structural differential was a parabola, and the reason why it was a parabola is because reality is infinite, but we can’t take in all of reality.

And so, hanging from the parabola was a circle, and the circle was our experience, which is our first abstraction from reality. And then, hanging from the circle are a bunch of label-shaped tags – multiple strings of them – and these are the words that we use to describe our experience.

Korzybski’s training was for people to recognize when they were in the words, when they were in the experience, and when they were open to the reality. George mixed that in with this work of Sri Aurobindo, who was an Indian sage, and had come up with a model that integrated a spiritual view of this, and a practice which was just listening and being open to the unknown.

Whole Earth Catalogue—50 years!

Apollo 8 photo, Stewart Brand’s ability to tune in.

 

Yes it was a turning point for our sense of “space ship earth” as Buckminster Fuller called our dot in space. Bucky was heavily featured in the catalogue.

It was a turning point for me, I turned 24 that year and was ready to soak up this new ethos.  

Environment 

Our Bodies, Ourselves 

Communal living 

I have the WEC to thank for the creation of Chippenham.

And I got the inspiration for Four Avenues School from the catalogue.

2018

Now a closer look!

See the subtitle.

Access to tools. 

That was inspired but sadly twisted.  What if there had been no McCarthy era?  What is marxism had not been brutally suppressed.  What if marxism had not been confused with the bastardisation of Stalinism? What if Timothy Leary had advocated to tune in and organise!

Access to tools would have had the same meaning as ownership of the means of production.

We would not be accessing shovels and pumps and video cameras.  The real tools are the technical and social processes that create things. The tools that make the tools.

So Stuart was onto something, but it was a strange mixture of hope and despair as the ethos of individualism and personal solutions predominated even as the earth was envisioned whole.  It was not the guide to saving the planet that it might have been.

The wisdom on the inside cover: We are as gods and might as well get good at it. So grand in its vision! So sad to think of us trying to grow veggies in our back yard as a revolutionary act.

Imagine if the ethos of love and care that was lavished onto the beauty of chisels and rolling pins was turned to re-imagining the globalising means of production.  That too is a wondrous but twisted creation. Imagine if we could collaborate for our social product to be for the people and not for profit. Imagine if distribution of the product of those tools was equal. Imagine if the state, was also re-imagined as the servant of the people instead of the servant of the rich.

Lets visualise the tools on the planet… all those processes, manufacturing and media, design, health, education, distribution.  Yes it would be great if we had true access!

Access to tools!

 

Listen to the Marriage: A Novel – by John Jay Osborn

Amazon

I love this book!  ★  ★  ★  ★  ★

Probably because I’m possessed by all things couple therapy.  Though because of that i’d hate it if it was terrible therapy.  Most of the therapy in movies is bad.  Books are not much better. This one surprises!

I love the bit where a client is about to walk out, and the therapist says “Sit down!”.  Sounds terrible, but it’s perfectly timed, authentic, edgy for the therapist, and good for the client as it turns out.

I’m still puzzling how a law professor could write a book with such grasp on the art of therapy.

Get this book if you are interested in relationships!

Later: Sunday, 11 November 2018


Go to the podcast.

A wonderful interview with John Jay Osborn.

The link is to Pocket casts – a great app for iPhone – but I’m sure you can find other ways to listen to it.

A remarkable book and writer! And a good interviewer.