Alfred Korzybski Quotes

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All quotes by Alfred Korzybski: Belief Faith Identity Self Esteem more...
  • It seems evident that everything which exists in nature, is natural, no matter how simple or complicated a phenomenon it is; and on no occasion can the so-called 'supernatural' be anything else than a completely natural law, though it may, at the moment, be above and beyond the present understanding.

  • Identity is invariably false to facts.

  • Let us repeat the two crucial negative premises as established firmly by all human experience: (1) Words are not the things we are speaking about; and (2) There is no such thing as an object in absolute isolation.

  • A person does what he does because he sees the world as he sees it.

  • Whatever you say about something, it is not.

  • Man's achievements rest upon the use of symbols.... we must consider ourselves as a symbolic, semantic class of life, and those who rule the symbols, rule us.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.76, Institute of GS
  • The map is not the territory.

    Science and Sanity (1933).
  • Any object of thought is both 'more than what we think, and different'.

  • Whatever you may say something is, it is not!

  • What we call progress consists in coordinating ideas with realities.

    Alfred Korzybski (1974). “Manhood of humanity”, p.28, Рипол Классик
  • The map is not the territory... The only usefulness of a map depends on similarity of structure between the empirical world and the map.

    Maps   Territory  
    "Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics". Book by Alfred Korzybski, 1933.
  • To regard human beings as tools - as instruments - for the use of other human beings is not only unscientific but it is repugnant, stupid and short sighted. Tools are made by man but have not the autonomy of their maker - they have not man's time-binding capacity for initiation, for self-direction, and self-improvement.

    Alfred Korzybski (1974). “Manhood of humanity”, p.133, Рипол Классик
  • Thus, we see that one of the obvious origins of human disagreement lies in the use of noises for words.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.82, Institute of GS
  • One would have to say "in the end everything is a gag, etc" because everything is infinitely more than just a gag. The same applies to other "is"-statements such as "Laughter is an instant vacation"

  • He who learns and learns and yet does not know what he knows, is one who plows and plows yet never sows.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.58, Institute of GS
  • I want to make clear only that words are not the things spoken about, and that there is no such thing as an object in absolute isolation.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.50, Institute of GS
  • Riches I need not, nor man's empty praise.

  • The objective level is not words, and cannot be reached by words alone. We must point our finger and be silent, or we will never reach this level.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.399, Institute of GS
  • Every language having a structure, by the very nature of language, reflects in its own structure that of the world as assumed by those who evolved the language. In other words, we read unconsciously into the world the structure of the language we use.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.60, Institute of GS
  • If a psychiatric and scientific inquiry were to be made upon our rulers, mankind would be appalled at the disclosures.

  • Whatever you might say the object "is", well it is not.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.35, Institute of GS
  • Who rules our symbols, rules us.

  • I am the same kind of moron as the rest of you, it's the method that does the work, for me as well as for you.

  • It is amusing to discover, in the twentieth century, that the quarrels between two lovers, two mathematicians, two nations, two economic systems, usually assumed insoluble in a finite period should exhibit one mechanism, the semantic mechanism of identification - the discovery of which makes universal agreement possible, in mathematics and in life.

  • God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't.

  • As words are not the things we speak about, and structure is the only link between them, structure becomes the only content of knowledge. If we gamble on verbal structures that have no observable empirical structures, such gambling can never give us any structural information about the world. Therefore such verbal structures are structurally obsolete, and if we believe in them, they induce delusions or other semantic disturbances.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.697, Institute of GS
  • Psycho-galvonic experiments show clearly that every emotion or thought is always connected with some electrical current.

  • Identification makes general sanity and complete adjustment impossible. Training in non-identity plays a therapeutic role with adults.

    Alfred Korzybski (1958). “Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics”, p.91, Institute of GS
  • Second order effects, such as belief in belief, makes fanaticism.

    Faith  
  • The map is not the territory, the word is not the thing it describes. Whenever the map is confused with the territory, a 'semantic disturbance' is set up in the organism. The disturbance continues until the limitation of the map is recognized.

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    Alfred Korzybski quotes about: Belief Faith Identity Self Esteem