Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Null A

"Null A" is a reference to Alfred Korzybski's useage in Science and Sanity and is short for "non-Aristotelean." I have been fascinated by this concept for many years. I read Science and Sanity in the 80's, and went on to study the works of S.I. Hayakawa who elaboroated on many of the ideas put forth by Korzybski.

The term was also used by science fiction writer A.E. Van Vogt in his trilogy consisting of "The World of Null-A" "The Players of Null-A" and (I can't remember the third--"Null-A: Revisited?"--the third was forgettable.) Gilbert Gosseyn, the main character, is confronted with advancement up the "non-Aristotelean" ladder, and eventually takes him to the "new-world" on Venus, where non-Aristotelean thought reigns supreme.

Korzybski, along with Dr. Douglas Gordon Campbell and Dr. Charles B. Congdon, psychiatrists at the Student Health Service of the University of Chicago, incorporated the Institute of General Semantics in Chicago in 1938. After I moved to Ellensburg in 1989, I did some research in the University library here and found out that in 1935 the First Annual Congress on General Semantics was held in Ellensburg, WA. at the Washington Normal School (now Central Washington University.) All the notes and papers are available there.


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