[OPE-L] Alfred Korzybski on the semantics of dog food

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Apr 24 2006 - 17:16:31 EDT

One day, [Alfred] Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and
he suddenly interrupted the lesson in order to retrieve a packet of
biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he
just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the
front row, if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit.
"Nice biscuit, don't you think", said Korzybski, while he took a second one.
The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the
biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture
of a dog's head and the words "Dog Cookies". The students looked at the
package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to throw up, put their hands
in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet.
"You see, ladies and gentlemen", Korzybski remarked, "I have just
demonstrated that people don't just eat food, but also words, and that the
taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter." Apparently
his prank aimed to illustrate how human suffering originates from the
confusion or conflation of linguistic representations of reality, and
reality itself. (Translated from: R. Diekstra, Haarlemmer Dagblad, 1993, as
cited by L. Derks & J. Hollander, Essenties van NLP (Utrecht: Servire,
1996), p. 58).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korzybski (this article also cites
Chomsky's criticism of Korzybski)


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