Thursday, March 24, 2005

What Do You Mean What Do I Mean?: Join IGS!

As a member of the Institute of General Semantics (IGS), formerly the International Society for General Semantics, for the past 15 years, I have had the great pleasure of receiving an excellent education on the communicator's ultimate vocabulary. I speak not about the denotative or even connotative meanings of words. We have dictionaries and thesauri for the former, and pop psychologists, spin doctors, and talk show hosts for the latter. Instead I refer to the meanings we assign to language and the things they represent based on the boundaries of our experiences, emotions, relationships, and reactions to the moments in which encounter them.

Sounds complicated? Think twice. IGS possesses a seven-decade history of clarifying the abstractions in our daily interactions--abstractions that lead to conflicts with others as well as well as ourselves. It's not only what we say or even how we say it, but why, when, where, and to whom we say it in contexts which are forever changing and virtually impossible to define with the limited, static terms available to us.

To learn more about the remarkably useful discipline of general semantics, go the IGS website (, and browse its Learning Center, Library, or Bookstore for more information. You can easily become a member for the reasonable annual rate of $40, which includes the Institute's eclectic quarterly journal ETC: A Review of General Semantics; the quaterly newsletter Time-Bindings; the annual compendium publication The General Semantics Bulletin; a 20% discount on books, other merchandise; and gift memberships, and discounts on lectures, seminars, and other programs. Becoming a member would be a great step in a an endless voyage of learning.