Alfred Korzybski Quotes | Quotes by Alfred Korzybski

1Mathematics and logic have been proved to be one; a fact from which it seems to follow that mathematics may successfully deal with non-quantitative problems in a much broader sense than was suspected to be possible.

2The present non-aristotelian system is based on fundamental negative premises; namely, the complete denial of 'identity.'

3I think therefore I seem to be.

4Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.

5One 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"

6Whatever you may say something is, it is not!

7Riches I need not, nor man's empty praise.

8He who learns and learns and yet does not know what he knows, is one who plows and plows yet never sows.

9It is now no mystery that some quite influential 'philosophers' were 'mentally' ill.

10Identification makes general sanity and complete adjustment impossible. Training in non-identity plays a therapeutic role with adults.

Alfred Korzybski Quotes

11Any object of thought is both 'more than what we think, and different'.

12It is a fallacy of the old schools to divide man into parcels, elements, thoughts, emotions, intuitions, etc. All human faculties consist of an interconnected whole.

13Whatever you say it is, is simply what YOU SAY it is.

14Thus, we see that one of the obvious origins of human disagreement lies in the use of noises for words.

15These 'philosophers', etc., seem unaware, to give a specific example, that by teaching and preaching 'identity', which is empirically non-existent in this actual world, they are neurologically training future generations in the pathological identifications found in the 'mentally' ill or maladjusted.

16The 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.

17I 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.

18Man'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.

19Different 鈥榩hilosophies鈥?represent nothing but methods of evaluation, which may lead to empirical mis-evaluation if science and empirical facts are disregarded.

20We see what we see because we miss all the finer details.

Alfred Korzybski Quotes

21I 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.

22What we call progress consists in coordinating ideas with realities.

23If all people learned to think in the non Aristotelian manner of quantum mechanics, the world would change so radically that most of what we call "stupidity" and even a great deal of what we consider "insanity" might disappear, and the "intractable" problems of war, poverty and injustice would suddenly seem a great deal closer to solution.

24Whatever you say about something, it is not.

25A person does what he does because he sees the world as he sees it.

26The map is not the territory.

27Whatever you might say the object "is", well it is not.

28Every 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.

29If we, who live outside asylums, act as if we lived in a fictitious world- that is to say, if we are consistent with our beliefs- we cannot adjust ourselves to actual conditions, and so fall into many avoidable semantic difficulties. But the so-called normal person practically never abides by his beliefs, and when his beliefs are building for him a fictitious world, he saves his neck by not abiding by them. A so-called "insane" person acts upon his beliefs, and so cannot adjust himself to a world which is quite different from his fancy.

30Who rules our symbols, rules us.

Alfred Korzybski Quotes

31Identity is invariably false to facts.

32God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't.

33There are two ways to slice easily thorugh life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.

34If a psychiatric and scientific inquiry were to be made upon our rulers, mankind would be appalled at the disclosures.

35To use words to sense reality is like going with a lamp to search for darkness.

36Second order effects, such as belief in belief, makes fanaticism.

37It 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.

38The 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.

39As 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.

40If words are not things, or maps are not the actual territory, then, obviously, the only possible link between the objective world and the linguistic world is found in structure, and structure alone.

Alfred Korzybski Quotes

41To 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.

42The map is not the territory... The only usefulness of a map depends on similarity of structure between the empirical world and the map.

43Let 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.

44Psycho-galvonic experiments show clearly that every emotion or thought is always connected with some electrical current.

45Words don't mean, people mean.

46It 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.