General Semantics Advanced Thinking
A System-Discipline Concerned with the Sanity of the Race & the Individual
Expanding Our Horizons Through Conscious Time-binding
Posted: 04.15.2014 | Categories: General Semantics

“As our field of vision, so too the scope of our knowledge, and the range of our interests are bounded.” “…what lies beyond one’s horizon is simply outside the range of one’s knowledge and interests”: one neither knows nor cares. But what lies within one’s horizon is in some measure, great or small, an object of interest and of knowledge. Horizons then are the sweep of our interests and of our knowledge; they are the fertile source of further knowledge and care; but they are also the boundaries that limit our capacities for assimilating more than we already have attained.” (Lonergan’s “Method In Theology”, page 236-237) There are close relationships between Lonergan’s insights, and Korzybski’s general semantics principles, in terms of ways to expand our horizons: Lonergan emphasized the importance of reaching “successive higher viewpoints” through intelligent inquiry and critical reflection”. (Insight page 394); and Korzybski, “higher order abstractions”, through practicing “consciousness of abstracting”, and “conscious time-binding”–remembering we have not included all in our sensing, thinking, evaluations, understandings, imaginings, feelings, etc. (Science And Sanity, page 416) (For more: Read the article “Lonergan and Korzybski” at )

We expand our horizons when through “conscious time-binding” (Read more on c.t.b. at ) we seek to improve the ways we sense-think-feel-imagine-interpret-understand, etc.; by studying Lonergan’s cognitional theory (See “Insight. A Study of Human Understanding”, and Korzybski’s “General Semantics”) outlined in his books “Science And Sanity”, and “Manhood of Humanity”. We expand our horizons through being aware of the meanings and values we give to the ‘symbolic’ re- presentations of our own thoughts, experiences, dreams, visions, ideas, ideals, and those of others. We expand our horizons when we are not content with quick, easy answers, but in being constantly curious—consciously seeking to learn more; in not being shy to ask how; in consciously using our disappointments, ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ as great opportunities for learning how ourselves, others, and the world work. We expand our horizons when we consider the bigger picture and longer cycle; when we consciously compliment our ‘commonsense practicalities’ (satisfying the needs of everyday living) with theoretical and value concerns. We expand our horizons when we become aware of our individual biases, and see and understand ourselves, others, and the world we live in, from ever broader perspectives; when we seek to acquire advanced thinking tools to help us avoid ‘dis-stressing ourselves’ through our mis-understandings (I call this “self-harassment”); and when we work at taking care of ourselves physically, spiritually, and psychologically. We expand our horizons, when we work at living healthier lives; and when we work at creating more satisfying relationships. We expand our horizons when we follow the methods and approach of “science and mathematics” as “models of clear thinking”; and through being mindful—attentive to goings on in and around us—looking, listening, thinking, wondering, imagining, theorizing…We expand our horizons through our time-binding ability to learn from what we call ‘“the past’”—so we can create better ‘futures’. We might find it worthwhile to consider this: ‘History’, ‘the past’, doesn’t stop at the end of books or the stories we tell: ‘The past’, is not all gone!–It has become ‘the present’. It has been, and is active in individuals and cultures, memories, tribalism, beliefs, music, works of art, architecture, science, mathematics, institutions, books, laws, policies, and especially “language”. ‘The past’ is not all gone!–It has become ‘the present’–And will become our ‘futures’: ‘Futures’ we are creating now.

To expand our horizons, Korzybski emphasized how important it is for us: to recognize and appreciate differences between verbal and non-verbal (silent) levels of consciousness. He invites us to recognize and value difference between “What is going on–what appears to be going on, and what we imagine, think, believe, or say, is going on.” He invites us (for our own good) not to confuse, but distinguish between the person, the ‘group’, thing, object, situation, etc., and what we think, believe or ‘say’ about them. He invites us to remember that “The word is not the thing labeled”: For instance the word “big” does not indicate to us “How big”. The word “understand” does not indicate “How much”; see the way we label others, and the judgments we make, as a measure of our ignorance, and so on.) He asks us to distinguish between (not make more important, or give more value), to what we say, assume, imagine, believe, etc., about a person, thing, object, situation, etc., than the actual person, thing, situation, etc. He also emphasized the importance for clear thinking and more satisfying relationships, that we recognize that “The map is not the territory it is a map of ”: What we see, (visual map) is not all that’s there to be seen; what we see, hear, know, etc.., does not cover all that could be seen or heard, and so on: Scientists using special tools and equipments ‘see’ structures and ‘hear’ beyond what is directly visible or audible…and so make more accurately representative ‘maps’. What we sense is not all that’s there: (Think of dogs picking up a scent after several days.) We do not understand all about anything or anyone—including ourselves…and so on. There are complementary relationships between our meanings, beliefs, values, behaviors, and the range of our horizons: And so, as our horizons expand, so do the meanings we give, the beliefs and values we hold, the ways we relate with others, and the ways we behave.” “For healthier less stressful living, and more satisfying relationships through higher levels of understanding; to improve our intelligences; to make better plans and decisions; better avoid and better manage conflicts and disagreements, etc.: It suits us to study, and learn, from Korzybski, Lonergan, and ourselves, ways to appropriate our rational self-consciousness through seeking higher viewpoints. If we want to nourish our spirits and enjoy more satisfying relationships, we don’t have to go to a gym: No matter what time, wherever we find ourselves, whatever we happen to be doing, we can “practice conscious abstracting, conscious time-binding and consciousness of abstracting” and expand our horizons towards saner, more intelligent, less violent, more rewarding ways of being in the world.

1. Lonergan, Bernard, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, London, Longmans,
Green & Co.Ltd. (1957)
2. Lonergan, Bernard, Method in Theology, The Seabury Press, 815 Second Avenue,
New York, N.Y. 10017 (1979)
3. Korzybski, Alfred, Science and Sanity (1933), Forth Worth, TX, Institute of
General Semantics (1994)
4. Korzbski, Alfred, Manhood of Humanity, The International Non-Aristotelian
Library Publishing Company, Institute of General Semantics, Distributors,
Lakeville, Connecticut .
5. For elaborations on general semantics principles and applications, see articles at

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