IGS Discussion Forums: In the News: Does this story document space-binding?
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, July 31, 2006 - 09:28 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben wrote I wonder if [Korzybski] would say these people are behaving like animals rather than like humans.

Energy-binding: Transforming energy into a stored form that can be used later. Plants do it.

Space-binding: Controlling an area of territory so as to benefit from the energy binders in that area directly (herbivores) or indirectly (predators). The hallmark of space binding is territoriality and competition for territory.

Time-binding: Using memory of events to extrapolate, anticipate, and plan over time so as to more effectively compete for space and, therefore, benefit from the energy-binders and space-binders under temporal management.

Space-binders and Time-binders do not convert energy into storeable forms; only plants and a few minor protozoans with symbiotic algae do. All space-binders and time-binders are energy consumers.

Space-binders - mobile life - consume energy-binders directly and indirectly by consuming other space-binders. They are called space-binders because their primary activity is controlling an area of space - territory - specifically to maintain access to a sufficient supply of energy for survival and reproduction.

As the ecology is multi-level, space-binders access sufficient territory by roaming, such as herds of grazers, or by establishing a territory and excluding other members of the same species - competition.

Humans have learned to supplement their direct personal energy consumption with the finding and consumption of repositories of stored energy to use for other purposes (heating and lighting, transportation, weapons, building and construction, and more recently, information processing).

Access to sufficient resources is accomplished by competition directly for territory, as well as indirectly for territory by competing directly for status in a social hierarchy. More status grants more access to territory and to energy sources.

Time-binding requires the use of memory and language to keep track of events and patterns so as to plan to respond to opportunities to obtain energy sources. This happens within individual experiences as well as through passing of information (memories) using language to subsequent generations. In involves building a store of shared information that each new generation can learn and respond to. The use of this information is ultimately in support of how to obtain, control, and manage, including through time, sources of energy - again, in the support of survival and reproduction, and in giving the kids a better chance of continued prosperity - in short, competing with other humans for a bigger share of the resources.

We are better at competition and the control of resources because we use knowledge of time and events to plan when and how to effectively respond to changing energy conditions. (Our present status of global warming not withstanding.) We do not, by nature, co-operate to share resources "evenly"; by nature, we compete for the best that each of us can grasp. We apply for the best schools, and accept the highest that will accept us - within our funding limits. We compete for jobs. We compete for our food. Companies compete for our business. All manner of device is employed to get us as a customer while trying to keep from lowering prices too much below the other supplier.

The Soviet Union tried, in principle, for non-competitive sharing of resources, although "corruption" significantly reduced the actual achievement. After 70 years, the entire system collapsed - failed - because it was contrary to our human nature, with is to compete - all the better through the use of time-binding.

Let's get RID of the MYTH being propagated within general semantics that space-binding is animalistic behavior to be avoided. "Space-binding" and the competition involved is the natural mechanism by which the stronger survive and reproduce so that the species survives and improves. We did not get to where we are now by moving away from our space-binding capabilities. On the contrary, our time-binding capabilities made our space-binding capabilities so advanced that we became the dominate species on the planet; we evolved to the point that we command the potential of our own destruction.

The question was I wonder if [Korzybski] would say these people are behaving like animals rather than like humans.

"Rather than" implies a category perspective in which the subject fits in one "rather than" the other. Space-binding and time-binding are NOT categories. We cannot contrast two dimensions as if they were "categories". Space-binding and time-binding are independent dimensions, and time-binding greatly enhances space-binding.

Competition for territory is our basic nature - necessary for survival and reproduction, and it is necessary for survival at the level of groups such as states, countries, etc. Without resources, survival will fail. Time-binding simply makes the process much more complex. So lets not say that space-binding activities somehow "reduce" humans to "animals". Behaving like humans INCLUDES being better at competing - better at space-binding - through the use of time-binding, than any animal species could ever hope to achieve.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 11:51 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Plants convert solar energy into a stored form. They "bind energy" for later use. Some energy is consumed on the spot. Animals and humans do not "bind energy". They merely consume the energy already bound by plants. They can store some energy in the form of fat when they consume too much, but they do not do what plants do.

In the broad dimensional distinction, plants bind energy into a usable and storable form. We have no photosynthetic capabilities. We can eat plant and store fat. We can manipulate stored energy, by growing fat or thin, but we cannot "create" stored forms from raw non-organic energy. We don't actually "bind" the energy for our consumption. Plants bind the energy in excess of their own needs.

Humans also go out and find already bound energy (coal, oil, and nuclear energy) and consume the stored form by releasing the energy for their own use.

A tool left lying on the ground cannot be known and used without either knowledge gained from memory or communication, or by re-inventing the tool use. Re-inventing is NOT time-binding, but getting the knowledge through the memory of language or observation is rudimentary time-binding.

You confuse the portion of the explanation of time binding that brings in what it enables and the basic activities of living with the portion that says what it is. There are two part. What it "is" and the context of its use. What "is" is the ability to plan and manage all activities using memory and language. Without memory there can be no time-binding. Without communication there can be no time-binding. Both the speaker and the listener must be able to remember what to say and what to do with what is heard in order to plan and execute. Memory is what allows time-binding to work, because it carries information through time. Language is the mechanism for communicating between members who time-bind.

The context of time-binding is the basic business of life, and that is surviving and reproducing. In order to do that, we must eat, rest, void, avoid predators, beat rivals, reproduce, teach the young (time-bind), and die. And all these activities, save dying, involve competition for resources. To speak of time-binding without remembering the context in which it takes place is to think elementalistically. Time-binding does not exist independently of the business of survival.

People with low self-esteem compete for strokes.

Competition is ubiquitous in our society. As I noted earlier, it's a MYTH promulgated by blind belief within general semantics that "cooperation" is human and "competition" is animalistic. We "co-operate" in order to compete at more abstract levels. Without language competition reduces to pushing and grabbing. We cooperate to learn language, but then we use the language to compete in more complex ways, directly, and over time.

As for an "improv group" I suggest some reading on group dynamics. Will Schutz: "The Elements of Encounter", and "Joy: Expanding Human Awareness". Another area to add a more detailed map of the underlying process is in organization dynamics. The group goes through three stages: Inclusion, Control, and Affection. Control issues involve competition. And as far as your example goes, the issue of competition comes down to "who's in charge" and the competition for support and strength to change the control structure of the group.

You cannot infer the "basic nature" of humans from so simple an example as a behavior in a particular group. The "basic nature", as much as you might like to deny it, is determined by survival, but time-binding ads the social layer with much learning and conditioning. Even a cursory look at human behavior shows competition at all levels and in virtually every activity, often explicit, often covert or underlying the apparent cooperation. The market place, the ratings, reviews, advertisement, who gets the lead role, etc., etc., etc.

Scientists compete for funds, compete for recognition, compete to produce the first new way of seeing something, compete for peer approval, compete, compete, compete... In academia, Publish or perish. All of this is competition for status, and the more status, the more access and control of resources, which ultimately means a larger share of the space-binding resources available. The growth of knowledge is a byproduct of competition. That we control the system is a myth; it controls our every daily activity. We respond and react on a daily basis. As I noted before, the Soviet Union under Communism created a centrally planned economy and social order. It failed after 70 years. People fought to get out from under this system at all levels. Corruption in the form of greed and competition ran rampart throughout the system. Human nature - competition for resources - resulted in the system collapse, because every little official instituted his or her own corrupt method of taking some resources out of the system for personal gain. Every Russian knows that one brings a gift to even the smallest official to get his or her job done at all, even though the system is planned and designed for all to cooperate by doing their job. It does not happen. Corruption - catering to human greed is most often considered a normal cost of doing business in foreign countries. It's all based on greed - competition for resources - "space-binding" activity. You say human nature is to cooperate? We cooperate in learning language and sharing information but only within limits. Why are some people demanding that America establish "English" as the official language? At the bottom line, it's to keep the advantage of knowing the official language, to inhibit the hard-working non-English speaking immigrants from encroaching on the established dominant individuals.

There's far too much elementalist thinking among general semanticists. Time-binding is a dimension of human activity, but no human activity is "pure" time-binding, because activity happens in an environment. Because of our time-binding we are the best space-binders around. We've taken over the planet - eradicated hundreds - perhaps thousands of other species. Usurped the habitats of millions of species and diverted them for our own use, and we are "messing in our nest" - rapidly changing the environment of the planet. Is this the result of cooperation? We did cooperate enough to save the ozone layer, but that appears to have been a fluke. The middle-east shows no sign of abatement, and guess what the cause is? It's time-binding! Religious zealots passing information from generation to generation. Without time-binding this could not happen.

Here's the general semantics myth in a nutshell.
Space-binding: animalistic, competition, "bad".
Time-binding: humanistic, cooperation, "good".

Does this bring on a "signal reaction"?
Do you have frantic denial semantic reactions?

Competition is a fact of life, and it is necessary for individual and species survival. We humans, using language and stored knowledge, do it in more complex ways - "better" than any animal species ever could. Do you like sports - "managed structure competition"? Political campaigns? Putting yourself on the job market? Speaking of markets...?

THINK! (For yourselves.)

Well, I'm sure to have offended nearly everybody, so enough said for now. (There's always more that can be said.)

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 01:55 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

All life uses chemical energy for physical maintenance. There is no difference among plants, animals, and human's in this regard. There is no significant difference between plants and animals in this regard except for two primary facts.

Animals move while plants do not.
Plants use photosynthesis to take inorganic energy and bind it to organic forms. Animals do not.

If you use your "chemistry binding" suggestion, then there is no difference between plants and animals in this regard. The plants use the energy they bind for their own maintenance. If you are to make plants significantly different, it is in their capacity to bind inorganic energy into organic forms. They do this exclusively and in excess of their needs. See this post.

Ben, " I make strong efforts to insist that all are equals" IS exercising control, and to the extent that you dominate anyone who disagrees, you are successfully "competing" with them for "control". Saying it isn't so by limiting your perspective to higher level abstraction is elementalistically ignoring the underlying happenings. If the group has moved to the affection stage, then the "control" issues for this "value" has already resulted from the prior competition. "You da boss." in this matter, even though you "think" you are merely representing consensus. You talk from only the tip of the iceberg, ignoring what's below the surface.

Individuals in the group with low self-esteem tend to say and do things that they expect others will approve of. Any voiced approval is a "stroke", as in petting a dog and saying "good boy".

Competing for "strokes" - competing for approval. The need for approval and acceptance is what dominates individual who have unsatisfied esteem needs - "low self-esteem". It is level four of the seven level hierarchy Maslow describes in Motivation and Personality.

A person with low self-esteem has significantly higher esteem needs, sufficient that they rarely become motivated consistently at the self-actualization level. Their need is for approval, acceptance, "strokes", ("good boy", "good girl"). They need to be seen by others as "OK. Read "I'm OK, You're OK".

With regard to the competition-cooperation question, I close with, "It's not that seeing is believing; believing is seeing, and we are much better at believing than we are at seeing." You can find cooperation by ignoring the context and believing that cooperation is the rule. You will only see what you already believe. May the rest of your dreams be as pleasant. I listened to the general semantics myth for decades. My eyes are open.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 02:14 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote, "Your example of the Soviet Union is irrelevant since virtually no one in the government or population was trained in proper human responses, no matter what the socio-economic doctrine was."

Your facts are in error. Training was ubiquitous. Political officers and the KGB were everywhere. One look at my wife's transcript shows that training in the value system and the ideals of collectiveism, communism, cooperation, and the Soviet System literally dominated the carriculum.

"Proper" human responses? Under what value system?

It seems to me, if the "nature" of man was to cooperate, the training you speak of would not have been necessary. Such "training" is only required to "overcome" tendencies to the contrary.

The system failed because the "nature" of man exerted itself in spite of the system and in spite of constant training by the ubiquitous "political officers" and the KGB. There was LOT of training to be cooperative and to be equal. The system only lasted as long as it did because domination and fear prevented its collapse earlier. Glasnost and increased exposure to western society preceeded the collapse. Individuals and leaders began to covet the freedom to pursue one's own desire to accumulate wealth (space bind). Human nature (to compete for resources) exerted itself once again.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 02:30 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

If it is human nature to be like this then there is nothing we can do, is there?

Wrong. Human nature is at best a tentative map based on observations - and is subject to revision. It is the naturalistic fallacy to suggest that because we "are" (described as) a certain way then we must behave in accord with that way. Social Darwinism illustrates application of the naturalistic fallacy. General semantics says that we are "time-binders", therefore, we should always (and only?) cooperate. This is another instance of committing the naturalistic fallacy.

Because we are (described as) a certain way does not mean that we "are" that way, and it does not mean that we must behave in accordance with the way we "are". Keep your eyes open to what people actually do. The theory must be adjusted to account for the facts, not the other way around.

We do have to compete in order to survive. Some of us created a system to regulate competition. The Republicans want to tear it down. The Democrats want to build it bigger. (That's sure to offend someone.) Right now the Republicans have the upper hand, and they are redistributing wealth from the many to the few, increasing the inequality. Is this cooperation?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 04:02 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

You caught me in an overgeneralization and personification for impact and emphasis. Many general semanticists have written of human behavior in general and specific instances as involving competing and using the word 'animalistic'. These contexts have invariably suggested a negative evaluation associated with these remarks. I generalize the many instances I've seen as "general semantics" rather than many general semanticists. The bias toward cooperation and away from competition has been exhibited frequently in the writings and posts. Many come across with the finger shaking attitude that the behavior has something wrong with it, that we are behaving like animals instead of like humans. In doing so they exhibit the two-valueed orientation of a non-dimensional category-structure putting humans in one class and animals in another. So forgive me for expressing this with impact that evoked a signal reaction from you.

I said nothing about your motives; I described the actions at a different level of abstracting. You said you make a strong effort to insist.... This is characterizable as exercising authority - in simple terms exercising a greater degree of control than by not making a strong effort to insist.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 04:21 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I submit that "characterization" in acting and "characterization" outside of acting may be very different. To "characterize" something or situation is to evaluate to a higher level of abstraction by selecting a set of "characteristics" as salient features for the purpose of communicating about that thing. It is the abstracting of "characteristics". It often involves creating and using metaphors so as to evoke presumably known shared experiences. So, when I "characterize" the verbal act of "insisting" as a form of control, I'm picking out the fact that when someone "insists" they are repeatedly or loudly verbally (pushing) someone else to do what they want. "Insisting" is only necessary if there was resistance to begin with. The "insisting" may be successful when the other acquiesces, in which case the insistor has dominated the insistee. The insistor and the insistee are both "competing" for control of the subsequent acts. If the "insistor" fails to achieve his goal, then the "insistee" has dominated, and he or she has "won the competition" for control. Whoever "blinks" first loses. Since "insisting" as an act is not necessary unless somebody first resists the suggestion, "insisting" is escalating the issue of who is in control, and the process that results in one getting his wish involves competition for control.

If there is total subservience, there is no competition (and there is absolute control), but then neither was there any insistence needed.

To "insist" before any resistance is offered is to exert control "up-front".

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 04:45 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Here a good example of the naturalistic fallacy.
Time-binding as I see it is more like a standard for humanity rather than a description or an ideal. Roughly, "If binds time, then human." It can be reconceptualized as an ideal if you so choose, and I think in some respects it is within GS practice, in that it is sometimes construed as a goal.

Korzybski classified man as a time-binder. He identified time-binding as a dimension for describing activity, and differentiated this dimension from animals as space-binders and plants as energy-binders.

As a classification system, the three dimensions indicate the primary or dominate type of behavior.
Plants - photosynthesize.
Animals - territorialize.
Humans - symbolize and plan.
But as categories these are "fuzzy" because humans do more and better than animals at what animals do. So, he labeled them as dimensions, because dimensions are independent of each other.

But once we have the classification or dimensionalizing system for differentiating humans from animals (and plants), we can say that this classification or dimensioning system is what humans "are". It's a map, and, as we all know, the map is not the territory.

But when you make the map the goal, you are now taking the high level abstraction and you are imposing it as a value system demanding that people work at behaving the way that map describes them. So we are now pushing or forcing people to behave according to the map. We are trying to change the territory to fit the map. This is described as "to go from 'is' to 'ought'" and that is the definition of the "naturalistic fallacty".

We describe the nature (perhaps wrongly).
Then we make that description a goal.
This may be pushing people in the direction of the errors in the map.

When we say we are symbol users whose basic nature is to cooperate, and then we adopt a goal that says failure to cooperate is being "animalistic", we are now imposing the description of the "basic nature" above as a value. But we also compete, and we compete much more and better than animials, and some see competition as "anti-cooperative".

So let's stop with the holding up of human behavior that is competitive and tagging it with 'animalistic'. Let's look at the time-binding ideology that these people and groups value, and notice that their problem behavior is the product of time-binding.

Time-binding allows religious extremists to indoctrinate the young to become suicide bombers.

The problem isn't being 'animalistic' or enganging in "space-binding" activities. It's the ideology that is being passed down through the mechanism of time-binding. These "baby ducks" have been "imprinted". Can any form of additional time-binding undo that?

That, it seems to me, might be more the challenge for applying general semantics.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 05:19 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The "collective agreement" does not just exist. It came into existence by the process of group dynamics, and that involves the group and members going through the successive group phases, "inclusion", "control", and finally, "affection".
During the control phase individuals jockey for position by exerting dominance or by submitting to the dominance of others. A hierarchy of interactions develops in which contributors exhibit influence over the outcomes and the subsequent consensus. See Will Schutz previously cited. The ability to exert control is only achieved after the competitive process of establishing the control hierarchy. In the 12 step programs, that is set down in advance, and individuals can be more or less active at "enforcing" the pre-ordained rules. Who gets to be active and who does not, becomes a matter subject to competition simply because not everybody can do it at once. The "competition" may also take the form of "refraining" from contributing until somebody gets "pushed" into the limelight. In some cases the "competition" is for the background position - refraining from accepting any responsibility.

The act of insisting should not be confused with motives behind the act, whether they be altruistic or selfish. The act of insisting involves saying or pushing somebody to do something, particularly when resistance is involved.

A "Do such and such."
B "I'd rather not".
A "I insist".
B "I really don't want to."
A "I really insist! It's for your own good."
B "If you really insist, I'll do it for you."

It does not matter the motives of A. That's a "red herring". The act is simple. A dominates B. A exercise control over B.

"Insisting" does not involve control only when it fails. Then insisting is rejected.

If you see the word 'control' as not allowing any wiggle room, then perhaps 'dominate' is better.

I'm not using it in the sense of "absolute and total control", but in the slightly weaker senses of exerting strong influence over - of getting the outcome desired much more often than not.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 09:35 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Korzybski's emphasis in Manhood and in the collected works for plants is on solar collection - photosynthesis.

Manhood of Humanity, p. 58. "The plants have a very definite and well known function-the transformation of solar energy into organic chemical energy. They are a class of life which appropriates one kind of energy, converts it into another kind and stores it up; in that sense they are a kind of storage battery for the solar energy;
pp. 303-4.
The plants, or basic-energy-binders, belong to the lowest level or type of life and constitute the life dimension I.
The animals, or space-binders, belong to the next higher level or type of life and constitute the life-dimension II.
Human beings, or time-binders, belong to a still higher level or type of life and constitute the life-dimension III.

Many citations include the word solar in conjunction with energy-binding.

Already in Manhood he is using energy-space-time as dimensions, and these are the "same" dimensions used in physics: mass-length-time. Korzybski uses "chemistry-bind" and "energy-bind" synonymously, but he emphasizes solar collection for plants, and converting chemical energy to provide movement for animals.

Manhood of Humanity:
"The fundamental thesis of the book is that man, while as `natural' as animal, is different in dimensionality. Just as the sphere and circle, though both are round objects, differ in essence; so man is unlike animal, being a time-binder as well as a space-binder. [Emphasis mine.]

"Anything you can do, I can do better.", said the time-binder to the space-binder, "But, we'll both let the energy-binders have their specialty, 'cause we can take from them any time we want to."

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 09:51 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

What happens if A says,
"Walking doesn't make me feel that much better. I'm having a drink anyway, and that's final."

Case 1. B's will be done. (A submits to B.)
Case 2. A's will be done. (A overrides B.)

Could we not say (for this drink):
Case 1. B dominates A - no drink.
Case 2. A dominates B - do drink.

If not, why not?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 11:06 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Korzybski emphasize converting solar when he talks about plants. Search for "chemistry-bind" (11) and "energy-bind" (5) in the collected works CD. Look at all the found references. If you want to read this differently, you will be differing from both Korzybski and subsequent writings.

The only "argument" for "retro-fitting" "energy-binding" to mean the simple conversion of one form of chemical energy to other forms of chemical energy and to mechanical energy would be to try to degrade Korzybski's emphasis to make animals and humans fit by making "energy-binding" more like a dimension that a category. By Korzybski's descriptions and his insistence on solar conversion, which neither animals nor humans do, "energy-binders" becomes, a "class" of life, and he actually uses that terminology, so frequently that there are 209 citations in the collected works CD. Most are about humans being a time-binding "class of life".

Animals don't need to "make energy", because,through territoriality, they control enough energy binders in their domain to obtain the energy they need without making any of it themselves.

Humans do the same.
But humans also remember and communicate, so they can recognize and take advantage of temporal patterns. We plant in anticipation of harvesting. We hunt geese when they migrate through.

Plants use sunlight and matter to make sugar and starch. They store this converted solar energy.
Animals "steal" this store of energy, and other animals "steal" their store of energy. But in both cases, they establish a territory in order to command enough of the energy produced by energy binders. If animals were energy binders they would not need to eat plants (or other animals); as they could make their own. Same with humans.
All three classes of life consume energy in the manufacture of body materials and in the maintenance of structure. There is no difference among plants, animals, and humans in this regard. All three use stored chemical energy in one form or another to maintain oneself. Animals and humans, however, also use this stored energy for rapid mobility. So do Venus Fly trap plants.
Plants are not distinctive in this manner, and a dimension that focuses on this aspect of chemical manipulation does not set plants apart. The only thing that sets plants apart, and Korzybski emphasizes this, is the solar collection. But neither animals nor humans do this. We cannot produce any chemical energy; we can only consume it. We don't "bind" any forms of energy; we merely transform it by consumption. We can store fat (too easily), but that is not binding energy except in only the loosest of interpretation.

If it be noted carefully...
Plants compete for space in the sun, but they cannot move their roots.
Grazers compete for space by roaming and challenging other herds in order to control enough sources of energy binders to eat.
Predators compete for space by establishing territories, challenging others of their own species, in order to have access to a sufficient number of prey (who depend on plants).
Humans do this too, but they have the advantage of temporal analysis and planning.

The dimensional metaphor equating energy-space-time with the physical theory using mass-length-time is largely a metaphor, but one which cannot be pushed too far. We cannot write a coordinate system in terms of amount of energy, amount of space, and amount of time, onto which to place various species, in the same manner that physical events can be. Every physical event has a quantity of mass and a location in three dimensions of space and one dimension of time.

Species of plants, animals, and people are not "events" that can be coordinatized.

We can measure how much energy an organism consumes over a period of time.
We can measure how much space an organism commands over its lifetime.
How can we measure how much time humans use? What quantitative measure can be used to measure "time-binding"? Or effectiveness of time-binding?

Can we use how much a person earns?
Can we use how much education a person learn?

How would we quantify time-binding? None of its descriptions suggest something measurable.

The dimension analogy or metaphor is weak. It cannot be pushed to quantitative ends.

The best we can achieve to this point is qualitative descriptions of mostly unmeasurable stuff. So it really is a nominal classification system with some dimensional aspects.

Plants bind solar energy into forms that they (and other species) can use.
Animals bind together an area of space so they can gather and consume enough energy binders to survive and reproduce. Some don't succeed.
Human communicate through time about patterns to manage their own ability to take advantage of plants and animals. Neither animals nor humans bind energy, they use pre-bound energy.

All three levels compete for space - space in the sun, and space in the fields. But humans also compete and cooperate through time.

Space lends itself to the dimensional aspect because it covers an area of resources. Time lends itself to the dimensional aspect because it is independent of space.

But the dimensional aspect of time-binding is not quantified. We can't measure time-binding directly in any way. We can only think of other variables, such as wealth, education, something else?, which we might assert provides an indirect quantification for measuring time-binding in some way. I await some specific and detailed proposals with adequate explanation and specific quantification methods for measuring "time-binding" in some way.

Without a coordinate system, time-binding is not a dimension. It's a class determined by the kind of activity of its members. It overlaps the space-binding class in an independent manner, like a circle formed when a plane intersects a sphere.
But we don't have a numerical scale for time-binding; just a vague metaphor using geometry.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 12:21 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

appropriates one kind of energy, converts it into another kind and stores it up; in that sense they are a kind of storage battery for the solar energy

Korzybski is not saying that plants convert one kind of chemical stored energy to another kind of chemical stored energy. He is saying that they convert solar energy into a chemical form.

It had been known that the method of converting solar energy to chemical energy is photosynthesis.

"the overall photosynthetic equation has been known since the 1800s." and Clorophyl was discovered in 1906.

6CO2 + 6H2O + (light and chlorophyll) = C6H12O6 + 6O2.

Plants APPROPRIATE one kind of energy [SOLAR] and convert it to another kind [Chemical] and store the chemical kind. A storage battery converts electrical energy to inorganic chemical energy. The plants are "chemistry binding" only in so far as they use organic chemicals to store the energy. "Chemistry binding" is a misnomer, because chemistry is not bound. Chemicals are bound to each other with "binding energy" to form higher energy compounds. In un-binding sugar plus oxygen yields water plus carbon-dioxide plus released binding energy.

For plants, water plus carbon-dioxide plus solar energy becomes sugar plus oxygen. The solar energy is "bound" into the chemicals. You really need to know the details of the technology to understand what Korzybski was talking about.

Binding energy is a long standing term. Elements are bound to each other; "chemistry-binding" is a misnomer. "Energy binding" is not. You will find that the terminology shifted after Manhood to become more correctly used later. Recall my earlier post about how many google citations use energy-binding?

Animals and humans do NOT bind energy into chemicals. They release the energy that is already bound into chemicals. With this released energy they reconnect various organic chemicals into structures for body building. They also use some released energy to effect motion. They "un-bind" the energy. (When plants consume energy they also un-bind it, but they bind more than they un-bind.)

Korzybski's metaphor of a storage battery which converts electrical energy by binding it into inorganic chemicals matches right up to converting electromagnetic energy (light) by binding it into organic chemicals.

If you still believe that he was NOT emphasizing the conversion of solar energy by binding it into organic chemical form, then there will be no possibility of explaining further to you.

When he describes energy-binding or "chemistry-binding", he includes the word solar, and other citations include "solar-energy-binding". He does, in fact, emphasize this by including 'solar'.

I have gone through the searches and looked at each citation. You can do your own search.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 10:24 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Korzybski "emphasizes" the solar aspect because he includes it in the definition itself. If it were not to be part of the definition, he would not have included the word.

Other quotes from Manhood:

"The most important available source of energy for this globe is the sun-the heat of the sun. This solar heat is the origin of water power, of wind power, and of the power bound up in coal, of the chemistry, growth and transforming agency of plants.

All foods which the animals as well as the humans use are, already, the result of the solar energy transformed into what may be called chemical energy. Transformation of energies is building up of life.

As plants gather in and store up solar energy into sheaves for the use and growth of animal and man-so humans are gathering and binding the knowledge of past centuries into sheaves for the use and development of generations yet unborn.

There are five other references to "solar" in Manhood alone.

Here's one citation from the First American Congress:
"Vegetable life forms have as their characteristic total dominant behaviour function the ability to bind solar energy and simple inorganic constituents from the earth and air into the complex organic, inanimate tissue making up their body structure. In brief we can say that plants have characteristically "one degree of freedom" only or can expand their activity in one dimension alone. Korzybski labels them the chemical and solar-energy-binding class of life."

On the CD there are 40 instances of solar, of which 36 are in a solar energy context. (The remaining four are in the context of "solar system".)

It's clear that Korzybski and second generation general semanticists support the notion that the dominant characteristic or behavior of plants as distinguished from animals and humans is the binding of SOLAR energy into chemical foods, and that the "first life dimension" primarily represents this function, characteristic, behavior, etc. The primary characteristic of the first dimension of life is not the ability to transform one form of chemical energy into another and into motion; it is to bind solar energy into usable chemical form. Animals and humans simply DO NOT HAVE the primary characteristic of the first dimension of life. As such they would be coordinatized at the origin of that dimension, while plants would have a large positive coordinate, depending on how much energy they bind.

Plant species would have a small positive number for use of space; animals a much larger number, orders of magnitude bigger, and humans much more. My lettuce plant takes up about 1 square foot of space, but the rabbit that comes to eat them uses from one to fifty acres of space, depending on the population (competition) and the availability of suitable energy binders in the area. I, however have traveled up and down the east coast and the north Atlantic, Russia, Rome, Califoria, and many other states, encompassing about an eigtht of the globe's surface, as well as up to about 35,000 ft and a classified number of feet down into the ocean in submarines.

Coordinatize a species of plant P(e,s,t). The 'e' is big, the 's' is miniscule, and the 't' is also mincule.
Coordinatize a species of animal P(e,s,t). The 'e' would be zero, the 's' would be orders of magnitude larger than in plants - many, many times - exponentially larger, and the 't' would also be quite a bit larger owing to some animals teaching their young.
Coodinatize a great ape species with H(e,s,t) and an amazing thing happens. For the "naked ape", the 'e' is still zero, but the 's' is exponentially bigger than in animals, and the 't' is also exponentially bigger than in animals. (Assuming we can find some way to quantify 't' in some way to measure the effectiveness of trans-generational information flow).

But if you remove the "solar" component from the equation, the 'e' for plants becomes lower than the 'e' for animals. That is NOT what Korzybski meant by the energy-binding, and it is not what subsequent generations of general semantics writers mean.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 11:04 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote, I always felt the importance of the energy-space-time binding formulation was that it provided a way to sharply differentiate classes of life. In other words, plants CAN'T space-bind or time-bind, animals CAN'T time-bind. It doesn't seem important to me if man can energy-bind or not.

Yes, Korzybski wanted to combat the popular Darwinian and naturalistic environment that claimed that "man is JUST an animal", and he wanted to do it in a way that seems totally justified by science and that did not need religion. It was "Science" that said effectively that man is "just" an animal. The theory of time-binding was meant, among other things, to "exonerate" science by providing an apparently scientific way to distinguish man from animals. Religion gave Man a top and unique place in the universe. Science was denying that claim. But the general theory of time-binding gave man back, in the eyes of science, his unique and superior place in the universe.

Korzybski chose a metaphor using dimensions in order to solidify this new perspective by "cashing in" on the long established scientific classification system using mass, length, and time. These three dimensions form the basis of all physical theory. All formulae describing physical processes and events use these three dimensions in combinations. Force is the rate of change of momentum - mass times velocity, which is mass times length divided by time. F=d(ml/t)/dt. By describing man in terms of energy (mass) space (length) and time, he brought all the prestige and power of hard science to the classification system that separated man from animals (and plants).

Unfortunately the "metaphor" is a weak one, as the separation is much more a classification system than a dimension.

Plants have one major modus operandi - solar energy conversion.
Animals have one major modus operandi - territoriality.
Humans have one primary modus operandi that distinguishes them - consciousness of abstracting.

Animals and humans do not do energy binding.
Animals do not do consciousness of abstracting.

Plants survive by growing food.
Animals survive by controlling enough plants - directly for herbivores, indirectly for predators.
Humans survive by using information passed from generation to generation.

How to map these to the physical dimensions of mass, length, and time?

Plants bind matter and energy to make food.
Animals control area or "bind" space to establish territories.
Humans "bind" time by passing messages from generation to generation.

But humans, evolved from animals, still possess all the capabilities of animals, they are territorial, and they compete. But look what time-binding does... it allows much more complex forms of territoriality and competition.

So the "bastardized", labeled as there-dimensional, classification system for "classes of life" was born.

We know what's going on; we don't need to argue about where the metaphor does and does not work.

It's really a classification system, that is simply not exclusive and exhaustive. The categories of animal and human overlap. Humans are a species of animal with all the capabilities of animals, but with an added capability - consciousness of abstracting - that animals do not have. Draw a circle representing all animals. Draw a small circle inside this representing humans. Now place a cylinder on top of the human circle. The cylinder represents our time-binding capability that animals do not have. Draw a long ellipse that overlaps with animals and humans a tiny bit, but extends way outside the circle of animals and you show plants relative to animals and humans. The way these three structures relate is not pure exclusive categories, but overlapping ones. But they are not true dimensions.

The dimensionality is a "spin" that brings in the power and prestige of physics by association.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 11:25 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The three general semantics dimensions of life are not true dimensions.

The "classes of life" system is not an exclusive and exhasutive classification system; they overlap.

Energy: Solar energy binding.
Space: Territoriality and competition.
Time: Consciousness of abstracting and symbolic communication.

Human rule - to their own rue, because they have not used consciousness of abstracting and symbolic communication to effect a truly cooperative society that overcomes the competitive animal nature. Our "nest" is now so big that we don't have any places left to "mess", and we are destroying our environment.

We cannot use general semantics as a "religion", that would put us in competition with the ones that already exist. We cannot say that the description of man as a time-binder "mandates" cooperative behavior; that is to commit the naturalistic fallacy - an example of trying to force the territory to fit the map - which general semantics calls the reverse and unnatural order of abstracting.

General semantics does not dictate an ethical system. It describes human behavior. Korzybski claimed that general semantics could provide the basis for an ethical system. Some think that means that competition is "animalistic" behavior to be eschewed. But is it? Competition leads to efficiency. It weeds out failed and poor methods. It helps select the best in any group. We manage competition in sports. This is not "animalistic". Competition in the market place leads to better products with lower prices. We have to be very careful about what we evaluate to be "animalistic" and also "bad". Much "animalistic" behavior is "good".

What to do?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 11:34 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Please note. The frequency of postings and the times of posting show that reactions that appear to follow one another do not take into consideration the previous posting. For example, the 11:05 posting can not be a symbol response to the 11:04 posting, as they were being written independently. Do we need some sort of time-out to digest all the flying verbiage? I'm going to take one.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 11:44 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

"Animals will defend to the death their territory." is not generally born out by observing animals. Very few animals engage in territorial disputes that result in death - or even serious injury. He who runs away just might procreate on another day.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 03:08 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I'll try one last time.

All the chemical reactions used by animals and humans USE higher energy state commpounds in cascade reaction sequences that build proteins by binding smaller molecules together and by cleaving larger molecules into smaller ones. In none of these cases is any other form of energy converted into the binding energy of molecules. The primary molecule that does the work is ATP when it is converted to ADP. The reactions all require fuel in the form of glucose, which is metabolized in the Kreb cycle in the production of more ATP. A huge amount of chemical machinery is necessary for the process to complete. It's done in an organell that evolved from a symbiotic relation with a cell - the mitochrondia. The combined reactions have heat, water, and carbon-dioxide as waste products. Work is done in the process, but no usable energy is created. The amount of work done is a small fraction of the energy value of the "food".

Starting chemical energy = ending chemical energy + work + heat.

Plants, when there is no sunlight, do the same thing using their own stored resources.

We eat more than we need and make fat with it, which we later metabolize when we don't eat (if we are lucky).

Binding? It does not figure into the process.
Binding: the capacity to attract and hold something.

Solar energy is "bound" into chemical form by plants.

You all want to say that "chemistry" is bound by animals and humans?

Describe the "binding" process.

Organic chemical processes "cleave" large molecules into smaller ones - and use energy in the process. Organic chemical process "attach" small molecules to each other - and use energy in the process - thereby building larger molecules specific to the organism's needs. A process that "binds" molecules together, using energy in the process, may be said to bind chemicals, but it does not bind energy. This from of "chemistry binding" is NOT "energy-binding".

If plants are chemistry binding AND energy-binding, they are getting non-organic energy and incorporating that energy into chemical forms, and the only process that we know of for the vast majority of plants is photosynthesis - the binding of SOLAR energy to chemicals.

If, you (if the shoe fits) wish to describe catabolism and anabolism as breaking down chemicals and "binding chemicals" respectively, you are elementalistically picking out only one aspect of metabolism in order to call that the "chemistry-binding" dimension.

Humans and animals do NOT "energy-bind", although, as part of metabolism, they do engage in anabolistic processes for building their tissues, which might parochially be labeled as "chemistry binding". It is neither a standard use of the term 'binding' (since before Korzybski) nor a reasonable abstraction of what animals and humans do, especially when contrasted with plants.

To call plants "solar-energy-binders" or "energy-binders" or "chemistry-binders" puts the interpretation of "chemistry-binding" to mean putting energy into chemical form. Korzybski's unfortunate early choice of words is leading so many of you (if the shoe fits) astray, because you go back to the "master" for his individual words without seeing how they fit into the greater context. You can't see the forest for the trees.

To 'bind' is to hold. Holding chemicals together is a funcition of all life, but it does NOT distinguish plants from animals, because animals do it too. Only capturing and holding "energy" (as distinct from chemistry) distinguishes plants from animals.

As Monsanto's '60s slogan goes, "Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible."

So, "anabolism" - chemical binding - using energy in the process, is common to all life, but "energy-binding" is not. Korzybski uses "energy-binding" and "chemistry-binding" synonymously. He cannot mean mere anabolism. Becase he also uses solar in the defining contexts, he means more than anabolism; he means solar energy binding.

There you have it -- one dead horse.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - 11:11 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

If "space binding" is the holding of sufficient territory to obtain enough energy to survive, then plants do it too. They do not have to move around to spread out and reach for the sun light. They exhibit photo-tropism - they "move" towards the light as they grow. They also have various mechanisms to distribute their seeds, allowing colonies of plants to spread out over a territory from generation to generation. They "compete" with other plants for the available light, each trying to grow leaves that block the others. Some climb on top of others. Some are much better; they "dominate" the others. We call some plants "aggressive". What's the difference between colonizing a square foot, a square yard, for an individual, acres for a species over generations.

Animals do it "orders of magnitude" larger and faster than plants do. Plants eat light. Some animals eat plants directly. Other animals eat plants indirectly (by eating animals that eat plants).

So Animals and Humans do not bind space exclusively; plants do also, but the measure is an exponential growth from plants to animals to humans.

All three bind chemicals in about the same level.

Through the process of natural selection, plants evolve to better adapt to their environments. In the long run this can be characterized as "learning" over generations.

Animals do it much faster, because they can copy their parents behavior. With plants, the survival information is only written in the genetic code. Animals are capable of learning species characteristic behavior patterns that are not built into the genetic code.

Crows have learned to place nuts in the street while the traffic light is stopping traffic, wait until the cars have run over the nut, and then come back for the nutmeats. Young crows learn this from watching older ones, so, according to the report, a social behavior is being passed from generation to generation. Similar patterns have been observed in apes. It is not a fast process, but it is exponentially faster that having to update the genetic code.

Human beings have been observed to encode learned behavior in symbols, and to consciously teach their young to read the symbols and learn the behavior. It's exponentially faster than the animal learning. We call the process in humans "time-binding".

Plants have ultra slow generational learning.
Animals have some generational learning.
People have ultra fast generational learning.

Learning at genetic speed.
Learning at non-symbolic speed.
Learning at symbolic speed.

We could call these:
Learning at event-level speed.
Learning at object-level speed.
Learning at abstract-level speed.

All use time.
All "bind" information over time.
Plants "bind" information in their genetic code.
Only survival determines what can be learned.
Animals do this, but are also capable of binding information in their neurological codes.
Only direct observation determines what can be learned.
People do this, but are also capable of binding information in external symbolic codes.
Any symbolic encoding determines what can be learned.

Genetic code updates take many thousands of generations.
Neural code updates take a few observations.
Symbolic code updates take place even outside human cognition. I can go searching for info.

I characterize both space and time binding as activities that are done at different rates by plants, animals, and humans, but the rate of both is exponential in speed from class to class.

Why do babies have diarrhea after each introduction to a new food? The bacteria in their guts must "learn" through the slow process of evolution, to handle the new food. It only takes a few times, because the generation turn-over is rapid, and the bacteria that colonize human guts have evolved a capability of rapid evolution.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, August 3, 2006 - 12:30 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

How humans "best function" is a conditional value judgement based on data for times 1 thru N, and asking humans to behave according to that data by saying this is the "best" way to behave does not allow for time N+1 to be different, possibly resulting in a NEW and EVEN BETTER description. We can adopt a standard of behavior, yes, but the moment we say it is because humans "are" that way, we commit the naturaistic fallacy and reverse the order of abstraction.

For decades Piaget's child development model became "the word of god" in education, so much so, that entertaining any other possible view was, and to some extent, still is considered "blasphemy". The belief in the model is so strong that questioning it is strongly suppressed. This is an example of the reversal of the order of abstraction I speak of. Descriptions should NEVER be confused with prescriptions. When the "should" and the "are" are one and the same, that confusion is risked and prevents growth and advancement.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 12:54 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Compare a building that is wide, but neither deep nor high to another one that is narrow but deep, and a third one that is neither wide nor deep, but high.
These three buildings exist primarily in the width, depth, and height dimensions. Now think of a building that is both deep and high, but still narrow.

Energy binders are wide.
Space binders are narrow but deep.
Space-time binders are narrow, deep, and high.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, August 6, 2006 - 11:20 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben, How much of the general semantics literature have you read? - Science and Sanity, Manhood of Humanity, The General Theory of Time-binding, several other general semantics books, years of Etc., etc.? Do you ever consciously construct metaphors? Can you apply the metaphor I just constructed to your readings?

Did you notice that I used the phrase "space-time binders"? I have never seen this phrase used before in any general semantics literature, but it seems more appropriate for humans, because we do both. Is this an "update" to the "philosophy" of general semantics? Is is going to arouse signal reactions in the flocks of "true believers" who like to cite chapter and verse?

I'd like to think that general semantics enhances our thinking, including our creativity.
Gee, I think I wrote that in my Think-Feel and Know-Act paper back in 1978.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, August 7, 2006 - 12:16 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

General semantics is supposed to be continually self-updating based on the latest science, based on any failed predictions, and based on any other new extensional evidence relative to its continually evolving formulations. If we "fix" general semantics as the formulations of Korzybski, then it becomes a historical has-been.

So, if you make a distinction between "general semantics" and "post general semantics", you seem to be placing "general semantics" in the "Korzybski's formulations" category that does not continually apply its formulations to its own evolution.

You may disagree with me on that point at the peril of placing yourself in the pre-"post general semantics" category of your own distinction.

I choose to consider general semantics as continually evolving, and I strongly urge everyone to apply general semantics to its own principles and formulations.

"Modern, open, applied, epistemology" - how we know what we know, continually updated, open to change, and applied across the board, including to itself.