IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Exploring-experiencing-practicing E-Prime
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 09:46 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I've a telescope.
When I tried to look through it.
I could not see it.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, August 17, 2007 - 10:29 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Hi Milton,

I directed the telesocpe at a couple of mirrors, so I could see myself looking through the telescope, but I could not see into the workings of the telescope. When I started to take it apart while looking through it, I could no longer see through it.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, August 18, 2007 - 02:18 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Perhaps a review of Korzybski's explanation of "Cortical" and "thalamic" is in order.


For the sake of simplicity I will speak of neuro-linguistic and neurosemantic functions as predominantly cortical functions, and of 'emotions', 'senses', 'pain', 'pleasure', etc ., (or so-called 'human nature'), as predominantly thalamic. It is a well-worn saying that 'human nature' cannot be changed. 'Human nature' is predominantly thalamic while language and corresponding orientations of the old intensional structure have no thalamic components; hence the thalamus cannot understand language. However, with the application of physicomathematical methods, we can introduce thalamic factors into language which gives us ageneral method applicable to education as well as to psychotherapy, by which 'human nature' can be changed.- CW-262

Contrast the above with


Outcomes & Results: The findings of this research suggest a laterality effect with regard to the contribution of the thalamus to high-level linguistic abilities and, potentially, the temporal processing of semantic information. This outcome supports the application of highlevel linguistic assessments and measures of semantic processing proficiency to the clinical management of individuals with dominant thalamic lesions.

Conclusions: The results reported lend support to contemporary theories of dominant thalamic participation in language, serving to further elucidate our current understanding of the role of subcortical structures in mediating linguistic processes, relevant to cortical hemispheric dominance. source

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, August 18, 2007 - 10:46 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Nora wrote


It first arrives in the lower brain (thalamus, plus other structures) where we have the ability to respond immediately, and only after a short pause, and sometimes only with conscious effort, does it get to the neocortex, the executive in the frontal lobes and finally to the polar frontal cortex (the most recently evolved part of the brain, believed to provide the final decision-making for deliberate acts.) Signal reactions happen when we respond from the thalamus, so to speak, while symbol reactions happen when we delay until the executive can review the situation. The thalamus (etc) has the ability to produce "is" type statements and evaluations (largely "feels good, feels bad" and "known, not-known"), but in most people, who have not learned differently, it takes deliberate appeal to the executive to re-evaluate the input and reformulate the output with more complex statements.

Can you provide a reference for your claims about this brain function? I would very much like to read about this supposed sequence.

When one uses "thalamus" and "cortex" in the general semantics context, one should remember that Korzybski did not use the terms principally as references to specific brain areas. A google search reveals current research on the interaction of the specific brain region/organ known as the thalamus, particulary in connection with language; that brain organ perspective varies considerably in semantic reaction and connotation from Korzybski's description - rendering a considerable degree of anbiguity for any readers of these terms.

It should be noted that "cortico-thalamic pause" never appears in any of Korzybski's writings in the collected works. That particualar phrase was an invention, I believe, of A. E. Van Vogt for his science fiction novels.

"Cortico-thalamic" appears a mere 11 times in the entire collected works, only twice by Korzybski himself in the contexts of "integration" and "functions" and then only in the introduction to the second edition.

Korzybski viewed the "thalamic" functions as "emotions", "senses", "pain", "pleasure", etc., and reserved linguistic and semantic neuro- functions for "cortical". He claimed that the "thalamus" cannot understand language; whereas modern research shows that claim to be inacurate. Getting "into Korzybski's head", it seems to me, requires us to put "thalamus" in quotes and possibly to add the parenthetic expression quoting Korzybski ("emotions", "senses", "pain", "pleasure", etc.) in the context as a direct reminder of how Korzybski formulated his "understanding" of the functions of the thalamus.

We know that the major visual pathways go directly to the visual cortex where pattern recognition abstraction takes place. Similar processing takes place in the auditory areas of the cortex. Some processes go directly from the sensory efferent processes through the thalamus, and there are many process connecting the thalamus with the cortex.


The thalamus, a large, deep structure located in the middle of the brain, regulates many components of overall arousal and provides a reciprocal relay between multiple subcortical structures and the cortex. Given its central location, the thalamus has tremendous impact on a wide spectrum of functions, including language, mood, and depression.*

Sensory input goes to the sensory cortex in parallel with input that goes via the thalamus.

What could "cortico-thalamic pause" mean in terms of brain function? It cannot mean a literal "pause", because we do not control the speed of nerve impulses. The phrase was Van Vogt's invention to indicate "delayed reaction" or "symbol respons" instead of "signal reaction".

To get a "delayed response" neurological processes must be "recycled" so that we repeatedly process abstraction after abstraction, and that involves updating short-term memory based on additional retrieved long-term memories. It means holding off on taking action (including speaking) until we have had time to bring forth multiple related and chain-wise related past experiences. "Pause" is a misnomer; we are actively continuing to process information so as to alter our initial potential response based on limited information, alter it to a response that takes more experience into consideration - technique examples of which Nora provided.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, August 18, 2007 - 11:26 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

For E-prime, change "was Van Vogt's invention" to "Van Vogt invented" (with some word order changes).

Instead of "'Pause' is a misnomer", perhaps "Don't use 'pause'? Any other? "The word pause, in its customary sense, does not fit" -- better?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, August 19, 2007 - 02:20 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

"Cortico-thalamic pause" suggests a pause in brain function moving from the cortext to the thalamus. Brain function does not "pause" as long as we are alive (except for a few brain-dead individuals).
The "pause" occurs at the level of abstraction measuring the time between the onset of a stimulus and the execution of overt behavior (physical or verbal), so the phrase "cortico-thalamic-pause" mixes two very different levels of abstraction, and hyphenates it as if to say used separately they are elementalisms - a classic case of confusion of levels of abstraction.

Do we have a time-binding record - documented - suggesting a brain "wiring diagram" as having a primary path that goes from senses to cortex to thalamus?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, August 19, 2007 - 02:34 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Non-E-prime "is not" translates to E-prime "differs from".

A''': A map differs from a territory.

The map (of which you previously spoke) differs from the (putative) territory (to which you intended that it applies).

(I purposefully did not say "refers" or "represents".)

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, August 19, 2007 - 08:34 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thanks for the visual system references. I've updated my model. (another) I now need to see how the anticipatory predictive processes, as described by Jeff Hawkins in On Intelligence, flow into the primary visual system and how it integrate with the motor system.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, August 20, 2007 - 02:20 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

"Is of predication" - adjective applies to subject. Expressed in terms of the syntax of the words.

"Is of attribution" - property or characteristics named by the adjective projected onto the referent of the subject. Both the adjective and the subject "words" are more "transparent" drawing focus through "identification" to that which the words indicate, but also indicating that these properties or characterists (accessed by the transparent use of words) are "projected" by the speaker.

"Grass is green."
English teacher: "This is an example of the is of predication".
Some general semanticists: "This is an example of the is of attribution."
Innocent bystander: How can we tell the difference?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 01:46 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote, Ralph, for purposes of this discussion, let's assume that "is of attribution" refers to the observer projecting some trait/quality/characteristic on to the subject.

The "subject" is the word in the sentence in which "is" is used. The observer hardly projects some "trait/quality/characteristic" on the word that is the subject.

The observer "projects" on the putative referent of the word in the subject position.

That I what I said before.

In "Grass is green." the "attribute" of green is not being projected on the subject (of the sentence), the word 'grass'; it is being projected on the stuff that the word 'grass' is used to refer to.

That makes the description "the is of attribution" a semantic notion using words transparently, that is by identifying the referents with the words.

The is of predication says that that "green" is predicated of "grass". Any syntax checker can mindlessly pick this out.

When the person blind from birth says "grass is green", he is using the is of predication, but we would hardly be able to say that he is using the "is of attribution", because he has no experience with "green". The context is opague; he or she cannot "see" "though" it to the trait/property/characteristic in question, so he or she could hardly "project" that by attribution.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 11:06 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, when I used the word 'subject' I was talking about the subject of the sentence from the beginning. Your comments about attributing to the "subject" were not about attributing characteristics to the word that was the subject. That is what I meant by the difference between syntax and semantics. I talked about the word; you talked back about the "thing". Somewhere in this transaction is a confusion of the distinction between word and thing. That is possibly what Vilmart had in mind when he wrote of "E-prime implying identifcation of word and thing.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 7, 2007 - 10:38 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

It was written "I wonder what makes E-Prime so hard

Answer: Lack of practice.

My taxonomy for the process of change to a new paradigm.
1. lack of awareness. (pointed out by others?)
2. Desire to change.
3. Noticing old usage after the fact.
4. Noticing old usage during, but not in time to change.
5. Noticing old usage during, and causing interruption.
6. Noticing old usage before, but not in time to smoothly change.
7. Noticing old usage before, and able to smoothtly change.
8. Noticing where and old usage might have occured.
9. Using new usage without noticing where old usage might have occured.

Much easier to do with simply changing one word for another, such as adding "or she" after "he" in becoming more "politically correct".
Not so easy to do when whole sentence structure and vocabulary changes are required such as getting rid of using "to be". This requires changing multiple words and a longer look-ahead process than simply altering single words or phrases.

Before I studied Zen, mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.
While I was studying Zen, mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers.
Once I achieved enlightenment, mountains once more became mountains and rivers once more became rivers.

Did you see the transition?