Annual Alfred Korzybski Lecture

About ten years ago, Genesis P-Orridge, Richard Metzger, Parker Posey, and I hopped in a cab to see Robert Anton Wilson give the Annual Alfred Korzybski Lecture in New York on behalf of the Institute for General Semantics. None of us knew much about general semantics at the time, but it was a fun talk in a swank location, completely free, and decidedly mind opening.

General Semantics spawned everything from cognitive psychology to NLP, and informed everyone from William Burroughs to Richard Bandler.

This year, I was invited to present the 56th Annual Alfred Korzybski Lecture. Besides being a tremendous honor, it's also an opportunity for me to take everything I've been talking about and rethink it in the context of general semantics – which might really mean beyond any context at all.

In any case, the talk itself is free, it's an important annual event even if I'm not as important as the usual annual speaker, and you're all invited. It's followed by a one-day symposium that I plan on attending as well. Here's the way they described my talk after I described it to them – as well as the details.

We are in the midst of a new renaissance fostered largely by a revolution in the way that we relate to our symbols and symbol systems. The new media of computers and computer networks invites an ethos of interactivity that empowers users and invites creativity, an ethos that might best be characterized as playfulness.

With our newfound access to participation and collective authorship, we now have the potential to gain control over our symbolic communication and semantic environment, and thereby promote true agency and more responsive social and public institutions. To do so requires that we become conscious of the biases of the languages and technologies through which we choose to perceive and create, and that we ask ourselves the question: Are we willing to play the future?

$90 per person for dinner and lecture

Lecture alone, free.

Friday, November 14, 2008, 6PM at the Princeton Club
15 West 43rd Street, NYC
(A Symposium titled Creating the Future: Conscious Time-Binding for a Better Tomorrow will be held on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus. Admission is free.)

Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.