In 1921, Korzybski formulated in his Manhood of Humanity, a fundamental difference between Man and animals. This marked the beginning of his studies.

We can often hear "Man is an animal". We notice that this sentence includes the notorious 'is' of identity. We identify Man (Brown1, Smith4, Jones2, etc.) with an animal, and by this fact, we neglect differences. To reverse this tendency, let us mention some of these differences:

All that very clearly distinguishes Man from the animal, without the need of any 'religious' concept. We could not thus continue to speak in this identificating way any more.

Having noted that, Korzybski built a functional language to classify living beings:

  1. Energy-binding: capacity to use and convert energy (for example, photosynthesis, food),
  2. Space-binding: capacity to use 'space' (to move),
  3. Time-binding: capacity to use 'time' (the achievements of a generation can be transmitted to the next one).
If we can classify plants in the category of "energy-binders" and animals in the category of "space-binders", we note that Man is left alone in the category of "time-binders".

From this characterization, it follows that the capacity to use symbols, a crucial factor for time-binding, must be closely studied, in particular in the most effective symbolic systems activities, namely sciences, as a specific behaviour of Mankind.

These studies led ten years later, in 1933, to Science and Sanity.

© ESGS, 2001.