In 1921, Korzybski formulated in his Manhood of Humanity, a fundamental
difference between Man and animals. This marked the beginning of his
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.
- use of languages,
- a much more developed cortex,
- a brain which continues to develop after birth,
- scientific activities (mathematical, physical, etc),
- the use of supports for the recording of symbols (books, computers,
Having noted that, Korzybski built a functional language to
classify living beings:
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".
- Energy-binding: capacity to use and convert energy (for example,
- Space-binding: capacity to use 'space' (to move),
- Time-binding: capacity to use 'time' (the achievements of a
generation can be transmitted to the next one).
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.