Engineering and Time-Binding

THE Arts of Engineering, by their very nature, are derived from the work of dead men and destined to serve not only the present but the future. They are freer than any other human activity from the errors of intermixing dimensions and from the fallacy of belief in individualistic accomplishment and pride. The simple steel structure of a bridge, familiar to us in every day life, is a clear reminder to us all of the arts of Hephaestus and the bound-up knowledge of countless generations of smiths and mechanics, metallurgists and chemists, mathematicians and builders, teachers and engineers who toiled for many thousands of years to make possible the riveted steel beams which are the elements of modern structure. These structures do not collapse unless the natural laws for their construction are transgressed; which seldom happens-for no one is entrusted with the work unless he has bound up in his knowledge the accumulated experience of the past; yet the transgressors of these natural laws are punished with all the severity of the common law. When a bridge is opened and tested, the written laws in some countries and the unwritten in others, and the pride and the sense of responsibility of the designer and builder of the bridge demand that he, the creator of the bridge, be the first to enter it and the last to leave it; and should the bridge collapse, he has to take the immediate consequences of his neglect of the time-binding laws.

Rarely are the affairs of engineering done with the entirely selfish motive of merely acquiring immediate selfish gain, for even when this could be traced-this unworthy thought disappears in the halo of the glory of the accomplishment. Mr. Eiffel did not erect his tower to haunt Paris with the sight of a steel skeleton towering over the city of daring thoughts. His tower stands to-day as a mechanical proof of mathematical formulas proving the possibility of erecting tall, self-supporting structures and thereby serving future humanity. The Time-binding capacity of humans creates and formulates new values for the service of mankind. Again, no student of the Arts of Engineering could ever forget himself to the point of claiming his accomplishments, no matter how marvelous, all to himself. No wondrous discovery of modern electricity, not even the talking from one hemisphere to another, is rightly the accomplishment of any one man, for the origin of the discovery can be traced at least as far back as the days of that barefooted shepherd boy Magnus, who first observed the phenomena of magnetism.

In an attempt to trace and evaluate the time-binding faculties manifested in the Arts of Engineering, one is at once astonished, and bewildered, at the confusion and contradictions unrealized in the mass of evidence, and how pathetic and deplorable is the sight of hundreds of thousands of workers in the field of engineering toil and creation who unconsciously submit to the degradation, in silent consent, of seeing their marvelous collective achievements chained to space-binding aims.

Upon the completion of this book I was astonished that there are such a small number of engineers who have the intuitive feeling of the greatness of the assets at their command and of the gravity of their liabilities concerning affairs of humanity. I was eager to have my book read and analysed by a few leading engineers. The late H. L. Gantt being no more with us, I then turned to Walter N. Polakov, Doctor of Engineering; Industrial Counselor; Chairman of Committee on Service and Information, Fuels Section, A.S.M.E., and Robert B. Wolf, Vice-President of A.S.M.E. In them I found, to the full, a very sympathetic understanding and my esteem grew as I became more intimately acquainted with the character of their work and their accomplishments. Both have done a most remarkable work in their respective lines. It will not be an exaggeration to say that their work, together with the work of the late H. L. Gantt and Charles P. Steinmetz, may be considered as the first-to my knowledge- corner-stones of the science and art of Human Engineering, and form the first few volumes and writings for the New Library of the Manhood of Humanity. These books and pamphlets are based on facts analysed scientifically, marking the parting of the way of engineering thought from the past subjection to speculative fetishes.

Of all the pure and applied sciences, engineering alone has the distinction of being the first to have the correct insight into the human problem. The task of engineers was to convert knowledge-brain work-"bound-up time"-into daily bread by means of conserving time and effort. This concept is naught else but the working out of the imperfect formulation of the time-binding principle. It was inevitable, therefore, that some engineers had already beaten the path in the right direction. How straight and how far this sense of dimensionality has led some of them in their practical work may be seen from the work of Walter N. Polakov, in his Mastering Power Production, Engineering Magazine, N. Y., 1921.

"It was not my intention to compile a text book on power engineering; it was rather my care to avoid the treatment of any technical subject which could be found elsewhere in engineering literature; but I could not avoid trespassing in the adjoining fields of psychology and economics, for without familiarity with these sciences the mastery of power production is a futile attempt.

"I do not hold that the principles upon which the method is laid out are subject to choice or opinions, for they are based on facts. Yet work of this character cannot be complete, or examples may be illy chosen, for it deals with living and constantly reshaping relations and applies to things in process of development.

"If this work and its underlying idea will facilitate the solving of some of the problems now in the course of rapid evolution in our industrial relations, I shall feel that my own and my readers' time have not been altogether lost."

Indeed the readers' time will not be lost. This book gives an engineering, scientific-in the meantime practical-analysis of all human problems. It is a deep and practical treatise on all great questions concerning modern industrialism and so-called economic problems and is a foundation for a new scientific industrial philosophy. Another very clear outline of the Principles of Industrial Philosophy was given by Mr. Polakov in his paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, December 7-l0, 1920. Anyone who has anything to do with industrial or economic problems cannot afford to overlook the important and fundamental work in this book.

It is obvious that a scientific knowledge of facts, is of the greatest importance for anyone who cares to approach any problem in a serious way. Statistics which are up-to-date are therefore of primary importance. I had the privilege of reading the manuscript of Quo Vadis America, the forthcoming book of Mr. Polakov, where a most valuable statistical picture of facts in modern America is given and the astonishing conclusions which are to be drawn therefrom. I can only regret that in Europe we have not such a knowledge written down concerning European conditions. If more such books had been written and read by the public, many crises and catastrophes would have been avoided.

The outstanding contribution of Mr. Robert B. Wolf to engineering was made in his study of physiology, biology, psychology and philosophy as applied to engineering.

"If anyone wishes to inquire into the forces which have led up to the individual development of mankind, he will find himself at once plunged into the realm of psychology and mental philosophy. I can heartily recommend such a course as immensely profitable and of practical value.

"The five important facts, however, that have to do with the subject in hand are:

"1st. That the human body is such a wonderful organization because it is the product of the forces of creation, acting through millions of years of evolution.

"2nd. That its capacity for progress depends upon the maintenance of the unity resulting from this creative evolution and upon a conscious recognition of this unity.

"3d. That this unity would not have been possible without the development of the nervous system.

"4th. That the conscious intelligent progress made by mankind could not have reached its present level until in the process of evolution a mechanism had been built up in the nervous system itself capable of recording the various impressions which the senses are constantly receiving.

"5th. That the recording of past events, with the power of consciously recalling them for the solution of problems immediately confronting it, is absolutely essential to its development

"Now, what I want to point out is that inasmuch as man's progress depends upon the perfect co-ordination of his forces to produce unity of action, we have no right to expect an industrial organization to make progress which it must do as a unit without the establishment of a conscious co-ordinating mechanism similar to the nervous system in the human body." Individuality in Industry. By Robert B. Wolf.

Doctor Charles P. Steinmetz has given in his America and the New Epoch a most correct engineering picture of the political situation in the world, with a fine characterization of the psychological peculiarities of the different races. Although this book was written in 1916, that is, before the end of the World War, it will be of permanent value; because of its deep psychological analysis of the peoples and their institutions which ultimately shape the development of any nation and which do not change with victory or defeat.

"My tribute to the memory of Gantt will be, not only the homage of a friend and admirer, but the proof that his philosophy is scientifically true. A rigorous proof is necessary, because the word 'service' belongs to that category of words, the meaning of which can be completely reversed by the verb, be it 'give' or 'take.' Gantt took 'rendering service' as an axiom; my observation, shared with many others, is that our civilization had quite another axiom, 'we preach give, we practice take.' The problem which interested me, was how to find a way out of this contradiction that would be irrefutable. If one of them is true and natural law for humans, then the other is not; if our words are true, then our deeds are not true, or if our deeds are true then the words are camouflage. I found the solution, by applying mathematically rigorous thinking. Mathematics, with its exact concept of dimensions, gave me the method. The method we use in studying phenomena is analysis or speaking mathematically, differentiation. I soon found, that the methods of differentiation are mostly correct, but our synthesis, or process of integration made by the use of metaphysics was faulty. The differentiation correctly lowered the dimensions, but our faulty integration did not restore the original dimensions. The investigation had to be made from the beginning, by defining the phenomena of life, in a specific way, which would not permit of any blunders m dimensions

"I defined the classes of life by emphasizing their incontestable, dimensional characteristics: plants are 'Chemistry-binding,' animals are 'Space-binding,' Humans are 'Time-binding' classes of life.

"These definitions have the peculiarity that they make it obvious, that: 1 The classes of life have different dimensions, and that the intermixing of dimensions. as in mathematics it makes a correct solution impossible, so in life, the results of such elementary mistakes, produce tragic consequences.

"2 The old formula on which our civilization is built, HUMAN equal ANIMAL plus or multiplied by SPARK OF DIVINITY is basically and elementarily wrong, and is mathematical nonsense, which is identical to such an absurdity as x square inches equal y linear inches plus or multiplied by z cubic inches.

"3 This basically wrong formula on which our civilization rests, is the cause of all the periodical collapses, wars and revolutions.

"4 The old system was built on animal 'space-binding' standards, and human 'time-binding' impulses were, all the time, in rebellion.

"5 As the theory of gravitation and the calculus made engineers and mathematicians masters of inanimate nature, so these tangible and incontestable definitions give them a positive base which will enable them to approach and solve human living problems, by establishing the mathematical fact that man is man, not an animal.

"6 All of those who are blinded by traditions and refuse to investigate, or to know these mathematical truths, are a danger to humanity in directly helping to obscure issues, and in helping to maintain the faulty structure which, as in the past, is bound to collapse again and again in the future.

"7 The duty of mathematically thinking people is to throw such light on this problem as will stop the stupid, or willfully destructive, and show whether they are working for or against, mankind.

"8 For the 'time-binding' class of life, it is obvious then that in this dimension, 'time-binding' is the natural law, and, if understood and analysed, it is the highest human aim.

"9 Such 'natural laws' as 'survival of the fittest' for animals, which is the 'survival of the fittest in space,' result in fight, or the survival of the strongest; whereas such a law to be a NATURAL LAW FOR HUMANS, must be in the human dimension which obviously would be the 'Survival of the fittest in TIME,' resulting in the survival of the best.

"10 All known facts must be brought to the light, to be summed up, and correlated by mathematicians and engineers with the strictest attention to dimensionality.

"11 All of our ideas have to be revised; the animal 'space-binding' standards must be rejected as dangerous and destructive, must be replaced by 'time-binding' standards, which will correspond to the natural impulses and NATURAL LAWS for humans.

"12 The minds of mathematicians and engineers are by education the first to see the far reaching importance of the facts disclosed by these definitions, and just this realization will bring about the readjustment of values in life to a human dimension, wherein pending revolutions and wars could be turned into evolution, destruction into construction, discord into accord of a common aim.

"We are the masters of our own destinies, the responsibility is ours to correct the mistakes of our ancestors and to establish a scientific philosophy, scientifically true laws, scientifically true ethics, and a scientific sociology, which will form one unified science of man and his function in the universe, a science which I propose to call 'Human Engineering.' Gantt's methods would be the first practical application toward this end.

"Gantt's concept of rendering service is scientifically true because it is 'time-binding,' and therefore true for the human class of life and in human dimension. This is why Gantt's concepts have counted for so much and will survive 'IN TIME.'" . . . Discussion by Alfred Korzybski of Mr. W. N. Polakov's paper "Principles of Industrial Philosophy" presented at the Annual Meeting of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, December 7-10, 1920.



"Work, Wages, and Profits." The Engineering Magazine

"Industrial Leadership." Yale University Press. 1916.

"Organizing for Work." Harcourt, Brace & Howe 1919. N. Y.

Selection from Contents: The Engineer as the Industrial Leader. Economics and Democracy. Democracy in Production. Democracy in the Shop. Democracy in Management. "The Religion of Democracy."


"Mastering Power Production." The Engineering Magazine Co. 1921. N. Y.

Selection from Contents: The Descent of the Principle of Production for Use. The Power Industry as an Economic Factor. Mastering Labor Problems. (Conditions) Autonomous Co-operation. Aims of Labor. Right to be Lazy and the Right to a Job. Qualification of Men. The Working Day. Fatigue. UNIVERSAL LABOR (Corresponding exactly to Time-binding-Author). The Position of an Engineer. Mastering Labor Problems. Compensation. The Social Aspect. The Economic Aspect. The Basis of Wages. Incentive Payments. Profit Sharing. Premium Places. Rewarding Individual Efforts. Two-rate wages. Energy as a Commodity.

"Principles of Industrial Philosophy." Presented at the Annual Meeting of the A.S. of M.E., December, 1920.

"Equipment and Machinery." Y.M.C.A. Association Press. 1921. N. Y.

"Organization and Management." Y.M.C.A. Association Press. 1921. N. Y.

"Quo Vadis America?" In preparation.


"America and the New Epoch." Harper & Brothers. 1916. N. Y.

Selection from Contents: The Individualistic Era: From Competition to Co-operation. England in the Individualistic Era. Germany in the Individualistic Era. The Other European Nations in the Individualistic Era. America in the Individualistic Era. Evolution: Industrial Government.

"Incentive and Initiative." Y.M.C.A. Association Press. 1921. N. Y.

WOLF, ROBERT B.: Pamphlets.

" Individuality in Industry." Bulletin of the Society to promote the Science of Management. Vol. I. No. 4. August, 1915.

"The Creative Workman." Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. 1918. N. Y.

"Non-Financial Incentives." Presented at the Annual Meeting of the A. S. of M. E. December, 1918. N. Y.

"Modern Industry and the Individual." A. W. Shaw & Co. 1919. N. Y.

"Securing the Initiative of the Workman." American Economic Association. 1919. N. Y.

"Creative Spirit in Industry." Y.M.C.A. Association Press. 1921. N. Y.


VON BERNHARDI, General F.: "Germany and the Next War." E. Arnold, London. 1912.

BRANDEIS, Louis: Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use it." F. A. Stokes, N. Y. 1914.

THOMAS FARROW and WALTER CROTCH: "The Coming Trade War." Chapman & Hall, London. 1916.

HUEFFER, FORD MADDOX: When Blood is Their Argument. Hodder & Stoughton. 1915. N. Y.

HAWSER, HENRY: "Germany's Commercial Grip on the World. Her Business Methods Explained." E. Nash Co., London. 1917.

LAUGHLIN, J. L.: "Credit of the Nations." Scribner's Sons, N. Y. 1918.

MAETZU, RAMIRO DE : "Authority, Liberty and Function in the Light of War." Geo. Allen and Unwin.

DELAISI, FRANCIS: French Opinion, "The Inevitable War." Small. Maynard & Co.. Boston. 1915,

NEILSON, FRANCIS: English Opinion, "How Diplomats Make War." B. W. Huebsch. 1916.

BY A GERMAN (German Opinion). "J'Accuse!" Hodder & Stoughton. London. 1915.