Alfred Korzybski - Early Life and Career

Early Life and Career

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Korzybski was born in Warsaw, Poland which at that time was part of the Russian Empire. He was part of an aristocratic Polish family whose members had worked as mathematicians, scientists, and engineers for generations. He learned the Polish language at home and the Russian language in schools; and having a French governess and a German governess, he became fluent in these four languages as a child.

Korzybski was educated at the Warsaw University of Technology in engineering. During the First World War Korzybski served as an intelligence officer in the Russian Army. After being wounded in a leg and suffering other injuries, he moved to North America in 1916 (first to Canada, then the United States) to coordinate the shipment of artillery to Russia. He also lectured to Polish-American audiences about the conflict, promoting the sale of war bonds. After the War, he decided to remain in the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1940. He met Mira Edgerly, a painter of portraits on ivory, shortly after the Armistice, and married her in January, 1919. Their marriage lasted until his death.

His first book, Manhood of Humanity, was published in 1921. In the book, he proposed and explained in detail a new theory of humankind: mankind as a "time-binding" class of life (humans perform time binding by the transmission of knowledge and abstractions through time which are accreted in cultures).

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