Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chapter 3 - A Good Engineer: Part 1- Introduction

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Alfred had no passion for chemistry. But he would do as his parents wished. Deeply frustrated, he resigned himself to attend the Warsaw Polytechnic.

The original Polytechnic, the Preparatory School for the Institute of Technology was 
founded in 1826. The Tsarist government closed the Institute after the failed Polish Insurrection of 1831. It was reopened as the Emperor Nicholas II University of Technology in 1898.(1) Fifty years later, in 1948, the 68-year-old Korzybski wrote that he spent four years there, from 1898 to 1902.(2) Having lost his personal records from Poland, he did not feel definite about those dates. But other references he gave for events around this part of his life, are consistent with this time period. That four-year period would have placed him among the new students of the entering class at the just-reopened school.

The reopening, after so many years, of a Polytechnic in Warsaw would likely have felt like a day of celebration to Polish students. Whatever joy Alfred may have felt would
not have come unmixed with disappointment. As a Polish patriot, he would have found grating the official Russian name for the school and the use of Russian as the language of instruction. And personally, he also felt cut adrift from the dreams he had held for so many years: “My life became aimless. I could say deal in chemical engineering… I just went ahead, [but I] lost interest, certainly lost interest in engineering…”(3)

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
1. “Warsaw University of Technology - University History”, Warsaw University of Technology (Polytechnika Warszawska) (accessed on 10/21/2010)
2. Korzybski, “American 
Men of Science Application, 1948”. IGS Archives. 
3. Korzybski 1947, p. 52. 

Part 2 >

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