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Earl Livings 2010 Slide 1 Nexialism, Null-A and A. E. van Vogt 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Earl Livings 2010 Slide 1 Nexialism, Null-A and A. E. van Vogt 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 1 Nexialism, Null-A and A. E. van Vogt 1

2 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 2 Presentation Outline Personal Biography Professional Writing Career Influences and Interest in General Semantics Publication History: Null-A Books Story Summary: The Voyage of the Space Beagle Publication History: The Voyage of the Space Beagle Nexialism and General Semantics Nexialism in Action Influences on and Developments of Nexialism Conclusion

3 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 3 Personal Biography 1 A. E. (Alfred Elton) van Vogt (pronounced ‘vote’) was born to parents of Dutch origin, around 10am, 26 April 1912, at his maternal grandparents’ farm, Gretna, Manitoba, Canada. Early upbringing was in Neville, a small town in Saskatchewan. Then he moved to Morden, Manitoba (when he was 10), then Winnipeg, Manitoba (when he was 14), back to Morden, back to Winnipeg, then to Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

4 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 4 Personal Biography 2 Got a job in Ottawa working on the 1931 Canadian census, for ten months. Went back to Winnipeg and starting writing stories in the public library. Married Edna Mayne Hull on 9 May 1939, after he had written his first two science fiction stories.

5 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 5 Personal Biography 3 Worked for the Department of National Defence, late 1939—1941. Resigned to become a full-time writer. Entered the United States, 7 Nov 1944, and moved to Los Angeles, California. In 1950 was approached by L. Ron Hubbard to become involved in Dianetics. Became an auditor, but left around 1961, when Dianetics turned into Scientology. Mayne stayed on as an auditor for another 10 years or so. Edna Mayne Hull died 20 January 1975.

6 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 6 Personal Biography 4 Married Lydia I. Brayman on 6 October 1979. A. E. van Vogt died 26 Jan 2000. Powerful figures learn they are pawns, and pawns become major players. Victims become heroes in a blink of an eye, and bring invincible villains low. The world of every man is constantly recreated in a new image with every turn in the labyrinth of life. Joe Rico, Transfinite: The Essential A.E. Van Vogt

7 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 7 Professional Writing Career 1 Van Vogt’s stories are for thinking readers H. L. Drake First exposure to science fiction was at age eleven, in the pages of an old British Chum annual, which a friend loaned him. ‘When I was fourteen, I picked up on the newsstand the November 1926 issue of Amazing Stories...I took it home and read it, and I must have read every issue published while we were in Winnipeg that first time.’ (Reflections, p30-31)‏

8 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 8 Professional Writing Career 2 ‘During the first time I was Ottawa [1931], I took a course from the Palmer Institute of Authorship. It was entitled “English and Self-Expression”...It was a course in advanced English.’ (Reflections, p37)‏ Used the books The Only Two Ways to Write a Story by John Gallishaw and Narrative Technique by Thomas H. Uzzell to further his writing education.

9 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 9 Professional Writing Career 3 Sold his first story: ‘I Lived in the Streets’, published as ‘No One to Blame But Herself’, to True Story magazine in 1931-32. Received $110. He was 20-years-old. Won $1,000 prize in a True Story magazine monthly competition, for the 7,000-word story entitled ‘The Miracle in My Life’. Worked as a trade papers representative, wrote radio plays (beginning in 1934) and ‘slick confessional’ stories, and took the advanced course in writing from Writer’s Digest.

10 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 10 Professional Writing Career 4 ‘ day, in 1938, I went into McKnight’s Drug Store in Winnipeg, near where I lived, and causally picked up a copy of Astounding Science-Fiction.’ (Reflections, p46)‏ [July issue] He was inspired by Don A Stuart's 'Who Goes There?' to contact the editor John W. Campbell with a story idea. Stopped writing confessional stories in 1939 and devoted himself to science fiction.

11 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 11 Professional Writing Career 5 His second science fiction story written, ‘Black Destroyer’, published in the July issue of Astounding Science- Fiction, 1939. Also containing stories by Isaac Asimov and C. L. Moore, this issue is considered to have started the Golden Age of science fiction.

12 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 12 Professional Life 6 His first science fiction story written, ‘Vault of the Beast’, published in the August issue of Astounding Science-Fiction, 1940. ‘While I was up in the Gatineau [1941, in a rented cottage in Farm Point, Quebec], Campbell wrote and said, “I would like to contract you to write for Astounding...’ (Reflections, p65) ‘...during that period I lived a very ascetic existence, because in order to produce what I was producing [approx 300,000 published words per year], I worked from the time I got up [usually 9am] until about eleven o’clock at night, every day, seven days a week, for years.’ (Reflections, p65)

13 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 13 Professional Writing Career 7 His first novel, Slan, published by Arkham House (hardcover) in 1946. In 1980, Van was the first recipient of Canada's Prix Aurora Award, for Lifetime Achievement. Published over 45 books. Last novel, Null-A Three, publ. 1984. Awarded SFWA Grand Master Award, 27 April 1996.

14 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 14 A E van Vogt's Popularity Results of analysis of 'The Analytical Laboratory', 1938-1976 (a monthly reader's poll in Astounding Science Fiction, renamed Analog in 1960): 1)Anson MacDonald (10 stories) 2)Robert A Heinlein (25) 3)E E 'Doc' Smith (13) 4)Jerry Pournelle (11) 5)A E van Vogt (59)

15 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 15 Influences 1 ‘From the age of thirteen to the age of twenty I must’ve read from two hundred to five hundred books a year...In history, I was fascinated by the Napoleonic era, by the Julius Caesar-Augustan age of Rome, Italy of the Renaissance, the King Richard the Lionheart period of Britain and Europe, and ancient Egypt.’ (Reflections, p109) A. Merritt, Max Brand (one of the pseudonyms of Frederick Faust), Fred MacIsaac, Don A Stuart (the pseudonym of John W. Campbell), E.E. Smith, E. Phillips Oppenheimer, John Dickson Carr, Edgar Wallace, Frank L. Packard (the Gray Seal stories), and Rafael Sabatini.

16 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 16 Influences 2 ‘I read Balzac, Dickens, Jane Austen, Arnold Bennett, George Moore, and other 19 th century novelists of England and Europe...I read hundreds of plays: most of Shaw, Ibsen, and Moliere, some of the Greek ancients.’ (Reflections, p108) Sir James Jeans on the universe; Edward Wiggam on the mind; the series of books with titles like The Wonderful World of Coal, or The Wonderful World of the Atom; The ABC of Relativity. Also, J.B.S. Haldane, Arthur Eddington, Alfred Korzybski, Oswald Spengler, Alfred North Whitehead.

17 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 17 Interest in General Semantics 1 ‘For my second semantics-orientated novel, The Players of Null-A, I wrote a twenty-two paragraph explanation of GS, and used one paragraph as the heading of each chapter. The summation took three weeks to do. When it was out of the way, I had essentially completed my eight-year study of general semantics.’ (‘The Semantics of Twenty- First Century Science’, Best, p103) ‘General Semantics is a systematic approach to reality...’ (Best, p101)‏

18 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 18 Interest in General Semantics 2 ‘Some years ago I wrote two science-fiction novels The World of Null-A and The Players of Null-A in which, in thousands and thousands of paragraphs, I employed the various GS recommended usages for rectifying what might be called the shortcomings of English.’ (Best, p101) He was loaned a copy of Science and Sanity sometime before he left Canada for the USA. Given that The Players of Null- A was published in 1948, and assuming a one- or two-year writing and publication period, van Vogt probably commenced his study of GS around 1938-39.

19 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 19 Interest in General Semantics 3 ‘My GS training stayed with me even though I had turned to other things. In talking to people I would automatically hold up two sets of two fingers to indicate quotations. I used dates...I indexed...I was careful not to label people or things. I noticed when I was referring to the object (the territory)—then I pointed—and when to the word that described it (map or symbol). I differentiated the rituals in which most of us engage in some areas from the individual himself. And I was nearly always aware of self- reflexive sentences. Etc. Pretty precise. Sometimes irritating to other people.’ (Best, 104) [my underlining]

20 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 20 Interest in General Semantics 4 ‘...GS was a system, an orderly way of looking at the world that prescribed, essentially, being acutely aware of the symbols that man used to describe said world and think about it.’ (Best, p117) ‘An implication of general semantics is that words that contain assumptions that are only partially true interfere with reasoning at sub-awareness levels.’ (Best, p110) ‘The mind needs signals to indicate insistently that our universe is an incredibly dynamic complex.’ (Best, p115)

21 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 21 Interest in General Semantics 5 ‘What is reality? General Semantics may not bring you any closer to a positive answer. But it is a systematic approach, a series of methods that, as a starter, may restrain you from jumping to hasty conclusions about people and the world we live in.’ (Best, p118) ‘If you are a person who notices the sometimes tiresome behaviour patterns of individuals, a picture of me as a systemizer should at this stage have taken firm form in your mind. (Best, p146)

22 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 22 Other SF Writers Interested in GS Harlan Ellison Frank Herbert Aldous Huxley Samuel Delany Henry Kuttner Alexei Panshin Robert Heinlein L. Ron Hubbard Robert Anton Wilson Philip K. Dick Poul Anderson John Varley The science fiction 'What if' as a variation of the three questions of GS: 1)What do you mean? 2)How do you know? 3)What have you left out?

23 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 23 Publication History: Null-A Books Null-A Three: first published, as a limited edition, in 1984, by Editions J’ai Lu in France and the Morrison, Raven- Hill Company of Berkshire, England and Beverley Hills, California. Then published in 1985 by Sphere Books. The World of Null-A: First published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1945 (August to October issues), and in book form (hc) by Simon & Schuster in 1948. The Players of Null-A: First published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1948 (October to December) and 1949 (January), and in book form (pb) by Ace Books, as The Pawns of Null-A, in 1956.

24 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 24 The Voyage of the Space Beagle The novel is a science fiction version of Darwin’s voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle. In this case, the space ship is journeying around and beyond the galaxy and features a new type of scientist, a Nexialist. The adventures related in the novel concern encounters with various creatures, some of whom are in direct conflict with the ship and its crew and one, a race of bird-like telepathic creatures, which accidently attacks the ship when trying to communicate with it. The novel features the actions of the one Nexialist on board, Elliott Grosvenor, as he tries to help the crew deal with these problems, deal with the conflicts between various factions, and demonstrate to the specialist scientists in the crew how valuable the science and practise of Nexialism is.

25 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 25 Publication History: Space Beagle 1 ‘Black Destroyer’, Astounding Science Fiction, July 1939 [Chapters One to Six. Nexialist Elliott Grosvenor was not in the original story.]. ‘War of Nerves’. Other Worlds, 1950. [Chapters Nine to Twelve].

26 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 26 Publication History: Space Beagle 2 ‘Discord in Scarlet’, Astounding Science Fiction, December 1939 [Chapters Thirteen to Twenty-One. Ixtl’s quest to implant eggs in crew members was duplicated in the Aliens franchise, and van Vogt received an out of court settlement (reportedly $50,000). Again, Grosvenor was not in the original story.] ‘M 33 in Andromeda’, Astounding Science-Fiction, 1943 [Chapters Twenty-Two to Twenty-Eight].

27 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 27 Publication History: Space Beagle 3 Published by Panther Books, in 1959, as a ‘fix-up’ novel, which is made up of previously published short stories with added material, such as transitions. He added approx 30,000 words in this process. Is seen by some as a precursor to the Star Trek franchise.

28 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 28 Gosseyn and Grosvenor Both are examples of van Vogt's theme of the 'super-man'. Names start with the same letter. Gosseyn (Go-sane). Grosvenor (‘contains’ governor, as in a leader and a self-regulating mechanism). Gosseyn has null-a training and a second brain that gives him psychic-type powers. Grosvenor only has his nexialist training, plus the teaching instruments of the Nexialist Foundation.

29 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 29 Definitions of Nexialism 1 “At the Nexial Foundation we teach that behind all the grosser aspects of any science there is an intricate tie-up with other sciences...” (p44) Nexialism is the science of joining in an orderly fashion the knowledge of one field of learning with that of other fields. It provides techniques for speeding up the processes of learning knowledge and of using effectively what has been learned. (p51)... “Nexialism? What’s that?” “Applied whole-ism,” said Grosvenor, and stepped across the threshold. (p37, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, Panther Books, 1977)

30 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 30 Definitions of Nexialism 2 “...Nexialism is a tremendous new approach to learning and association...” (p55) “I refer to the science of Nexialism, which has its own mathematics, and is a method of training designed to bridge the gap between facts that are related but separated, for instance, by being contained in the brainpans of two individuals. Nexialism joins. It seeks to unify apparent irrelations; and its scope is so great that the data of an entire galaxy is not too complicated for it to cast into a recognizable design.” (M 33, p143) [my underlining]

31 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 31 Nexial Techniques Hypnosis (usually with gas equipment)‏ Psychotherapy Miniature transmission equipment Encephalo-adjuster (direct stimulation of brain cells)‏ Musical tone instrument that stimulates the brain directly...

32 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 32 Nexialism & General Semantics ‘Since there are many sciences, it is obvious that I cannot in a short article give examples from them all. So I asked a group of people to whom I had given a talk on GS to ask me test questions. My preliminary statement to them was that a GS analysis could probably be made of the terminology of any science.’ (Best, p115. A possible Nexialism approach at ‘joining’ sciences?)

33 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 33 GS Principles and Techniques The map is not the territory. The map doesn't cover all the territory. The map is self-reflexive. The word isn't the thing. Extensional/Intensional. Non-Allness. Non-Elementalism. Non-Identity. Organism-as-a-Whole-in- Environments. Over-/Under-/Un-Defined Words. Dating. Delayed Evaluating. Et Cetera (Etc.). Hyphens. Indexing. Logical Fate. Multiordinality. Multi-valued Orientation. Quotes. Self-reflexiveness. Structure, Relations, Order. Structural Differential. Time-binding.

34 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 34 Nexialism in Action: Coeurl 1 “We have enough evidence now,” he [Grosvenor] dictated into the recorder, “to make what we Nexialists call a Statement of Direction.” (p21) Grosvenor made no reply. His part in the incident was finished. He had recognized an emotional crisis, and he had spoken the necessary words in the right tone of peremptory command. The fact that those who had obeyed him now questioned his authority to give the command was unimportant. The crisis was over. (p22-23)

35 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 35 Nexialism in Action: Coeurl 2 The suggestion [Space Madness] irritated Grosvenor. It was a meaningless phrase, still current after all these years of space travel. The fact that men had gone insane in space from loneliness, fear, and tension did not make a special sickness of it. There were certain emotional dangers on a long voyage like this—they were among the reasons he had been put on board—but insanity from loneliness was not likely to be one of them. (p29)

36 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 36 Nexialism in Action: Coeurl 3 “I know something of metallurgy,” he said. (p33) He appreciated the forcefulness and the purpose of the attack that was about to be made. He could even imagine that it might be successful. But it would be a hit-or-miss success, not actually successful. The affair was being handled on the basis of an old, old system of organizing men and their knowledge. Most irritating was the fact that he could only stand by and be negatively critical. (p35-36)

37 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 37 Nexialism in Action: Coeurl 4 What Morton wanted was integration of many sciences, which was what Nexialism was for...The trouble with what the scientists had agreed on was that it was not thorough enough. A number of specialists had pooled their knowledge on a fairly superficial level. Each had briefly outlined his ideas to people who were not trained to grasp the wealth of associations behind each notion. And so the attack plan lacked unity. (p38-39) It struck Grosvenor that the end result might well be death for people who had inflexible ways of dealing with unusual danger. (p41) [Outside Context Problems]

38 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 38 Nexialism in Action: Riim How could you influence another’s mind? By changing his assumptions. How could you alter another’s actions? By changing his basic beliefs, his emotional certainties...In the history of life, few thinking beings had done anything illogical—within their own frame of reference. If the frame was falsely based, if the assumptions were untrue to reality, then the individual’s automatic logic could lead them to disastrous conclusions. (p89) “It is unwise for birds—or men—to live too specialised an existence...” (p92)

39 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 39 Nexialism in Action: Ixtl 1 He [Morton] said, “Recently, I have personally come to feel that the science of Nexialism may have a new approach to offer to the solution of problems. Since it is the whole-istic approach of life, carried to the nth degree, it may help us to a quick decision at a time when a quick decision is important...” (p109)

40 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 40 Nexialism in Action: Ixtl 2 But there was another factor in this developing situation: the conviction and hopes that men had. Only an actual event would change the minds of some people. When their ideas were altered by reality— and then only—they would be emotionally ready for more drastic solutions. It seemed to Grosvenor that he was learning slowly but surely how to influence men. It was not enough to have information and knowledge, not enough to be right. Men had to be persuaded and convinced. (p133)

41 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 41 Nexialism in Action: The Anabis 1 Unfortunately, men who had knowledge of only one or two sciences might not be able, or even willing, to comprehend the potentialities of the deadliest danger that had ever confronted all the life of the entire intergalactic universe. The solution itself might become the centre of a violent controversy. (p161)

42 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 42 Nexialism in Action: The Anabis 2 “...But the fact is that people who are wrapped up in pleasure, excitement, or ambition are easily controlled. I didn’t devise the tactics I’d use. They’ve been around for centuries. But historical attempts to analyse them just didn't get to the roots of the process. Until recently the relation of physiology to psychology was on a fairly theoretical basis. Nexial training reduced it to definite techniques. (p179)

43 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 43 Nexialism in Action: The Anabis 3 “A baby is conditioned when it learns to walk, move its arms, speak. Why not extend the conditioning to hypnotism, chemical responses, the effects of food? It was possible hundreds of years ago. It would prevent a lot of disease, heartache, and the kind of catastrophe that derives from misunderstanding of one’s own body and mind.” (p183)

44 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 44 Nexialism in Action: The Anabis 4 “The problems that Nexialism confronts are whole problems. Man has divided life and matter into separate compartments of knowledge and being. And, even though he sometimes uses words which indicate his awareness of the wholeness of nature, he continues to behave as if the one, changing universe had many separately functioning parts. The techniques we will discuss tonight...will show how this disparity between reality and man’s behaviour can be overcome.” (p190)

45 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 45 Nexialism and GS Concepts 1 Changing assumptions [of the Riim] relate to a basic formulation found in general semantics: i.e., sometimes the behaviours of individuals are based on assumptions which are false when compared to facts. “War of Nerves,” and The Voyage of the Space Beagle touch on additional concerns of general semanticists: how we know what we know, logic, and a proper “order of abstractions” (what we perceive, the proper stages of how we perceive and the labels given to our perceptions)... continued next slide

46 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 46 Nexialism and GS Concepts 2...“Non-allness” (we cannot know all that there is to know about a given person, place or thing) is very much part of general semanticist theorizing, but, van Vogt may have contradicted this formulation when later in the novel Grosvenor seems to know all that there is for humans to know at the moment, which is one way that Nexialism is defined. Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics theories of human communicating also include the idea that “unsane” individuals...have the ability to correct their false assumptions and become “sane”, if they correct errors in their abstracting and labelling processes. (Icon, p37-38)

47 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 47 Possible Influences on and Developments of Nexialism General Systems Theory International Society for the System Sciences Institute of Nexialism (ION), The Nexial Institute, Paper: Theory Theory: An Introduction to Nexialism, Cybernetics and Second-Order Cybernetics Ken Wilbur's Integral Theory (AQAL: All Quadrants, All Lines)‏

48 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 48 Conclusion Van Vogt’s stories emphasized that only smart and well disciplined Homo sapiens can survive on earth and move us to interstellar space conditions. (Icon, p45) The undisputed idea man of the futuristic field. Forrest J. Ackerman

49 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 49 Bibliography 1 Drake, H. L. A. E. van Vogt: Science Fantasy’s Icon. Lancaster:, Inc, 2001. Kodish, Susan Presby and Kodish, Bruce I. Drive Yourself Sane: Using the Uncommon Sense of General Semantics. Pasadena: Extension Publishing, 2001. Van Vogt, A. E. M 33 in Andromeda. New York: Paperback Library, 1971. Van Vogt, A. E. ‘My Life Was My Best Science Fiction Story’. Fantastic Lives: Autobiographical Essays by Notable Science Fiction Writers. Martin H. Greenberg, ed. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1981.

50 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 50 Biography 2 Van Vogt, A. E. Reflections of A. E. van Vogt. Lakemount: Fictioneer Books, 1975. Van Vogt, A. E. The Best of A. E. van Vogt. Intro. Barry N. Malzberg. Markham: Pocket Books, 1976. Van Vogt, A. E. The Voyage of the Space Beagle. St Albans: Panther Books, 1977. Van Vogt, A. E. Transfinite: The Essential A.E. Van Vogt. Ed. Joe Rico and Rick Katze. Framingham: The NESFA Press, 2003.

51 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 51 Bibliography 3 Websites:, 16 Aug 2010., 5 Aug 2010., 5 Aug 2010., 25 Nov 2010., 5 Aug 2010., 5 Aug 2010., 5 Aug 2010., 6 Aug 2010., 6 Aug 2010.

52 Earl Livings 2010 Slide 52 Bibliography 4, 6 Aug 2010., 5 Aug 2010., 6 Aug 2010., 5 Aug 2010. x.html, 5 Aug 2010.

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