3 – Bypassing

General Semantics: An Approach to Effective Language Behavior was arisen and also presented on the Canvas Netjob-related by Steve Stockdale, Mary Lahman, and also Greg Thompkid. It is recreated right here under terms of the Creative Commons Share Alike License as published on Canvas Network-related from 13 January – 24 February 2014.

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Module 3 Pages

Bypassing | Bypassing Case AnalysisAssignments, Discussions and Quizzes | References and Resources

Module Map – led by Mary Lahguy, PhD

In Module 2 we uncovered the contributing components and correctives for allness. In Module 3, we will certainly proceed to use what we have actually learned about General Semantics to build even more effective language behaviors.

Mary will lead this module based on excerpts from her PDF textbook, Awareness and Action. These excerpts can be review within the Canvas pperiods so it’s not important to downfill the PDF textbook. Because minor alters have actually been made to accommodate the virtual format and module numbering, we like and also recommend you check out the pages from within Canvas to complete the assignments. But you are welpertained to downpack and review the complete textbook.

Module Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this module, students will certainly be able to:

Identify the GS premise that defines bypassing.Exordinary the contributing determinants to bypassing.Exsimple why we why would certainly we make the presumption that words expect the very same to us as they perform to one more.Identify the correctives necessary to combat bypassing.Exordinary exactly how we have the right to become sensitive to the contexts in which others are utilizing words.

Module Activities

This week we will certainly learn exactly how to usage GS values to stop bypassing. You will:

Complete the module analysis, excerpt from Chapter 5, Bypassing, from Awareness and also Action.Watch one more Lee video in which he describes bypassing.Review standard aspects of verbal awareness.Watch an episode of the Twilight Zone series titled “Word Play.”Analyze character actions from a sample Case Study.Participate in a Discussion related to bypassing.Choose one various other Case Study for additionally analysis (from Cases 3.1, 3.2, or 3.3).Complete the module quiz.

Chapter 3: Bypassing – authored by Mary Lahman, PhD

Missing Each Other With the Words that We Choose

In communicating with others, we frequently focus on the message instead of the perchild via whom we are interacting. We focus on words bereason we believe interpretation is in the word. We forget Korzybski’s premise that “a map is not the territory” (the word is not the thing). Additionally, we have to learn specific language actions essential to address bypassing, because as Anton proposed, “there is no not territory.”

Use the adhering to questions and slides to guide your reading (excerpted from Chapter 5 in Awareness and also Action, peras 47-52) and viewing of the Twilight Zone episode entitled “Word Play,” all on this page.

Why would we make the assumption that words expect the exact same to us as they carry out to another?How have the right to we come to be sensitive to the contexts in which others are utilizing words?Are tbelow situations wright here doublesoptimal could be ethically defensible? Why?What did you learn from watching the Twilight Zone episode entitled “Word Play”?

It is specifically because each of us sees and also experiences the people differently that language becomes our most necessary suggests for coming to some sort of agreement on our individual experiences, on just how we see the civilization. — William Lutz (1989, p. 6)


The map–area analogy resonates because civilization recognize that any kind of given map cannot recurrent all of its area. Additionally, we understand that because maps are self-reflexive, we confusage levels of abstraction. Now, we will certainly find that we still have the right to miss out on each other’s definitions because we foracquire that a map is not the territory it represents: “If we reflect upon our languages, we discover that at ideal they should be considered only as maps. A word is not the object it represents” (Korzybski, 2000, p. 58). The map represents the assumptions and also experiences of the mapmaker. This area explores what happens once world perform not acknowledge that meaning is in the mapmaker (person), not the map (word).

How many civilization deserve to remember being certain that they interpreted what a teacher meant by “summarize the article” but later discovered that our interpretation of “summarize” and also the teacher’s interpretation were exceptionally different? Haney (1992) explained this phenomenon as bypassing: “the listener presumably heard the exact same words that the speaker sassist, yet the communicators seem to have actually talked previous each other” (p. 268). The listener and also speaker act as if the words mean the exact same point to each person, yet their interpretations are different. Similarly, communicators deserve to usage various words to describe the same thing: some contact a soft drink “soda,” whereas others describe it as “pop.” Miscommunication frequently outcomes bereason these assumptions are faulty and go unnoticed.

When I tell students that there will be a “quiz” throughout the next course period, I get few inquiries concerning the nature of the assessment. Students could ask what material will certainly be contained on the quiz, yet hardly ever carry out they ask around the number or kind of inquiries, and how the score will certainly influence their final course grade. Many times, bereason quizzes are used to judge comprehension of product not mastery, tright here is bit affect on final grades. We miss out on each other’s meaning because we execute not inspect the definition each person intfinished, even if we are making use of the very same words.

Consequently, we should check out contributing components that bring about bypassing. Once we discover why we execute not on a regular basis inquire around others’ interpretations, we will be tested to construct new behavior, such as paraphrasing and trying out contextual ideas.

You might desire to refer earlier to the Consciousness of Abstracting-Analyzing web page in Module 1 to testimonial bypassing in the context of various other behaviors to be aware of.


Haney (1992) said that bypassing is resulted in by 2 assumptions: words have mono-consumption and they have definitions. First, we operate under the presumption that words have actually mono-usage when we forobtain that words have more than one meaning. Haney (1992) promoted for “learning about the prevalence of multiusage in our language . . . will anticipate that words can easily be interpreted in different ways by different people” (p. 274). He noted many examples of “word coinage,” the innovation of new word with acronyms, such as “AIDS” (p. 275), and also of “usage coinage,” the brand-new usage of existing words, such as “high” (p. 277).

Similarly, Haney (1992) challenged readers to uncover words that were provided in just one way: “for the 500 of the a lot of generally supplied words in our language tright here is accumulation of over 14,000 dictionary definitions!” (p. 274). Regional variations and also technological jargon encountered daily compound this conundrum. How many type of times have actually you been unable to understand medical terminology provided by a physician? Do conversations via a pwood and also auto mechanic make any kind of even more sense? How many type of human being can follow the political jargon used to debate the nationwide debt?

With a much better understanding of multiuse language, we recognize that the presumption, words have meaning, also is inaccurate. We know from our understanding of basic semantics that the “map is not the ‘territory,’ so there is no not area,” so it adheres to that interpretation in the perchild, not in the map (word). Similar to the inference–observation confusion, world take an uncalculated danger once they assume understanding based upon words and also nonverbal cues.

Additionally, we should remember that each person is operates from a certain social conmessage. According to Hofstede (1984), cultures differ in how they control power differences, are tolerant of ambiguity, value the individual or collective, and emphasize assertiveness or nurturance. Thus, we might miss out on each other with meaning bereason we execute not understand distinctions in perspectives and beliefs. As Morreale et al. (2007) explained:

In collectivist societies, collective goals take priority over individual purposes. People in collectivist societies such as Japan, China, and Korea might discover it difficult to soptimal up and sell their opinions in a group setting, particularly if those views are contrary to the group’s majority opinion. Their feeling of loyalty precludes them from voicing dissenting opinions and disrupting the group. (p.64)

Finally, when human being usage language via intent to miscommunicate, they are guilty of “deliberate bypassing” (Haney, 1992, p. 286). Lutz (1989) referred to as this phenomenon “doublespeak”: language that avoids or shifts responsibility . . . that conceals or stays clear of thought” (p. 1). Doublestop is supplied to mislead and deceive. Lutz has written numerous publications and many kind of articles about develops of doublespeak that are supplied by business and political leaders; in specific, he figured out 4 forms:

Euphemism: “an inoffensive or positive word or phrase supplied to avoid a harsh, unpleasant, or distasteful reality” (p. 2).Jargon: “the specialized language of a trade, profession, or equivalent group” (p. 3).Gobbledygook: “a matter of piling on of words, of overwhelming the audience via words, the bigger the words and also the much longer the sentences the better” (p. 5).Inflated language: “designed to make the ordinary seem extraordinary; to make daily points seem impressive; to give an prestige to civilization, instances, or points that would certainly not usually be taken into consideration important; to make the straightforward seem complex” (p. 6).

Unfortunately, we uncover many examples of doublesoptimal in national politics, organization, and also education. For circumstances, when leaders usage “collateral damage” to describe civilians that die in warfare and also “re-engineering” to explain layoffs, they are employing euphemisms to mislead the public associated. Similarly, as soon as administrators usage jargon and lengthy sentences, they may be trying to obfuscate, not intricate. These examples motivate us to face bypassing in personal and skilled contexts.


Similar to the previous fads of allness and inference–monitoring confusion, we recognize that we cannot totally remove bypassing. However before, the following correctives will prevent as much bypassing as possible. These actions must become a habit, an immediate response in the time of a communication event.

Be Person-minded, not Word-minded

Do you ever uncover yourself saying through friends over silly questions? It could be that you are not at odds about the facts involved but merely disagreeing around the “label” that each person gives those facts. For instance, as soon as you consistently arrive 15 minutes late for family dinners, some members might analyze your habits as disrespectful of “family members time,” whereas other family members think that it is fine to neglect a cultural norm of being punctual.

We frequently forgain that words are meaningmuch less signs until someone attaches definition to them. One of my favorite ways to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of language is to watch the Twilight Zone episode, “Wordplay,” which can be discovered on YouTube. In the “Wordplay, Episode 1,” the primary character, Bill, quickly discovers that the words civilization use execute not make sense in the conmessage in which the words are usually offered. For example, as Bill leaves for job-related, the neighbor refers to their dog, which just had actually puppies, as an “encyclopedia.” When Bill gets to work, a customer discusses celebrating 17th wedding “throw rug,” interpretation, of course, a 17th wedding “anniversary.” Later in the episode, as soon as a colleague and Bill’s wife both refer to “lunch” as “dinosaur,” Bill knows that he has entered the “twilight zone.” As “Wordplay, Episode 2” unfolds, however, Bill painstakingly communicates through his family by focusing on the people and also contexts, not the words being used.

In real life, civilization who are conscious that interpretation lives “in the person” are much less involved via dictionary definitions and are even more attuned to what senders expect in various conmessages. If we clarify that we are making use of words in the same method as those via whom we connect, we are being “person-minded.” For instance, imagine how it would certainly feel to interact with someone whose first priority is to understand what you intend by “down time.” Instead of assuming that you want to check out a magazine and then take a nap, he or she would understand also that cleaning can energize you even more than analysis and napping.

Query and also Paraphrase

Curious civilization discover it simple to be person-minded. Unlike those that are certain that they understand what others expect, inquisitive individuals are more worried around learning than whether others perceive them as being intelligent. Many type of college professors and also company supervisors agree through Haney’s (1992) conclusion that asking thoughtful questions will certainly earn the respect of superiors bereason concerns display “interest and a sense of responsibility” (p. 290).

Similarly, if we paraphrase—utilizing our words to summarize a speaker’s message and also to clarify the accuracy of our interpretations—we are being person-minded. If you have tried to accurately summarize what one more person’s directions, you know the time-consuming nature of this process. However before, as soon as you prevent gaining lost bereason you have actually paraphrased well, ultimately, you might save time and also build supportive communication climates.

Be Approachable

In addition to remembering to query and also paraphrase, we have to do all we can to be receptive to others’ ideas and also behaviors. Haney (1992) recommfinished asking the following question each day: “Am I genuinely receptive to feedago, and also execute I continually communicate my receptivity to others?” (p. 293). This suggests paying cshed attention to messages that we might be unpurposely sending, both verbally and also nonverbally. Researchers note the prestige of nonverbal cues for common understanding: we need culturally correct occulesics (usage of eyes), proxemics (usage of personal space), and also haptics (usage of touch), in enhancement to effective vocalics (usage of voice) and also kinesics (use of body) for the miscellaneous settings in which we communicate (Morreale et al., 2007).

Perhaps by identifying what renders other world approachable in miscellaneous contexts, we deserve to incorporate such verbal and nonverbal skills when interacting through others. Moreover, we might solicit feedback from those we trust. If someone argues that absence of eye contact makes us seem “unapproachable,” we can purposefully monitor our relations through others, particularly if we are living and also functioning in the United States, wbelow offering good eye contact is a authorize of caring and respect.

Be Sensitive to Contexts

Haney (1992) proposed that the “surrounding words (verbal context) and also the surrounding circumstance (situational context)” (p. 295) carry out the clues required to proccasion bypassing. We understand this to be true in educational conmessages as soon as we find the definition of brand-new ideas by noting exactly how they are offered in a sentence.

Many kind of of us choose the difficulty of a good mystery, so we might enjoy being a “language detective,” finding out the definition in the perboy and the conmessage. Postman (1976) coined the expression “stupid talk” to refer to language offered by those who overlook contextual cues; it is “talk that does not understand what environment it is in” (p. 20). He said that effective interaction contains civilization and their functions, in addition to “general rules of the discourse through which such purposes are normally achieved . . . specific talk actually being offered in the situation” (Postmale, p. 8). We have to discover whether our language is both correct and effective for the context.

Correctives for Bypassing:

Be person-minded, not wordminded — Disagree through the dictionary and agree with the person’s background.

Query & paraphrase — Summarize a speaker and also then ask clarifying concerns.

Be approachable — Be open to verbal and also nonverbal feedearlier.

Be sensitive to contexts — Be mindful of the case in which the word was provided.


In interacting with others, we frequently emphasis on the message rather of the perchild with whom we are communicating. We emphasis on words bereason we believe definition is in the word. We rely on dictionaries and also past experiences to find interpretation, instead of being curious about the contexts in which we discover ourselves. Furthermore, we foracquire that the majority of of our words have multiple definitions. We are unaware that world can usage euphemisms and also jargon to mislead.

To implement the premise that “a map is not the ‘area,’ so tright here is no not region,” we should act as if we know that interpretation is in the perkid. We should be sensitive to conmessages in which a perkid is using a word, very closely paraphrasing answers to clarifying concerns. Throughout this message we have learned that added inquiry deserve to bring about even more effective message building and construction because we cannot maybe know everything around anypoint and also bereason language is self-reflexive. Even though paraphrasing could be time-consuming at the outset, it builds trust in a connection, which could conserve valuable time in the lengthy run. Perhaps we can learn somepoint new and end up being more approachable in the process.


1. Document your reflections on these concerns in your Personal Journal:

How can you teach your supervisor at work-related around bypassing?Why would certainly we make the presumption that words intend the very same to us as they perform to another?Are tbelow instances wright here doublesheight could be ethically defensible?

2. Throughout the week (and the duration of the course):

Engage a supervisor, co-worker, or frifinish at occupational in a conversation in which you explain the meaning of understanding bypassing.

3. Share your insights and experiences through others in the course by participating in the Module 3 Bypassing discussion.

Remember, you won’t be able to check out others’ responses till you’ve posted yours.



Irving J. Lee from “Talking Sense” on Bypassing

If you have actually trouble viewing YouTube videos, attempt this as an alternative:

The standard question is not, “What did a perkid say?” The question is, “Does what a person claims fit the life facts.”

Verbal Awareness

from Chapter 2 of Awareness and also Action

Korzybski (2000) argued for a “finish denial of ‘identification,’” an elimicountry of identification, to help us match the framework of our language to the nonverbal world it represents (p. 10). In various other words, we should challenge our perceptions bereason, as we learned previously, what we define is not what we sense, and what we feeling is not what taken place. Korzybski was pertained to with humans confutilizing these levels of abstraction: “When human beings who are involved in abstracting identify (confuse) orders of abstracting they are “identifying” . . . identification the major mechanism of misevaluation” (as cited in Pula, 2000, p. 23). Similarly, Chisholm (1945) defined what happens when we confuse levels of abstraction:

What I say around it is what it is

My statement = reality around subject of the statement


What I say around anything = what it is (p. 3)

Unfortunately, our nervous systems might proccasion us from learning what “it” is for sure yet our language enables us to run as if words, or labels, represent reality. The require for structural changes in our language is noticeable in the complying with example:

If it is what I say it is, it is perfectly safe for me to overview myself entirely in regards to my verbal formulation. I don’t need to look out at the human being aobtain at all because I have in me some words which are indistinguishable to it.

But what is in the cans in a grocery keep is even more essential than the labels wound roughly them: if a deserve to containing spinach is by mistake labeled pumpkin, no amount of looking at the label will certainly make the pie of the contents palatable pie for anyone however Popeye. Yet identification habits converts label and thing labeled, and also assumes ican safely overview my reactions by the label. (Chisholm, 1945, p. 3)

Even if we laugh at this fuzzy logic, exactly how many kind of times do we react to labels on a daily basis? Labeling some human being as “kind” and also others as “rude,” we move with our interactions without an awareness of just how people readjust. This is why some general semanticists advocate for elimination of the verb “to be,” proposing that we compose in “E-prime,” preventing the “is” of identification (Bourland also, 1989). Murphy (1992) explained that the verb “is” joins “nouns at various levels of abstraction ” and joins “a noun to an adjective that neither entirely nor permanently qualifies it ” (p. 20).

Write a paragraph around your ideal friend and then examine it for creates of the verb “to be.” See just how many times you use the “is of identity” to attach nouns as if they were the same, on the exact same level of abstractivity (e.g., my friend is a physician). Similarly, just how often did you uncover the “is of prediction,” linking nouns via adjectives as if personality qualities remajor consistent (e.g., she is amazing)? Just bereason I am “outgoing” this particular day does not intend that I will certainly act that method in a couple of days, let alone in a couple of years.

Murphy (1992) ongoing via more problems with the verb “to be”:

. . . the verb makes possible the widespcheck out use of the passive voice, problems us to accept detours about crucial worries of causality (“Mistakes were made”). It provides feasible the elevating of unanswerable, bereason hopelessly formulated, inquiries (“What is truth?”). It provides feasible, too, the building of a selection of phrases (“As is renowned . . .”) that casually move thinking under a rug. One also finds the verb to be pressed into organization on befifty percent of stereotypical labeling (“Scotsguys are stingy”) and overwide existential generalization (“I am simply no good”). These issues aside, semanticists say, the verb to be, broadly “Yet identification actions equates label and also point labeled, and also assumes ican safely guide my reactions by the label.” speaking , imputes an Aristotelian neatness, rigidity, and permanence to the human being about us and to the relationships among all things in it—problems that hardly ever have actually a basis in dynamic truth. (p. 20)

Such examples show the should scrutinize the verb “to be” in our daily reasoning, composing, and speaking.

Consequently, we have the right to completely appreciate the require for verbal and also nonverbal awareness in light of the abstractivity procedure. The complying with chapters of this text help us to put this general semantics methodology right into everyday practice. At some point, we desire to stop being trapped at higher levels of abstraction and also pursuing unattainable goals, the result of which is well described by Wendell Johnkid (1946):

Despite all the prizes he captures, “success” eludes him! It eludes him for the remarkably obvious, however persistently unnoticed, factor that it is simply a verbal mirage. What he seeks to escape is an absolute faiattract, what he anxiously pursues is an absolute success—and also they do not exist exterior his aching head. What he does in truth accomplish is a collection of relative successes; and these are all that he, these are all that anyone, have the right to ever before achieve. But in the middle of relative abundance, absolutistic idealists endure the agonies of famine. (pp. 5–6)

Twilight Zone episode, “Word Play”

In order to understand also the fallacy that words have interpretations, that words are simply meaningmuch less variables until someone fixes the variable and also chooses to analyze the words in a specific means, watch the adhering to Twilight Zone episode.

Why do people argue over silly questions? They think they are disputing facts, yet they are disagreeing around what name they will certainly offer to those facts.

Multiple Meanings for “FAST” and also “CALL”

Enjoy the adhering to excerpt from William Haney’s sixth edition of Communication and Interindividual Relations: Texts and Cases (1992, p. 274):


Miscommunication Worksheets

The adhering to worksheets (one completed, one blank) can be offered to assist acknowledge patterns of miscommunication, consisting of Allness and Bypassing.

See more: What Are The Poet I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Literary Devices And Theme

In Column 1, describe through in-depth dialogue “who” sassist “what.”

In Pillar 2, usage the meanings for each contributing variable and also then apply it specifically to the dialogue consisted of.

In Pillar 3, use meanings for each corrective and then use the correctives to your habits (it is tempting to want the various other person to usage the correctives, yet they don’t recognize the correctives favor you do!)

Completed Worksheet for Bypassing

Worksheet Example for Bypassing


Blank Misinteraction Worksheet

Downfill printable version (pdf)


Module 3 Pages

Bypassing | Bypassing Case AnalysisAssignments, Discussions and Quizzes | References and Resources