S. I. HAYAKAWA Biography - Polititians


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Name: Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa                                                                 
Born: 18 July 1906 Vancouver, British Columbia                                               
Died: 27 February 1992 Greenbrae, California                                                 
Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa (July 18, 1906 - February 27, 1992) was a Canadian-born               
American academic and political figure. He was an English professor, served as               
president of San Francisco State University and then a United States Senator                 
from California from 1977 to 1983. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,               
he was educated in the public schools of Calgary, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba;             
received his undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in             
1927; graduate degrees in English from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec,                   
Canada, in 1928, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1935.                             
Professionally, Hayakawa was a psychologist, semanticist, teacher and writer. He             
was an instructor at the University of Wisconsin from 1936 to 1939 and at the                 
Armour Institute of Technology from 1939 to 1947. Hayakawa was an important                   
semanticist. His first book on the subject, Language in Thought and Action, was               
published in 1949 as an expansion of the earlier work, Language in Action,                   
written since 1938 and published in 1941 to be a Book-of-the-Month Club                       
selection. It is currently in its fifth edition and has greatly helped                       
popularize Alfred Korzybski's general semantics and in effect semantics in                   
general, while semantics or theory of meaning was overwhelmed by mysticism,                   
propagandism and even scientism. In the Preface, he said:                                     
"The original version of this book, Language in Action, published in 1941, was               
in many respects a response to the dangers of propaganda, especially as                       
exemplified in Adolf Hitler's success in persuading millions to share his                     
maniacal and destructive views. It was the writer's conviction then, as it                   
remains now, that everyone needs to have a habitually critical attitude towards               
language his own as well as that of others both for the sake of his personal                 
well-being and for his adequate functioning as a citizen. Hitler is gone, but if             
the majority of our fellow-citizens are more susceptible to the slogans of fear               
and race hatred than to those of peaceful accommodation and mutual respect among             
human beings, our political liberties remain at the mercy of any eloquent and                 
unscrupulous demagogue."                                                                     
In addition to such motivation, he acknowledged his debt as follows:                         
"My deepest debt in this book is to the General Semantics ('non-Aristotelian                 
system') of Alfred Korzybski. I have also drawn heavily upon the works of other               
contributors to semantic thought: especially C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards,                 
Thorstein Veblen, Edward Sapir, Leonard Bloomfield, Karl R. Popper, Thurman                   
Arnold, Jerome Frank, Jean Piaget, Charles Morris, Wendell Johnson, Irving J.                 
Lee, Ernst Cassirer, Anatol Rapoport, Stuart Chase. I am also deeply indebted to             
the writings of numerous psychologists and psychiatrists with one or another of               
the dynamic points of view inspired by Sigmund Freud: Karl Menninger, Trigant                 
Burrow, Carl Rogers, Kurt Lewin, N. R. F. Maier, Jurgen Ruesch, Gregory Bateson,             
Rudolf Dreikurs, Milton Rokeach. I have also found extremely helpful the                     
writings of cultural anthropologists, especially those of Benjamin Lee Whorf,                 
Ruth Benedict, Clyde Kluckhohn, Leslie A. White, Margaret Mead, Weston La Barre."             
He was a lecturer at the University of Chicago from 1950 to 1955. During this                 
time he presented a talk at the 1954 Conference of Activity Vector Analysts at               
Lake George, New York in which he discussed a theory of personality from the                 
semantic point of view. This was later published as The Semantic Barrier. This               
was a definitive lecture as it discussed the Darwinism of the "survival of self"             
as contrasted with the "survival of self-concept".                                           
He became an English professor at San Francisco State College (now called San                 
Francisco State University) from 1955 to 1968. Among the students he trained                 
were commune leader Stephen Gaskin and author Gerald Haslam. He became president             
of San Francisco State College during the turbulent period of 1968 to 1973,                   
becoming president emeritus in 1973 and then wrote a column for the Register &               
Tribune Syndicate from 1970 to 1976.                                                         
During 1968-69 there was a bitter student strike at San Francisco State                       
University that was a major news event at the time and chapter in the radical                 
history of the United States and the Bay Area. The strike was led by the Third               
World Liberation Front supported by Students for a Democratic Society, the Black             
Panthers and the counter-cultural community, among others. It demanded an end to             
racism, creation of a Black Studies Department and an end to the War in Vietnam               
and the university's complicity with it. Hayakawa became popular with mainstream             
voters in this period after he pulled the wires out from the speakers on a                   
student van at an outdoor rally, dramatically disrupting it.                                 
He was elected in California as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1976,             
defeating incumbent Democrat John V. Tunney. Hayakawa served from January 3,                 
1977 to January 3, 1983. He did not stand for reelection in 1982 and was                     
succeeded by Republican Pete Wilson.                                                         
Hayakawa founded the political lobbying organization U.S. English, which is                   
dedicated to making the English language the official language of the United                 
The Senator was a resident of Mill Valley, California until his death in                     
Greenbrae, California, in 1992. He was also a member of the Bohemian Club, the               
first member of the club of Japanese ancestry. He also had an abiding interest               
in traditional jazz and wrote extensively on that subject, including several                 
erudite sets of album liner notes. Sometimes in his lectures on semantics, he                 
was joined by the respected traditional jazz pianist, Don Ewell, whom Hayakawa               
employed to demonstrate various points in which he analyzed semantic and musical