Remembered for his foundational work in the philosophical and cognitive science field of general semantics, this early twentieth-century scholar coined the famous phrase "the map is not the territory" to describe his theory that representations of reality do not themselves constitute reality.
After studying engineering at the Warsaw University of technology, he served in the Russian Army as a World War I-era intelligence officer. He published his debut philosophical work, Manhood of Humanity, in the early 1920s.
He founded and headed the Institute of General Semantics, which operated out of Chicago, Illinois, until the mid-1940s, at which point it transferred its headquarters to Lakeville, Connecticut.
He grew up in an affluent and highly educated family in Warsaw, Poland. He later settled in the United States and began a more than three-decade marriage to portrait painter Mira Edgerly.
In the late 1930s, American Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs , then only twenty-five years old, attended one of Korzybski's general semantics workshops.