gregory bateson

gregory bateson

read Mary Catherine Bateson‘s peripheral visions.. huge.

then.. got a good intro to the work/insight of Margaret and Gregory while reading Fred Turner‘s democratic surround… (John Cage, black mtn college, bauhaushappenings, the family of man, et al..)

adding page after seeing Nora‘s talk.. and trailer of her – ecology of mind

he was always learning.. from him i learned that learning never stops

challenged us to rethink/stand back and try to perceive in a diff way.. to see how reality is actually happening..

he was interested in larger problems…

the major problems in the world are the result of the diff between how nature works and how people think.. what does it even mean to change the way people think..

he asked the question – what is it about our way of perceiving that makes us not see the delicate interdependencies in an ecological system.. that give it its integrity.. we don’t see them and therefore we break them  – m c bateson (daughter)

14 min – i hope it may have done something to set you free from thinking in material/logical terms.. when you are thinking about living things..

how do we think about living things..


wikipedia small

Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. In the 1940s he helped extend systems theory and cybernetics to the social and behavioral sciences. He spent the last decade of his life developing a “meta-science” of epistemology to bring together the various early forms of systems theory developing in different fields of science. His writings include Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) and Mind and Nature (1979). Angels Fear (published posthumously in 1987) was co-authored by his daughter Mary Catherine Bateson.


Where others might see a set of inexplicable details, Bateson perceived simple relationships.

international bateson institute site:

bateson on oikos site:

for god’s sake margaret.. convo with stewart brand:

Margaret is now 75, Gregory 72. They meet seldom though always affectionately. Gregory has a son John, 23, by his second wife, and a daughter Nora, 9, by Lois Bateson his present wife. This meeting with Margaret took place at Gregory’s home near Santa Cruz, California, in March of this year.


M: I used to say to my classes that the ways to get insight are: to study infants; to study animals; to study primitive people; to be psychoanalyzed; to have a religious conversion and get over it; to have a psychotic episode and get over it; or to have al love affair with an Old Russian. And I stopped saying that when a little dancer in the front row put up her hand and said, ‘Does he have to be old?’

SB: How many of those have you done?

[Blank here while cassette was changed. Dr. Mead said she had studied infants and primitive people. When she got to animals in the list, the conversation swerved to Konrad Lorenz.]

science of people ness

lots of talk of tripod – where the oh god is


M: So now, the Society for General Systems Research, which is proliferating, is proliferating by the standard methods that are used in this country – regional chapters. I said to Dick Erickson, ‘I don’t think we should be so conventional, we ought to think of something better.’ We can’t get anybody to use any kind of constructive thinking on the problems of organization. And, of course, there’s no place where you can get a well rounded degree in General System Theory. Rand has a school that is almost entirely military.

One of the most crazy situations – I was asked to speak at a dinner of the Air Force celebrating their fifth decade of Air Force intelligence. I talked about the fact that they weren’t paying attention to the whole; the Air Force was modeling the Soviet Union as a system, and the Army was modeling the United States as a system, using different units, and they were both ignoring the fact that China existed, and therefore were making hopeless mess when you knew you had a universe to deal with. What I was telling them was to use cybernetic thinking as it had developed into general systems theory. The next morning I was on a chartered plane bringing me back, and there was a man on it who said, ‘You left me way behind. I couldn’t understand a word you said.’ I said, ‘What are you?’ He said, ‘I’m an electronic specialist.’

Americans are always solving problems piece-meal. They’re always solving them de nouveau and artificially because they’re all newcomers and they don’t have decisions grounded in a culture.


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Margaret Mead

Mary Catherine Bateson


systemic ness

zoom dance ness