nora bateson

nora bateson

intro’d to Nora here (via John Kellden share):

talking zoom dance ness.. and talking literal dance..

7 min – it’s hard for all of us to hold this conceptual model in mind….my father was good at it.. when he looked at something he saw it in terms of the relationships.. the patterns it was in.. most of us are battling the labels/compartments/et al – we have been trained to do..

8 min – on the question of subjectivity… ie: how do you describe a living system… how do you incorporate the complexity/expectations..

10 min – i tried to do that with gregory… but he’s not here to defend himself.. if he were .. he’d be saying.. don’t box me in.. don’t make me linear.. don’t complete me… because that in fact is death…

labels ness… the death of us ness

not who is gregory bateson.. but who is my gregory bateson.. because that’s the only one i can give you..

what it is to be subjective in a complex system..

what do we have if we don’t have subjectivity

11 min – showing trailer

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 (sister)

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..


daughter of gregory bateson


find/follow Nora:

link twitter

an ecology of mind site

international bateson institute site:


fb share by Jon:

Nora Bateson on globalization and our continuing predicament:

“”The entire system from education to medical– From business to media, from military to agriculture is entirely baked in.

I have lost faith in just about every human system. Nature remains as the only honest voice…and she’s screaming.

The clock is ticking and still most people just assume that tomorrow will be like today.””

holmgren indigenous law

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


liminal leadership – nov 2017

liminality et al

This kind of leadership cannot be found in individuals; rather, it is found between them. It cannot be found in organizations, nations, religions, or institutions; rather, it is found between them. I have called it Liminal Leadership to highlight these relational characteristics.

Inter-systemic change is at hand. More than change and more than system change, the interdependency between systems of economy, health, politics, ecology, and communication is where the change lies. This is a murky territory of alive in-betweenness.

deep/simple/open enough

Needs—like to breathe, eat, love, and make community—are arguably impossible to change, whereas rethinking the structure of society is merely extremely difficult.

maybe not even extremely.. maybe we’re craving it so much .. that it will be just like flipping the light switch.. once we’re free.. to try a nother way

Competing for ideas on collaboration is a perfect illustration of why so much change-making today is riddled with toxic fumes of the last century’s hero-envy.


The future lies in the capacity to understand and respond to interdependency..t

thurman interconnectedness law

So many lines have been drawn between clusters of people now that it is difficult to keep track..t

nationality: human

binary ness

I am not sure what humanity has hidden in our inner wilderness. I am willing to hold the door open because the alternative is just too dark.

Remember the Nazis at Nuremberg who said, “I was just doing my job.”

supposed to’s

This interdependency is what gives every living system its vitality. It is the most ubiquitous experience of every living organism. And yet, it is not mentioned in the UN or the constitution. It does not have a Wikipedia page. It remains, it obtains, and it continues, regardless of not being recognized. The interdepending keeps interdepending just out of our hearing range, just out of our color spectra, just beyond the horizon of our logic.

Making sense is sensorial. Increasing sensitivity is necessary to find new ways through old patterns..t

not yet scrambled ness

Years, decades, and more than a century have passed in which brilliant minds with breaking hearts have tried to create change in the institutions that frame our lives. They tried incrementally changing the system from within. They tried using the legal system to change the laws. They tried becoming politicians, teachers, doctors… but the institutions did not budge. The multifaceted crises the world faces today are proof enough that the establishment is not built to question itself. The pillars of civilization are pinned under the stone slab of the last several centuries of assumptions. Pillars of politics and money, of education and medicine, of psychology and religion. Structure is hard, and hard to change.

I wanted to think that there was a possibility of incremental change, even a little, and that democracy, even though it is not perfect, would be able to improve with the hard work and sparkling minds that have walked through the past decades. However, increasingly, I am seeing that a refocus is needed..t

begs a means 7bn can leap to a nother way

aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake


fb share

Some patterns don’t change easily, and their unraveling is an incoherent phase on the way to new sense-making. I see confusion as an important theme of 2018. Confusion & care-giving: these are openings to mutual learning, (symmathesy).

I want to honor those already in the throes. Many people are breaking now, emotionally, physically, financially, ecologically and culturally. Like canaries in a coal mine, they are showing us the dis-integration of our current systems.

The pain is systemic, making it hard to identify, and to treat with any singular causality or strategy. Nothing fits in the boxes anymore. Those of us that are pulled from our daily tasks to tend to this pain are syncing to another rhythm. Leaving the pattern of 5 year plans and career development is what must be done to nurture, and to mourn, to revive and to reconstruct. The alternative is inhumane. My father used to ask: “What makes a civilization worth saving?”

In coming decades no one will care how much money or fame or bitcoin or social media contacts any of us had… the only thing that will matter is how willing we have been to learn.


Peter Vander Auwera (@petervan) tweeted at 5:58 AM – 3 Jun 2018 :
I’m #reading Small Arcs of Larger Circles by Nora Bateson (

poems.. essays.. published 2016

To achieve change, Nora Bateson reminds us that the systems we are seeking to change are not just the sum of their parts but the “parts” are alive, interconnected, co-evolving, and mutually learning new ways to interact in changing contexts

Original Tweet:

“It might be that we are navigating with the wrong map,” Bateson suggests. “There is no language to define the spiraling processes of the vast context we are participants in. We do not have names for the patterns of interdependency.

Understanding living systems, suggests Bateson, begs for a new language that transcends even our ideas about a “circle” or “web of life.” We are not beads on a string or nodes in a net. We are fully integrated, constantly changing, forever learning, living entities with permeable boundaries.

idio-jargon as language

We are vitae with infinite possibilities of interaction, not parts with functions.For larger living systems, comprised of those interacting vitae, she proposes the word “symmathesy,” from the Greek sym (together) and mathesi (to learn). A forest or a human society is not hard-wired. These are living processes, in which the participants are mutually learning.


Warm data, Bateson explains, is information about relationships.

let’s try self-talk as data..

Physical change, for example – even at a celestial, ecosystem, cellular, atomic, or social level – may involve resonance; the response of one physical part of a system to oscillations or vibrations in another part. However, resonance is not a “thing” that exists in space; resonance implies a relationship.

This is where imagination becomes as important as rigorous science or politics. The creative arts serve as a metaphor for social change because art is not about an explanation, but about play, feeling, and relationships. “Art is relationship,” Bateson observes. Art is where we learn about grace, contradiction, and about the integration of apparent opposites. Art is about pattern.

When a society or an ecosystem change, what changes is not the “parts” but the patterns among the living participants. Understanding ecology is not like understanding how a clock or an algorithm work. Ecology takes us into the realms of shifting patterns, living communication, symbiosis, and mutual learning.

undisturbed ecosystem

suggested to library for purchase



nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 2:16 AM on Sun, Jun 10, 2018:
Here is a little film made about a session I did at Harvard with Gail Taylor and Patricia Shaw on Emergence. They do a nice job of discussing Warm Data & Symmathesy! #WarmData #symmathesy #complexity #emergence

5 min video

self org.. w/o a plan

even when we recognize self org.. our thinking often jumps to how we might control what emerges..  entails of letting go of pre conceived solutoins

why we haven’t yet gotten to global equity

hard to grasp the loopiness of emergence

ie: me is composed of not me

the it is me.. i’m never just me

when things we like spontaneously sprout up we might call it serendipity in hindsight but in moment we often suppress deviations from the norm before it’s even possible to guess the nature of what is germinating

the undiscovered self..

symmathesy: a living system that forms by contextual mutual learning thru interaction.. can we symmathesize..?

ie: we could convene people that otherwise wouldn’t interact.. use processes that surface many voices..t… and craft spaces..

2 convos.. as infra

gathering in a space

zooming in and out.. can help us suspend our pre conceived solutions making it easier to follow the thread of what is unfolding..

zoom dance

a radical rethinking of causality.. .. embracing the messiness of complexity w a sense of curiosity spontaneity and play.. in other words.. engaging emergence..

fromm spontaneous law


It takes complexity to perceive complexity.This is what I am working  with right now. That means more than one texture of language, &  multiple forms of expression describing entirely different contexts of  complexity are necessary. Flat monotone jargon is not enough. #WarmData

Original Tweet:

perhaps not only is flat monotone jargon not enough.. perhaps it’s getting in the way.. imagine if we let go enough.. to not have to keep universally defining things.. (so many saying we need a new language/verbiage.. ie: symmathesy  .. which ends up meaning.. that we defn more words and then think we have to train/teach those words into others.. et al) but maybe what we really need is letting 7bn daily idio-jargons.. be the new (non)language.. to get to the energy we need most (7bn alive people)..simple enough..

@NoraBateson i think it takes simplicity to transcend complexity .. the simple unity of consciousness, the simple unity of nature .. complexity is an aberration of intellect, simplicity is the wisdom of unity

Original Tweet:

perhaps in an undisturbed ecosystem.. complexity and simplicity are one in the same

@monk51295 @gregorylent the opposite of complexity is reductionism… not simplicity. :-)

simplicity is complexity with grace.

Original Tweet:

complexity w grace.. sounds like an undisturbed ecosystem..

bateson simple/complex law

simple enough.. assume good

@gregorylent @monk51295 I would say complexity is another word for life. It is the ‘being’ processes of several variables in relationship, and interdependency form contexts. Responding to responses to responses…

Original Tweet:

so the grace.. (letting go ness ie:undisturbed ecosystem).. to trust the being..

@gregorylent @monk51295 haha… well for me it is an adventure into the many multitudes of differences interacting. That is why i say that complexity and simplicity are the same… but redutionism… now that’s a problem. When contexts are broken that which gave them life is obscured.

Original Tweet:


warm data

nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 3:04 PM on Tue, Jun 19, 2018:
The #BBCClickRadio program today did a great little segment on #WarmData — and on the use of it to address #immigration less binary description and more complexity. I am so pleased. @GBoddington and @GarethM  Thank you! Perfect! here is more on Warm Data:

Warm Data” can be defined as: Transcontextual information about the interrelationships that integrate a complex system.

I was not clear what it was yet, I was only certain of one thing: that a new kind of information was needed to balance the information produced by research that decontextualized its subjects of inquiry. In short, the way in which we make sense of the world has everything to do with the way we behave in it, so I saw a need for another sense-making as a necessary component of shifting behavior. Five years later the International Bateson Institute is now utilizing “Warm Data” in our research and findings on addiction, how systems learn, health and ecology.

self-talk as data

 How has it come to this? And how can new patterns of interaction in our societies be encouraged to emerge?

2 convos.. as infra

The observer matters, and teams of observers matter. Since data are always derived through the particular lens of the researchers, descriptions of their filters of perception are vital information and must not be sterilized out of findings.

actually.. what matters more is that we get the whales out of sea world..

Nora responds to someone on twitter asking about warm data:

nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 1:24 PM on Sat, Aug 04, 2018:
Here you go… enjoy!


on entropy ness from small arcs of larger circles

nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 11:07 PM on Mon, Jun 25, 2018:
Thank you.

Mutual learning happens in the entropy; we need the confusion to release the new.”


nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 4:34 AM – 14 Jul 2018 :
It may turn out to be much easier to work on systems change than to try and separate each crisis into a silo of responses. Complex interdependence is a cental characteristic of all of the critical issues we face now. #food #climate #WealthGap #Refugees #exploitation #Mindset (

indeed.. begs we go deep enough


beyond words ness

nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 5:59 AM on Fri, Jul 27, 2018:
Possibilities of communication are limited by context. Communication therefore is not what is or is not said. Rather, it is what is possible to say. The vitriol that has become normal is a violence to the context of public communication. Speak to mutual learning & dignity. #meta


nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 4:32 AM – 7 Aug 2018 :
“All the world is a stage.”
Change the play.
#systemschange #WarmData #climatechange #ecology #symmathesy #art (

global do-over