nora on what now

nora bateson – what now


nora bateson (@NoraBateson) tweeted at 3:45 AM on Thu, Oct 15, 2020:
What Now? 
The unseen is where the change is. The urge to make it explicit is an interesting conundrum. This need to not be explicit is to my thinking, THE challenge of this time.

oct 15 2020 – 12 min medium post

it requires effort to look beyond the crises into the conditions, and to do so in detail. Before that effort is brushed off as unreasonable there must be an admission that the larger effort is in not applying the necessary rigor and continuing on an endless boulevard of hellish consequences. 

hari rat park law et al

The relationships that were holding together illusions of stability in social, personal and biospheric patterns in place are melting, tearing, cracking, bursting into flames and vaporizing. ..This unfastening is shredding thousands of years of accumulated illusions of separation. . t.. Maybe this erosion is what is needed to pull apart the old patterns that were so deadly?

the suffering as systems come uncoupled is first absorbed by the most vulnerable. The people who have been pushed out know all too well the failure of the socio-economic institutions. While those with a modicum of comfort hold tightly to their belief in the systems that gave them their comfort.

sinclair perpetuation law .. graeber rethink law.. et al

which is why we need to org/infra around something deep enough to resonate w 8b people.. today.. even the inspectors of inspectors et al

In fact, there is no leveler.

well there is.. we just can’t hear it.. which begs a means to undo our hierarchical listening

we need a means to listen deep enough to that which 8b people already resonate with.. already in each heart

This makes the romance of un-thought-through ‘collaboration’ in this most critical time, a nasty mess. The history of exploitation cannot suddenly be glossed over in an image of everyone holding hands as they head into the sustainable future together. 

The structures that once held the illusions of society in place appear to be at least beginning to turn to sand.

love that she keeps saying.. holding illusions in place

And in this moment law, health, economy, tech, education and politics stand naked in the face of the storms each day seems to bring. Doctors are being asked to heal poverty, the law is asked to treat trauma, teachers are tasked to create “home” for their pupils who do not know the experience of such a thing.

healing (roots of)

And now the past is not what it used to be either. History, hardened in stone statues, is crumbling on the same sidewalks that the “protectors” of communities are killing people. The culture is tearing itself apart in polarization and divisions. The long sickness of colonialism has come into its cannibalistic phase. It is eating itself now.

history ness

Longing for a sign of something raw, fresh or alive to come from somewhere. Something mid-learning, untrained, but attentive. *The stench of manipulation is everywhere.

finally.. though i don’t think it is everywhere.. wish it were.. too many still not noticing the smell

manufacturing consent, voluntary compliance, supposed to’s of school/work, et al.. any form of people telling other people what to do

The system can’t change the system. The rules of the game do not include changing the rules of the game. . t

exactly the system we need though.. right..?

one that dances w 8b changes .. everyday

ie: cure ios city.. with 2 conversations as infra

Life does that. Voters are looking at their politicians like children trying to choose between the punishment of being grounded or having their screen-time taken away. The young Jedis have noticed this is not a choice.


but even more huge..

choice isn’t what human being ness craves.. ie: decision making is unmooring us law

Again, and again, and again… it comes back to the warnings and wisdom of the people who knew how to be in the world without plans and strategies.

which has been no one .. really.. ie: black science of people/whales law – we have no idea what that is like.. any of us..

because it has to be all of us for the dance to dance

They did not need deliverables and impact measurements to know that the seasons were changing, or which species would be abundant or sparce in the coming year. They could read the conditions of environment. The nuances of the leaves, the texture of the dirt, the timing of the flowers and birds. The ancient ways of not-knowing, were in fact ways of knowing.

holmgren indigenous law.. sans any form of measuring/accounting

so .. when did we ever have ways of not knowing? i don’t think we’ve been there yet

But without a plan or a clear vision of the goal, the mechanistic thinkers of today get anxious. The addiction to the spreadsheet the KPI and the board approval for a specific outcome is not just not working… it is in fact prohibiting real work at a systemic level. Most of the groups who now hold a mandate to work with systemic or complex systems are looking for ways to manage and measure their work. This justification is an apology to an old system. It is dangerous.

not just dangerous.. deadly.. for (blank)’s sake

not knowing.. more than a meme.. it’s the ironic sense of control that measuring outcomes gives..

of math and men

literacy and numeracy both elements of colonialism/control/enclosure.. we need to calculate differently and stop measuring things

Uncertainty is not something you learn in a weekend workshop or a technique you apply to a managerial program. It is not a category of project development. It is the deep living vitality of non-verbal, non-objective, non-concrete and utterly indirect communication. It is context, and it is transcontextual. I call this liminal multi contextual information Warm Data.

i’d call it self-talk as data – or maybe am thinking that if we focus on the data from self talk.. we’d get to the warm data?.. not sure.. but if that’s the case.. then i think we’d see the warm data as irrelevant.. hugely important.. but no need to collect/analyze/whatever it

because once we used itch-in-the-soul/self-talk as data/daily curiosity to connect us.. then we’d be entwined in the *dance

*‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

The system cannot see where to treat the system.

healing (roots of)wound deep enough

This uncertainty or ambiguity concept was heralded by the early cybernetics and systems theory scholars of the 50’s and 60’s (who no-doubt were informed by the anthropologists who were working with societies of people who “knew” like my father Gregory Bateson and his wife at the time Margaret Mead).

well.. maybe it’s been heralded in ongoingly.. just always part\ial.. so we keep seeing it as tragedy of the non common

Like a scientific, mathematic translation of the mystery of life that the secular scholar could relate to. Complexity was a new possibility to bring in to save us from silos. The possibility for significant change was there until ‘complexity’ was ironically reclaimed by the complexity of the society. It got McKinsey-ed into irrelevant bullshit rationalization for furthering profit by the corporate coaching culture. It was sold in 1000 forms and products, first it was a watery version of Zen, then VUCA, it gradually became a spiritual task of being able to hold “uncertainty” like learning to lift barbells

right back to part\ial ness et al

again.. this is why we need to focus on (org around) something deep enough that everyone resonates w today.. even the inspectors of inspectors even the people who keep thinking they need to be telling other people what to do..

The script of how to be the better ‘uncertainty’ practitioner became a multi-million dollar seminar competition. Who knows the best way to not know?

ha.. exactly

The shallowest of mindfulness trainings held it up as their mantra. The most treasured peace of mind in the stress of corporate culture was to be to “stay in the flow” — and to embrace uncertainty, (but show up on Monday with that report and work all weekend on that power-point for the merger).

huge – part\ial ness is killing us

let’s do this first

But the unseen is, fifty years after the systems theorists , thousands years after the indigenous peoples — still unseen.

The era of Cubism was an intuition. What happens when the world is shared in an illusion of boxes, right angles, and nested cubes? Where do the earthworms fit in?

The unseen is where the change is. The urge to make it explicit is an interesting conundrum.. t This need to not be explicit is to my thinking, THE challenge of this time.


idio jargon.. batra hide in public law.. bachelard oikos law.. et al

In the heat of emergency, while the word emergence is plastered up everywhere, the hidden realms are still in movement, changing harmonies, overtones, discords. Can you hear them? Silence is not silent.

there is never nothing going on

Scripts. Everyone seems to have a script ready. Ask a question, and a tickertape of prerecorded, rehearsed, and certified script comes out of them. Spiritual script, political script, changemaker script, uncertainty script, climate script. I have heard all of this a thousand times

huge red flag we’re doing it/life wrong – if we think we need to prep, train, .. need a script

*Language is part of the problem. Now — how to talk about how to not know what the hell is happening without tagging into some script that is a rotting cliché? I almost do not want to use the words complexity, uncertainty or systems-change, they tag instantly into the business culture that is the aorta of the interlocking systems that are creating the matrix.

*huge part.. language as control/enclosure

begs we focus on idiosyncratic jargon as data to augment our interconnectedness

But is this the right question?..

Probably not. It should be fairly obvious that a system addicted to separations and tight definitions would metabolize the work of the systemic and complexity scholars back into definitions and measurement.

yeah.. that too is an energy sucking irrelevant

It is how people do. You hear a piece of music for the first time, and you trace it into a familiarity with a piece of music you know well. Taste a new food and the first thing you do is compare it to something you have eaten before. But, the trap is trapping us. The system is allergic to systems. The context is allergic to context. It’s a matrix. How to really perceive something you have not perceived before when the perception itself is tracking onto the familiar?

black science of people/whales law and why we need to try a legit nother way to live

to get us back to that not yet scrambled ness

How to describe in new ways when language is harkening old meanings?

1\ quit thinking we have to describe

2\ listen deeper

this is one reason 50s 60s insight didn’t catch hold.. wasn’t a means for 8b people to do it at once.. so wasn’t a means for one (or however many less than all) person (as part of the entire system) to do it

And the questions of how do we not-know… is another slightly off kilter compass that will lead down a cascade of pathways to sideways. The longing for something new is held in a longing for something familiar. Or — change that helps things stay the same.

we’re just whales in sea world

if we’re all set free in sync.. we’ll just grok whatever we need to grok (what enough is).. and all else will become irrelevant

The not-knowing part is essential, but, it is essential in that the way there is not language or conscious selection of “sense- making” or meaning making ( two more terms that are getting rapidly digested into the belly of the illusion of making change)

exactly.. aka: idiosyncratic jargon

via cure ios city

— The way in which identities are built is through relationships, to self, to body, to family, to school, to culture, to money, to future, to tech, to fashion… and those relationships are each in referencing each other.

we need to let go of id’s – imagine if our only label was our daily curiosity

Think of a kid in school, sitting in class. That kid knows which are the rich kids, the popular kids, the smart kids, the gamers, the one’s whose parents are absent, the one’s whose parents are suffocating… and as this child witnesses these relational processes they, unknowingly, unspoken-ly place themselves in comparison. But, this comparison and assessment is made not to one of these relationships at a time… no… to ALL simultaneously. That kind of complexity is what is at hand. The taste of the air in the algebra classroom has the signals of how to be a lovable person in this world.


i think i get what you’re saying.. and maybe you’re saying it because of what you said earlier.. that we (think we) need the familiar.. and ie: algebra class is familiar..

but referencing the systemic dynamics in an algebra class.. still misses.. even compromises the deeper issue.. ie: any form of telling people what to do.. is killing us.. we need to let go of the supposed to’s (and the ie’s) of school/work

That is un-mappable.

it’s also an inhumane space to begin with

Down there, in the land beyond, below, to the side of the words, that is where the stuckness is, that is where the change is… that is where the territory of life is.

and we’ll never get there if our references are ie: school, work, ..

That feeling, waking up the morning after a loved one has died, or a car accident, or the marriage ended… that feeling in which for one second the world is as it was-, then the whole body remembers it is not as it was.

yeah.. and there’s really never been a was (ie: black science of people/whales law)

the map is not the territory..t

and the territory is not the legit territory

hari rat park law .. black science of people/whales law.. et al

The map. The map is the structures: the policies, the laws, the institutions, the titles, the scripted justifications.

The territory is: The culture, identity, the tone of the stories told, the communication between generations, history, notions of what it is to be relevant to each other, the unspoken reasons why.

yeah.. this is all poison as well.. again because we’re basing that history ness on data from whales in sea world

get us out of sea world first.. and id, culture, stories even, .. become irrelevant

These famous words from Alfred Korzybski are a warning not to mix up these levels. You cannot change the territory by changing the map… and if you think the map is the territory *you will be operating in a world of abstraction that will always be removed from what is really going on.

deeper.. can’t mix up legit free human beings w *whales in sea world..

ongoingly and unknowingly and innocently even.. perpetuating the tragedy of the non common

The catch is that what is really going on has been cast out as wishy-washy, soft, dreamlike, ideology… and the abstractions of policy and education systems have been positioned as “real”.

the catch is.. we don’t even know what could really be going on.. even the ‘wishy-washy dreamlike’ et al have been positioned as ‘real’.. when we don’t have any idea what real could be – if 100% of us were legit free – in an undisturbed ecosystem

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

our findings:

1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

Say what you will about the last ten years of alt-right maneuvering, but that group has understood that one does not change culture by changing policy, you change policy by changing culture. They are on the territory, in the worst possible manipulative way.


am thinking a legit changed culture wouldn’t need/want policy

which makes that stance even more manipulative.. because it looks so kind.. so changing.. so free ing..

Messing with metaphors has been far more effective that pushing for policy. I just wish the those who knew the difference were more inclined toward kindness instead of division.

yeah that.. that’s what augment our interconnectedness would/could do for all of us

thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman 

The outrage is unprecedented. The defectors are changing the rules by simply shrugging them off. It is as if they knew it was only a map… governments are breaking laws. But this is nothing new, just newly exhausting.

well.. it’s new in the sense that today we have a legit means for a legit alternative.. which we haven’t before (costello screen\service law)

meaning.. today we have a means for 8b people to leap to a nother way to live

(perhaps your dad would have seen that leap happen in his lifetime if the means/mech were there then)

Tending the territory is not so hard. It is not impossible, it is just immeasurable. The way in which the many contexts of our daily lives overfold and interweave is in unanswerable questions threaded together by stories. *Who are we? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What happens after deathThese questions are generators of stories, narratives as some like to say. They spin the metaphors we live within and we live the metaphors they spin within. This is the territory… what are the questions that spin new stories?

as you suggested earlier.. *these are still not deep enough questions – ttaleb center of problem law et al

what now?

The maps, like menus, are lovely, just don’t eat them.

This now is marinated in history sauce.

exactly but deeper.. marinated in sea world

The flavors of future are already deeply soaked in. The map says change the economic model. But the territory is a society that is already heavily engorged in the particular pains of the way the systems have betrayed each of us.

so much that we don’t have any alt ways to define (or let go of) econ

perhaps we try oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

That math teacher, that boss, that doctor, that chemical, that cancer, that addiction…I have found it true, again and again in my work with Warm Data that the communities that have been most betrayed by the existing systems are the quickest to comprehend the interdependency, non linearity and complexity of their situation.

irrelevance even.. ie: if we all got our of sea world.. they would be non existent

healing (roots of).. hari rat park law.. et al

Many have little to no education, and are in what have been labeled ‘vulnerable’ and with varying trauma diagnoses. Their situation is complex, and it is clear that it is. Poverty is experienced as economic, but those who are living with it know that it is produced through culture, politics, education, health etc. Whereas economic comfort is more readily described as linear, earned, deserved. Comfort is, in my experience, probably the greatest obstruction to an embodied perception of complexity.

or maybe it’s that we can’t have a convo about alts w/o brining up ie: ed, health, money, politics, ..

Some are surprised by this, thinking that a mental state of openness is needed to perceive the liminal, the unknown. My experience with many hundreds of people now, has been the opposite

which is great.. but if there is a way to leap (which i believe there is).. than those convos/perceptions are also getting in the way

perception is too responsive for human being.. for a re\set

Safety in meeting this moment cannot be a shallow soothing promise. No saccharine platitudes thank you.

totally agree.. that’s why i think we need to let go of anything having to do with red flags


for (blank)’s sake

Safety is allowing this overlapping impossible mess to be the territory we are within, and alongside is the raw & radical possibility to meet outside the tired scripts.

safety addiction et al

To find each other anew, in the particularity of detail and story, in the humanity of it all.

how about find each other anew via daily curiosity.. first thing.. every day

Carefully, care fully into the territory. I don’t trust the maps, please don’t ask me to or I wont trust you either. I want to go slowly into tomorrow wrapped in the warmth of human to human mutual learning. The opportunity to shift the tone is in every single second of every single day.

What now? *Show up for each other. That is all.

not enough.. or we would have done that by now..

1\ not everyone can ‘just show up’ – that’s a luxury/privilege

2\ even if we could.. that would be too slow (when we have the means to hasten a transition/change/reset)

again.. in your dad’s time.. yeah.. be kind.. all we can ask/hope for.. but now.. what now? now we have the means to make a legit re\set

Like music meeting your soul in un-named ways. Warming the intellect, the emotions and the body through past, future.

lovely.. but can’t get that warming ness to everyone.. unless we get the dance available to everyone (which we can)

and if it’s not all of us.. it’s really none of us

Everything is changing. Everyone is changing. It is confusing, terrifying, infuriating, heartbreaking, and completely out of control. Somehow just keeping that blur in the front of my attention is a softening. Who knows what will be required, but whatever it is I will, with all I can offer, be there, learning, in integrity and generosity.

thank you.. love you..

i think we can go deeper..

wish you could hear