Gregory Bateson

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.[2] 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.

In Palo Alto, California, Bateson and his colleagues Donald Jackson, Jay Haley and John H. Weakland developed the double-bind theory (see also Bateson Project).[3]

Bateson's interest in systems theory and cybernetics forms a thread running through his work. He was one of the original members of the core group of the Macy conferences in Cybernetics, and the later set on Group Processes, where he represented the social and behavioral sciences. Bateson was interested in the relationship of these fields to epistemology. His association with the editor and author Stewart Brand helped to widen his influence. From the 1970s until his last years, a broader audience of university students and educated people working in many fields came to know his thought.

In 1956, he became a naturalised citizen of the United States. Bateson was a member of William Irwin Thompson's Lindisfarne Association. In the 1970s, he taught at the Humanistic Psychology Institute (renamed the Saybrook University) in San Francisco;[4] and in 1972 joined the faculty of Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruz.[5] He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976.[6] In 1976, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Bateson to the Regents of the University of California,[7] in which position he served until his death (although he resigned from the Special Research Projects committee in 1979, in opposition to the university's work on nuclear weapons). He died on Independence Day, 1980, in the guest house of the San Francisco Zen Center.[8]

Gregory Bateson
Arnhein and Bateson
Rudolph Arnheim (L) and Bateson (R) speaking at the American Federation of Arts 48th Annual Convention, 1957 Apr 6 / Eliot Elisofon, photographer. American Federation of Arts records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Born9 May 1904
Grantchester, England
Died4 July 1980 (aged 76)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Known forDouble bind, ecology of mind, deuterolearning, schismogenesis
Spouse(s)
Margaret Mead
(m. 1936; div. 1950)

Elizabeth Sumner
(m. 1951; div. 1957)

Lois Cammack
(m. 1961)
Children5, including Mary C. Bateson
Scientific career
FieldsAnthropology, social sciences, linguistics, cybernetics, systems theory
InfluencesMargaret Mead, Conrad Hal Waddington, Warren McCulloch, Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Evelyn Hutchinson, Julian Bigelow
InfluencedJohn C. Lilly, Heinz von Foerster, Jerry Brown, Richard Bandler, Stewart Brand, Gilles Deleuze, John Grinder, Félix Guattari, Jay Haley, Don D. Jackson, Bradford Keeney, Stephen Nachmanovitch, William Irwin Thompson, R. D. Laing, Paul Watzlawick, Carl Whitaker, Niklas Luhmann, Sharon Traweek; biosemiotics, application of type theory in social sciences, communication theory, ethnicity theory,[1] evolutionary biology, family therapy, brief therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, systemic coaching, anti-psychiatry, visual anthropology

Personal life

Bateson was born in Grantchester in Cambridgeshire, England, on 9 May 1904. He was the third and youngest son of (Caroline) Beatrice Durham and the distinguished geneticist William Bateson. He was named Gregory after Gregor Mendel, the Austrian monk who founded the modern science of genetics.[9]

The younger Bateson attended Charterhouse School from 1917 to 1921, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in biology at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1925, and continued at Cambridge from 1927 to 1929. Bateson lectured in linguistics at the University of Sydney in 1928. From 1931 to 1937, he was a Fellow of St. John's College, spent the years before World War II in the South Pacific in New Guinea and Bali doing anthropology. During 1936–1950, he was married to Margaret Mead.[10] At that time he applied his knowledge to the war effort before moving to the United States.

Bateson's life, according to Lipset (1982), was greatly affected by the death of his two brothers. John Bateson (1898–1918), the eldest of the three, was killed in World War I. Martin Bateson (1900–1922), the second brother, was then expected to follow in his father's footsteps as a scientist, but came into conflict with his father over his ambition to become a poet and playwright. The resulting stress, combined with a disappointment in love, resulted in Martin's public suicide by gunshot under the statue of Anteros in Piccadilly Circus on 22 April 1922, which was John's birthday. After this event, which transformed a private family tragedy into public scandal, all William and Beatrice's ambitious expectations fell on Gregory, their only surviving son.[11]

Bateson's first marriage, in 1936, was to American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead.[12] Bateson and Mead had a daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson (born 1939), who also became an anthropologist.[13] Bateson separated from Mead in 1947, and they were divorced in 1950.[14] In 1951, he married his second wife Elizabeth "Betty" Sumner (1919–1992), the daughter of the Episcopalian Bishop of Oregon, Walter Taylor Sumner.[15] They had a son, John Sumner Bateson (1951–2015), as well as twins who died shortly after birth in 1953. Bateson and Sumner were divorced in 1957, after which Bateson married his third wife, the therapist and social worker Lois Cammack (born 1928), in 1961. They had one daughter, Nora Bateson (born 1969).[14]

Bateson was a lifelong atheist, as his family had been for several generations.[16]

The 2014 novel Euphoria by Lily King is a fictionalized account of Bateson's relationships with Mead and Reo Fortune in pre-WWII New Guinea.[17]

Philosophy

Where others might see a set of inexplicable details, Bateson perceived simple relationships.[18] In "From Versailles to Cybernetics," Bateson argues that the history of the twentieth century can be perceived as the history of a malfunctioning relationship. In his view, the Treaty of Versailles exemplifies a whole pattern of human relationships based on betrayal and hate. He therefore claims that the treaty of Versailles and the development of cybernetics—which for him represented the possibility of improved relationships—are the only two anthropologically important events of the twentieth century.[19]

Work

WWII and Office of Strategic Services career

Although initially reluctant to join the intelligence services, Bateson served in OSS during World War II along with dozens of other anthropologists.[20] He was stationed in the same offices as Julia Child (then Julia McWilliams), Paul Cushing Child, and others.[21] He spent much of the war designing 'black propaganda' radio broadcasts. He was deployed on covert operations in Burma and Thailand, and worked in China, India, and Ceylon as well. Bateson used his theory of schismogenesis to help foster discord among enemy fighters. He was upset by his wartime experience and disagreed with his wife over whether science should be applied to social planning or used only to foster understanding rather than action.[20]

Early Work: New Guinea and Bali

Bateson's beginning years as an anthropologist were spent floundering, lost without a specific objective in mind. He began first with a trip to New Guinea, spurred by mentor A. C. Haddon.[22] His goal, as suggested by Haddon, was to explore the effects of contact between the Sepik natives and whites. Unfortunately for Bateson, his time spent with the Baining of New Guinea was halted and difficult. The Baining turned out to be secretive and excluded him from many aspects of their society. On more than one occasion he was tricked into missing communal activities, and they held out on their religion.[22] He left them, frustrated. He next studied the Sulka, another native population of New Guinea. Although the Sulka were dramatically different from the Baining and their culture much more "visible" to the observer, he felt their culture was dying, which left him feeling dispirited and discouraged.[22]

He experienced more success with the Iatmul people, another indigenous people of the Sepik River region of New Guinea. He would always return to the idea of communications and relations or interactions between and among people. The observations he made of the Iatmul allowed him to develop his concept of schismogenesis. He studied the 'naven', an honorific ceremony among the Iatmul, still continued today, that celebrates first-time cultural achievements. The ceremony entails many antics that are normally forbidden during everyday social life. For example, men and women reverse and exaggerate gender roles; men dress in women's skirts, and women dress in men's attire and ornaments.[22] Additionally, certain categories of female kin smear mud in the faces of other relatives, beat them with sticks, and hurl bawdy insults. Mothers may drop to the ground so their celebrated 'child' walks over them. And during a male rite, a mother's brother may slide his buttocks down the leg of his honoured sister's son, a complex gesture of masculine birthing, pride, and insult, rarely performed before women, that brings the honoured sister's son to tears.[23] Bateson suggested the influence of a circular system of causation, and proposed that:

Women watched for the spectacular performances of the men, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the presence of an audience is a very important factor in shaping the men's behavior. In fact, it is probable that the men are more exhibitionistic because the women admire their performances. Conversely, there can be no doubt that the spectacular behavior is a stimulus which summons the audience together, promoting in the women the appropriate behavior.[22]

In short, the behaviour of person X affects person Y, and the reaction of person Y to person X's behaviour will then affect person X's behaviour, which in turn will affect person Y, and so on. Bateson called this the "vicious circle."[22] He then discerned two models of schismogenesis: symmetrical and complementary.[22] Symmetrical relationships are those in which the two parties are equals, competitors, such as in sports. Complementary relationships feature an unequal balance, such as dominance-submission (parent-child), or exhibitionism-spectatorship (performer-audience). Bateson's experiences with the Iatmul led him to publish a book in 1936 titled Naven: A Survey of the Problems suggested by a Composite Picture of the Culture of a New Guinea Tribe drawn from Three Points of View (Cambridge University Press). The book proved to be a watershed in anthropology and modern social science.[24]

Until Bateson published Naven, most anthropologists assumed a realist approach to studying culture, in which one simply described social reality. Bateson's book argued that this approach was naive, since an anthropologist's account of a culture was always and fundamentally shaped by whatever theory the anthropologist employed to define and analyse the data. To think otherwise, stated Bateson, was to be guilty of what Alfred North Whitehead called the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness." There was no singular or self-evident way to understand the Iatmul naven rite. Instead, Bateson analysed the rite from three unique points of view: sociological, ethological, and eidological. The book, then, was not a presentation of anthropological analysis but an epistemological account that explored the nature of anthropological analysis itself.

The sociological point of view sought to identify how the ritual helped bring about social integration. In the 1930s, most anthropologists understood marriage rules to regularly ensure that social groups renewed their alliances. But Iatmul, argued Bateson, had contradictory marriage rules. Marriage, in other words, could not guarantee that a marriage between two clans would at some definite point in the future recur. Instead, Bateson continued, the naven rite filled this function by regularly ensuring exchanges of food, valuables, and sentiment between mothers' brothers and their sisters' children, or between separate lineages. Naven, from this angle, held together the different social groups of each village into a unified whole.

The ethological point of view interpreted the ritual in terms of the conventional emotions associated with normative male and female behaviour, which Bateson called ethos. In Iatmul culture, observed Bateson, men and women lived different emotional lives. For example, women were rather submissive and took delight in the achievement of others; men fiercely competitive and flamboyant. During the ritual, however, men celebrated the achievement of their nieces and nephews while women were given ritual license to act raucously. In effect, naven allowed men and women to experience momentarily the emotional lives of each other, and thereby to achieve a level of psychological integration.

The third and final point of view, the eidological, was the least successful. Here Bateson endeavoured to correlate the organisation structure of the naven ceremony with the habitual patterns of Iatmul thought. Much later, Bateson would harness the very same idea to the development of the double-bind theory of schizophrenia.

In the Epilogue to the book, Bateson was clear: "The writing of this book has been an experiment, or rather a series of experiments, in methods of thinking about anthropological material." That is to say, his overall point was not to describe Iatmul culture of the naven ceremony but to explore how different modes of analysis, using different premises and analytic frameworks, could lead to different explanations of the same sociocultural phenomenon. Not only did Bateson's approach re-shape fundamentally the anthropological approach to culture, but the naven rite itself has remained a locus classicus in the discipline. In fact, the meaning of the ritual continues to inspire anthropological analysis.[25]

Bateson next travelled to Bali with his new wife Margaret Mead. They studied the people of the Balinese village Bajoeng Gede. Here, Lipset states, "in the short history of ethnographic fieldwork, film was used both on a large scale and as the primary research tool."[22] Indeed, Bateson took 25,000 photographs of their Balinese subjects.[26]

Bateson discovered that the people of Bajoeng Gede raised their children very unlike children raised in Western societies. Instead of attention being paid to a child who was displaying a climax of emotion (love or anger), Balinese mothers would ignore them. Bateson notes, "The child responds to [a mother's] advances with either affection or temper, but the response falls into a vacuum. In Western cultures, such sequences lead to small climaxes of love or anger, but not so in Bali. At the moment when a child throws its arms around the mother's neck or bursts into tears, the mother's attention wanders".[22] This model of stimulation and refusal was also seen in other areas of the culture. Bateson later described the style of Balinese relations as stasis instead of schismogenesis. Their interactions were "muted" and did not follow the schismogenetic process because they did not often escalate competition, dominance, or submission.[22]

After Bali, Bateson and Mead returned to the Sepik River in 1938, and settled into the village of Tambunum, where Bateson spent three days in the 1920s. They aimed to replicate the Balinese project on the relationship between childraising and temperament, and between conventions of the body – such as pose, grimace, holding infants, facial expressions, etc. – reflected wider cultural themes and values. Bateson snapped some 10,000 black and white photographs, and Mead typed thousands of pages of fieldnotes. But Bateson and Mead never published anything substantial from this research.[27]

SOCyberntics
Bateson and Margaret Mead contrasted first and Second-order cybernetics with this diagram in an interview in 1973.[28]

Bateson's encounter with Mead on the Sepik river (Chapter 16) and their life together in Bali (Chapter 17) is described in Mead's autobiography Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years (Angus and Robertson. London. 1973). Catherine's birth in New York on 8 December 1939 is recounted in Chapter 18.

Double bind

In 1956 in Palo Alto, Bateson and his colleagues Donald Jackson, Jay Haley, and John Weakland[3] articulated a related theory of schizophrenia as stemming from double bind situations. The double bind refers to a communication paradox described first in families with a schizophrenic member. The first place where double binds were described (though not named as such) was according to Bateson, in Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh (a semi-autobiographical novel about Victorian hypocrisy and cover-up).[29]

Full double bind requires several conditions to be met:

  1. The victim of double bind receives contradictory injunctions or emotional messages on different levels of communication (for example, love is expressed by words, and hate or detachment by nonverbal behaviour; or a child is encouraged to speak freely, but criticised or silenced whenever he or she actually does so).
  2. No metacommunication is possible – for example, asking which of the two messages is valid or describing the communication as making no sense.
  3. The victim cannot leave the communication field.
  4. Failing to fulfill the contradictory injunctions is punished (for example, by withdrawal of love).

The strange behaviour and speech of schizophrenics was explained by Bateson et al. as an expression of this paradoxical situation, and were seen in fact as an adaptive response, which should be valued as a cathartic and transformative experience.

The double bind was originally presented (probably mainly under the influence of Bateson's psychiatric co-workers) as an explanation of part of the etiology of schizophrenia. Currently, it is considered to be more important as an example of Bateson's approach to the complexities of communication which is what he understood it to be.

The role of somatic change in evolution

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary the term somatic is basically defined as the body or body cells of change distinguished from germplasm or psyche/mind. Bateson writes about how the actual physical changes in the body occur within evolutionary processes.[30] He describes this through the introduction of the concept of "economics of flexibility".[30] In his conclusion he makes seven statements or theoretical positions which may be supported by his ideology.

The first is the idea that although environmental stresses have theoretically been believed to guide or dictate the changes in the soma (physical body), the introduction of new stresses do not automatically result in the physical changes necessary for survival as suggested by original evolutionary theory.[30] In fact the introduction of these stresses can greatly weaken the organism. An example that he gives is the sheltering of a sick person from the weather or the fact that someone who works in an office would have a hard time working as a rock climber and vice versa. The second position states that though "the economics of flexibility has a logical structure-each successive demand upon flexibility fractioning the set of available possibilities".[30] This means that theoretically speaking each demand or variable creates a new set of possibilities. Bateson's third conclusion is "that the genotypic change commonly makes demand upon the adjustive ability of the soma".[30] This, he states, is the commonly held belief among biologists although there is no evidence to support the claim. Added demands are made on the soma by sequential genotypic modifications is the fourth position. Through this he suggests the following three expectations:[30]

  1. The idea that organisms that have been through recent modifications will be delicate.
  2. The belief that these organisms will become progressively harmful or dangerous.
  3. That over time these new "breeds" will become more resistant to the stresses of the environment and change in genetic traits.

The fifth theoretical position which Bateson believes is supported by his data is that characteristics within an organism that have been modified due to environmental stresses may coincide with genetically determined attributes.[30] His sixth position is that it takes less economic flexibility to create somatic change than it does to cause a genotypic modification. The seventh and final theory he believes to be supported is the idea that in rare occasions there will be populations whose changes will not be in accordance with the thesis presented within this paper. According to Bateson, none of these positions (at the time) could be tested but he called for the creation of a test which could possibly prove or disprove the theoretical positions suggested within.[30]

Ecological anthropology and cybernetics

In his book Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Bateson applied cybernetics to the field of ecological anthropology and the concept of homeostasis.[31] He saw the world as a series of systems containing those of individuals, societies and ecosystems. Within each system is found competition and dependency. Each of these systems has adaptive changes which depend upon feedback loops to control balance by changing multiple variables. Bateson believed that these self-correcting systems were conservative by controlling exponential slippage. He saw the natural ecological system as innately good as long as it was allowed to maintain homeostasis[31] and that the key unit of survival in evolution was an organism and its environment.[31]

Bateson also viewed that all three systems of the individual, society and ecosystem were all together a part of one supreme cybernetic system that controls everything instead of just interacting systems.[31] This supreme cybernetic system is beyond the self of the individual and could be equated to what many people refer to as God, though Bateson referred to it as Mind.[31] While Mind is a cybernetic system, it can only be distinguished as a whole and not parts. Bateson felt Mind was immanent in the messages and pathways of the supreme cybernetic system. He saw the root of system collapses as a result of Occidental or Western epistemology. According to Bateson, consciousness is the bridge between the cybernetic networks of individual, society and ecology and the mismatch between the systems due to improper understanding will result in the degradation of the entire supreme cybernetic system or Mind. Bateson thought that consciousness as developed through Occidental epistemology was at direct odds with Mind.[31]

At the heart of the matter is scientific hubris. Bateson argues that Occidental epistemology perpetuates a system of understanding which is purpose or means-to-an-end driven.[31] Purpose controls attention and narrows perception, thus limiting what comes into consciousness and therefore limiting the amount of wisdom that can be generated from the perception. Additionally Occidental epistemology propagates the false notion that man exists outside Mind and this leads man to believe in what Bateson calls the philosophy of control based upon false knowledge.[31]

Bateson presents Occidental epistemology as a method of thinking that leads to a mindset in which man exerts an autocratic rule over all cybernetic systems.[31] In exerting his autocratic rule man changes the environment to suit him and in doing so he unbalances the natural cybernetic system of controlled competition and mutual dependency. The purpose-driven accumulation of knowledge ignores the supreme cybernetic system and leads to the eventual breakdown of the entire system. Bateson claims that man will never be able to control the whole system because it does not operate in a linear fashion and if man creates his own rules for the system, he opens himself up to becoming a slave to the self-made system due to the non-linear nature of cybernetics. Lastly, man's technological prowess combined with his scientific hubris gives him the potential to irrevocably damage and destroy the supreme cybernetic system, instead of just disrupting the system temporally until the system can self-correct.[31]

Bateson argues for a position of humility and acceptance of the natural cybernetic system instead of scientific arrogance as a solution.[31] He believes that humility can come about by abandoning the view of operating through consciousness alone. Consciousness is only one way in which to obtain knowledge and without complete knowledge of the entire cybernetic system disaster is inevitable. The limited conscious must be combined with the unconscious in complete synthesis. Only when thought and emotion are combined in whole is man able to obtain complete knowledge. He believed that religion and art are some of the few areas in which a man is acting as a whole individual in complete consciousness. By acting with this greater wisdom of the supreme cybernetic system as a whole man can change his relationship to Mind from one of schism, in which he is endlessly tied up in constant competition, to one of complementarity. Bateson argues for a culture that promotes the most general wisdom and is able to flexibly change within the supreme cybernetic system.[31]

Other terms used by Bateson

  • Abduction. Used by Bateson to refer to a third scientific methodology (along with induction and deduction) which was central to his own holistic and qualitative approach. Refers to a method of comparing patterns of relationship, and their symmetry or asymmetry (as in, for example, comparative anatomy), especially in complex organic (or mental) systems. The term was originally coined by American Philosopher/Logician Charles Sanders Peirce, who used it to refer to the process by which scientific hypotheses are generated.
  • Criteria of Mind (from Mind and Nature A Necessary Unity):[31]
  1. Mind is an aggregate of interacting parts or components.
  2. The interaction between parts of mind is triggered by difference.
  3. Mental process requires collateral energy.
  4. Mental process requires circular (or more complex) chains of determination.
  5. In mental process the effects of difference are to be regarded as transforms (that is, coded versions) of the difference which preceded them.
  6. The description and classification of these processes of transformation discloses a hierarchy of logical types immanent in the phenomena.
  • Creatura and Pleroma. Borrowed from Carl Jung who applied these gnostic terms in his "Seven Sermons To the Dead".[32] Like the Hindu term maya, the basic idea captured in this distinction is that meaning and organisation are projected onto the world. Pleroma refers to the non-living world that is undifferentiated by subjectivity; Creatura for the living world, subject to perceptual difference, distinction, and information.
  • Deuterolearning. A term he coined in the 1940s referring to the organisation of learning, or learning to learn:[33]
  • Schismogenesis – the emergence of divisions within social groups.
  • Information – Bateson defined information as "a difference which makes a difference." For Bateson, information in fact mediated Alfred Korzybski's map–territory relation, and thereby resolved, according to Bateson, the mind-body problem.[34][35][36]

Continuing extensions of Bateson's work

His daughter Mary Catherine Bateson published a joint biography of her parents (Bateson and Margaret Mead) in 1984.[37] Bateson's legacy was reintroduced to new audiences by his daughter the filmmaker Nora Bateson, with the release of An Ecology of Mind, a documentary that premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival.[38] This film was selected as the audience favourite with the Morton Marcus Documentary Feature Award at the 2011 Santa Cruz Film Festival,[39] and honoured with the 2011 John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology by the Media Ecology Association.[40] The Bateson Idea Group (BIG) initiated a web presence in October 2010. The group collaborated with the American Society for Cybernetics for a joint meeting in July 2012 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in California.

See also

Publications

Books
  • Bateson, Gregory (1944). An Analysis of the Film "Hitlerjunge Quex" (1933). New York?. OCLC 41057404.
  • Bateson, G. (1958). Naven: A Survey of the Problems suggested by a Composite Picture of the Culture of a New Guinea Tribe drawn from Three Points of View (1936). Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0520-8.
  • Bateson, G.; Mead, M. (1942). Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis. New York Academy of Sciences. ISBN 0-89072-780-5.
  • Ruesch, J.; Bateson, G. (2009) [1951]. Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-1-4128-0614-5. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  • Bateson, G. (2000) [1972]. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-03905-6. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  • Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences). Hampton Press. ISBN 1-57273-434-5.
  • (published posthumously), Bateson, G.; Bateson, MC (1988). Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-553-34581-0.
  • (published posthumously), Bateson, G.; Donaldson, Rodney E. (1991). A Sacred Unity: Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-250100-3.
Articles, a selection
  • 1956, Bateson, The message 'this is play.' In B. Schaffner (Ed.), Group Processes: Transactions of the Second Conference (pp. 145–242) New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
  • 1956, Bateson, G., Jackson, D. D., Jay Haley & Weakland, J., "Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia", Behavioral Science, vol.1, 1956, 251–264. (Reprinted in Steps to an Ecology of Mind)
  • Bateson, G.; Jackson, D. (1964). "Some varieties of pathogenic organization. In Disorders of Communication". Research Publications. Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease. 42: 270–283.
  • 1978, Malcolm, J., "The One-Way Mirror" (reprinted in the collection "The Purloined Clinic"). Ostensibly about family therapist Salvador Minuchin, essay digresses for several pages into a meditation on Bateson's role in the origin of family therapy, his intellectual pedigree, and the impasse he reached with Jay Haley.
Documentary film
  • Trance and Dance in Bali, a short documentary film shot by cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson in the 1930s, but it was not released until 1952. The film was an inductee of the 1999 National Film Registry list.[41]
  • An Ecology of Mind, a documentary film shot by Nora Bateson and released in 2010 through The Impact Media Group, includes segments from Bateson's early films made in Bali.

References

  1. ^ Thomas Hylland Eriksen, "Bateson and the North Sea Ethnicity paradigm", folk.uio.no
  2. ^ Lipset, David (1980). Gregory Bateson: Legacy of a Scientist. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0133650561.
  3. ^ a b Bateson, G.; Jackson, D. D.; Haley, J.; Weakland, J. (1956). "Toward a theory of schizophrenia". Behavioral Science. 1 (4): 251–264. doi:10.1002/bs.3830010402.
  4. ^ Gordon, Susan (2013). "Editor's Introduction". In Susan Gordon (ed.). Neurophenomenology and Its Applications to Psychology. New York: Springer Publishing. p. xxxii. ISBN 978-1-4614-7238-4.
  5. ^ Per the jacket copy of the first edition of Mind and Nature (1979)
  6. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  7. ^ "The Regents of the University of California (list)" (PDF). University of California. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  8. ^ 'Gregory Bateson: Old Men Ought to be Explorers', Stephen Nachmanovitch, CoEvolution Quarterly, Fall 1982
  9. ^ Koestler, Arthur (1926). The Case of the Midwife Toad.
  10. ^ NNDB, Gregory Bateson, Soylent Communications, 2007.
  11. ^ Schuetzenberger, Anne. The Ancestor Syndrome. New York, Routledge. 1998.
  12. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (2007). "Gregory Bateson". Retrieved from Britannica Concise, 5 August 2007
  13. ^ "Mary Catherine Bateson". Mary Catherine Bateson. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead. Margaret M. Caffey and Patricia A. Francis, eds. With foreword by Mary Catherine Bateson. New York. Basic Books. 2006.
  15. ^ "Walter Taylor Sumner". Find a Grave. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  16. ^ Noel G. Charlton (2008). Understanding Gregory Bateson: mind, beauty, and the sacred earth. SUNY Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780791474525. This was to be the last large-scale work of lifelong atheist Bateson, seeking to understand the meaning of the sacred.
  17. ^ Eakin, Emily (6 June 2014). "Going Native: 'Euphoria,' by Lily King". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  18. ^ Tognetti, Sylvia S. (2002). "Bateson, Gregory". In Peter Timmerman (ed.). Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Chang e (PDF). Chichester: Wiley. pp. 183–184. ISBN 0-471-97796-9. Retrieved 15 August 2012. Instead, Bateson stressed the importance of relationships that provide the basis for organization, and that are a greater limiting factor than energy. Relationships, which are sustained through communication of information rather than by energy flows, are also important as a source of information about context and meaning.
  19. ^ Bateson, Gregory (21 April 1966). ""Versailles to Cybernetics"". Steps to an Ecology of Mind. pp. 477–485. Retrieved 15 August 2012. This is what mammals are about. They are concerned with patterns of relationship, with where they stand in love, hate, respect, dependency, trust, and similar abstractions, vis-à-vis somebody else.
  20. ^ a b Gregory Bateson and the OSS: World War II and Bateson's Assessment of Applied Anthropology, by Dr David H. Price, http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=1110
  21. ^ Conant, Jennet (2011). A Covert Affair Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS. Simon and Schuster. p. 43.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lipset, 1982
  23. ^ Silverman, Eric Kline (2001) Masculinity, Motherhood and Mockery: Psychoanalyzing Culture and the Iatmul Naven Rite in New Guinea. University of Michigan Press
  24. ^ Marcus, George (1985) A Timely Rereading of Naven: Gregory Bateson as Oracular Essayist. Raritan 12:66–82.
  25. ^ See, most recently, Michael Houseman and Carlo Seviri, 1998, Naven or the Other Self: A Relational Approach to Ritual Action (Leiden: Brill); Eric Kline Silverman, 2001, Masculinity, Motherhood and Mockery: Psychoanalyzing Culture and the Iatmul Naven Rite in New Guinea (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press); Andrew Moutu, 2013, Names are Thicker than Blood: Kinship and Ownership amongst the Iatmul (Oxford University Press).
  26. ^ Harries-Jones, Peter (1995). A Recursive Vision: Ecological Understanding and Gregory Bateson. University of Toronto Press.
  27. ^ Silverman, Eric Kline. Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson in the Sepik, 1938: A Timely Polemic From a Lost Anthropological Efflorescence. Pacific Studies 28 (3/4) 2005:128-41.
  28. ^ Interview Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine with Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, in: CoEvolutionary Quarterly, June 1973.
  29. ^ Bateson, Steps to an ecology of mind
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h Bateson, Gregory (December 1963). "The Role of Somatic Change in Evolution". Evolution. 17 (4): 529–539. doi:10.2307/2407104. JSTOR 2407104.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bateson, Gregory (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-03905-6.
  32. ^ Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Vintage Books, 1961, ISBN 0-394-70268-9, p. 378
  33. ^ Visser, Max (2002). Managing knowledge and action in organizations; towards a behavioral theory of organizational learning. EURAM Conference, Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Stockholm, Sweden.
  34. ^ Form, Substance, and Difference, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p. 448-466
  35. ^ David A Reid. "plato.acadiau.ca". plato.acadiau.ca. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  36. ^ "Scholar.google.com". Scholar.google.com. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  37. ^ Bateson, M. C. (1984). With a daughter's eye: A memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. New York: Pocket Books.
  38. ^ [1]
  39. ^ "2011 SCFF Award Winners". Santa Cruz Film Festival. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  40. ^ "The 2011 MEA Awards". Media-ecology.org. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  41. ^ https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/complete-national-film-registry-listing/ | accessed 3/18/2018

Sources and further reading

External links

Anthony Wilden

Anthony Wilden (14 December 1935, London, England) is a writer, social theorist, college lecturer, and consultant. Wilden has published numerous books and articles which intersect a number of fields, including systems theory, film theory, structuralism, cybernetics, psychiatry, anthropological theory, water control projects, urban ecosystems, resource conservation, and communications and social relations.Wilden is credited with one of the first significant introductions to the work of Jacques Lacan in the Anglo-Saxon world, particularly in his role as one of Lacan's early English translators. Today Wilden's work (and consequent reputation) is arguably more influential in the fields of communication theory, ecology and social interaction. These fields of study evolved out of a long scholarly tradition of "interactional semiotics" that originated with Plato's Cratylus. Along with such figures as Gregory Bateson (i.e., Steps to an Ecology of Mind), R. D. Laing (i.e., Sanity, Madness and the Family), and Walker Percy (i.e., Lost in the Cosmos), Wilden is considered one of this tradition's contemporary (modern and postmodern) pioneers.With the appearance of System and Structure (1972), Wilden sought "to establish the necessity of an ecosystemic or ecological approach to communication and exchange in open systems of all types", to use his own words. In hindsight it is recognized that System and Structure was an early contribution to a "theory of self-referential systems". According to Niklas Luhmann, this "theory of self-referential systems" is the second paradigm change in a "General System Theory" (the first change being the "open-systems" or "systems/environment" shift, a step that initially separated "systems theory" from the traditional "whole-parts" paradigm). Through his teaching and writings, Wilden has provided "a contribution to our 'knowledge about knowledge' at an abstract level, as well as supplying ammunition in the struggle with the concrete reality that information is power and that scientific discourse is a hidden weapon in the arsenal of social control." Wilden is also recognized today for his significant contributions to Context theory and Second-order cybernetics.

Wilden was a professor in the Communications Department at Simon Fraser University from the 1970s to the mid-1990s. He has attended the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, 1960–1961, 1963–1965; and Johns Hopkins University, earning his PhD in 1968.

Bateson

Bateson is an English language patronymic surname meaning "son of Batte", a medieval diminutive of Bartholomew. It is rare as a given name. People with the surname Bateson include:

Frank Bateson (1909–2007), New Zealand astronomer

Frederick Wilse Bateson (1901–1978), English literary scholar

Gregory Bateson (1904–1980), British anthropologist (son of William Bateson)

Mary Catherine Bateson (born 1939), U.S. writer and anthropologist (daughter of Gregory Bateson)

Patrick Bateson (1938–2017), British biologist and science writer

Paul Bateson (born 1940), American radiological technician who appeared in The Exorcist and was later convicted of a murder

Thomas Bateson (c.1570–1630), English madrigal composer

Thomas Bateson, 1st Baron Deramore (1819-1890), British Conservative politician

Timothy Bateson (1926–2009), British actor

William Bateson (1861–1926), British geneticist who coined the term "genetics"

Bateson Project

The Bateson Project (1953-1963) was the name given to a ground-breaking collaboration organized by Gregory Bateson which was responsible for some of the most important papers and innovations in communication and psychotherapy in the 1950s and early 1960s. Its other members were Donald deAvila Jackson, Jay Haley, John Weakland, and Bill Fry. Perhaps their most famous and influential publication was Towards a Theory of Schizophrenia (1956), which introduced the concept of the Double Bind, and helped found Family Therapy.

Clinical ethnography

Clinical ethnography is a term first used by Gilbert Herdt and Robert Stoller in a series of papers in the 1980s. As Herdt defines it, clinical ethnography

is the intensive study of subjectivity in cultural context...clinical ethnography is focused on the microscopic understanding of sexual subjectivity and individual differences within cross-cultural communities. What distinguishes clinical ethnography from anthropological ethnography in general is (a) the application of disciplined clinical training to ethnographic problems and (b) developmental concern with desires and meanings as they are distributed culturally within groups and across the course of life.

Clinical ethnography has strong similarities to person-centered ethnography, a term used by Robert I. Levy, a psychoanalytically trained psychiatrist, to describe his anthropological fieldwork in Tahiti and Nepal in the 1960s-1980s and used by many of his students and interlocutors. In practice the two approaches overlap but seem to differ in emphasis: clinical ethnography seems to be used more by anthropologists writing about sexuality or medical anthropology (particularly psychiatric anthropology, e.g. Luhrmann 2000, or anthropology of mental illness), while person-centered ethnography, though sometimes addressing these topics, more often focuses on the study of self and emotion cross-culturally. Person-centered anthropology also implies a style of ethnographic writing that emphasizes psychological case studies.Both represent a continuation of an older tradition within psychological anthropology and Culture and Personality studies particularly. Scholars in this tradition have had their primary training in anthropology or psychiatry (or rarely both) and have conducted ethnographic fieldwork strongly informed by psychodynamic theories (though not necessarily orthodox Freudian theory), some degree of training in psychiatric or clinical psychological interviewing techniques, and attention to a set of issues including the role of culture in or the cross-cultural study of emotions, sexuality, identity, the experience of self, and mental health. Figures in this larger tradition include but are not limited to: Jean Briggs, George Devereux, Cora DuBois, A. Irving Hallowell, Abram Kardiner, Ralph Linton, Melford Spiro, and at least tangentially Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead, and Marvin Opler.

Active research and training programs in clinical ethnography today include the Clinical Ethnography and Mental Health track in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, and some of the qualitative researchers at the National Sexuality Resource Center, directed by Gilbert Herd at San Francisco State University. Aside from Herdt, scholars using the term include Andrew Boxer, Bertram J. Cohler, and Tanya Luhrmann, as well as many of their students.

Donald deAvila Jackson

Donald deAvila "Don" Jackson, M.D. (28 January 1920 – 29 January 1968) was an American psychiatrist best known for his pioneering work in family therapy.

From 1947 to 1951, he studied under Harry Stack Sullivan.From 1953 to 1962, he worked with Gregory Bateson, John Weakland, Jay Haley and William Fry, developing thinking in the areas of family therapy, brief therapy, systems theory and communication theory. One of the results of this research was the development of the double bind theory of schizophrenia.In 1958, he founded the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, and was its first director.

Double bind

A double bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, with one negating the other. This creates a situation in which a successful response to one message results in a failed response to the other (and vice versa), so that the person will automatically be wrong regardless of response. The double bind occurs when the person cannot confront the inherent dilemma, and therefore can neither resolve it nor opt out of the situation.

Double bind theory was first described by Gregory Bateson and his colleagues in the 1950s.Double binds are often utilized as a form of control without open coercion—the use of confusion makes them both difficult to respond to as well as to resist..

A double bind generally includes different levels of abstraction in the order of messages and these messages can either be stated explicitly or implicitly within the context of the situation, or they can be conveyed by tone of voice or body language. Further complications arise when frequent double binds are part of an ongoing relationship to which the person or group is committed.

Ethnographic film

An ethnographic film is a non-fiction film, often similar to a documentary film, historically dealing with non-Western people, and sometimes associated with anthropology.

Iatmul people

The Iatmul are a large ethnic group of about 10,000 people inhabiting some two-dozen politically autonomous villages along the middle Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. The communities are roughly grouped according to dialect of the Iatmül language as well as sociocultural affinities. The Iatmul are best known for their art, men's houses, male initiation, elaborate totemic systems, and a famous ritual called naven, first studied by Gregory Bateson in the 1930s. More recently, the Iatmul are known as a location for tourists and adventure travelers, and a prominent role in the 1988 documentary film Cannibal Tours.

Klaus Krippendorff

Klaus Krippendorff (born 1932) is the Gregory Bateson professor for Cybernetics, Language, and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.

Mary Catherine Bateson

Mary Catherine Bateson (born December 8, 1939) is an American writer and cultural anthropologist.

A graduate of the Brearley School, Bateson is the daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson.Bateson is a noted author in her field with many published monographs. Among her books is With a Daughter's Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, a recounting of her upbringing by two famous parents. She has taught at Harvard, Amherst, and George Mason University, among others. Bateson is a fellow of the International Leadership Forum and was president of the Institute for Intercultural Studies in New York until 2010.

McHenry Library

The McHenry Library is the arts, humanities, and social sciences library of the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was named after the founding chancellor of the university, Dean E. McHenry. The building, designed by architect John Carl Warnecke, was completed in 1968 and features a minimalist design intended to blend into its forest surroundings, with floor-to-ceiling glass set in coarse, granite-like concrete and exposed vertical columns suggestive of tree trunks. The building is designed around a four-story atrium surrounded entirely by glass walls. Over the last ten years the library has undergone seismic retrofit and renovations, amounting in $100 million in improvements. In fall of 2011 it fully reopened with a new café, increased study space, and special exhibit room exclusively for the Grateful Dead archives. The Global Village Café, which is located in the new wing of the library, is run by Amazon Juices and offers smoothies, sandwiches, salads, rice bowls, and a full coffee bar.

The McHenry Library is home to the archives of the anthropologist Gregory Bateson, the rock band, The Grateful Dead, the science fiction author, Robert Heinlein, and the architectural photographer Morley Baer. The exhibit opened to the public on June 29, 2012.

Meta-communication

Meta-communication - (Etymology: Gk, meta + L, communicare, to inform), or metacommunication, is a secondary communication (including indirect cues) about how a piece of information is meant to be interpreted. It is based on the idea that the same message accompanied by different meta-communication can mean something entirely different, including its opposite, as in irony. The term was brought to prominence by Gregory Bateson to refer to "communication about communication", which he expanded to: "all exchanged cues and propositions about (a) codification and (b) relationship between the communicators". Metacommunication may or may not be congruent, supportive or contradictory of that verbal communication.

Metapattern

Metapattern is a term coined by several authors for several concepts.

Pleroma

Pleroma (Greek πλήρωμα) generally refers to the totality of divine powers. The word means fullness from πληρόω ("I fill") comparable to πλήρης which means "full", and is used in Christian theological contexts: both in Gnosticism generally, and by St. Paul the Apostle in Colossians 2:9 (the word is used 17 times in the NT).Pleroma is also used in the general Greek language and is used by the Greek Orthodox Church in this general form since the word appears in the book of Colossians.

Systems psychology

Systems psychology is a branch of both theoretical psychology and applied psychology that studies human behaviour and experience in complex systems. It is inspired by systems theory and systems thinking, and based on the theoretical work of Roger Barker, Gregory Bateson, Humberto Maturana and others. Groups and individuals are considered as systems in homeostasis. Alternative terms here are "systemic psychology", "systems behavior", and "systems-based psychology".

Systems theory in anthropology

Systems theory in anthropology is an interdisciplinary, non-representative, non-referential, and non-Cartesian approach that brings together natural and social sciences to understand society in its complexity. The basic idea of a system theory in social science is to solve the classical problem of duality; mind-body, subject-object, form-content, signifier-signified, and structure-agency. System theory suggests that instead of creating closed categories into binaries (subject-object); the system should stay open so as to allow free flow of process and interactions. In this way the binaries are dissolved.

Complex systems in nature—for example, ecosystems—involve a dynamic interaction of many variables (e.g. animals, plants, insects and bacteria; predators and prey; climate, the seasons and the weather, etc.) These interactions can adapt to changing conditions but maintain a balance both between the various parts and as a whole; this balance is maintained through homeostasis. Human societies are complex systems, as it were, human ecosystems. Early humans, as hunter-gatherers, recognized and worked within the parameters of the complex systems in nature and their lives were circumscribed by the realities of nature. But they couldn't explain complex systems. Only in recent centuries did the need arise to define complex systems scientifically. Complex systems theories first developed in math in the late 19th century, then in biology in the 1920s to explain ecosystems, then to deal with artificial intelligence (cybernetics), etc.Anthropologist Gregory Bateson is the most influential and earliest founder of system theory in social sciences. In the 1940s, as a result of the Macy conferences, he immediately recognized its application to human societies with their many variables and the flexible but sustainable balance that they maintain. Bateson describes system as "any unit containing feedback structure and therefore competent to process information." Thus an open system allows interaction between concepts and materiality or subject and the environment or abstract and real. In natural science, systems theory has been a widely used approach. Austrian biologist, Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy, developed the idea of the general systems theory (GST). The GST is a multidisciplinary approach of system analysis.

The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise

The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise is a 1967 book by Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, comprising two parts - the first a collection of seven articles previously published between 1962 and 1965; the second a free-flowing quasi-autobiographical piece of poetry and prose.

The work was inspired in part by Laing’s extensive experimentation with LSD; but also owes a debt (among others) to Gregory Bateson and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Trance and Dance in Bali

Trance and Dance in Bali is a short documentary film shot by the anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson during their visits to Bali in the 1930s. The film was not released until 1952.

William Henry Bateson

William Henry Bateson (3 June 1812, Liverpool, Lancashire – 27 March 1881 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire) was a British scholar educated at Shrewsbury School and, from 1857 until 1881, Master of St John's College, Cambridge. In 1858 Bateson held the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He was the father of the geneticist William Bateson, the journalist and suffragist Margaret Heitland and the historian Mary Bateson and the grandfather of cyberneticist Gregory Bateson.

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