| Gregory BATESON  |


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 "It is to the Riddle of the Sphinx that I have devoted fifty years of professional life as an anthropologist. It is of first-class importance that our answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx should be in step with how we conduct our civilisation, and this should in turn be in step with the actual workings of living systems.

A major difficulty is that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is partly a product of the answers that we already have given to the riddle in its various forms. Kurt Vonnegut gives us wary advice - that we should be careful what we pretend because we become what we pretend. And something like that, some sort of self-fulfilment, occurs in all organisations and human cultures. What people presume to be ‘human’ is what they will build in as premises of their social arrangements, and what they build in is sure to be learned, is sure to become a part of the character of those who participate.

And along with this self-validation of our answers, there goes something still more serious - namely, that any answer which we promote, as it becomes partly true through our promoting of it, becomes partly irreversible. There is a lag in these affairs."

Gregory Bateson - Innocence & Experience. 1987 - p.178 



Gregory Bateson [1904 - 1980] - Anthropologist, Social Scientist, Cyberneticist - known as Gregory - was one of the most important social scientists of this century. Strongly opposing those scientists who attempted to ‘reduce’ everything to mere matter, he was intent upon the task of re-introducing ‘Mind’ back into the scientific equations - writing two famous books Steps to an Ecology of Mind, and Mind & Nature as part of this task. From his point of view Mind is a constituent part of ‘material reality’ and it is thus nonsensical to try to split mind from matter. Before being championed by the counter-culture of the 1960’s Bateson had been busy in the 20’s and 30’s as an anthropologist in Bali, and in helping to found the science of cybernetics among many other things. Adopted by many thinkers in the anti-psychiatry movement because he provided a model and a new epistemology for developing a novel understanding of human madness, and also for his invention of the theory of the double bind.

He helped to elaborate the science of cybernetics with colleagues Warren McCulloch, Gordon Pask, Ross Ashby, Heinz von Foerster, Norbert Wiener, etc. He inspired several different models and approaches in the area of psychotherapy, notably that of the MRI Interactional school of Weakland, Jackson, and Watzlawick, and many other later schools of family therapy [including that of the Milan school of Palazzoli], and he directly influenced family therapists such as Brad Keeney, Tom Andersen, Lynn Hoffman and many others.  



Chapters II and III of Gregory Bateson's and Mary Catherine Bateson's ANGELS FEAR  [01.23.00]

Chapters II and III of Gregory Bateson's MIND AND NATURE [01.03.00]

NEW FOREWORD to STEPS TO AN ECOLOGY OF MIND by Mary Catherine Bateson [10.11.99]

An interview with Anatol Holt   by Vincent Kenny [08.06.99]

Towards an Ecology of Conversation by Vincent Kenny [03.20.99]

Mind / Body Dualism Conference Invitational Paper by Gregory Bateson [9.28.98]

Gregory Bateson's Notion of the Sacred - What can it Tell Us about Living Constructively? by Vincent Kenny [12.24.97]

Allegory by Gregory Bateson [9.22.97]

Number is Different from Quantity by Gregory Bateson [9.18.97]

They Threw God Out Of The Garden Letters from Gregory Bateson to Philip Wylie and Warren McCulloch [9.13.97]

For God's Sake, Margaret Conversation between Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead [9.09.97]

Six Days Of Dying - by Mary Catherine Bateson

Personal Snapshots from Old Hawaii Memories of Bateson, Dolphins & Aloha shirts


Links to find out more about Bateson's approach



Gregory Bateson [1973]. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Paladin Books.

Gregory Bateson [1980]. Mind and Nature - A Necessary Unity. Bantam Books.

Gregory Bateson & Mary Catherine Bateson [1987]. Angels Fear - Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred. Macmillan Publishing Co. New York.

Gregory Bateson [1991]. A Sacred Unity - Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind. HarperCollinsPublishers.

Mary Catherine Bateson [1972/1991]. Our Own Metaphor - A personal account of a conference on the effects of conscious purpose on human adaptation. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington & London.


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