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Purpose – When the editors of this publication asked me to do a little editing for them, they also asked me to write a short piece for you about how my father’s work has affected my work as a ﬁlmmaker. Design/methodology/approach – A short and informal note form Nora Bateson. Findings – In the end it turns out, from my perspective at least, that the most important thing he said was nothing he said, (though a lot of it is inherently fascinating and hugely useful). What is truly important is how he approached EVERYTHING. Originality/value – A personal look into how Gregory Bateson’s ideas and his lifestyle worked together. Keywords Cybernetics, Literature Paper type Viewpoint
When the editors of this publication asked me to do a little editing for them, they also asked me to write a short piece for you about how my father’s work was affected my work as a ﬁlmmaker. I, having a stubborn streak, wanted to write to you about the nature of multidisciplinary discussion, but then I ﬁgured out it was all the same question. If you happen to be wearing a white lab coat or have an ofﬁce with a nice couch we could have a very long talk about it, say 10 or 15 years worth. But, it may or may not be interesting, so, I would like to look at the question from another angle. I have his forehead, and his long legs, and in keeping with the genetic similarities I inherited from him, I have just invited you do the thing he did best, which is, to look at the thing, be it an earthworm, a number sequence, a tree, a formal deﬁnition of addiction, anything at all, from another angle. The thing was never the thing. “The map was not the territory,” and whatever it was could be turned slightly and re-examined, seemingly inﬁnitely. Like a Rubik’s cube, (which he never saw but would have liked) only one in which there might be several right answers and patterns, he would twist one bit, and re-evaluate the rules from there, and then twist it again, to be sure he did not get stuck down a singular line of thinking. In the end it turns out, from my perspective at least, that the most important thing he said was nothing he said, (though a lot of it is inherently fascinating and hugely useful). What is truly important is how he approached EVERYTHING. How does it work? What works with it? What are its relationships? How does it ﬁt in? How does it interact? What are the rules of engagement given the limitations? Can we reverse that question? And of course, how does it think? The answers only beg the next questions. Pouring through his work, I ﬁnd that I am continually reminded, at each “step” that “an ecology of mind” is a slippery, and rigorous friend. The thinking is the issue. Once you start to think about the nature of thought inside an interdependent and interconnected system, (a large one), the rules of thinking and identifying, measuring, mapping, patterns, order, and knowing all change. Buyers beware though, the questions and the turning, the reversals and the puzzling, did not
Kybernetes Vol. 36 No. 7/8, 2007 pp. 1141-1142 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0368-492X DOI 10.1108/03684920710777937
com Or visit our web site for further details: www. the dog’s behavior. was. employed in the art and lavish appreciation of the bedtime story. It was our life. as a creature. When Gregory says that he admires Samuel Butler even though he never studied anything besides his cat and himself. and certainly twisted. my ﬁrst exposure to depth psychology or deep ecology. So. I want to say that there is no doubt that the nature of our curiosity effects the nature of our ﬁndings. For this little long-legged. and gravitate toward variables.K 36. In that respect. and the grain of wood in the dining room table. the coffee in the morning. Fortunately. as we stand at this dangerous cultural/ecological juncture together. there is ring of home for me. and travel second nature. and to wonder heartfully. or whether that is an error in logical types. and dive into wild and whirling discussions at various conferences around the globe. Love of the questioning. Corresponding author Nora Bateson can be contacted at: norabateson@aol. I have recently found a terriﬁc extended family in the systems and cybernetics communities. and easy answers. I am so pleased to tangle though the complexities of our systems. and woven together with story. and another deep science.com To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight. I would say his work has had an utterly positive effect on me. (and I have to wonder what the cat thought). poetry. I have a trained allergic reaction to pat solutions. Is science driven by anxiety or appreciation? This upbringing was my preparation for the cultural epistemology of the twenty-ﬁrst century. “Bateson-thought” is not only an academic pursuit. While that may sound like a daughter’s emotional drivel. whether real change can be imagined from here. in fact. it is ultimately a way of life. So.com/reprints . experiments and papers. our ﬁsh-tank.emeraldinsight.7/8 1142 live in a nine to ﬁve tenured box of books. I have only just begun to meet you all. I am sure I am probably quite maladjusted. (Just-So). the love of the unity of the biosphere. It made classrooms torturous. big forehead girl the world was already interconnected.