Reply To: Dec 8th: An Ecology of Mind (Gregory Bateson)

Author Replies # Posted on December 10, 2014 at 18:54

Not a reply, but my reflections, as I don’t know how to enter my reflections.
“An Ecology of Mind” and Nora Bateson: Reflections on the film about Gregory Bateson and his philosophy about a holistic view on the interconnection between all living matter. The idea compromises topics such as systems and chaotic theories, genetics, anthropology, cross-species behavior and communication. He also devoted a lot of time on genetics and andante-eugenics.
It is a beautiful film made by his youngest daughter. I would say that it primarily is a declaration of love for her father. As she walks beside her father she explains the different aspects of his ideas. Much of what he thinks of and teach are obvious relations, but others give me some new insights. Nevertheless, as in my opinion about philosophy, it is mostly a long talk with an abundant number for words and for that reason could have been said much shorter and concise.
One of his idea that I find very attractive though is our problem to see and understand outside our own training in our society. This inability also makes it difficult for most of us to see and make changes, to evolve our mind. Today in a changing, globalized world, it is very important to be aware of what is happening to maintain democracy and an opened society. Besides, on a personal level, it is much more interesting to try to learn and understand, at least some of all, new inventions, cultural manifestations and influences in our own lives. I agree with Bateson that at the same time it takes some effort and accommodations to learn to see novel contexts. He was an anthropologist, but still not a specialist in any field. I find it very good is that about what we see when we for example look at a human hand. The five extensions could be anything if you just mek your own
Another point that Bateson has, is that he wanted to learn all his life, willingly from other people (not necessarily academics) a concept that offers wonderful opportunity to a rich intellectual.
I didn’t follow his reasoning about that “we don’t see the interconnections in nature”. Maybe not all of us, but certainly anybody who have an interest or just a pleasure to notice and/or understand “local” ecology, where we walk in nature (a small park in the city, in the country side or out in the “bush”). Besides, this is what it is all about regarding climate change etc.
A last reflection is that about Bateson’s comment about the concept of hemoglobin. If it existed on Mars, then of course it would still be the same molecule and probably have the same function to oxygenate the blood. In another biological system, I believe there would be another compound, not necessarily built of the same atoms that we have here on earth.