Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bateson: Creatura and Pleroma

Where Basteson (1904-1980) wound up was dividing the world into pleroma and creatura, ideas he got from Jung. You see pleroma in the photograph of the badlands. Beautiful forms but it’s all uplift and erosion, physics and chemistry. Creatura is life: people, redwood forests, Congress, “mind.” Mind is made of interacting parts or circuits, requires collateral energy, is triggered by difference, and requires circular or more complex interaction. He divided existence this way to avoid the mind-matter Cartesian split that he felt had corrupted enlightenment epistemology. Cogito ergo sum, but I am thinking: something material is doing something mental. Mind isn’t separate, and is fair game for investigation.

For Bateson this was “religious” in so many words, but not mechanical or superstitious. He took a while to get there, though, and there’s a lot of it that leaves me thinking, “Huh?” or “Why does that follow?” Lipset’s biography helps, but I still fall off here and there. I’m reading Steps to an Ecology of Mind studying the building blocks slowly and painstakingly, hoping I’ll be able to make the tough connections.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Bateson

I wrote a note to an old acidhead buddy to the effect that Bateson either makes me go "wish I'd said that," "wow, I never thought of that," or "huh?" I wrote a very telegraphic five hundred or a thousand words, and only got him out of his teens. I'm less than fluent with things like the relation between logical types/contextual paradox and double-bind theory. To say nothing of the relation between all that and phylogenetic homology. Still going "huh?". So now I've begun "Steps to an Ecology of Mind," the anthology of major Bateson academic papers, and the one among his three popular books I haven't read. Hoping for sort of reverse reductionism, or something like that.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gregory Bateson

Brushing up on my Gregory Bateson for a profile in Duluth's Zenith City Weekly. Reading David Lipset's Gregory Bateson: Legacy of a Scientist.

 It's nice to have a guide. It's also interesting looking forward to explaining Gregory Bateson in under a thousand words. The great systems thinker, he's all of one piece; every idea depends on all the rest.