It has seemed to me worth while to show from the history of civilization just what war has done and has not done for the welfare of mankind. In the eighteenth century it was assumed that the primitive state of mankind was one of Arcadian peace, joy, and contentment. In the nineteenth century the assumption went over to the other extreme — that the primitive state was one of universal warfare.
Gregory Bateson with his daughter, Mary Catherine. Gregory Bateson died on July 4,at the age of 76, survived by his wife, Lois; three children, Mary Catherine, John, and Nora; and his adopted son, Eric. Mary Catherine, the child of his marriage to Margaret Meadis Dean of Faculty at Amherst College and, like her parents, an anthropologist.
Gregory Bateson came from a distinguished line of English academics. His father, William, was one of the founders of modern genetics. Haddon and field research in New Britain and New Guinea. Little came from his first fieldwork among the Baining and Sulka people of New Essays in radical empiricism text, but the classic Naven2nd ed.
His reputation in anthropology still rests to a considerable degree on this first book. Later, in the s, he collaborated in field research in Bali with Margaret Mead, reported in Balinese Character In the s and s he brought his ethnographic method to bear on schizophrenia and other psychiatric phenomena notably, disturbed communication within families to considerable theoretical effect, and Steps to an Ecology of Mind he also did research on the behavior of other species: This work resulted in Communication: If the subjects of his research seem disparate, the list of topics over which he ranged seems even more so: Bateson never held a regular position in an academic department of anthropology.
He was a fellow at St. Johns, Cambridge University, from untilbut spent a good deal of that period in New Guinea and the United States.
He entered the United States as a permanent resident inand served in Asia in the O. In the late s, he held visiting appointments at the New School for Social Research and Harvard; later he held visiting appointments at Stanford, the University of Hawaii, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
His regular employment during much of his career was in medical institutions and laboratories for the study of animal behavior. Moreover, with the possible exception of a time during the late s and s, when concern with the relationship of culture to character and personality was more general than it has been since, he never stood near the center of contemporary anthropological interests.
Although a general anthropological audience came to appreciate Naven in the late s and the s 25 years after its original publicationand although Steps to an Ecology of Mind made many of his essays published in obscure journals available to anthropologists and revealed to some readers new anthropological and intellectual horizons, he remained a deeply puzzling figure to a good many of his colleagues until the end of his life.
We wish to consider here some of the roots of the puzzlement. Jeff Bloom To begin with, he proposed above all a way of looking at phenomena; he was visionary in the sense that one of his models, William Blake, was - he "saw" in a particular, unified, and in relation to many of his auditors and readers, original way.
Gregory Bateson has been blessed, and cursed, with a mind that sees through things to a world of pattern and form that lies beyond.
Then there was the way in which the vision was presented, especially his style of oral presentation. This style worked compellingly for some, but it irritated and confused others. One of us last saw him giving a farewell lecture, or more properly presiding over a happening, at a series gloomily entitled "Famous Last Words" at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, as part of a series that was to include the supercharismatic likes of Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama.
The intense and distinguished audience a generally receptive group, in contrast to the annoyance Bateson stirred up in some English reviewers and cultural guardians, who were given to such remarks as that he wrote "from the intellectual lotus land of California, where eclectic theories and mystical philosophizing lie thick as Los Angeles smog.
Hair and suit rumpled as always, sprawling into and over a chair which could not properly contain his six-foot-five-inch body, a mysterious smile on his face, he started somewhere in the middle of things and proceeded to ponder out loud in front of the audience.
As always, he put himself at risk in front of an audience in a procedure that, as those who attended various of his public performances will remember, sometimes failed as didactic lectures.
But at another level, as he would have characteristically put it, he risked nothing at all, for at this level he was illustrating something rather than talking about it. He was not being a lecturer, presenting material, but an exemplar, representing it.
He was performing a "metalogue," a communication whose form is meant to illustrate its content. What he was trying to illustrate, as always, was that authentic, minimally erroneous communication and thought is responsive to the moment, to the condition of the presenter, the state of his understanding of his problem, and his sense of the audience.
This involved considerable risk, and required some sense of trust, usually amply justified, in his listeners.
But it was not for everyone. This public stance was no different from the way he related to others in dyads and small groups, although in these situations he had clearer "feedback" to work with.
Those who were susceptible to encounter with Bateson experienced an intense moment-to-moment collaboration involving an unusual sense of augmentation of intelligence.
As Margaret Mead put it: It is closely related to the ideas themselves, for his most exciting ideas, schismogenesis, the double-bind, and the relationship of purposeful human behavior to linear systems have all been about relationships between individuals or groups of individuals, elaborated and stylized by experience or culture.
He would, in large part, have assessed the question of his "individual contribution" as itself an error of some sort, since it claims that it is a member of the group, not the group itself, which is doing the important thinking.
But those who have collaborated with him can attest that his contributions were central and seminal.You have reached a web page that was created by Professor Frank Pajares.
Portions of his web site have been archived and others have been moved to homes not affiliated with Emory University.
The Will to Believe: and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy - Kindle edition by William James. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
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