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Bateson, Gregory (1979). Mind and Nature. A Necessary Unity.

Bateson, Gregory (1979). Mind and Nature. A Necessary Unity. New York: E.P. Dutton.

”The pattern which connects”

== Introduction ==

Mind as a reflection of large and many parts of the natural world outside the thinker. Existing (human) epistemology reflection of obsolete physics; man unique and materialistic, while living universe generalized and spiritual. And yet beauty persists.

Jung following Gnostics: not mind and matter but

* ”’Creatura”’: world of living, distinctions, ”difference” as a cause

* ”’Pleroma”’: non-living, forces and ”impacts” as causes of events

The pattern which connects the crab to the lobster, the orchid to the primrose and all the four of them to me. (p.8) Both claws are made of the same ”parts” (p9) Homology (phylogenetic, serial).

Aesthetic = responsive to the pattern which connects.

Logical types of anatomic descriptive patterns:

# first-order: parts compared with parts of same individual

# second-order: parts compared with similar relations between parts

# third-orer: comparisons compared: crab-lobster vs horse-men

So: Pattern which connects = ”’meta-pattern”’ (pattern of patterns).

Such comparisons are not ”material”, ”Dingen an sich”, but they are ”real” and can have effects on both creatura and pleroma. (=connection ‘mind-matter’)

Growth: Spirals are generally produced by living things. Segments and symmetry also result of growth; growth makes it formal demands; one of these is satisfied with spiral forms. People think in stories.

Context = a pattern through time. Embryology is formal (trunk = between eyes and above mouth; fetus cannot smell). Relationship could be basis for definition (but not done in teaching, often; grammar etc).

Evolution: with Darwin and Lamarck, biosphere was Great ”’Chain”’ of Being (p. 19) Origin of species was attempt to exclude mind.

”’Logical typing”’: hierarchical structure of thought (Betrand Russell) in this book takes place of the chain.

p. 20

”’Logic”’ is unable to deal with recursive circuits without generating paradox.

”’Quantities”’ are not the stuff of complex communicating systems.

P. 21

Combining pieces of information; currently no existing science has special interest in this.

== Every schoolboy knows ==

”Postmodern statement” (SJ)

p. 27

Truth, final knowledge, never occurs in science (perhaps with abstract tautology); hypotheses are ”improved” or sometimes ”disproved”.

p. 29

Prediction never is absolutely valid. Science is way of ”perceiving”; perception operates only upon ”difference”; perception difference limited by ”threshold”.

p. 30

* the map is not the territory; the name is not the ‘Ding an sich’. (Alfred Korzybski).

P. 31

* All experience is subjective

p. 32

* Image formation processes are unconscious

p. 38

division of universe into parts necessary but no necessity determines how it is done

p. 40

* Divergent sequences are unpredictable (breaking chain, braking glass)

p. 42

“deep gulf between statements about an identified individual and statements about a class. such statements are of ”different logical type”, and prediction from one to the other is always unsure.

p. 43

it does matter which individual man acted. Precisely ”this” makes history unpredictable into the future.

p. 44

* Convergent sequences are predictable

Aggregates of individuals (solar systems, billiard balls) predictable. BUT statistician should always remember that his statements have reference only to aggregates, not to individuals.

p. 45

* Nothing will come of nothing

but zero can be a message (in context).

p. 49

* Number is different from quantity

Number ~ pattern, gestalt. Quantity ~ analogic, probabilistic computation.

p. 51

“what is the largest number that the ”process of growth” can handle as a fixed pattern, beyond which the matter is handled as quantity?”

p. 53

* Quantity dus not determine pattern

* There are no monotone “values” in biology

* Sometimes small is beautiful

the tale of the polyploid horse: four times usual number of chromosomes, twice as long, twice as high, twice as thick. BUT: ”’8 x as heavy”’ has normal Clydesdale horse! Fat and skin twice as thick, surface area only four times that of normal horse, so cooling not sufficient. Windpipe only 4 times as wide (not 8 times).

Interaction change and tolerance. Like with traffic: ”suddenly” the threshold of tolerance is passed and congestion appears. The changing of one variable exposes a critical value of the other.

Little is known of message system that controls growth. Why symmetry in mammals?

p. 58

* Logic is a poor model of cause and effect

If-then in syllogisms is ”very different” of that in cause and effect.

p. 59

“Logic can not simulate all sequences of cause and effect. If-then of causality contains ”time”, but the if-then of logic is timeless.”

Example: buzzer circuit. Contact->Activated->contact broken->inactivated->contact. BUT, logically: If contact is made, contact is broken. If P, then not P.

Logic is an incomplete model of causality.

p. 60

* Causality does not work backward

When causal systems become circular, a change in the circle can be regarded as a cause for a change in any variable in the circle ”at a later time”.

* Language commonly only stresses one side of any interaction

p. 61

* “Stability” and “Change” describe parts of our descriptions.

== Multiple versions of the world ==

What bonus comes from ”combining” information from two or more sources? (67)

It takes at least two somethings to create a difference. Binocular vision; the difference between the two images is of a different logical type than that of the separate images.

Description, tautology, explanation (p. 81). Description and explanation are connected by tautology. Why is in mirror left-right changed but up-down not? because the mirror provides a 180-degree reversal (west-east -> east-west) so: you’re essentially looking at your back.

Does opium contain dormitive principle? No, the combination of opium and people.

“Epistemology is always and inevitably ”personal”. (p. 87)

== Criteria for mental process ==

What is ”mind”? How to think about thinking?

# An Aggregate of interacting parts of components

# Interaction triggered by ”difference”; difference not located in space or time

# Mental process requires collateral energy

# Mental process requires circular (or more complex) chains of determination

# Coding: effects of difference are to be regarded as transforms of events which preceded them

# Logical typing: description and classification of these processes of transformation discloses a hierarchy of logical types immanent in the phenomena

Thought, evolution, ecology, life, learning etc occur ”only” in systems that satisfy these criteria.

Sensory organs respond to change or difference.

Circular chains: steamengine with governor

== Multiple versions of relationships ==

What is inside or outside the ”self”? Dependency, aggressiveness or pride only exist ”between” people. (133) ”Play” only happens between living creatures; it is not the name of an act but a ”frame” of action. (p. 139).

Totemism: the religion based on analogy between social system and natural world.

Abduction: lateral extension of abstract components of description. Metaphor, dream, art, science, religion, poetry, totemism: all (aggregates of) instances of abduction within human mental sphere. (p. 142)

== The great stochastic processes ==

“Without the random, there can be now new thing.” (p. 147). Both genetic change and learning are stochastic processes. Random stream of events and non-random selective process.

Does the nature of homological formal resemblances tells something about the ”process” of evolution? (p. 166) “Why do some characteristics become the basis of homology?” (p. 168)

D’Arcy Thompson: map animal on square paper, distorting, same coordinates will accomodate the other form. (170)

All innovative, ”creative” systems are ”divergent”. (p. 174)

Two stochastic systems:

* Darwinist; random component genetic change

* rooted in external adaption; random provided by system of phenotype in interaction with environment

== From classification to process ==

Weismann barrier: acquired characteristics can not be inherited.

Communication between levels of different logical type can have undesirable effects.

Logical typing applied in world of organisms takes on different appearance than in mathematical world: instead of hierarchy of classes, “we face a hierarchy of ”orders of recursiveness”. (p 201)

Shotgun firing: information about the ”self” can only be harvested ”after” the firing. (201)

“system of law enforcement [is] necessarily discontinuous for reasons connected with ”time”” (p. 202)

“Wise man see outlines and therefore they draw them.” (William Blake)

== So What? ==

”Aesthetics” and ”consciousness” will have to be mapped onto the ideas in the present book. (p. 211)

These issues and the ”sacred” will be dealt with in the next book, “Where Angels fear to Thread”.