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by Stephen Downes
May 12, 2009

Braga, Portugal

Sitting in a cafe restaurant in northern Portugal, eating salt cod and drinking wine, and reading Hemingway. More on the classics. Stephen Downes, Flickr, May 12, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

About Bateson
Bateson is on about an ecology of propositions, an evolution of truth. But that isn't quote it either, because it's all systems and feedback. "Bateson is not clearly understood because his work is not an explanation, but a commission, As Wittgenstein noted, 'a commission tells us what we must do.' In Bateson's case, what we must do is reprogram ourselves, train our intelligence and imagination to work according to radical configurations. Heinz Von Foerster points out that 'the blessed curse of a meta-language is that it wears the cloth of a first-order language, an 'object language.' Thus, any proposition carries with it the tantalizing ambiguity: Was it made in meta or in object language?' Nobody, knows and you can't find out. All attempts to speak about a meta-language, that is, to speak in meta-meta-language, are doomed to fail. As Wittgenstein observed: "Remain silent!" But Bateson cannot remain silent." And it is thus I tell you (echoing Friere) - the first thing you need to understand this way of thinking is to emancipate yourself, to become free - because if ou are in a position of subjective dependence on truth, you are not in the right epistemological frame to see. John Brockman, Edge, May 12, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

For God's Sake, Margaret
Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead and and Stuart Brand on cybernetics, system, networks, and art. Here's Mead: "The thing that cybernetics made the most difference to me, aside from all the things that you know, in the social organisation field, was the interaction between the mother and child. There had been too much emphasis that there were temperamental differences among children, so that you responded differently to a hyperactive baby than you did to a quiet baby. But the extent to which there was a system in which the mother was dependent on what the child had learned as the stimulus for the next position wasn't well articulated until we got the cybernetics conferences going." Which raises, for me, the question: would you treat every baby the same? What sort of terrifying sort of Ayn Rand reality would that be? More Mead: "Americans are always solving problems piece-meal. They're always solving them de nouveau and artificially because they're all newcomers and they don't have decisions grounded in a culture." CF. George Lakoff. Stuart Brand, Oikos, May 12, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Number Is Different From Quantity
A fascinating post. Which for me raises the discussion, in my head: a man said he wants evidence that the latest innovation works. With a wave of my hand, I told him to look at the happy faces, the pleased children, the productive adults. Yes, he said, that's all very nice. But I am interested in measuring these changes. Very well, I said. Just look at them. You can see them. N, he said, I need numbers. Ah, I said, Then you are not interested in measuring the changes, you are trying to find patterns in the changes, to take something you can see and to convert it (digitally) into something you can recognize. (As Wittgenstein often said, precision about the meaning of words usually dissolves disputes.) Gregory Bateson, Oikos, May 12, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Live Speech and Dead Speech in Psychotherapy
"What is needed in the context where people believe that they 'need a hand' in order to revise, change or reconstruct their experiences is a domain in which they are free to experiment together in ways that generate novelty for them. The domain in question must be a new network of conversations, and this network must be characterised by those properties which I have now described as a Live Speech network." And many many more great buts about dead and living language, power and conversation in this essay about Gregory Bateson. Thanks to Paul Bouchard for prompting this. Vincent Kenny, Toward an Econogy of Conversations, May 12, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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