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About Bateson Paperback – 24 Oct 1977

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Important Ideas revisited under Gragory Bateson's watchful eye. 15 May 2011
By Paul Cline - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Framed by Bateson as new work from his ideas and collected by John Brockman from Bateson's colleagues 'About Bateson' collects essays related to the broad ranging work Gregory Bateson engaged in. Bateson's impatience with praise and any softness in thinking is displayed in the introduction and pushes each essay to move ideas forward. Below each section is briefly summarized.

I am afraid I can only recommend this work to a Bateson completest because of its difficulty and lack of focus. I warn away readers new to Bateson's thinking. Try Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology instead. Others may enjoy it of course, but hate I to recommend and fall short.

Introduction by John Brockman
Brockman exposes some of the behind the scenes of the production of the book and reveals some of Bateson's process. The reader gets the idea that Bateson is somewhat difficult to hem in and is busy doing more important things.

Gregory Bateson: Early Biography by David Lipset
This biographical sketch is truly revelatory of Bateson's influences. The reader gets to know about Bateson's literal and intellectual parentage.

Daddy, Can a Scientist Be Wise? by Mary Catherine Bateson
Using the metalog technique to introduce her essay M K Bateson introduces many of G Bateson's ideas and works to define key terms: Love, Mind, and Wisdom within Bateson's framework.

Gregory Bateson and Humanistic Psychology by Rollo May
May congratulates Bateson on his insistence on truth in the face of subjectivity and introduces Bateson's Levels of Learning which leaves the reader wanting to know a bit more.

Some Discussion of Ethnography, Theory, and Method by Ray L. Birdwhistell
Birdwhistell laments the state of education and worries about the focus on Methods, and then throws in selections from an old notebook. This seems a bit lazy but it successfully illustrates the struggle by researchers to get things right.

For My Father by Edwin Schlossberg
Schlossbergs' 'letter' is difficult to penetrate; to read even. But there is understanding on the far side. Communication is difficult and to pay attention to its demands is more work than we are used to.

End Linkage: A Tool for Cross-Cultural Analysis by Margaret Mead
Mead introduces End Linkage and gives many examples in which it will be useful. Again the reader is left knowing they need more information to use this new tool.

Afterward by Gregory Bateson
Bateson finishes the work with more information on difference, information, and communication. He gives a sketch of his epistemology and encourages each of us to pursue a true(r) epistemology for ourselves.
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