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Talk:Gregory Bateson

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Wikipedia's article on GB has been edited in the last few years greatly to its betterment. It's more biography than scientific thought, but worth a read. --Margaret9mary 23:19, 2 June 2009 (UTC)


I removed the following because it is more of an opinion without citations or references, and as such represents a POV. POV's are to be avoided in article writing, unless there is balance or a countervailing POV. Dr. Becker-Weidman Talk 02:01, February 26, 2011 (UTC)

RE POV--I must appeal your revert.Edit

Rather it was his method of prodding his students to do their own thinking, not giving them information to regurgitate, andof providing them with an example of interdisciplinary thinking--of going back and forth between data in different fields--that produced this impression.
The article says--"In academic circles he is something of a cult figure whose appeal includes his obscurity, eccentricity and diversity of accomplishment" and "...the unconventionality of his style might be largely at fault."
This seems to be a POV implying Bateson wasn't a serious scientist. (More likely it was the hippie atmosphere of California in the 60s-70s that produced that impression.) He was different, which is an entirely different matter.
Please note I didn't remove the quote--it does reflect a perception of Bateson--but I did add a countervailing point of view to give it balance.
Also, I'm concerned that it seems that if I read Bateson differently than the majority opinion of scientists that it's assumed that this is a personal opinion and I'm automatically assumed to be a problem, whereas, as an interdisciplinary thinker, I don't find Bateson obscure. And so I would like to "translate" nonlinear into something comprehensible for linear thinkers--to bring some light to the issues involved.
And so, concerning


Bateson was an interdisciplinary thinker more so than others. He was developing a new paradigm in science--Margaret9mary 22:46, March 1, 2011 (UTC) He was developing a new paradigm in science--specifically to facilitate the study of systems with many variables that are flexible and adaptable, yet relatively stable, that maintain certain parameters through feedback. Outcomes cannot be predetermined precisely, but patterns of relationship can be determined and system stability respected and maintained. Complex systems have an inner system of control, resulting in homeostasis. (This is valid for biological systems if not human created systems). In his final years Bateson was seeking the way to unify the definitions of the many complex systems theories developing in different scientific fields. Thirty years have passed and others still haven't established a clear definition of Complex systems, so it's not surprising he was often misunderstood.
Recently I took a closer look at the WP article on Attachment theory and found it had left out the fact that Bowly saw infant attachment as a complex system* (to which he dedicated 2/5ths of his book Attachment to discuss basic theory).
 ::All the WP/Wiki definitions try to define nonlinear systems in linear terms. This makes them unnecessarily complicated and obscure and does not adequately explain systems theory.
::MY SOURCES--Steps to an Ecology of Mind and Mind and Nature: a Necessary Unity.
In his writings Bateson states many things casually as asides.
  • He says his father (as a biologist) seemed ready for systems theory (an early influence).
  • He comments on his students' habits of thinking (compared to his own).
  • He was aware of the therapeutic use of positive double binds for healing and emotional growth (and aparently used them on his students).
  • One sees in his style of writing a habit of going back and forth--sometimes seemingly changing the subject, but in a non-linear way--to arrive at a different conclusion.
  • Etc.
Concerning Bowlby In systems theory, the mother-and-child is a complex system of attachment--a mutually reinforcing system between two.
(and "mother" .to clarify yet again, refers to the act of nurturing--i.e. the person who makes the long-term commitment to respond to the infant's needs, to protect and advocate for them as if the child's needs were their own.Margaret9mary 23:12, March 1, 2011 (UTC)Margaret9mary 23:22, March 1, 2011 (UTC)Margaret9mary 23:32, March 1, 2011 (UTC)

If you can provide a source and citation for you POV that would be best. I'd suggest that you first "fly" it here on the talk page, solicit comments and suggestions and then when consensus is reached, the new material can be added. Dr. Becker-Weidman Talk 02:53, March 2, 2011 (UTC)
Gregory Bateson is the source saying he often was misunderstood, and that his habits of thinking were different from his students, etc.<refBateson, G (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Chicago:The University of Chicago Press./ref>Margaret9mary 23:44, March 3, 2011 (UTC)
Do you mean you need a secondary source for the POV that Bateson often wasn't understood because he was an interdisciplinary thinker?
My lifetime experience is that some people do interdisciplinary thinking because that is how their brain is wired. It's something similar to left-handedness vs right-handedness--something less common but involving a percentage of any populatiion.
Today I commented on this in the art dept. here at the local community college and the two people I was talking to asked me--do you mean someone who uses both sides of their brain to an equal degree? I said yes, and they both said they fit in that category. Perhaps you have more information on this phenomenon.
In any case, I don't think it's because he was a genius, or because he was odd that he was misunderstood. Perhaps it's common that innovative thinkers have a larger field of vision and are good at seeing ordered patterns in reality. Bowlby was certainly another of them. And Darwin probably was another.Margaret9mary 20:05, March 3, 2011 (UTC)Margaret9mary 20:11, March 3, 2011 (UTC)

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