A little unknown English philosopher, Gregory Bateson, that I recently discovered, can help us broaden our world view by placing life in its center. He proposed a more diverse ecology of knowing, hoping to see more interactions than what pops up in our limited minds, that follow the doctrine dominant, that follows the formatted patterns we all know or at least feel. In his master work, “Mind and Nature-a necessary unity”, he points out rightly that even ecology exists as an isolated topic. How we come to know in this world, and, hopefully, not know?…How to express another kind of information and relationships? How we can describe a living system? How is it possible to do that, referring to the deceptions, the expectations inherent to life? Gregory Bateson was someone always in a process of learning from everyone and everything around him. He said often «Learning never stops». I like particularly this following quote:
«The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.»
His trained mind made him perceive simple relationships from a set of inexplicable details. In “From Versailles to Cybernetics,” Bateson argues that the history of the twentieth century (and I may add, continuing through the twenty-first century…) can be perceived as the history of a malfunctioning relationship, exemplifying ad nausea a whole pattern of human relationships based on betrayal and hate. He believed in a way that I cannot understand (yet), that cybernetics represented the possibility of better relationships, helping humans to be free, and an anthropological crucial event of the twentieth century.
He start his book Mind and Nature with a reference to what we all should know, that every schoolboy should know…and I minded to collect here in this Glossary of terms, among many others, certainly not in this post, what we all should know to understand the world we live in…
Glossary of terms that every schoolboy (should) know(s), according to Bateson
[and mostly extracted from the Web]
entropy: The idea of entropy comes from a principle of thermodynamics dealing with energy. It usually refers to the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder, and entropy is the measurement of that change.
sacrament: is a rite or ceremony instituted by Jesus, and observed by the church as a means of or visible sign of grace.
syntax: the study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language.
number: one of a series of symbols of unique meaning in a fixed order that can be derived by counting.
quantity: A specified or indefinite number or amount.
pattern: A natural or accidental arrangement or sequence.
linear relation: is a relationship of direct proportionality that causes the dependent variable to change when the independent variable changes.
name: a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known.
class: A division based on quality, rank, or grade.
energy: capacity to do work.
probability: is a branch of mathematics that deals with calculating the likelihood of a given event’s occurrence, which is expressed as a number between 1 and 0.
parts: a portion or division of a whole that is separate or distinct.
whole: Not divided or disjoined.
information: is stimuli that has meaning in some context for its receiver.
tautology: Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy.
homology: a similarity often attributable to common origin.
mass (either Newtonian or Christian): Newtonian: a body of coherent matter, usually of indefinite shape and often of considerable size; Christian: the liturgy of the Eucharist especially in accordance with the traditional Latin rite.
explanation: a statement about how or why something is the way it is.
description: A statement or an account describing something.
rule of dimensions: [I assumed standard: something that is very good and that is used to make judgments about the quality of other things]
logical type: “According to the theory of Logical Types, proposed by Alfred North Whithead and Bertrand Russell (1910 – 1913), one must distinguish between a class (set) and the elements of the class. A statement that refers to a class manifests a higher level of abstraction – in other words, is of a higher logical type – than does a statement that refers to the elements of a class or set. This distinction is of particular importance when two statements are so presented that it can not be determined from the outset whether reference is being made to the class as a whole or to an element of the class. The word “man” can refer to an individual being; it can also refer to a class, the class of all human beings. In the latter case, the concept of “man” is located at a higher level of abstraction and corresponds to a higher logical type.” – Definition extracted from Simon, Fritz, et al, Family Process, Inc.: Language of Family Therapy: A Systemic Vocabulary and Source Book (Family Process Press Series)
metaphor: a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar.
topology: «In mathematics, topology (from the Greek τόπος, place, and λόγος, study) is concerned with the properties of space that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching and bending, but not tearing or gluing.» – Wikipedia
Bateson, in the mood of inquiring, asks: What are butterflies ? What are starfish ? What are beauty and ugliness?