Readers Underground participants:
Recorded 10 January, 2019
Legend : GB=Gregory Bateson’s “Steps to an Ecology of Mind” ; NB=Nora Bateson’s “Small Arcs of Larger Circles”
GB: Metalogue : Why do things get in a muddle?
5:59 - Personal Introductions begin
- Doug: in Kentucky, USA; unfamiliar with Gregory and Nora Bateson
- John: Long history and deep love for Bateson and kin
11:25 - Introducing new participant Lucy Sames
- Familiar with Bateson as a whole, yet hasn’t read a full text. Steps to an Ecology of Mind (now SEM) will be useful as a group read.
- Familiar with Donna Haraway Staying with the Trouble, Nora Bateson, Mary Catherine Bateson.
- Research: PhD student in Newcastle - Arts - considering altered states and technology (+ cybernetics/cyberfeminism).
- Interested in the connections with animal behaviorism, dolphins; does floats and then has a reading group, Katherine Hayles!
15:18 - Geoffrey (Group Host) personal introduction + introduction to Bateson(s) and the chosen texts
read Bateson 40 years ago as a student; entire career honors/structured around Bateson’s ideas (of how to go about things, processes)…4th reading of SEM,
Quebec City; end of career researcher; geomatics researcher; computer systems for managing space; designing smart environments; performing arts + space
28:09 - Recommendation of Nora’s film + Geoffrey reads quotes from film
- first quote read from Bateson: “I have always thought that way: that the relation between me and that book, or the book and the table, is still a microcosm of the relation between man and God, or God and the devil, or what have you. That the big relations and the small relations are all the same thing! For study’s purposes, you have to work with small ones, sometimes. And then people blame you for working with small ones. Then you start working with big ones and they blame you for being a mystic. It’s all the same business.”
- “the major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.”
34:23 - Open Discussion
- now has a perspective on Bateson’s work that Bateson did not have access. Daughters as “characters” in father’s work.
- dealing with double messages, ambiguities; affective zones; (comes forward in our dreamscapes)
- new researchers + non-cognitive consciousness
- Dreaming metalogue; lucid dreaming as new research; “weird studies” we now have access to
- Dream experience- girl about to topple down…need to warn her, she falls and lands in arms; “Thank God!”
44:31 - Introducing Phoenix (new participant)
- Living in Rhode Island; computer programmer; discovered Batesons through curiosity and curious happenings (serendipitious experience of Metapsychosis Facebook “ad”)
48:55 Discussing the framing of the text/the Bateson reading group; Discussion of the assigned reading for Week 1
- The metalogue assigned is apt to how this reading group flows; a framing that is to be discarded
- the arrangement by chapters works yet we will bleed into the ecology; to read beginning to end a good way to tackle this
- randomness; chaos theory; Bateson layed the foundation for these ways of seeing; dealing with the random with curiousity
- The meta-ness of the metalogue quite useful and interesting; a glimpse into his work with a simplistic tone
1:29:54 - Silence and Sensory Deprivation
The group discusses the importance of these techniques in processing/forming new ideas, the aesthetic that emerges when the angel of silence passes over us.