Gregory Bateson (1904-1980), ‘God’ and the Systemic Nature of Human Ecology

Another great quote from Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind:

On the one hand, have the systemic nature of the individual human being, the systemic nature of the culture in which he lives, and the systemic nature of the biological, ecological system around him; and, on  the other hand, the curious twist in the systemic nature of the individual man whereby consciousness is, almost of necessity, blinded to the systemic nature of man himself. Purposive consciousness pulls out, from the total mind, sequences which do not have the loop structure which is characteristic of the whole systemic structure. If you follow the ‘common sense’ dictates of consciousness you become effectively, greedy and unwise – again I use unwise as a word of recognition of and guidance by a knowledge of the total systemic creature.

Lack of systemic wisdom is always punished. We say that the biological systems – the individual, culture, and the ecology – are partly living sustainers of their component cells or organisms. But the systems nevertheless punishing of any species unwise enough to quarrel with its ecology. Call the systemic forces ‘God’ if you will.’

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Bateson

Gregory with his wife anthropologist Margaret Mead:

 

 

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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One Response to Gregory Bateson (1904-1980), ‘God’ and the Systemic Nature of Human Ecology

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