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.’
Gregory with his wife anthropologist Margaret Mead: