Systemic Thinking and Trump’s Environmental Policies

I thought two past posts on the work of Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) and his “Steps to an Ecology of Mind” worth reposting given what Trump is proposing to do to the planet: 
“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.”


“If you put God outside and set him vis a vis his creation and if you have the idea that you are created in his image, you will logically and naturally see yourself as outside and against the things around you. And as you arrogate all mind to yourself, you will see the world around you as mindless and therefore not entitled to moral or ethical considerations. The environment will seem to be yours to exploit. You survival unit will be you and your folks or conspecifics against the environment or other social units, other races, and the brutes and vegetables.

If this is your estimate of your relation to nature and you have an advanced technology, your likelihood of survival will be that of a snowball in hell. You will die either of the toxic by-products of your own hate, or, simply of over-population and over-grazing. The raw materials of the world are finite.”


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).
This entry was posted in Conflict Book Reviews, Conflict Processes, Environmental Conflict, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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