Gregory Bateson citáty

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Gregory Bateson

Datum narození: 9. květen 1904
Datum úmrtí: 4. červenec 1980
Další jména: Goergy Bateson

Gregory Bateson byl britský a posléze americký biolog, antropolog a ekolog, a ač se nepovažoval za filosofa a psychologa, vynikl i v těchto oborech; byl to univerzální myslitel, jenž ovlivnil mnoho vědeckých disciplín. Podílel se na vzniku vědecké kybernetiky a je znám také jako zakladatel rodinné psychoterapie.


„Nemůžete žít bez gumy.“

„Živočich, který zvítězí v boji s prostředím, zničí sám sebe.“


„Moc korumpuje nejrychleji ty, kdo na ni věří, a ti o ni také nejvíc stojí. Náš demokratický systém má sklon dávat moc těm, kdo po ní nejvíc touží, a usnadňuje těm, kdo o ni nestojí, aby se jí vyhnuli. To není to nejlepší uspořádání, pokud moc nejvíc korumpuje ty, kdo na ni věří a chtějí ji.“

„The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think“

„Information is a difference that makes a difference.“

„It takes two to know one.“

„Thirty years ago, we used to ask: Can a computer simulate all processes of logic? The answer was yes, but the question was surely wrong. We should have asked: Can logic simulate all sequences of cause and effect? And the answer would have been no.“ Mind and Nature

„Earlier fundamental work of Whitehead, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Whorf, etc., as well as my own attempt to use this earlier thinking as an epistemological base for psychiatric theory, led to a series of generalizations: That human verbal communication can operate and always does operate at many contrasting levels of abstraction. These range in two directions from the seemingly simple denotative level (“The cat is on the mat”). One range or set of these more abstract levels includes those explicit or implicit messages where the subject of discourse is the language. We will call these metalinguistic (for example, “The verbal sound ‘cat’ stands for any member of such and such class of objects”, or “The word, ‘cat’ has no fur and cannot scratch”). The other set of levels of abstraction we will call metacommunicative (e. g., “My telling you where to find the cat was friendly”, or “This is play”). In these, the subject of discourse is the relationship between the speakers. It will be noted that the vast majority of both metalinguistic and metacommunicative messages remain implicit; and also that, especially in the psychiatric interview, there occurs a further class of implicit messages about how metacommunicative messages of friendship and hostility are to be interpreted.“


„It is as if the stuff of which we are made were totally transparent and therefore imperceptible and as if the only appearances of which we can be aware are cracks and planes of fracture in that transparent matrix. Dreams and percepts and stories are perhaps cracks and irregularities in the uniform and timeless matrix. Was this what Plotinus meant by an 'invisible and unchanging beauty which pervades all things'?“ Mind and Nature

„The rules of the universe that we think we know are buried deep in our processes of perception.“ Mind and Nature

„We are beginning to play with ideas of ecology, and although we immediately trivialize these into commerce or politics, there is at least an impulse still in the human breast to unify and thereby sanctify the total natural world, of which we are.... There have been, and still are, in the world many different and even contrasting epistemologies which have been alike in stressing an ultimate unity, and, although this is less sure, which have also stressed the notion that ultimate unity is aesthetic. The uniformity of these views gives hope that perhaps the great authority of quantitative science may be insufficient to deny an ultimate unifying beauty.

I hold to the presupposition that our loss of the sense of aesthetic unity was, quite simply, an epistemological mistake.“
Mind and Nature

„Rigor alone is paralytic death, but imagination alone is insanity.“ Mind and Nature


„On the whole, it was not the crudest, the simplest, the most animalistic and primitive aspects of the human species that were reflected in the natural phenomena. It was, rather, the more complex, the aesthetic, the intricate, and the elegant aspects of people that reflected nature. It was not my greed, my purposiveness, my so-called 'animal,' so-called 'instincts,' and so forth that I was recognizing on the other side of that mirror, over there in 'nature.' Rather, I was seeing there the roots of human symmetry, beauty and ugliness, aesthetics, the human being's very aliveness and little bit of wisdom. His wisdom, his bodily grace, and even his habit of making beautiful objects are just as 'animal' as his cruelty.“ Mind and Nature

„We create the world that we perceive, not because there is no reality outside our heads, but because we select and edit the reality we see to conform to our beliefs about what sort of world we live in. The man who believes that the resources of the world are infinite, for example, or that if something is good for you then the more of it the better, will not be able to see his errors, because he will not look for evidence of them. For a man to change the basic beliefs that determine his perception - his epistemological premises - he must first become aware that reality is not necessarily as he believes it to be. Sometimes the dissonance between reality and false beliefs reaches a point when it becomes impossible to avoid the awareness that the world no longer makes sense. Only then is it possible for the mind to consider radically different ideas and perceptions.“ Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology

„There is a quasi-scientific fable that if you
can get a frog to sit quietly in a saucepan of cold water, and if you then
raise the temperature of the water very slowly and smoothly so that there
is no moment marked to be the moment at which the frog should jump,
he will never jump. He will get boiled. Is the human species changing
its own environment with slowly increasing pollution and rotting its
mind with slowly deteriorating religion and education in such a saucepan?“

„We have been trained to think of patterns, with the exception of those of music, as fixed affairs. It is easier and lazier that way but, of course, all nonsense. In truth, the right way to begin to think about the pattern which connects is to think of it as primarily (whatever that means) a dance of interacting parts and only secondarily pegged down by various sorts of physical limits and by those limits which organisms characteristically impose.“ Mind and Nature

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