Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology

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University of Chicago Press, 1972 - Medical - 533 pages
11 Reviews
Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers.

"This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of the mind, seeing it not as a nebulous something, somehow lodged somewhere in the body of each man, but as a network of interactions relating the individual with his society and his species and with the universe at large."—D. W. Harding, New York Review of Books

"[Bateson's] view of the world, of science, of culture, and of man is vast and challenging. His efforts at synthesis are tantalizingly and cryptically suggestive. . . .This is a book we should all read and ponder."—Roger Keesing, American Anthropologist

 
 

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This man, as all pioneers, geniuses and mavericks is still misunderstood, after all these years he's already gone. His work is so "next level" and as such requires a higher level of intelligence to understand it in full, that the scientific community preferred to treat him always as an outsider and let his theories and corpus of work be quietly forgotten. Because status quo science doesn't like neither foster minds like Bateson's. But it won't be forgotten. As the time goes by more people will achieve the required understanding to get to the core of his work and take it from there, and we will witness a huge enrichment of science by the hands of those ones who take the challenge of picking Bateson's work and continue it. As per me, I am not a scientist, but communication is my passion and epistemology. But beyond merely intellectual interest, Bateson's work still is and has been life saving for me, as per the knowledge I came to have about the double bind theory and some other profound insights he share on the human mind like in his work on alcoholism, which helped me understand myself and my mental health in the context of my family dynamics and my relation to my mother. I don't need positive peer review from blind scientists to know that what Bateson posits on his Theory of Schizophrenia and the double bind theory is true, is real, is an exceptionally sensible and sensitive approach to mental illness (not only this one but many others but which were not "invented" yet). If you want to give yourself a chance for enlightenment, this book is a must. And as it is a collection of essays, it's very easy to pick and leave and pick again, for years and years. My recommendation: Read this book.  

Review: Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology

User Review  - Bradley - Goodreads

Playfully brilliant! I came across this book by reading Deleuze (there is a rather long footnote about the double-bind in several of his books) and this shocked me by its use of humor, something very few 'serious' scholars are supposed to do...then again, I enjoyed this book immensely. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Why Do Things Get in a Muddle?
3
Why Do Frenchmen?
9
About Games and Being Serious
14
How Much Do You Know?
21
Why Do Things Have Outlines?
27
Why a Swan?
33
What Is an Instinct?
38
Culture Contact and Schismogenesis
61
The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication
279
A Theory of Alcoholism
309
Comment on Part III
338
On EmptyHeadedness Among Biologists and State Boards of Education
343
The Role of Somatic Change in Evolution
346
Prohlems in Cetacean and Other Mammalian Communication
364
A Reexamination of Batesons Rule
379
Comment on Part IV
400

Experiments in Thinking Ahout Ohserved Ethnological Material
73
Morale and National Character
88
The Value System of a Steady State
107
Style Grace and Information in Primitive Art
128
Comment on Part II
153
Social Planning and the Concept of DeuteroLearning
159
A Theory of Play and Fantasy
177
Epidemiology of a Schizophrenia
194
Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia
201
The Group Dynamics of Schizophrenia
228
Minimal Requirements for a Theory of Schizophrenia
244
Douhle Bind 1969
271
Cyhernetic Explanation
405
Redundancy and Coding
417
Conscious Purpose versus Nature
432
Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation
446
Form Suhstance and Difference
454
Comment on Part V
472
From Versailles to Cyhernetics
477
Pathologies of Epistemology
486
The Roots of Ecological Crisis
496
Ecology and Flexihility in Urhan Civilization
502
Index
515
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About the author (1972)

Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) was born and educated in the United Kingdom, and spent most of his professional life in the United States where he was lecturer and fellow of Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among other influentital books he authored Naven and Mind and Nature.

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