6 Jun 2009

Bateson, Schismogenesis, in Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity

by Corry Shores
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Gregory Bateson

Mind and Nature:

A Necessary Unity

Ch. IV

Criteria of Mental Process

Criterion 4. Mental Process Requires Circular

(or More Complex) Chains of Determination

As a matter of history, systems with positive gain, variously called escalating or vicious circles, were anciently familiar. In my own work with the Iatmul tribe on the Sepik River in New Guinea, I had found that various relations among groups and among various types of kin were characterized by interchanges of behavior such that the more A exhibited a given behavior, the more B was likely to exhibit the same behavior. These I called symmetrical interchanges. Conversely, there were also stylized interchanges in which B’s behavior was different from, but complementary to, that of A. In either case, the relations were potentially subject to progressive escalation, Which [sic] I called schismogenesis. (116-117)

Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity.London: Wildwood House, 1979.

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