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Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. Chicago, Il: University of Chicago Press.

substance, and difference. (pp. 454-471)
in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the thing-in-itself (das Ding an sich) as opposed to what Kant
called the phenomenonthe thing as it appears to an observer. Though the noumenal holds the
contents of the intelligible world, Kant claimed that mans speculative reason can only know
phenomena and can never penetrate to the noumenon. Man, however, is not altogether excluded

p.459 In fact, what we mean by information-the elementary unit of information-is a difference which
makes a difference, and it is able to make a difference because the neural pathways along which it
travels and is continually transformed are themselves provided with energy.

p.460 We commonly think of the external physical world as somehow separate from an internal
mental world. I believe that this division is based on the contrast in coding and transmission inside
and outside the body. The mental world-the mind-the world of information processing-is not limited
by the skin.
What is on the paper map is a representation of what was in the retinal representation of the man
who made the map; and as you push the question back, what you find is an infinite regress, an
infinite series of maps. The territory never gets in at all. The territory is Ding an sich and you cant do
anything with it.
p.461 All "phenomena" are literally "appearances,"

p.462 explanation. He names them the pleroma and the creatura, these being Gnostic terms. The
pleroma is the world in which events are caused by forces and impacts and in which there are no
distinctions. Or, as I would say, no differences. In the creatura, effects are brought about precisely
by difference. In fact, this is the same old dichotomy between mind and substance.

p.468 The cybernetic epistemology which I have offered you would suggest a new approach. The
individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages
outside the body; and there is a larger Mind of which the individual mind is only a subsystem. This
larger Mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by God, but it is still
immanent in the total interconnected social system and planetary ecology.

p.469 The poets have known these things all through the ages, but the rest of us have gone astray
into all sorts of false reifications of the self and separations between the self and experience.

p.470 It is the attempt to separate intellect from emotion that is monstrous, and I suggest that it is
equally monstrous-and dangerous-to attempt to separate the external mind from the internal

p.471 The individual nexus of pathways which I call "me" is no longer so precious
because that nexus is only part of a larger mind.
Watzlawick, P., Beavin Bavelas, J., & Jackson, DD. (1967). Pragmatics of human communication. A
study of interactional patterns, pathologies, and paradoxes. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
p.2 These seemingly unrelated examples have one common denominator: a phenomenon remains
unexplainable as long as the range of observation is not wide enough to include the context in which
the phenomenon occurs. Failure to realize the intricacies of the relationships between an event and
the matrix in which it takes place, between an organism and its environment, either confronts the
observer with something mysterious or induces him to attribute to his object of study certain
properties the object may not possess.

p.3 the behavioral sciences seem still to base themselves to a large extent on a monadic view of the
individual and on the time-honored method of isolating variables.

If the limits of the inquiry are extended to include the effects of this behavior on others, their
reactions to it, and the context in which all of this takes place, the focus shifts from the artificially
isolated monad to the relationship between the parts of a wider system.

p.4 Thus, from this perspective of pragmatics, all behavior, not only speech, is communication, and
all communication-even the communicational clues in an impersonal context-affects behavior.

p.8 Another analogy, supplied by Bateson is that of a chess game in progress. At any given
point, the state of the game can be understood solely from the present configuration of pieces on the
board (chess being a game with complete information), without any record or memory of the past
moves. Even if this configuration is construed to be the memory of the game, it is a purely present,
observable interpretation of the term.

p.10 On the whole, the interdependence between the individual and his environment remained a
neglected field of psychoanalytic pursuit, and it is precisely here that the concept of information
exchange, I.e., of communication, becomes indispensable. There is a crucial difference between the
psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) model on the one hand and any conceptualization of organism-
environment interaction on the other,

p.12 This view became possible through the discovery of feedback. A chain in which event a effects
event b, and b then effects c, c in turn brings about d, etc., would have the properties of a
deterministic Iinear system. If, however, d leads back to a, the system is circular and functions in an
entirely different way. It exhibits behavior that is essentially analogous to that of those phenomena
which had defied analysis in terms of strict linear determinism.

Positive feedback, on the other hand, leads to change, i.e., the loss of stability or
equilibrium. In both cases, part of a system's output is reintroduced into the system
as information about the output. The difference is that in the case of negative
feedback this information is used to decrease the output de- viation from a set norm
or bias-hence the adjective "negative" while in the case of positive feedback the
same information acts as a measure for amplification of the output deviation, and is
thus positive in relation to the already existing trend toward a standstill or

Our main point is that interpersonal systems-stranger groups, marital couples, families,
psychotherapeutic, or even international relationships, etc.-may be viewed as feedback loops, since
the behavior of each person affects and is affected by the behavior of each other person. Input into
such a system may be amplified into change or may be counteracted to maintain stability, depending
on whether the feedback mechanisms are positive or negative.

p.18 We are in constant communication, and yet we are almost completely unable to communicate
about communication.

p. 24 What is suggested here, then, is that ail interaction may be definable in terms of the game
analogy, that is, as sequences of moves strictly governed. by rules of which it is immaterial whether
they are within or outside the aware~ ness of the communicants, but about which meaningful
metacommunicational statements can be made.

p.25 While it is true that these relations may permit inferences into what really goes on inside the
box, this knowledge is not essential for the study of the function of the device in the greater system of
which it is a part. This concept, if applied to psychological and psychiatric problems, has the
heuristic advantage that no ultimately unverifiable intrapsychic hypotheses need to be invoked, and
that one can limit oneself to observable input-output relations, that is, to communication. Such an
approach, we believe, characterizes an important recent trend in psychiatry to-ward viewing
symptoms as one kind of input into the family system rather than as an expression of intrapsychic

p.26 -patterns of communication can eventually be identified that are diagnostically Important
and permit the planning of the most appropriate strategy of therapeutic intervention. This approach,
then, is a search for pattern in the here and now rather than for symbolic meaning, past causes, or

p.27 While in linear, progressive chains of causality it is meaningful to speak about the beginning
and end of a chain, these terms are meaningless in systems with feedback loops. There is no
beginning and no end to a circle.

p.28 However, once it is accepted that from a communicational point of view a piece of behavior can
onIy be studied in the context in which it occurs, the terms sanity and insanity practically lose
their meanings as attributes of individuals. Similarly does the whole notion of abnormality become
questionable. For it is now generally agreed that the patients condition is not static but varies with his
mterpersonal situation as well as with the bias of the observer.

p.30-31 In other words, there is no such thing as nonbehavior or, to put it even more simply: one
cannot not behave. Now, if it is accepted that all behavior in an interactional situational has message
value, i.e.,. is communication, it follows that no matter how one may try, one cannot not
communicate. Activity or inactivity, words or silence all have message value: they influence others
and these others, in turn, cannot not respond to these communications and are thus themselves

p.39 It is often hard to believe that two individuals could have such divergent views on many
elements of joint experience. And yet the problem lies primarily in an area already frequentiy
mentioned: their inability to metacommunicate about their respective patterning of their interaction.
p.40 There, as Bateson suggests, the dilemma arises out of the spurious punctuation of the series,
namely, the pretense that it has a beginning, and this is precisely the error of the partners in such a

p.42 Whenever a word is used to name something it is obvious that the relation between the name
and the thing named is an arbitrarily established one. Words are arbitrary signs that are
manipulated according to the logical syntax of language.

p.43 Whenever a word is used to name something it is obvious that the relation between the name
and the thing named is an arbitrarily established one. Words are arbitrary signs that
are manipulated according to the logical syntax of language.
We hold that the term must comprise posture, gesture, facial expression, voice inflection, the
sequence, rhythm, and cadence of the words themselves, and any other nonverbal manifestation
of which the organism is capable, as well as the communicational clues unfailingly present in any
context in which an interaction takes place

p.44 Man is the only organism known to use both the analogic and the digital modes of
communication.7 The significance of this is still very inadequately understood, but can hardly be
overrated. On the one hand there can be no doubt that man communicates digitally. In fact, most, if
not all, of his civilized achievements would be unthinkable without his having evolved digital

p.45 In short, if we remember that every communication has a content and a relationship. aspect, we
can expect to find that the two modes of communication not only exist side by side but complement
each other in every message. We can further expect to find that the content aspect is likely to be
conveyed dlgitally whereas the relationship aspect will be predominantly analogic in nature.

p. 46 digital message material is of a much higher degree of complexity, versatility, and abstraction
than analogic material.

p.48 To summarize: Human beings communicate both digitally and analogically. Digital language has
a highly complex and powerful logical syntax but lacks adequate semantics in the field of
relationship, while analogic language possesses the semantics but bas no adequate syntax for the
unambiguous definition of the nature of relationships.

p.78 This leads to the important concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy which, from the interactional
viewpoint, is perhaps the most interesting phenomenon in the area of punctuation. A self-fulfilling
prophecy may be regarded as the communicational equivalent of begging the question. It is
behavior that brings about in others the reaction to which the behavior would be an appropriate
reaction. For instance, a person who acts on the premise that nobody likes me will behave in
a distrustful, defensive, or aggressive manner to which others are likely to react unsympathetically,
thus beating out his original premise. For the purposes of the pragmatics of human communication,
it is again quite irrelevant to ask why a person should have such a premise, how it came about, and
how unconscious he may be of it.

Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: principles of problem formation and
problem resolution. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.