Saturday, June 19, 2004

Welcome to The Happy Planet Cafe!

Hi! My name is Kate, and I'll be your server. Today's special is fillet a la Gregory Bateson and studies connected to 2004 in a delicate hypertext sauce.

"Oh, Paladins, the lesson for today"... (Robert Frost)

"The myth of power, is of course, a very powerful myth; and probably most people in this world more or less believe in it... But it is still epistemological lunacy and leads inevitably to all sorts of disaster... If we continue to operate in terms of a Cartesian dualism of mind versus matter, we shall probably also come to see the world in terms of God versus man; élite versus people; chosen race versus others; nation versus nation and man versus environment. It is doubtful whether a species having both an advanced technology and this strange way of looking at the world can endure...

The whole of our thinking about what we are and what other people are has got to be restructured. This is not funny, and I do not know how long we have to do it in. If we continue to operate on the premises that were fashionable during the Pre-Cybernetic era, and which were especially underlined during the Industrial Revolution, which seemed to validate the Darwinian unit of survival, we may have twenty or thirty years before the logical reductio ad absurdum of our old positions destroys us. Nobody knows how long we have, under the present system, before some disaster strikes us, more serious than the destruction of any group of nations. The most important task today is, perhaps, to learn to think in the new way." Gregory Bateson (Bateson quote essay)

The last link above has the following Batesonian analysis of the War on Terra:

"The US government's so-called "war on terror" is perhaps the most outstanding example of a total lack of Cybernetic wisdom. Rather than examine and change its brutal foreign policy which, as Noam Chomsky so exhaustively documented, has repeatedly attempted to control other nations – and nourished the resentment and Islamic fundamentalism which apparently resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center – the US-led wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are certain to produce precisely the opposite of the results intended, increasing the support for terrorism whilst simulataneously degrading the democratic principles of the USA itself and of the United Nations system so painstakingly built up for the sake of peace." - Michael O'Callaghan

For dessert you will be asked to show how the state of the world in 2004 and YOU fit in with Bateson's statement, and the rest of the accumulated knowledge associated with it. I will take your check to the cashier. Here are your after dinner mints. Thank you for your patronage.