This is the title of a seminar I will be offering next week at Saybrook’s Residential Conference to launch the spring semester. I’m excited to be offering it in collaboration with my dear friend and colleague Nora Bateson who has produced a profound film about her father — the anthropologist and systems theorist Gregory Bateson. Gregory was a faculty member at Saybrook in the 70s and his work and legacy has been part of Saybrook’s educational fabric since then.
“What is the pattern that connects the crab to the lobster and the primrose to the orchid, and all of them to me, and me to you?” asked Gregory Bateson. This is one of the most beautiful statements of relational knowing. In my inquiry about systems thinking and systems being, I have discovered that relational knowing is a way of connecting my mind with other minds, my emotions to meaning making, and my interactions with other human beings as an intrinsic aspect to learning.
One dimension that Nora and I will be exploring is how we are bringing to life our understanding of “the pattern that connects” as her father called it, and in which ways our experiences and perspectives as women inform our work within and beyond the systems and cybernetics scientific communities. It is our sense that we live at a time in which the notion of “an ecology of mind” is relevant not only in academic pursuits but also as a way for people to create a meaningful and purposeful life through relational knowledge and storytelling that connects, embodies and brings meaning to our fragmented world.
Some of the pearls of wisdom that I have gathered from my interpretation and assimilation of Gregory Bateson’s work are: