Father well that really is the problem of the book

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FATHER: Well, that really is the problem of the book. But the first step away from false analytical distinctions such as that represented by Cartesian dualism towards some sort of monism is to get matters that had been
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separated in the past into the same conversation, and then to establish some formal rules for working with them what I had planned to call a ―syntax of consciousness.‖ DAUGHTER: If this were a conference I was trying to make sense of, I would keep the chunks of different kinds of material beside each other, to supply something like you call ―double description‖, and then sneak in little connecting remarks so the reader would make a synthesis at some level. FATHER: Well, which are some of the connections you would want to make? DAUGHTER: Well, for example, it seems to me that part of what you keep implying about religion is that it necessarily has contradictions embedded in it paradoxes and these contradictions are protected form certain kinds of rationalizing knowledge to preserve them in tension, because that tension is what makes religious systems able to function as models of the Creatura. One thing that has always struck me about Islam is that it lies flat on the page, while Christianity is just writhing with contradictions, and maybe that is an important kind of difference. Anyhow, I‘d want to take your business about matriarchal and patriarchal elements in Greek religion and put that together with the taboo on transsexual knowledge and put that together with bisexual reproduction as a way of both producing and limiting uncertainty. And then I‘d want to go off from there to notions of transcending paradox and stir in a good dose of Zen … Do you remember saying once that Nature is a double-binding bitch? FATHER: One of the ways that the concept of double bind has been [[p_147]] vulgarized, Cap, is to apply it to any no-win situation. If you quote that remark, people will simply think of other natural disasters. The relevance here has to be through the logical types. DAUGHTER: Yes, especially in the business of thought breaking down when we try to discuss relations between relations between relations the infinite regress you used to talk about. It must be the case that just as our thinking is limited in how far we can go in such a regress, so too biological systems are limited and the levels collapse into each other. If you wanted to take the analogy between thought and evolution as far as it can go, you should have explored the occurrence of all possible types of cognitive error in evolution. FATHER: Well, but as I say, ―God is not mocked.‖ When something goes wrong in epigenesis, you are likely to get a nonviable organism or one that cannot reproduce. And the effect of certain kinds of evolutionary error is extinction. That which survives is what survives. When tautology is played out in the physical world, error rapidly becomes obvious.
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  • Fall '19
  • Gregory Bateson

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