Plants and animals wind and thunder circumcision and

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plants and animals, wind and thunder, circumcision and the boomerang he 36 The possible Human: A Course in Enhancing Your Physical, Mental, and Crative Abilities (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher-Houghton Mifflin, 1982)
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used in hunting, into relationship and defined his pace in that complex whole and allowed him to use the sense of that multiplicity of relations in the decisions of his life. The European peasant in the Middle Ages went out to plow the fields in the presence of a great crowd (or cloud) of witnesses, patron saints and powers and principalities, and, of course, angels. The truth that the aborigine and the peasant share is the truth of integration. By contrast, we must be concerned today because, although we can persuade our children to learn a long list of facts about the world, they don‘t seem to have the capacity to put them together in a single, unified understanding there is no ―pattern which connects.‖ For most human beings through history, the pattern which connected their individual lives to the complex regularity of the world in which they lived was a religion, an extended metaphor, which made it possible for ordinary people to think at levels of integrated complexity otherwise impossible. It is no wonder that the unity of God has so often been the focus of meditation. In general, in human cultures there are partially circumscribed cognitive subsystems that privilege Creatural thought, such as religions shaped and passed on across the generations. Under certain contextual rules, and even while using language, the very potentials of language that make it possible to talk about Pleroma may be suspended. We may choose to find ourselves in a world of mystery and ambiguity where objective reporting is not primary, for suddenly secrecy and what we have called unknowing become important, and certain ideas are unquestionable or rather immune to validation and invalidation. Can that possibly be a good thing? What is being protected is surely not the individual bits and pieces, which are often a sort of grab bag of historical remnants, but the relations between them . There must be some ―stuff‖ on which those complex relations can be hung, but a quilt is not the history of the odds and ends from which it is sewn. It is their combination into a new fabric that provides warmth and color. The example I use to approach this matter is the question of whether a tree is more like a dryad or a steel pylon. 37 Interestingly, the question becomes clearer if the quaint and mythic ―dryad‖ is replaced with ―woman,‖ reminding me of what I know of myself. The dryad metaphor is a way [[p_197]] of saying a tree is like a person, like me (after all these pages which ―man‖ has meant human, perhaps readers will be able to generalize ―woman‖ to the same degree).
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  • Fall '19
  • Gregory Bateson

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