Experience of the occasions we worked together and my

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experience of the occasions we worked together and my understanding of the issues as guides. The lines given to ―Father‖ in these metalogues are sometimes things Gregory said in other contexts, [[p_004]] often stories he told repeatedly. But these did not, as conversations, ever occur as presented here. They are just as real and just as fictional as the metalogues Gregory wrote himself. Like Gregory, I have found the form sufficiently useful and flexible not to observe stringently his original requirement that each metalogues exemplify its subject matter in its form, but, unlike his metalogues, the ones in this book were not designed to stand separately. Nevertheless, it seems important to emphasize that eh father-daughter relationship continues to be a rather precise vehicle for issues that Gregory wanted to address because it functions as a reminder that the conversation is always moving between intellect and emotion, always dealing with relationship and communication, within and between systems. Above all, the metalogues contain the questions and comments I would have raised had we worked on this manuscript together, as well as my best approximation of what Gregory would have said. I have also allowed myself near the end to emerge from the child role of the metalogues and to write in my own present voice. Each section of the book is labelled ―GB‖ or MCB,‖ but this should be understood to be very approximate, meaning no more than ―primarily GB‖ or ―primarily MCB.‖ The section of Notes on Chapter sources provides further detail. At the top of the stack of materials Gregory had accumulated for the book was a draft introduction, one of several, that began with this story: :In England when I was a boy, every railroad train coming in form a long run was inspected by a man with a hammer. The hammer had a very small head and a very long handle, rather like a drumstick, and it was indeed designed to make a sort of music. The man walked down the whole length of the train, tapping every hotbox as he walked. He was testing to find out if any one was cracked and would therefore emit a discordant sound. The integration, we may say, had to be tested again and again. Similarly, I have tried to tap every sentence in this book to test for faults of integration. It was often easier to hear the discordant not of the false juxtaposition than to say for what harmony I was searching.‖ I only wish that in drafting an introduction Gregory had been describing something he had actually done rather than something he still aspired to do. Gregory was working in an interval of unknown length while his cancer was in remission. He was living at Esalen, an environment where he had warm friendships but not close intellectual collaborations. Even though the ―counterculture‖ has faded in the 1980s, Gregory‘s occasional reference to it provide al clarifying contrast, for the [[p_005]] shifting population and preoccupations of Esalen underlined his essential alienation. Always, for
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  • Fall '19
  • Gregory Bateson

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