But alas the epistemologies of different human

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But alas, the epistemologies of different human communities, notably those of the modern West, which govern interaction with the environment, are very far from providing what is needed . [[p_125]] XII Metalogue: Addiction (MCB & GB) FATHER: Where are you going to put addiction? DAUG HTER: I‘m not really sure it fits. FATHER: It‘s a nice problem, Cap, about which we know almost nothing – almost nothing formally. It‘s one of the big ones, on which civilizations rise and fall. I used to give it to the Esalen work scholars because I haven ‘t thought it through yet, as a way of showing them how one goes about thinking about something like this. DAUGHTER: Hmm. Well, you‘ve got a few of the pieces, some from working on alcoholism and then some other bits that com from thinking of the arms race as an addiction. Where did you start? FATHER: Addiction being a systemic phenomenon, it should be possible to model it. I gave them the old story f Norbert Wiener and the schizophrenic machine. In Palo Alto we had gotten to the point of understanding that schizophrenia had something to do with metaphor not knowing that metaphors are metaphors, or taking literal things and handing them as if they wee metaphors, or something screwy in that region. And Wiener said to me, suppose that I am an engineer and I would like you as my customer to specify to me what characteristics you will want built into a machine to agree that that machine is schizophrenic. DAUGHTER: Difficult. FATHER: But useful because it forces you to decide whether you really mean something by the word schizophrenia or is it just a nice cultural [[p_126]] myth for locking up troublesome people away in lunatic asylums. So we played around with it and came up with an imaginary, voice-activated machine, sort of like a telephone exchange: you would say to the machine, connect me to subscriber number 348, and in the course of talking to subscriber number 348 you would ask him to send you 247 pigs FOB Detroit, and the machine would Kommentar [d44]: That is, have an operational definition of
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disconnect you from the first subscriber and connect you to 247. It falsifies the use of the number the logical type of the number. And if it does that not a hundred percent regularly but irregularly, I would be willing to call it a schizophrenic machine. DAUGHTER: How did you get from there to the double bind in explaining the etiology of schizophrenia? FATHER: I wrote to Wiener a bit later, asking whether there might be any place we could go for research money on the engineering side of the world. So in my letter I started exploring the question: If you had a machine that was capable of learning, how would you teach it to show this symptom? You would punish it sporadically for being right in its logical typing of numerals. This would put into in a very uncomfortable position in which the commonsense thing for it to do would be to be unpredictably wrong. And from there we got to the double bind.
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  • Fall '19
  • Gregory Bateson

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