To quote kipling in the neolithic age there are

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characteristics. To quote Kipling, ―In the Neolithic Age‖: There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,/ And every one of them is —right!‖ But my objections to the established system are of a different order. I cannot make a list of the pieces. My objection is not to pieces but is a response to the entire way in which many otherwise sensible components of culture such as money or mathematics or experimentation have been fitted together. More important than all the species of supernaturalist superstition listed above, I find that there are two basic beliefs, intimately connected which are both obsolete and dangerous, and which are shared by contemporary supernaturalists and by prestigious and mechanistic scientists. The mass of superstition now fashionable even among behavioural scientists and physicists springs from a combination of these two fundamental and
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erroneous beliefs. It is a strange fact that both of these beliefs are connected to the same giant of philosophic thought, René Descartes. Both beliefs are quite familiar. The first is the idea that underlies the whole range of modern superstition, namely that there are two distinct explanatory principles in our world, ―mind‖ and ―matter‖ . As such dichotomies invariably must, this famous Cartesian dualism has spawned a whole host of other splits as monstrous as itself: mind/body; intellect/affect; will/temptation ; and so [[p_059]] on. It was difficult in the seventeenth century to imagine any nonsupernatural explanation of mental phenomena, and at that time it was already apparent that the physical explanations of astronomy were going to be enormously successful. It was therefore quite natural to fall back upon age-old supernaturalism to get the problems of ―mind‖ out of the way. This accomplished, the scientists could proceed with their “objective” inquiries, disregarding or denying the fact that the organs of sense, indeed our whole range of approaches to study of “matter,” are very far from being objective . Descartes‘ other contribution also bears his name and is taught to every child who enters a scientific lab or reads a scientific book. Of all ideas about how to think like a scientist, the idea of using intersecting coordinates, the so-called Cartesian coordinates, to represent two or more interacting variables or represent the course of one variable over time, has been among the most successful. The whole of analytic geometry sprang from this idea, and from analytic geometry the calculus of infinitesimals and the emphasis upon quantity in our scientific understanding. Of course, there can be no cavil at all that. And yet, ―by the pricking of my thum bs‖, I am sure that it was no accident that the same man who invented the coordinates, which are among the most materialistic and hard-nosed of scientific devices, also dignified dualistic superstition by asserting the split between mind an matter .
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  • Fall '19
  • Gregory Bateson

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