EcoMind: Level 1

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"Reading Gregory Bateson can be dangerous for your mental health."
(Mary Catherine Bateson - 2004 – from a talk at the Bateson@100 Conference, Berkeley, CA)

Key Concepts:

Relationship — Symmetrical, Complementary, Reciprocal Cybernetics and Systems Feedback Loops
Ecology of Mind Epistemology Difference
Double Bind Pattern Change and Changeability
Beauty and Aesthetics Context Ecology

The above table of concepts is by no means the entire scope of critically important concepts. These are but a few that will serve as a focus for our explorations.

Some of the Big Questions:


These questions are examples of the ways we might begin to think about almost anything.

Thinking and Ecology of Mind

  • How do we think?
  • How do our minds work?
  • How do we learn? How does __ __ learn?
  • How are our thoughts our culture’s thoughts?
    • What does "thinking our culture's thoughts" mean to you?
    • How do others "use" this idea of culture determining people's thinking to promote different agendas?
    • Can we (and how can we ) step outside our culture to think in different ways?
  • How do we see, feel, etc., when we __ __?
  • How do our ways of thinking affect __ __?
  • What does it… mean to change the way we think?
  • How can we be more precise about our language and meaning?
  • What does it mean to be rigorous in our thinking?


  • What is the context or what are the contexts involved in __ __?


  • What are the relationships involved between __ __?
  • What are the dynamics of the relationships involved in __ __?
  • What are relationships that comprise some "thing"?
  • How are “things” connected/interconnected?
  • How do "things" disconnect?
  • How does __ __ interact with __ __?

Double Binds

  • What are the double binds involved in __ __?
  • How can we address the double binds involved in __ __?

Cybernetics and Systems

  • What systems are involved in __ __?
  • How do the different systems interact in a particular situation?
  • What are the feedback loops and how do they work?

Personal and Social Epistemologies

  • How do we (personally and humans, in general) make sense of __ __?
  • What assumptions and other sense-making frameworks are we using when we think about __ __?

Patterns and Metapatterns

  • What patterns are part of our everyday experiences, the objects in our world, etc?
    • What are the functions of these patterns?
    • What patterns connect us to other living things?
    • What patterns connect us across cultures?
    • How do these patterns interact?
  • What are the underlying patterns in __ __?
  • What are the functions, meanings, interactions, and effects of these patterns __ __?
  • How do these patterns interact with other patterns in a particular object or event?


  • How are __ __ changing in order to survive, etc.?
  • What changes occur that keep "systems" going?
  • What do you see changing most or all of the time?


  • What is there about our way of perceiving that makes us not see the delicate interdependencies in an ecological system that give it is integrity?”
  • How does our (humankind's) thinking affect our local and global environments?
  • How can we change the way we think in ways that are consistent with local and global ecological systems?
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