Gregory Bateson (1904-1980)
Anthropologist, Social Scientist, Cyberneticist - known as Gregory - was one of
the most important social scientists of the last century. Strongly opposing
those scientists who attempted to 'reduce' everything to mere matter, he was
intent upon the task of re-introducing 'Mind' back into the scientific equations
- writing two famous books Steps to an Ecology of Mind, and Mind & Nature as
part of this task. From his point of view Mind is a constituent part of
'material reality' and it is thus nonsensical to try to split mind from matter.
Before being championed by the counter-culture of the 1960's Bateson had been
busy in the 20's and 30's as an anthropologist in Bali, and in helping to found
the science of cybernetics among many other things. Adopted by many thinkers in
the anti-psychiatry movement because he provided a model and a new epistemology
for developing a novel understanding of human madness, and also for his
invention of the theory of the double bind.
He helped to elaborate the science of cybernetics with colleagues Warren
McCulloch, Gordon Pask, Ross Ashby, Heinz von Foerster, Norbert Wiener, etc. He
inspired several different models and approaches in the area of psychotherapy,
notably that of the MRI Interactional school of Weakland, Jackson, and
Watzlawick, and many other later schools of family therapy (including that of
the Milan school of Palazzoli), and he directly influenced family therapists
such as Brad Keeney, Tom Andersen, Lynn Hoffman and many others.