by Nora Bateson
This is an important first collection of essays, reflections and poems by Nora Bateson, the noted research designer, film-maker, writer and lecturer. She is the daughter of Gregory Bateson, president of the International Bateson Institute (IBI) and an adviser to numerous bodies at international and governmental level.
Building on Gregory Bateson’s famous book Towards an Ecology of Mind and her own film on the subject, Nora Bateson here updates our thinking on systems and ecosystems, applying her own insights and those of her team at IBI to education, organisations, complexity, academia, and the way that society organizes itself.
She also introduces two terms:
- ‘symmathesy’ to describe the contextual mutual learning through interaction that takes place in living entities at larger or smaller scales
- ‘transcontextuality’ to describe the multiple, interlayered spatial, social, temporal, cultural, ecological, economic contexts in which symmathesy takes place.
While she retains her father’s rigorous attention to definition, observation and academic precision, she also moves well beyond that frame of reference to incorporate more embodied ways of knowing and understanding. These are reflected in her essays and poems on food, Christmas, love, honesty, environmentalism and leadership.
The book offers important advice and new thinking on issues like immigration, systems thinking, new economic and financial models, future thinking and strategic planning, sustainability and governmental ethics, agency in organizational leadership, the education system and organizational governance.