There was a little-known dirt path down to a small cove beyond the road to Long Marine Lab and beyond the lab itself.
The first time I rode my bike past what was then the western edge of town and found my way to the ocean’s edge, I had a paperback copy of Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind in my pocket. Though the beach was clothing optional, what I was most excited about was cracking open the book.
As soon as I found a cozy place to settle, I dove into the opening “Metalogues,” amazing conversations between a cybernetic bio-anthropologist dad and his inquisitive daughter. (Can we ever forgive Facebook for absconding with the word meta? Grrr . . . . ). Each revelatory exchange began with questions such as “What is an instinct?” or “Why do Frenchmen wave their arms around?” that drew me in immediately.
Thumbing through my well-worn first edition, I realized it was this book that introduced me, in the summer of 1980, to the difference between analog and digital. It was where I came across anthropology, learned about logical types, encountered cybernetics as a worldview . . . and it is how I became a budding epistemologist.
2022 is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of one of the books that rocked my world and changed my life forever. The kick-off event for a yearlong commemoration of this momentous event and the tenth anniversary of Warm Data is next Tuesday, March 29th, at 8:00 AM Pacific time. It’s happening on Zoom, you can sign up through Eventbrite, and there is no charge to participate. For more information and to sign up, please click here.
Credit where credit is due:
- That’s my beat-up, falling apart copy of Bateson’s book in the crook of a tree.
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