An ecology of mind - Mind in Motion

An ecology of mind

An ecology of mind - Mind in Motion

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.

Your thoughts?
Please let us know your perspective! Add your comments, reactions, suggestions, ideas, etc., by first logging in to your Mind in Motion account and then clicking here.

Commenting is only available to the Mind in Motion Online community.

Join in by getting your free account, which gives you access to the e-book edition of Articulating Changes (Larry's now-classic Master's thesis), ATM® lessons, and more — all at no charge whatsoever.

To find out more and sign up, please click here.

Please share this blog post

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

This blog may contain one or more affiliate links. When you click on a link and then make a purchase, Mind in Motion receives a payment. Please note that we only link to products we believe in and services that we support. You can learn more about how affiliate links work and why we use them here


  1. Hi Larry…a little synchronicity. This week in my online ATM class I read a piece from Nora Bateson (from Small Arcs of Larger Circles) about uncertainty. Then this evening I read the same piece to a friend on the phone. Soon after that tonight your email came in about Gregory’s book and the upcoming commemoration. Needless to say I signed up for it.
    Thanks for connecting in!
    Best to you,
    Marilyn Hardy
    Amherst training