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American Society for Cybernetics 2012 conference jointly held with the Bateson Idea Group in Asilomar, CA from 9-13 July 2012.

This 4-day conference was on the theme of 'an ecology of ideas'. It was organised by Pille Bunnell and Nora Bateson. Thank you, Pille and Nora! Please find the official website here
And also 'Three ideas To Consider Giving Up' post-conference reflections by Larry Richards:

July 9th, 2012: Day one

This day began with a talk by governor Jerry Brown reflecting how Gregory Bateson and cybernetics influenced his thoughts and how he has been trying to implement what he learned into his work. I was very impressed how he explained complex topics with any aids or notes. California people can be glad to have such a governor.
This talk was followed by a screening of Nora Bateson's very personal film on Gregory Bateson titled 'An Ecology of Mind'.

What follows are messy notes straight from my notebook. From experience i know that it takes about a week to properly edit those.

Klaus Krippendorff presenting on the cybernetics of discourse.
The entire talk can be viewed at
Ideas are unknown if you don't talk about them.
Ecology: How species interact in the environment.
There is no sense of the whole.
Metaphorical conception, the bedrock of being human: a system that needs to be understood.

Design: Ecology of artifacts. And an epiphenomenon of creating those artifacts.
Language is also an artifact! Species, patterns of language, rituals, theories. Zipfs law: modelling the structure of human language.

Social theories are species in the ecology of language: e.g. scientists theories. 'Clear' can mean something different.

For example, having a theory of spiderman and jumping from a building may not work. Theories therefor need to support action. Social theories can affect what they describe. It is not possible to model on social sciences. "self fulfilling prophesy' is not a theory. If you do not act it does not work.

Therapy: Believe in the success of something is important.

[Free will]: "I don't care if we have choice or not. We socially construct we have choice, so we do it!"

Systems exist through their interconnections. They change all the time! Its [wrong] to speak of systems as wholes all the time, [as if they were something static].
Disciplines bring with them things such as discourses. Discourse of energy concept, pathologies of discourse, and discourse of cybernetics. What do discourses do?
Discourses construct their own artifacts.
These artifacts have an enabling aspect but also a constraining one.
(Giddens calles this 'the duality of structure')
(or like the McLuhan 'tetrad')
Parts and wholes. Reflexivity is one thing. Lets talk about social.
- it provides a comfortable world
- it is trapped in an Eigenform not going out.

E.g. the maths of Gabriel Stolzenberg on emotion
- a closed system with coherent explanations suppressing other versions.
- invalid, non-viable demonstrations
- you do not see what is wrong
- trap is only a trap when a burdon

Example of trap:
Therapist and victim of discrimination
Or Power: Foucault: Power is everywhere
Roald Dahl: Knowledge, Guns, Status, Beauty

Strategies out of the trap:
move towards the edge of the trap, towards the borderline, allow metaperspective, engage borderpeople perspectives, (be with foreigners, be a foreigner)

Reverse step by step which step is constructed.

Marx - criticism against idealism.
Abstracting ideas.
Systematise ideas of the ruling class into ideas of all.
attribute agency to ideas
Turn (this) into language.
Humour example: Crocodile Dundee with knife: Power is a social relationship.
In German Democratic Republic being complicit and reporting suspicious incidents.
Example: Black is beautiful campaign, unfounded fear,
work your language.

- learning to learn to learn. ('learning to' instead of seeing the trap!) similar to Bateson's 'frog being boiled'.
It is not about free will, but free choice. Changing system to allow choice.
- The philosophy of science is about 'how to ...' ... about knowledge.

Designing learning spaces - instagram, new media is changing HE.
Coffeeshops on the way to work.
Who is the 'i', the 'you', the 'me' when i ask questions?
American business models in China. Learning with a relational 'i'. in our research.
What are interviewees responding to?
Jerry Brown: Letter to board of education. Obsession/addiction to 'frame of mind'/paradigm. How can we study a system of which we are part?
Bateson: You cannot study one part of a relationship.
Recursive process of understanding ourselves.
Nasa Project: The problem wasn't that the knowledge wasn't there. Lessons learned about information systems: Sharing lessons learned!
Sharing information that is not shared in culture. How can we create change?
Insurance companies looking for your mistakes. Its not the you you want to share.
Book: Peter Harries-Jones: 'making knowledge count'

last update: 8/11/02013 23:01

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