We are formed by a complex network of connections

“Ultimately, for me, I think it is a great act of love to allow the people that you come into contact with to be complex.”

Nora Bateson

Systems Theory

Playing for Team Human today is systems thinker, writer, and filmmaker Nora Bateson. Nora will be telling us how to stop looking at things as objects and begin seeing the spaces and connections between them. It’s not too late to bring our species back from the brink! This conversation was recorded backstage in Palo Alto at the Institute For the Future’s (IFTF) 50th Anniversary Gala.

“I first met at Nora Bateson at a general semantics conference where she was screening her then brand new film An Ecology of Mind about her father Gregory Bateson, one of the principle developers of cybernetic and systems theory. But as I got to know Nora and her work, particularly the book Small Arcs of Larger Circles, I realized she was taking what we think of as systems theory to a whole new and intrinsically human level. I ran into her again at the fiftieth anniversary conference of the Institute For the Future in Palo Alto where she gave an entirely optimistic yet grounded talk on how to bring an awareness of the liminal spaces between systems into account as we attempt to make our world more consonant with the values of life.”

An Ecology of Mind

Foundational Principles

  • Nature is lazy, it likes to copy.
  • Everything is information.
  • Information is not stuff, it is relationships.
  • All behaviors are constrained by relationships.
  • All behaviors are emergent.
  • Every engine takes advantage of a difference.
  • Everything is an approximation of something else.
  • Ratio may be the only thing that is discrete.
  • The bending of spacetime is a variation of scale.
  • Behavior is built from a quantum of action in a field.
  • If dimensions are virtual in the same way that the dimensions of consciousness are virtual then the density of information in a field will affect the scale or bending of spacetime.
  • Gravity and scale are related.
  • Gravity and information are related.
  • Information and scale are related.
  • If it’s relational, there’s a geometry involved.
  • Truth as a scale coordinate; truth lives in the macro world, the micro world is uncertain.
  • Truth as a time coordinate; truth lives in the past, the future is uncertain.
  • Information from the micro future is formed into a macro past.
  • The process of formation involves entanglement. Coffee and cream;
    • separate
    • complex
    • homogeneous
  • Information appears to increase and then decrease, perhaps in a bell shaped curve.

Foundational Principles