Bateson

These days this is my favorite book.

I have blogged previously on one of Bateson’s “Metalogues” – look here to review. Bateson’s metalogues are styled as father daughter conversations.

Here’s another one I would like to consider – this is a short extract from the opening:

Mealaogue: About games and being serious

Daughter: Daddy, are these conversations serious?
Father: Certainly they are.
D: They’re not a sort of game you play with me?
F: God forbid … but they are a sort of game we play together.
D: Then they’re not serious!

Through this conversation Bateson goes on to introduce many ideas about how we “play” together.  The core of this idea is not new – there are always unspoken rules associated with how we communicate.

For me, the most useful question is: “What’s going on here?”.  Ask yourself this question when attending meetings, participating in decisions or even writing (as I am now).  Frequently, we interpret a situation at an immediate and shallow level.  Often, what’s really going on can only be appreciated by interpreting what’s being said along with the unspoken rules of the encounter.

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