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.