On Gregory Bateson:” “Form, Substance, and Difference” is the nineteenth Korzybski Lecture, delivered by Bateson in 1970. In it he points out that he’s touched on numerous fields but is an expert in none. He’s not a philosopher, nor is anthropology exactly his business. This doesn’t help me much. All I know about him is that he has an anthropological background, was once married to Margaret Mead, and was a prime mover behind the important Macy Conferences in Cybernetics in the 1940s.
His theme in the Korzybski Lecture was the same as his theme today: “the area of impact between very abstract and formal philosophic thought on the one hand and the natural history of man and other creatures on the other.” His ideas are clearly of an epistemological nature. He asks us to do away with our Newtonian language, our Cartesian coordinates, to see the world in terms of the mind we all share. Bateson presents a new approach based on a cybernetic epistemology: “The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in the pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger mind of which the individual mind is only a subsystem. This larger mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by ‘God,’ but it is still immanent in the total interconnected social system and planetary ecology.” - John Brockman