The way we see affects what we do, writes Nora Bateson near the start of this exploratory, far- ranging foray into unauthorized knowledge . In a series of premise-investigations undertaken by way of essays, conference talks, autobiographical story, quotes and poems, ranging through linguistics, biology, semantics, cognitive theory, justice awareness and embrace of paradox, Bateson invites and advocates suppleness of perception, rigor of mind, and depth of feeling. In this book that moves above all by its questions, Bateson embodies that rarity, a truly free thinker also fully engaged with the fates of all. --Jane Hirshfield, Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets
This is a book for the adventuresome, prepared to travel, relying on their own resources. It is a little book, but it is dense conceptually. The chapters are both independent arcs and parts of the whole, which indeed does circle around. If I were to name an orientation for this circling, it would be something like a desire for a more fluid and dimensional way of doing things such that ethical behavior can more readily be realized in any relationship, including our relation with the biosphere. The book is realized in various forms ranging from essays, to poems, from conference presentations to personal reflections, including an email to a friend. The style of writing varies, not only between chapters, but often within a chapter. One needs to be nimble to follow the shifts, much like travelling through a highly varied landscape with attention ranging from delight at distant views, concerns about safety of river crossings, to investigations of odd scratches on a tree or delight in a frail flower nestled among rocks. --Pille Bunnell in Cybernetics and Human Knowing, Vol. 24, No.1, 2017
She also introduces two terms:
• ‘symmathesy’ to describe the contextual mutual learning through interaction that takes place in living entities at larger or smaller scales
• ‘transcontextuality’ to describe the multiple, interlayered spatial, social, temporal, cultural, ecological, economic contexts in which symmathesy takes place.
While she retains her father’s rigorous attention to definition, observation and academic precision, she also moves well beyond that frame of reference to incorporate more embodied ways of knowing and understanding. These are reflected in her essays and poems on food, Christmas, love, honesty, environmentalism and leadership.
The book offers important advice and new thinking on issues like immigration, systems thinking, new economic and financial models, future thinking and strategic planning, sustainability and governmental ethics, agency in organizational leadership, the education system and organizational governance.