quotes from bateson

"information consists of differences that make a difference."

"Those who lack all idea that it is possible to be wrong can learn nothing except know-how."

"Creative thought must always contain a random component."

"Science probes; it does not prove".

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margaret mead and gregory bateson in a kind of confusing conversation talk about the invention of cybernetics and the early macy meetings, but nevertheless an interesting piece. the macy conferences was a series of elite gatherings of cybernetics research held in the 40s and 50s.

Now, if you say to somebody like that, ‘Why is the trunk of an elephant a nose?’ they can’t tell you without an awful sweat that it’s because it’s between two eyes. The formal-puzzle has never been presented to them.

mead and bateson about the rivals in the group, winner and looser, warren mcculloch and norbert wiener, the term cybernetic, ...

B: It actually existed as a word before Wiener - it’s a nineteenth century word.
M: Yes, but he wrote the book Cybernetics and sort of patented the idea to that extent. And then he went to Russia, and was very well received. The Russians were crazy about this right away - it fit right to their lives. But one of the big difficulties in Russian psychology is that they have great difficulty learning that anything’s irreversible. So cybernetics spread all over the Soviet Union very rapidly, and in Czechoslovakia, whereas what spread here was systems theory instead of cybernetics.
SB: How did that happen? It seems like something went kind of awry.
M: Americans like mechanical machines.
B: They like tools.
SB: Material tools more than conceptual tools.

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