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This is a book that has grown on me since my first exposure to it around 1980. I'll find myself thinking of a point and need to go find the book are reread the essay.
One of the things that
fascinates me about the book, as I come to understand some of Bateson't thinking, is when these essays were written. He and colleagues were attempting to understand an unformed (and unnamed) topic for which no adequate vocabulary yet existed. I mean, look at the title "Steps to an Ecology of Mind" -- He's trying to understand "ideas" and how they interact. He defines "idea" as "a difference that makes a difference" -- He's grappling with concepts that were ultimately (in 1947) named "information" -- and Bateson's "idea" is Shannon's "bit". He's doing it in a much broader context than computers and formal communications.
As a computer scientist, information is the basic medium I study / manipulate, and I've spent significant time trying to understand how to create and manage complex software systems. In Bateson's terms, I've spent my career studying one small part of an Ecology of Mind.
 

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