The Aesthetics of Change

Is an excellent book by Bradford Keeney. As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages...
All simple and complex regulation as well as learning involve feedback. Contexts of learning and change are therefore principally concerned with altering or establishing feedback.
Corrective action is brought about by difference. The system is technically "error activated" in that "the difference between some present state and some 'preferred' state activates the corrective response". Cybernetics therefore suggests that "all change can be understood as the effort to maintain some constancy and all constancy as maintained through change". [Gregory Bateson]
Occidentals ... practice in order to get a skill, which is then a tool - in which I, unchanged, now have a new tool, that's all. The Oriental view is that you practice in order to change yourself.
In the [predator/prey] example, the battle over food and territory between two species is only one half of the story. The larger cybernetic picture is that the battle is a means or process of generating, maintaining, and stablizing an ecosystem.
For the most part, people take distinctions to be representations of an either/or duality, a polarity, a clash of opposites, or an expression with a logic of negation underlying it.
Both Don Juan and Erickson also made use of introducing confusion to bring about change.
A "dormative principle" is a more abstract repackaging of a description of the item you claim to be explaining. To paraphrase [Gregory] Bateson, this occurs when the cause of a simple action is said to be an abstract word derived from the name for the action... What one does, in this case, is to say that an item of simple action is caused by a class of action. This recycling of a term does not constitute a formal explanation.
When we encounter sufficient complexity, such as recursive organization of human interaction, our inability to discern higher orders of patterns leads us to committing what Whitehead called "the fallacy of misplaced concreteness." We then "abstract from relationship and from the experiences of interaction to create 'objects' and to endow them with 'characteristics'".
The more "fundamental" a premise, the less accessible it will be to consciousness. As Samuel Butler proposed, the more one "knows" something the less aware one becomes of that knowledge.
Mere purposive rationality unaided by such phenomena as art, religion, dream, and the like, is necessarily pathogenic and destructive of life. [Gregory Bateson]
The truth which is important is not a truth of preference, it's a truth of complexity.

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