| "What pattern connects the crab to the lobster and the orchid to the primrose and all the four of them to me? And me to you?" |
- Gregory Bateson
from Mind and Nature
A quarter century after the death of eminent anthropologist and systems theorist Gregory Bateson, much of his work is just beginning to be fully appreciated. During his centennial year 2004 and beyond, a series of discussions, events and publications took a closer look at how Bateson challenged people to think in new ways and how his ideas continue to impact how we think in the 21st century.
Gregory Bateson collaborated with Margaret Mead in Bali and New Guinea in the 1930s in developing an entirely new approach to anthropological research, using film and photography not only to document field work but also to support a new kind of analysis. The still photos and film from this landmark work of visual anthropology are already partially digitized and are available online at research universities through the Research Libraries Group or at the Library of Congress.
Bateson moved away from traditional anthropology in the late 1940s, embracing psychology, behavioral biology, evolution, systems theory, and cybernetics, and working toward a theoretical synthesis he referred to as "an ecology of mind." His legacy lives on, and scholars in many different fields continue to grapple with his ideas. With the 2004 Bateson centennial, several of his books have been or will be reissued, and a number of journals have dedicated special issues to him.
Bateson was one of the original trustees of the IIS and Margaret Mead's third husband. The IIS manages his literary estate, along with his pre-World War II papers at the Library of Congress, including the Bali and New Guinea photographs and film footage. The balance of his papers are housed at the University of California at Santa Cruz.