An Ecology of Mind is a film portrait of Gregory Bateson, celebrated anthropologist, philosopher, author, naturalist, systems theorist, and filmmaker, produced and directed by his daughter, Nora Bateson.
The film includes footage from Bateson’s own films shot in the 1930s in Bali (with Margaret Mead) and New Guinea, along with photographs, filmed lectures, and interviews. His youngest child, Nora, depicts him as a man who studied the interrelationships of the complex systems in which we live with a depth motivated by scientific rigor and caring integrity.
Nora Bateson’s rediscovery of his work documents the vast – and continuing – influence Bateson’s thinking has had on the work of an amazingly wide range of disciplines. Through contemporary interviews, along with his own words, Bateson’s way of thinking reveals practical approaches to the enormous challenges confronting the human race and the natural world.
Gregory Bateson’s theories, such as “the double bind” and “the pattern which connects”, continue to impact the fields of anthropology, psychiatry, information science, cybernetics, urban planning, biology, and ecology, challenging people to think in new ways.
Until now, his work has been largely inaccessible to most of us. Through this film, Nora Bateson sets out to show that his ideas are not just fodder for academic theory, but can help instruct a way of life. She presents his thinking using a richly personal perspective, focusing on the stories Bateson used to present his ideas and how the beauty of life itself provided the framework of his life’s pursuits.
This film hopes to inspire its audience to see our lives within a larger system - glistening with symmetry, play, and metaphor. An invitation to ask the kinds of questions that could help thread the world back together from the inside.
The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.