Gregory Bateson

While NLP was born under the influence of the two prominent figures of this century, namely, Milton H. Erickson and Gregory Bateson (1904-1980), Guhen Kitaoka firmly believes that Bateson will before long (presumably in the 21st century) come to be recognised posthumously as "another Einstein of the 20th century" or even as beyond him.

Bateson was a British born anthropologist who studied communicational patterns in New Guinea and Bali and later conducted research in psychiatry at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, USA. The "Palo Alto Group" under Bateson's theoretical and Don D. Jackson's clinical leadership contributed the formation of the theory of schizophrenia in the 50's; the notions of their theory such as "Double Bind" and "Logical Types" are not limited to the cases of schizophrenia but have an universal applicability to human communication in general. What is important in their research is the discovery that, contrary to common sense, the difference between schizophrenics and "normal" human beings is not absolute but rather relative; namely, both are governed by the same principles of mentation, but a minor error in applying these principles makes a big difference; this is well shown in the example of "syllogism in grass" used by schizophrenics which is given by Bateson in "Angels Fear", his posthumous book edited by his daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson. Namely;

     Syllogism                 Syllogism in Grass

     Men die;                  Grass dies;
     Socrates is a man;        Men die;
     Socrates will die.        Men are grass.

Notice that a "minor" error in syllogism thus creates "insane" people; certainly, if it is borne in mind that human beings are said to be the only animals on the earth who cannot stop talking to themselves either inside their head (in this case, they are "normal"!) or aloud (in this case, they are likely to be labelled as "insane"), then the difference between these two types of human beings is bound to be considered relative. Bateson's books are highly recommended for anyone who wishes to become an effective communicator. (See also the page "Epistemology".)

(NB: The text of this page is a quotation from Guhen Kitaoka's training manual "Effective Communicator's Manual" with relevant amendments.)

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