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Upside-Down Gods$
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Peter Harries-Jones

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823270347

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823270347.001.0001

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Why We See in Outlines

Why We See in Outlines

(p.89) 4 Why We See in Outlines
Upside-Down Gods

Peter Harries-Jones

Fordham University Press

Recent research has shown that the perceptual mode is that of grasping outlines and then of filling in details in a sort of reverse hierarchy. In this topsy-turvy macroscopic mode, Bateson was to re-define the concept of ‘information’”as the difference that makes a difference” to any set of events. He proposes that the path to a study of context and the dynamics of pattern formation lay through constant immersion in repetitive forms of messaging, and while perceptual memory is nowhere near as large as cognitive memory, it can recognize contexts. Redundancies in messaging create pattern, and this focus on pattern and feedback takes Bateson along a fairly radical course, one which, by the mid-1960s, identifies him with the counter-culture of the times. By this time he had taken up psycho-social communication research at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto. The chapter contains a table of Bateson’s new terminology for inter-personal communication include pattern, relationship, rules, context, timing or frequency, difference, and the question of levels of information or heterarchy.

Keywords:   counter-culturalists, difference, heterarchy, Warren McCulloch, pattern, perception, redundancies, reverse hierarchy theory, outlines

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