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mercredi 9 juin 2010

Imperfect coupling

Alice playing croquet with a hedgehog and a flamingo © Sir John Tenniel

By imperfect coupling of biological systems in the famous game of croquet, however, Carroll creates a meta-random game. Alice is coupled with a flamingo, and the “ball” is a hedgehog.

The “purposes” (if we may use the term) of these contrasting biological systems are so discrepant that the randomness of play can no longer be delimited with finite sets of alternatives, known to the players.

Alice’s difficulty arises from the fact that she does not “understand” the flamingo, i.e., she does not have systemic information about the “system” which confronts her. Similarly, the flamingo does not understand Alice. They are at “cross- purposes.” The problem of coupling man through consciousness with his biological environment is comparable. If consciousness lacks information about the nature of man and the environment, or if the information is distorted and inappropriately selected, then the coupling is likely to generate meta-random sequence of events.

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an ecology of mind

Impacts and differences

Jung’s book [Seven Sermons to the Dead ] insisted upon the contrast between Pleroma, the crudely physical domain governed only by forces and impacts, and Creatura, the domain governed by distinctions and differences. It became abundantly clear that the two sets of concepts match and that there could be no maps in Pleroma, but only in Creatura. That which gets from territory to map is news of difference, and at that point I recognized that news of difference was a synonym for information.

Gregory Bateson, Angels Fear