An old dinosaur

Nachmanovitch Stephen (Free Play Productions, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 11 November 2013



A personal account of Gregory Bateson and the turning over of the generations, carrying some of Bateson's way of thinking forward to the time and beyond. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The approach taken is that of a synthesis.


Bateson attributed the ecological peril to bad thinking and suggested that the author needs better thinking, including what the author can learn from the syncretic practice of art. To operate in the realm of play – music, poetry, myth, and so on – in the context of hearing your children talk about Malthusian events and mass extinctions is perhaps a way of fiddling while Rome burns. But possibly, this is itself the practice – a way to begin to master the new kinds of thinking that the author needs to learn to do.


The issues that Bateson touched on are intensely personal. The issue of the survival of the ecosystem and of human civilization in the forms that the author recognizes is not an academic or political matter, but personal for each of us, as is the creative response.



Nachmanovitch, S. (2013), "An old dinosaur", Kybernetes, Vol. 42 No. 9/10, pp. 1439-1446.

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