the pattern which connects


On my google calendar, I have set aside Mondays with the label “Steve composes himself.” It has been a long time since I have had time and energy to do this (relax, drink a cup of coffee, stare out the window and compose music). But today Hope College is on break and I have promised myself that I will basically compose and read today and put off all the little tasks hanging over my head (call my Mom’s doctors, call my Mom’s banker and other stuff).

So far this is working great. I woke up with an idea for a composition. Got up and started sketching it. Read some poetry and non-fiction. Had breakfast with beautiful wife. Put out the garbage (can’t delay that task plus it’s not really onerous to me). Played some Grieg on the piano (don’t ask me why… I associate this composers with the deceased mother of an old friend of mine whom I seem to remember loved Grieg… I could be confused about that.) Composed some more.

Now it’s time to blog a bit.

I ran across a very interesting title in the footnotes of In Search of the Missing Elephant this morning.

When I googled this book one of the auto fills in the google search ended in PDF. When I searched that way, sure enough, there is the whole dang book apparently online in a PDF (link to the pdf). It’s not available in a ebook, but I interlibrary-loaned a hard copy this morning as well.

Gregory Bateson

In the PDF I read that Goleman’s thinking began with a fascinating discussion with Gregory Bateson. Bateson has been on my radar for a while. He was married to Margaret Mead for a while.

Mary Catherine Bateson was their daughter.

I have read books and learned stuff from all three of these people.

Bateson is described on wikipedia as ” an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. In the 1940s he helped extend systems theory/cybernetics to the social/behavioral sciences, and spent the last decade of his life developing a “meta-science” of epistemology to bring together the various early forms of systems theory developing in various fields of science.”

It’s those meta systems that caught Goleman’s imagination.

Goleman quotes Bateson from a conversation they had:

The pattern which connects….

is a ‘metapattern,’ a pattern of patterns. More often than not, we fail to see it. With the exception of music, we have been trained to think of patterns as fixed affairs. The truth is that the right way to begin to think about the pattern which connects is as a dance of interacting parts, secondarily pegged down by various sorts of physical limits and by habits, and by the naming of states and component entities.’ Bateson

Goleman continues in his preface:

“A dance of interacting parts. The pattern that connects. The ideas stuck with me. Over the next few years they gave shape to a search of my own… A seminar with Erving Goffman, the sociologist of ordinary encounters, led me to see how the ground rules of face-to-face interaction keep us comfortable by ruling some zones of awareness out-of-bounds. Research on the psychobiology of consciouness showed me how cognition—and so out experience itself—is the product of a delicate balance between vigilance and inattention.

These disparate bits of evidence struck me as clues to a pattern, one that repeated in complementary ways at each major level of behavior–biological, psychological , social.”

Anyway this shit fascinates me. It combines my interests in system thinking (Friedman), awareness (why do so many people seem unaware) and deception (we are surrounded by lies… we tell lies).


Charles Murray, Author of ‘The Bell Curve,’ Steps Back Into the Ring – Faculty – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Tried to read The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Murray when it came out.

His bias was so evident to me I couldn’t make it through the book. Now the thinking of Donald N. Michael helps me see how objectivity and reason fail to cover the entire spectrum of understanding needed in our contemporary situation. And that all of us are inside a time that is chaotic and that we trust our objectivity at our own peril. Jes sayin’


A High-Tech War on Leaks –

Ironic that Obama’s administration is the worse one yet as far creating and maintaining transparency.

******************************************************************** Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves Administrative Files Selected Records Bearing on the History of the Slave Narratives eBook: Work Projects Administration: Kindle Store

If you click on this link and look at the “Customers who bought this item also bought” selections you will find a ton of free Slave narratives. Very cool. Thanks to brother Mark for pointing to this.


Activist: Syrian army uses human shields on tanks –

The use of human shields makes me physically ill. Man’s inhumanity to man indeed.


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