Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The analogy of the acrobat

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The healthy system…may be compared to an acrobat on a high wire. To maintain the ongoing truth of his basic premise (“I am on the wire”), he must be free to move from one position of instability to another, i.e., certain variables such as the position of his arms and the rate of movement of his arms must have great flexibility, which he uses to maintain the stability of other more fundamental and general characteristics. If his arms are fixed or paralyzed (isolated from communication), he must fall…Note, in passing, that the analogy of the acrobat can be applied at a higher level. During the period when the acrobat is learning to move his arms in an appropriate way, it is necessary to have a safety net under him, i.e., precisely to give him the freedom to fall off the wire.

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Written by nevalalee

May 27, 2018 at 7:30 am

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