Nora Bateson March, 2021

An arrangement of notes and soundscapes in an unnamed music

— -I cannot quite find where it meets me.

A combining of spices I do not recognize stews into an unknown taste.

I am on a road, but I do not know the landscape,

the turns,

the hills.

I do not remember who once lived in that house over there.

I am not of this.

And it is necessary to pay attention.

To hone in,

On a weird combination of remorse and curiosity -

A chemical unbinder of predictable nexts

An emulsifier of new nuance.


Nora Bateson, Jan 2021

This is one essay in two pieces, like one cupcake in two bites. In the first piece, I am laying out the enormity and near impossibility of systemic change. Something I hope readers will feel in their bellies like a thud. The perpetuation of the existing ways of thinking cannot address the emergencies of our time; this is not to be underestimated. The second piece is about the unexpected possibilities that await in another order of parallel approaches. These two pieces attempt to express one idea that is not easy to describe without sounding hopeless and…

(This is a piece that I wrote as a forward for a French book on family therapy called Les défis des familles d’aujourd’hui: Approche systémique des relations familiales in September 2020 thanks to Salvatore d’Amore)

Family is the blood tie, and the non-blood tie. Bound, unbound and always returning to the tension between coming and going, caring and abandoning, living and dying. Family is a time-boat that spins in a whirlpool of present, future and past. Ancestors sing and spit, unborn generations write their inspirational notes in treasures and traumas they will inherit. The days pass and it is family…

Warm Data is not an artifact.

The processes of Warm Data do not produce artifacts.

Information: the gathering of senses through differences that make differences in the Warm Data processes are alive. By that I mean that the way in which the senses are sensing, and the information is forming is not grabbable. Nor should they be. This is a source of frustration for some, and a relief to others. Either way it is just how it is.

When I think of a hot cup of tea I am comforted. I do not “sense” the digits of how much water…

In the forest, boots crunching, tree tops sweeping in wind. Silence is not silent. The season is revealed in the wet soil and yellowed leaves, but time is an abstraction.

Transformations are now everywhere all at once. Intimate and global, mental and environmental, economic and political.

There is rigor needed to pay careful attention to this. Yes, it requires effort to look beyond the crises into the conditions, and to do so in detail. Before that effort is brushed off as unreasonable there must be an admission that the larger effort is in not applying the necessary rigor and continuing…

Trying to fix the wrong context of broken is a hallway of hallways.

The suffering is the consequence, not the problem.

Don’t solve it.

It’s not that the schools are not good enough, it is that the next generation is being squeezed into the past.

It is not that poverty is devastating it is that the economy devastates.

It is not that our bodies have been violated, it is that predators are celebrated.

It is not that the tech is evil, it is that it is unable to feel.

It is not that the doctor is wrong, it is that…

Will Peoples’ Responses to the Emergencies of the Coming Decades be Warm? Or Cold?

Nora Bateson & Mamphela Ramphele

The crises of the moment do not need further description here. Suffice to say that the complexity of the overlapping crises of inequality, health, justice, technology, ecology and culture are producing emergencies that the institutions of the last centuries cannot contend with. How will the next decades play out amidst these crises? More importantly, what is possible for societies around the world to learn in the process?

We (Bateson & Ramphele) are going to bring our voices together on this topic, to open a conversation with a conversation. We have both been watching these patterns…

I have been seeing one small piece of the landscape, a branch of a forest.

Believing it.

Then —

The forest revealed.

And I feel I have been so inept.

It is a reminder of the cost of thinking my knowing is anything.

I am learning that learning is the healing.

Not backtracking, not re-hashing, not splitting words and attempting to save face, not apologizing.

The only currency here is movement.

Learning is moving to a scope from which there is no return to past limited vistas.

No going back to not seeing, no hiding in old ways of non-sensing.

Note: I wrote this piece for Cocoon in November 2019. (

The time it takes for change to occur can be quick. The time it takes for the conditions of change to ripen and become ready is a variable. It’s x + 1 minute. You just never know where you are in the timeline of x. Sometimes it’s closer than you think.

Let’s not start at the beginning.

At this point if your organization is at all inclined toward social or ecological responsibility you are already aware of rising levels of cultural and environmental upheaval. I will not use this…

Nora Bateson

Filmmaker, writer, educator, lecturer, President of the International Bateson Institute. Books: Small Arcs of Larger Circles 2016, Warm Data *upcoming 2019

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